Dalia Ceja

Dalia Ceja is a Latina in love with sharing lifestyle tips and trends focused on fashion, travel, food, drinks and fiestas.

Thailand Guide Part One - Bangkok

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   Beautiful Buddha images in the Wat Pho

Beautiful Buddha images in the Wat Pho

My trip to Thailand was simply, incredible. I instantaneously fell in love with this vibrant and exotic country steeped in history, rich culture and delicious cuisine! For years, I’ve been itching to explore this beautiful nook of Southeast Asia, which inspired me to get a tattoo in Thai script – Live Your Passions – a few years ago. My excitement grows as I write this, making me nostalgic that I’m not there now but ecstatically happy and fortunate that I went on an extraordinary adventure that will never be forgotten.                                                                                                                              

Since returning home I've had many inquiries about my travel itinerary and daily highlights so I decided to share my two-week itinerary and tips focusing on Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi Island and Railay Beach in three installments! My partner-n-crime on this trip was my bf Chase and with much anticipation we dove right into this exotic place. Let's begin in Bangkok, where we hit the ground running doing what we do best: eating, drinking, exploring and documenting beautiful moments and places in every neighborhood.

Bangkok, Day 1 Itinerary:
Agenda: Visit The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, 24-hour flower market and Moon Bar for sunset.                                                                                                                                              

7:00am – Rise and shine - the adventure begins!
Hotel: We stayed at the cozy and lovely Sala Arun Boutique Hotel located in the heart of The Old City situated along the Chao Phraya River overlooking the Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn). Bonus: it’s in walking distance to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.                                                                       

A note about Thai breakfast: traditional western breakfast doesn’t really exist. You could have fried rice or pad see ew noodles with a fried egg on top (I was perfectly happy with those options accompanied by a side of fresh fruit and coffee!).                                                                    

Weather: April in Thailand is hot. I mean you could probably crack an egg on the streets and make Pad Thai with it (no joke). Sunblock, hats and water are a must for exploring this concrete jungle by day.

  Breakfast balcony overlooking The Temple of The Dawn

Breakfast balcony overlooking The Temple of The Dawn

8:30am – Touring The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)  

Dress code: ladies and gents make sure to dress appropriately and cover your shoulders and knees. If you aren’t dressed suitably they will allow you to borrow some clothes. This applies to the majority of sacred temples you visit throughout Thailand – however, not so fun in 95-degree heat.    

The Grand Palace: majestic and beautiful in every aspect that you can imagine. The architecture, Buddha figures, art and history are astonishing. Every corner you turn is surrounded by history so dated you feel like you are walking back in time. Crowds were intense that day so if you think Disneyland is overwhelming prepare yourself. Take your time and enjoy yourselves, you're walking through some seriously cool history!

   Yaksha g  iants guarding the e ntrance to the Wat Phra Kaew

Yaksha giants guarding the entrance to the Wat Phra Kaew

  Golden guardians protecting The Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Golden guardians protecting The Temple of the Emerald Buddha

  Hindu figures at The Grand Palace

Hindu figures at The Grand Palace

11:00am - Walk to the Wat Pho from the Grand Palace (The Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
This temple was my favorite historical landmark that we visited in Bangkok. It’s one of the oldest temples in the city and home to more than one thousand Buddha images as well as the largest gold plated Reclining Buddha measuring 150 feet (46 m) in length. For someone who loves history and beauty, you'll be in complete awe.

  Buddha galleries at the Wat Pho

Buddha galleries at the Wat Pho

  The Chedis at the Wat Pho. Colorful, graceful and embellished in ceramic tile

The Chedis at the Wat Pho. Colorful, graceful and embellished in ceramic tile

  Temple of the Reclining Buddha. An imposing reminder of the Buddha's passing into nirvana (the Buddha's death)

Temple of the Reclining Buddha. An imposing reminder of the Buddha's passing into nirvana (the Buddha's death)

1:30pm - Lunch - Escape the heat and find some killer Thai food!
After thoroughly exploring the surrounding temples we were considerably famished and hot and set out to find our first authentic Thai lunch. We walked across the street from the Wat Pho and nestled ourselves into one of the local restaurants. We shared a Tom Kha soup, green curry and pad thai w/ shrimp and washed it down with some extra cold Chang beer. For someone who doesn't really drink beer, I quickly became a HUGE beer fan in Thailand. Beer was the only refreshing beverage that quenched my thirst. Wine just didn’t do the trick in such blazing temperatures. I happily enjoyed my fair share of local Thai beers which included: Chang, Leo and Singha.

3:00pm - Walk through a 24-hour flower market
After cooling off we went in search of the largest 24-hour flower market in Bangkok. With luck on our side we discovered it was located a few blocks from our hotel. On our walk we encountered and bought our first street food find: mango sticky rice and fresh coconut ice cream. Delicious and so cheap!                                                                                                                                                    

A note about currency: Baht is very cheap. You can live like a king and queen in Thailand for very little money. We spent the most Baht on accommodations, excursions and alcoholic beverages. Upon arrival to the flower market I was immediately blown away by the hundreds of colorful flower stands selling every type of gorgeous flower imaginable! This was my happy place.

  Largest 24-hour flower market in Bangkok

Largest 24-hour flower market in Bangkok

  Hundreds of colorful flower stands. Amazing!

Hundreds of colorful flower stands. Amazing!

  Locals selling flowers 24 hours a day

Locals selling flowers 24 hours a day

4:30pm - Siesta time
Take an air conditioned break at your hotel/hostel or local bar.
 
6:00pm - Head to Moon Bar to watch the sunset (one of the highest rooftop bars in Bangkok)
Take in the cities electric skyline while sipping on a classy and delicious cocktail. Cucumber gimlet was my pick of choice and the views were insane!

  Sunset at Moon Bar. Incredible views + cocktails

Sunset at Moon Bar. Incredible views + cocktails

Bangkok, Day Two Itinerary:
Agenda: Visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Khao San Road, Red Light District               

7:30am - Rise and shine!
Breakfast + Thai coffee (Thailand makes deliciously strong coffee everywhere!)                       

8:00am - Get picked up at your hotel/hostel from a tour company to visit a floating market
We used this company.
                                                                                                                       

9:15am - Arrive at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
It's located in the outskirts of Bangkok but well worth the drive. Bangkok is known, as the "Venice of the East" with its numerous canals and rivers. A beautiful market where locals sell everything from produce, food and clothes all on long tail canoes. Awesome experience! I couldn't resist buying a fresh coconut and mango ice cream and Chang beer. It's also a great spot to buy beautiful Thai clothes, rugs + artisan jewelry. I wanted to take everything home!

  Birds eye view of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Birds eye view of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

  Locals selling fruit on long tail canoes. Best purchase: mango sticky rice + coconut ice cream

Locals selling fruit on long tail canoes. Best purchase: mango sticky rice + coconut ice cream

  Nicknamed "Venice of the East." Beauty + perspective from every direction

Nicknamed "Venice of the East." Beauty + perspective from every direction

1:30pm - Get dropped off at hotel/hostel from touring company
We immediately hailed down a tuk tuk and made our way to Khao San Road in search of some street food and entertainment. Khao San Road has a reputation as the ultimate backpacker party hub and has been known across Southeast Asia for decades. Budget guesthouses, internet cafes, bars, restaurants, massage parlors, travel agents, bookshops, market stalls, tattoo shops and hawkers line the 1km stretch of mayhem. You want to party hard, go here!

  The Pink Pony Tuk Tuk. In route to Khao San Road

The Pink Pony Tuk Tuk. In route to Khao San Road

  Street food in Khao San Road

Street food in Khao San Road

5:00pm - Head back to hotel - recharge the batteries with a siesta and a shower               

8:30pm - Enjoy a beautiful dinner along the Chao Phraya River overlooking the Wat Arun
We found a cozy and highly rated restaurant called The Deck. Gorgeous views! Our feast included Tom kha Soup, Pad see eww and a green curry with shrimp and rice. Yum!

  Dinner on the river overlooking the Wat Arun

Dinner on the river overlooking the Wat Arun

10:00pm - Night owls out in the Red Light district
After dinner we ventured to one of the world's most famous red-light districts, Patpong is where it all started (Thailand's Go-Go culture). It has even been immortalized in a James Bond chase-sequence. Its two parallel side-streets, found between Silom and Surawongse Roads, house around 100 neon-lit strip bars offering naughty shows and the famous pole-dancing entertainment. Be wary of the ping pong show... we kindly declined every offer.     

  Red Light District by night

Red Light District by night

72 hours in Bangkok proved to be exciting, stimulating and magical. Part one of our adventure was almost over. Next up was Chiang Mai, snuggled into the foothills of northern Thailand. Lush in vegetation and colorful neighborhoods, Chiang Mai is a sanctuary of sorts, with a refreshing combination of city accouterments and country sensibilities. Stay tuned for the next installment of my travel adventures in Thailand!