Are you heading to Thailand?
Need a quick plan for Bangkok?
Here’s the itinerary I actually took on my one-day 11-hour layover in Thailand’s capital city last summer…
I hired a private guide for the day AND a private car. This saved me so much time and, though expensive by Thai standards, the 2800 THB fee was not that costly.
On the way into the city, he helped me to get my bearings – learn the different neighborhood and some basic history. Before I knew it, I was at stop 1: the floating Lad Mayom Market.
It didn’t walk off my plate, so I ate it.
This floating market, open only on Sundays, is much less touristy. This afternoon, it was filled with local families buying prawns off of dockside sampans and picnicking at the jam of wooden tables under the market awning.
With Swai’s introduction, I met farmers who let me sample their unique vegetables, and I had the confidence to try bitefuls of stew that were scooped mysteriously from the depths of giant pots.
Here I am tasting curried fish paste that is steamed in a banana leaf – spicy!
Meeting the canal villagers
After my gastronomic wander through lotus flowers, coconut creams, fried bananas, and needle mushrooms, I rolled my sated self into a pre-arranged khlong boat for a ride back to Bangkok city center via the small rural canal communities.
Along the way, we stopped at the Royal Barge Museum – fascinating to be so close to almost touch history!
The Thai dynasty, Kennedy-style
I could’ve spent a full day in the Grand Palace. Some guy named Rama let power go to his head in 1878 and the royal family has been in a complicated, layered, competitive tizzy every since. If you’re interested, check out my blog here.
I followed the throngs of fellow tourists to the Reclining Buddha and the Dat Arun, the Temple of Dawn.
Afterwards, I was ready for a little quiet so we tuk tuk-ed over to the Jim Thompson House, the home of the American silk magnate and his famous collection (and now gardens).
Going bohemian with the backpackers
Khao San Road – perhaps the backpacking capital of the Universe – seemed the perfect place to savor a late-afternoon beer.
I bypassed the standard Gullivers Travels. I wanted someplace different, where I could sit outside and people-watch. My outdoors requirement ruled out Adhere the 13th, a cozy blues joint. My “different” requirement ruled out the Day of the Dead outdoor patio that felt more like a mosh pit than a dining terrace.
So in the end, I chose Molly 13. Who can resist a patio strung with twinkling Christmas lights?
We finished up our stroll through town at the docks. What seemed like acres of dark warehouses where everything from vegetables to engines was being hawked.
Just enough time for a quick meal before my flight out to Cambodia, so I chose the oldest pad thai shop in the city. Do you know what that is? Email me to find out!
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