Bangkok is a melting pot of the best of different worlds. Its history transcends modernity, as it is integrated into its culture, food, architecture, and way of life. Thailand’s capital is also a land of contrasts as ancient ruins endure while a vibrant social scene thrives.
Bangkok attracts travelers of all kinds because of its many faces and offerings. For groups with different interests, there are many things that fit the palate. Yet one thing remains true: it’s a place of discovery where the best charms are hidden in plain sight.
Here’s a 5-day daily guide for an epic Bangkok excursion with your friends:
Tick-off the mandatory heritage experience early in the trip. As most of Bangkok’s historical landmarks are open during the day, it’s best to come early to explore comfortably and avoid crowds.
There are a handful of shrines in the capital that’s worth the visit—and the ‘gram—but the gang should first drop by the city’s most visited hotspot, The Grand Palace. For about 150 years, it has been home to kings of old and former branches of government.
It’s also an architectural wonder, so marveling at its regal intricacies is going to be a ride. Enjoy every design detail and the stories that come with them, and let the barkada learn interesting history lessons along the way.
Tip: There are tons of other buildings in the area but make sure to pass by Wat Phra Kaew. It’s where the emerald Buddha is located. Also, wear clothes that cover your legs and arms as revealing outfits can be considered disrespectful.
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Bangkok has affordable bargain finds available everywhere, while its renowned Thai massage is a trip in itself. Make sure to get some time to relax and collect some interesting clothing or souvenir pieces before moving on to your next activity!
Siam Center is one of Bangkok’s go-to malls. It contains a perfect mix of retail items and delicious food finds. It’s been around for about 40 years but a recent relaunch gave it an even better modern interior.
It has over 200 brands from both international and local purveyors, providing that edgy, quirky look that’s quite popular today. You won’t run out of options for gastronomical stops along the way. Siam Center is open from 10 AM to 10 PM.
When in Thailand, you have to get an authentic Thai massage. The barkada can get it anywhere—from side-street places to upscale hotel spas—but the result is the same: unparalleled rejuvenation. Get it from local massage parlors for a value for money experience.
If you want to indulge, book an appointment at the Asia Herb Association. It’s ideal for foreigners and it costs around THB400 for a one-hour service. They also have private rooms for individuals and couples.
If it’s a traditional Thai massage you want, head to the home of the craft in Wat Pho. There, the art has been perfected, so you’re definitely in good hands.
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A different kind of island life and nightlife experience in a foreign country? Why not?
Bangkok has a well-known beach community close to it: Pattaya. For beach bums who can’t live without a taste of the island vibe, this is perfect for a day trip or an overnight visit.
Aside from chilling by the beach and sipping on your drinks, you can also visit culinary joints and cool attractions. You can also enjoy water activities like jet skiing and parasailing.
Khao San Road is a world-famous backpacker’s district. It’s where people of all walks of life converge. The magic happens during connections made over drinks, food, and the captivating energy of the night.
For a memorable barkada night out, visit the following establishments: The Brick Bar for live bands and dance music; and Molly Bar for a choice of live music or pumped-up DJ sets.
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Thailand, in general, is a culinary Mecca. Its local cuisine has thrived and continues to impress people from all over, while Michelin-starred restaurants have also settled in. After eating, experiencing some of Bangkok’s unique attractions and activities are also worth trying.
For this particular trip, eat your way into Thai culture through the most basic and authentic type of fare—street food. The street food in Old City (or Rattanakosin, as it is also called) is life-changing.
Taste one of the best pad thai in Bangkok at Pad Thai Thip Samai, and afterward weave through the area’s narrow side streets to taste other equally-delicious delights.
The Rajadamnern Stadium in Bangkok is one of the oldest Muay Thai gymnasiums in the country. Today, the tradition lives as the best martial artists battle it out in the ring for a taste of glory.
Catch these warriors live for a few bahts and feel a different kind of atmosphere brought by one of Thailand’s oldest disciplines. Warning: not for the faint of heart.
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Head over to the nearest stores before catching that airport transfer! For some Thai silk, you can visit the Jim Thompson Factory Outlet. It has five floors and the majority of the offerings are cotton and silk fabrics. These are affordable but the quality remains impeccable.
Visit other outlet stores for some great finds for family and friends.
Where you’ll end up staying in Bangkok is also dependent on the group’s interests. There are various neighborhoods that cater to party animals, gourmands, shopaholics, and cultural tourists.
Sukhumvit is an area that has a bustling nightlife, shopping vibe, and plenty of dining options. You can take the Skytrain to the posh establishments and modern restaurants, as well as the popular rooftop bars and clubs.
It’s best for travelers who prefer staying in a nice place but at the same timen love to head out as much as they can. Trend-setters, party-goers, and fancy diners will like this neighborhood.
It’s the central retail district in Bangkok, offering both luxury and cheap finds. Visitors can shop at Siam Center and Siam Paragon. Siam is also a good jumpoff point to the other spots in Bangkok.
When night hits Silom, the social and food scenes come to life. The infamous Patpong is here too. The restaurant and nightlife establishments alone make it worth a visit. The atmosphere is that of a CBD-turned-party place with a wide array of luxury and budget hotels.
Temples glow up at night, luxury hotels are everywhere, and historical landmarks remain significant. It’s a place where the old meets the new. In short, it’s a prime location reserved for the ones who can pay for unforgettable experiences.
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