If you’re ever near the BTS station Phra Khanong and want to bite a quick bite of good food for little money, this simple food shop is a good choice. Very clean food that’s already made, so no need to wait.
They have a good selection of food (including some vegetarian choices) and you’ll never get bored here.
These kinds of shops are quite common in Thailand. You get a plate of rice and then you can choose what you want on top of that rice – just one, or two or three different side dishes. Thai people call this lad khao.
It’s an unlikely destination for someone who wants to go sightseeing in Bangkok, but in case you make it there it’s good to know this place 🙂
Location: Sukhumvit Road (near Soi 65) between BTS Phra Khanong & BtS Ekkamai
Now this is not the usual kind of religious shrine that we’re used to. In fact many of us would probably consider it a bit “naughty”: the penis shrine. While it’s causing many people to pull out that BangCOCK joke, it’s no laughing matter actually.
The shrine is dedicated to the spirit of Chao Mae Tubtim – a female spirit believed to live in the giant banyan tree there. Then one day a woman came there. She was desperate because she’s been trying in vain for so long to get pregnant.
Nine months after asking Chao Mae Tubtim for it, she gave birth to a healthy child. So as a way of showing gratitude, she came again and brought a huge, wooden penis carving and left it here. And she told others about it, and now there are hundreds of women who come here and ask for fertility and offer penises of all sizes and forms.
If you look around, you can see the the penis is actually a symbol that can be found in many places. Many men carry what Thai people call palad khik, a special kind of talisman.
This relates to animistic beliefs and also to the Indian mythology of shiva lingam.
If you have an interest in the rather curious and strange things, you might want to visit the “Penis Shrine” too – it’s located near the Swissotel Nai Lert Park.
VietCuisine is a Vietnamese restaurant chain in Bangkok.
We tried the lemongrass salmon which they advertised with a big poster – after all if you advertise something with a fancy large poster, you’re probably really good at making it. Or at least you should be.
Smelly Lemongrass Salmon
Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Even our designated salmon enthusiast didn’t find any joy in this, and we each took a bite and left it at that, leaving a large chunk of fish uneaten on the plate.
The fish smelled bad, was dry and tasted like… well, old. You just can’t serve people something like that.
The service was friendly and attentive, but that didn’t make up for the lousy food.
You wouldn’t expect that quality of food in a fancy shopping mall like the Siam Paragon, but that’s why we constantly try new places: to do our best to spare you disappointments like that on a Bangkok sightseeing trip. Oftentimes people don’t want to stick to a prefabricated itinerary, but want to be spontaneous in planning their day. And then they might say something like: “He, I feel like eating Vietnamese, is there something around?” In such a case, we’d recommend you other places than that 😉
Another yummy alternative to Thai food in Bangkok is… a hamburger! But if you’re like us, neither McDonalds nor Burger King will suit your taste at all. Fortunately there are still plenty of options to go for good burgers in Bangkok.
And one of them is Chokchai steak burgers in Bangkok – located inside the giant Siam Paragon shopping center (BTS station Siam) on the floor where the food court is. Then you go to the gourmet market (actually walk inside) and there’s that little counter.
There aren’t many seats (I think just around 8 seats), and if you come with friends you sometimes have to wait a bit until sitting becomes available, but since it’s fast food never too long. (Also, alternatively, there are several tables nearby where you can sit down to enjoy your buger, which is what I would recommend for anything more than 3 people).
Chokchai is quiet a large company in Thailand. They have a popular farm in North-Eastern Thailand, where tourists can go to visit and experience what life on a farm is like. (Well, in a kind of Disneyfied version). So the meat that you eat in these burgers comes from the Chokchai farm – which is a good thing, as they have quality meats.
For a Bangkok sightseeing burger break, this is a good place to stop by, especially if you’re already shopping in the Siam Paragon shopping mall. Although there is a strong burger contender right nearby – the Japanese burger chain Mos Burger.
One of the things that makes sightseeing in Bangkok so much fun is that there’s always A LOT of delicious food at low prices to be found. Thai cuisine uses fresh ingredients and likes to mix different flavors, which then are meant to balance each other out.
Just look at this nice little dish that we recently treated ourselves with:
Fried chicken with tamarinde sauce
Fried chicken meat in a delicious sweet and sour tamarinde sauce, mixed with fresh herbs and nuts. A simple dish, but one that provides a lot of pleasure when eating. And this was in a fancy shopping mall in Bangkok, yet we paid less than 100 Baht – if you venture out to the streets you can eat for even lower prices, and the food is often just as good, if not even better. Only the presentation isn’t as nice to the eye in those cases 🙂
If you want to go on a food adventure in Bangkok, contact us to get in touch with one of our foodies to show you around 🙂
One of the places to stop for a small, refreshing snack is Red Mango – you find them in many shopping malls in Bangkok. They sell all kinds of yogurth desserts, specializing in frozen yogurths, and this one is quiet nice:
Strawberry parfait comes with fresh strawberries and cornflakes. I usually don’t like these kinds of desserts when they are too sweet, and the Red Mango strawberry parfait is just on the edge of ok. Their yogurth is actually quiet good, but they put a layer of jam in the yogurth.
They’re actually a South Korean chain that was established in Bangkok in 2007, and new shops are constantly popping up in different parts of town.
The yogurth is low-fat, and it’s tailored at those who have a sweet tooth but don’t want a sugar bomb. Of course, there’s still lots of “hidden sugars” inside (yes, the yogurth might be low fat, low sugar, but what about the sticky jam, etc?). But overall, it’s still a lot healthier than most of the American frozen yogurth places that use sugars in much larger quantities.
They also have different kinds of jelly desserts, which are popular with Thai people, and flavored shaved ice desserts and smoothies.
If you’ve had your share of Thai food and crave some “Western flavors”, but don’t want something as heavy as a burger or sandwhich, give Red Mango a try to “westernize” your Bangkok sightseeing time 🙂
The Wat Arun temple in Bangkok is one of the most popular cultural highlights of the city. It’s located near the Grand Palace, on the other site of the Chao Phraya river. Because of its location it’s also known as The Temple of Dawn.
The temple is named after the Indian god Aruna, the god of dawn, and it’s especially beautiful if you come here in the early morning hours.
What’s also special about the Wat Arun temple is that it’s built in a different style from the other temples in Bangkok. While most temples are decorated with multi-colored glass mosaics, Wat Arun features a large, Khmer-style inspired pagoda without the shiny decorations. It’s also one of the oldest temples in Bangkok, and it was already standing here before Bangkok even became the capital.
The central pagoda (actually it’s called a prang) symbolizes Mount Meru – a mythological mountain from Indian cosmology. The main prang is surrounded in four directions by smaller satellite prangs, which are dedicated to the god of wind, Phra Pai.
If you look at the prangs, you can see that they are decorated with Chinese porcellain and seashells. Much of the porcellain is broken though, and there’s an interesting story behind this. In the past there was a lot of trade between Thailand and China going on, and oftentimes ships would transport a lot of heavy items from Thailand to China, but came back more or less empty, or loaden with only light freight. This posed a problem – because if ships aren’t heavy enough, they tend to dangle, and are at risk of capsizing.
There’s a Buddha image that was moulded by King Rama II himself, who ruled from 1809-1824, and his ashes are buried at the base of the image.
When you take a close look at the prangs, you can see monkey warriors and demonds carrying the structure – this is part of the Thai national epic the Ramakhien.
When you visit the Wat Arun temple, you can walk up very steep strais that lead you high up to a balcony from where you can enjoy a nice view about the historic city center of Bangkok and the Chao Phraya river, and sometimes you can enjoy a refreshing breeze too. But be warned – if you suffer from vertigo, going up there might not be for you. (Actually, the going up part isn’t the problem – but walking down the steep stairs is much more challenging).
There are also statues of the Hindu god Indra riding on the elephant god Erawan.
If you come with a personal tour guide to the Temple of Dawn, you can learn more about the symbolic meaning of the architecture, and listen to fascinating stories of Thai mythology, religion and history.
If you have any interest at all in Thai culture and religion, a visit to Wat Arun should be part of your Bangkok sightseeing tour.
You can see a short video clip about the temple recorded by a tourist here. It’s not nearly as impressive as going there, but at least you might get a basic idea of what the place looks like before you get there.
Bangkok’s famous weekend market – also known as Chatuchak, Jatujak or JJ market, and one of the biggest weekend markets of the world – is about to undergo an upgrade.
If you’ve ever been there, you know what it’s like: hot and crowded. There’s no way to get around sweating your pores out.
And that’s part of the special flair of this market, because the oppressive heat which fills the narrow walkways between thousand of little stores is a form of natural selection to let only eager shoppers explore the market.
But this is about to change.
Plans have been announced: the Chatuchak market will soon be air-conditioned. How soon we don’t know yet, but it will happen.
Surely a loss for nostalgics, but ultimately it’s a good thing I’d say. It’s just a much more pleasant shopping experience. If you’re in Bangkok now and have time on Saturday or Sunday, then by all means visit the Chatuchak market to be able to experience it once the way it “originally” was. And then come back one day in the future when it’s all air-conditioned, and you’ll be able to reminisce about the old days at JJ.
Whether you want to experience the authentic, traditional Bangkok life or the beat of a vibrant modern metropolis, our Bangkok sightseeing tours can be custom-tailored to your wants and wishes. Simply pick one that you like, or get an exclusive consultation with out travel experience designers.
Currently Thailand is experiencing some of the worst flooding in decades. More than 280 people have already died, and many more lost their homes and posessions. About 3.4 million acres of farming areas have been affected, around 50,000 acres of fish ponds, factories have been shut down, hundreds of thousands of workers are without a job now, train tracks have been destroyed and highways have become impassable.
There are many people who now rely on flood relief for meals and shelter.
If you want to lend a helping hand, there are several opportunities in Bangkok. The main place is the government flood relief action center at Don Mueang airport (this is the old airport of Bangkok, not the new one!). Once you are there, head to the domestic terminal.
Another place is the Thai red cross in Bangkok, located nearly the MRT station Sam Yan next to Chulalongkorn University.
Maybe we’ll meet you there, we’ve been busy helping too 🙂
Here is a Bangkok sightseeing feature video by LonelyPlanet TV that is interesting for people who never have been to this great city and want to get a quick overview about the most popular things to do in Bangkok for backpacking tourists.