Although one may consider Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, highly polluted, it will still impress anyone with its magnificent temples, glittering palaces, plethora of street fares and markets, which, of course, carry flavors that would definitely present a kaleidoscope of tastes.
First things first though, as the capital city, the streets of Bangkok is very much congested. That said, to avoid traffic, it is rather advisable to utilize public vehicles like public ferries as well as water taxis (they are everywhere, so do not fret). You can even ride a tuk-tuk if you want. These are the best way to navigate the busy streets of the capital.
Bangkok’s most famous landmark, well, at least for me, is the Grand Palace. I just want to put emphasis on the word ‘grand’. And to some extent, ‘grand’ may still be an understatement. This particular structure boasts a stunning complex of structures (buildings) that includes the famous Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or as what the locals call it, the Wat Phra Kaew; the royal residences may also be found here and the government offices as well. One will definitely be awed by the stunning architecture and the elaborate details of these buildings.
After spending a day’s worth of sight-seeing and a lot of walking in Bangkok, I was treated by a friend to a traditional Thai massage. And this will certainly melt away the stress, fatigue, and the worn traveler in anyone.
In the hotel where I stayed, they did offer a massage of their own but it was rather pricey. My friend and I got a better deal elsewhere. The Wat Pho Temple is one of the places that provide such service. This is the oldest of the temples in Bangkok and is very much famous for its reclining Buddha and its medical and massage school.
Though one friendly caution, this massage involves a lot, and I mean a lot of pulling, kneading, and yanking, be prepared to assume the role of a dough being prep up for rising. But after that, you will experience bodily zen. With the rate of 400 Baht (or roughly 12 US dollars) for an hour of full body massage, this is a great deal, and you will positively want to come back for more sessions.
For me, no trip to Bangkok would be complete without visiting the weekend market in Chatuchak. The display of goods presented to the buying public is quite amazing. The size of the market alone is enough to overwhelm anyone. The bazaar offers a wide variety of goods and items like clothes, silk textiles, tools, jewelries, crafts, antiques, food (of course) and pets.
Put that haggling skill to good use. It does not really mater if you do not speak the local tongue. Most sellers carry a calculator. And remember, the universal language is, hard to admit it, is math (hate that subject). Calculators can and will do the talking.
Last but not the least, it is highly recommended that one engages in an excursion. And a boat trip to the relaxing Phi-Phi Island is a good one. There are tours, and they all usually stop at several islands, including the Tapu Island aka James Bond Island. Along the way, one can is given the opportunity to snorkel in the emerald waters. If one chooses, one can even arrange to spend overnight by the beach in Tapu. And this is a great way to unwind before heading back home.