If you follow me on Instagram then you probably saw that this summer I took a two week vacation to South East Asia which included stops in Bangkok, Bali, Singapore and Phuket. Our 15-hour flight left from London via Muscat to Bangkok on a Saturday morning and landed on early on Sunday morning local time. After passing through customs, purchasing local SIM cards and withdrawing Thai Bahts from the ATM, we went directly to the Pullman hotel where we were offered an upgrade to the Executive Suite which was available immediately instead of waiting 6 hours until regular check in time for our room. In addition to a larger suite, the upgrade included gourmet breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails in the executive lounge as well a massage at the spa. I happily forked over the upgrade cost for the convenience of having a bed immediately after 15 hours of flying and a plusher 3 day stay in Bangkok.
After breakfast, a shower and a power nap we hit the streets of Bangkok by train and ferried over to the Asiatique market for the highly recommended Thai food at Baan Khanitha restaurant. On our way to the market my kids discovered Thai bubble tea which became a constant craving throughout our stay in Bangkok. Once we arrived at the market we discovered also that it also had a small amusement park where the kids rode quad bikes. Of course I did a bit of shopping and finally we all enjoyed the authentic Thai dinner before heading back to the hotel for an early start the next day.
We were out early the next morning on a mission to see as many temples and palaces as possible. Traveling by tuk tuk was a convenient and efficient way to navigate the streets as our driver took us from temple to temple to Palace which included a stop at jewelry store and a scam tailor shop. We saved the Grand Palace for last, cutting it close to closing time having spent too much time at the tailor shop, but we managed to see most of it in an hour. Considering the fact that I was “covered” according to the dress code in such oppressive heat and humidity, an hour was about all that I could tolerate without passing out.
The temples were absolutely breathtaking, especially the ones inside the Grand Palace. I have been to palaces and castles all over Europe but I have never seen so much gold and opulence as displayed in the temples of Bangkok. At the end of a full day of sightseeing we made our way back by ferry and train to the hotel for dinner and much needed massages .
On our third and final day in Bangkok we decided to it easy and take in the city by boat. We traveled up and down the river and ended up back at Asiatique market to pick up some last minute gifts and enjoy another great Thai dinner at Baan Khanitha before heading off to Bali early the following morning.
Tis’ Travel Tips:
· Purchase a temporary SIM card at the airport to avoid international roaming charges. Opt for unlimited data where offered to ensure that you can access data for apps such as Google Maps, Uber and even make calls via What’s App or Facebook.
· Avoid exchange rate commissions at currency exchange sites by withdrawing cash from an ATM. This goes without saying but avoid dodgy ATMs and only use those operated by reputable local banks.
· Be leery of tourist traps that are promoted by taxi drivers working off of commission for bringing customers to their establishment. Most reputable merchants don’t employ such tactics, be warned that it may be a scam.
· Last but not least for shoppers like me, don’t take a full suitcase. Leave room for items that you may purchase during your travels to avoid purchasing extra luggage at your destination.
These travel tips can be applied when traveling to any country and are not specific to Bangkok or South East Asia. Should I start sharing more of my travel tips? Let me know what you think in the comments.