Whether we’re backpacking or beach-hopping, the World Words team is constantly on the go. Our writers’ love of travelling is great for our clients, as our real-world destination expertise goes directly into the content we produce.
We started the Our Travels blog series to showcase our team’s myriad adventures in everywhere from Alaska to The Gambia. You can read about our discoveries in destinations around the world within the Our Travels archive.
This month, World Words travel content writer Allison takes us on one of her regular forays into Bangkok. Visitors often whisk through the colourful Thai capital en route to somewhere else, but there’s so much to discover if you have time to dig in and get to know the city. Read on for Allison’s top picks for things to see and do in Bangkok…
Why I went to Bangkok, Thailand
I’ve been to Bangkok six or seven times before, but something always draws me back to the city. This time it was the inaugural Bangkok Biennale. Running from October 2018 until February 2019, the art festival sprawled across the city, showcasing more than 200 artworks in 20 venues. But I didn’t only come for the art. Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines and this city is quite simply the best place to get it.
My highlight of the trip
The Bangkok Biennale took over some of the city’s most special buildings. Exhibitions were housed in Buddhist temples, luxury hotels and a landmarked trading house that is typically closed to the public. As many of the sites are set along the Chao Phraya river, I was able to explore by boat.
The Chao Phraya river runs through the center of Bangkok. Exploring by boat allows you to take in the top sights without battling Bangkok’s infamous road traffic. You can visit Wat Pho and its famous Reclining Buddha, Wat Arun decorated in Chinese pottery and the glittering Grand Palace all by boat.
What else I love about Bangkok
I love Bangkok because it’s a modern metropolis with a distinctly old soul. Walk a couple blocks off the main drag and suddenly you’re in Old Siam again. While new openings are constantly popping up, it’s the classic spots that nag at me most when I’m away.
I like to start the day with breakfast at On Lok Yun, just outside of Chinatown. This old-school coffee shop serves Thai tea, Western breakfasts and eggy kaya toast, a regional specialty. When the midday sun gets too hot, I love to escape to Scala, a charming 1960s-era cinema (with, crucially, air conditioning). Then, after dark, I like to make a stop at The Bamboo Bar. The dark and glamorous bar at the Mandarin Oriental originally opened in 1953. There’s live jazz every night, top-notch cocktails and endless atmosphere.
Why you should go
Whether you like new-world flash or old-world charm, there is always more to discover in Bangkok. What’s more, a new wave of restaurateurs and hoteliers are leaning into the fusion, opening hip new establishments in historic spaces. Plan to hit Bangkok’s top tourist sights, of course, but don’t be afraid to get a little lost. You never know what you’ll find when you get off the main drag.
How you can visit
Bangkok is a major gateway to Southeast Asia, with flights from around the world touching down in its two main hubs, Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport. Once you land in Bangkok, the most convenient way to get around is by Grab, the local version of Uber. You can also take taxis and tuk-tuks, but prepare to do some heavy negotiating before you hop in. Alternatively, you can skip all the madness on the roads and explore by water taxi.
Thailand is a popular haunt of World Words writers; you can read some of our blogs, feature articles and city guides on the country right here. Keep up with all the latest travel developments by following us on Twitter.
– Article and photography by Allison Reiber DiLiegro.