Bangkok – the infamous capital of Thailand is full of amazing places to visit, some well known, some less so. However from my personal experience, the city is very easy to get caught up in and you can find yourself only visiting the popular tourist places – The Grand Palace, Khaosan road, Chatuchak market the list goes on. But the beauty of this place is when you take a side-step away from the tourist hot spots it’s very easy to go off the beaten track and into the less known areas of Bangkok. In my opinion these areas are the more interesting parts of Bangkok to discover and explore. So, to really get a taste of what this incredible metropolis has to offer make sure you visit these five streets when you explore the city.
Bones and Blood Market Bangkok
Would you ever see anything like this in your supermarket at home?
Central Bangkok’s largest surviving shanty town looks like something out of a film set. It lies alongside the Chao Praya River and is a jumble of huddled together old wooden houses, narrow lanes, busy markets and stalls selling cheap souvenirs. It’s quite a full on place to visit, and not somewhere to go if you sterile and perfect, but this area will show you a real slice of Bangkok life that’s disappearing.
The main thoroughfare of New Road is often listed on the tourist trail because of the atmosphere you’ll find here, but the surrounding warren of alleyways, hidden courtyards and narrow streets that weave across it are not. Step off the main drag, and you will discover enticing foodstalls, shops selling everything from gold to bric-a-brac, and little local bars where you’ll feel wonderfully welcomed.
Tired or just BORED? Hard to say, but this woman didn’t bother trying to talk you into buying her sprouts…
Fronting onto the south side of Skhumvit Road between Sukhumvit Soi 22 and 24, Washington square is rarely on a visitors ‘must visit’ list. Here, you’ll find an easy going laid back atmosphere and a cluster of tourist friendly bars. This is an area that is popular with ex-pats, and is what we imagine Bangkok used to be like before all the tourists came in and it was made all glitzy and well, touristy. This is definitely a place to keep to yourself shhhh…
This is a very common sight that you will see in South East Asia. It may look like a hassle, but it’s actually pretty practical.
Phahon Yothin soi 7
Reached by sky train, Phahon Yothin soi 7 is the perfect spot for a little people watching. This really is authentic Bangkok street life not the sanitised tourist version, but the real thing. Head west along the main soi and you’ll see many tiny shops and small workshops with people going about their everyday business. You can buy authentic food from the many food stalls here, and the sub-sois (side streets) are filled with many apartments as well as small bars that most tourists never find.
A Smorsgasbord of colorful veggies drew my attention so much that I barely noticed the little ladies in the middle of it all!
Outside the main bustle of the city centre, the tourist throng thins out, and in the suburbs you’ll find very few. What you will find here, are seldom visited temples, cheap restaurants selling delicious food in pleasant and relaxed atmospheres, and quiet side streets interlaced amongst the leafy canals. If this has tempted you to visit this amazing city, you can get flights to Bangkok from Netflights.com and accommodation in the city.
Changes In Bangkok
People always talk about how places change so fast, how only ten years ago things were so different. Bangkok in Thailand is no different, only that time there seems to be running on high speed!
During the end of our 10 day stay in Bangkok, we found this really nice street food restaurant on a small side street off Soi Samsen road. The street was quite empty, there were only a few other street food restaurants nearby, although when we went there this was the only one which was open.
7 weeks later we returned to the same street (after having traveled through Laos & Cambodia), but instead of the cute street restaurant we found a huge luxury 5-star hotel – open for business. First we thought we had ended up on the wrong street, since we didn’t recognize any of the restaurants, funky bars and huge 7-eleven shop, and especially not a luxury resort.
Well, after a second look, we found that the little street stall restaurant we used to go to was still there, hidden by all the glamor from its neighbours, although it wasn’t open for business.
The quiet little side street had in about 7 weeks turned into a really cool area with some awesome eateries and a massive 7/11.
This wouldn’t ever have been able to happen in cities like London, but in Bangkok it is more than possible – it’s simply how it is, with everything in Bangkok!
Nothing ever stays the same: Different owners, different shops, new houses, everything is constantly changing.
People say that at some point everyone will eventually find themselves visiting Bangkok, and although I wasn’t too keen on going back there – I must admit that seeing how much had changed in only 7 weeks ago, I’d like to come by every year or so just to see what else has changed.