When you hit the bright lights of Bangkok you're bound to have researched the main tourist attractions like the floating market and the amazing temples. However, you may not know all the cool things that Bangkok has to offer off the beaten tourist tracks. After my trip to Thailand recently I did some research of my own with those in the know. Marco Polo Guides are perfect for these cool little tips that personalise your trips and make them amazing. So during my flight out there I looked into their insider tips about Bangkok and did my own research with the tour guides after. These 5 things cover my love of wandering, music, shopping and food and created my individual off the beaten track tour of this great city.
The Secret Pedestrian Highway…
In the middle of the Metropolis is a pathway only a few know about, starting at Benjakiti Park and Lumphini Park, this mile long road without stalls and crazy scooter drivers is actually a highway for pedestrians. In part elevated a few metres above ground level and even above the roofs of some of the traditional wooden houses. This crazy road is very hard to find but when you do you won’t regret or forget it. The first part runs along side a canal lined with banana trees and coconut palms and if you take a look into the water you’ll catch a glimpse of the Monitor Lizards which swim there. There is no signage to get to this calm and beautiful part of Bangkok and so to find it you’ll have to follow these simple steps… Get a Sat Nav… just kidding…
- Turn from Sukhumvit Road at the Skytrain station Asok to the right onto Ratchadapisek road (towards Benjakiti Park).
- After about 100m right after a footbridge a few narrow metal steps take you down to the canal. Don’t be put off by the unkept nature of this part, there is a way through the fence which leads you to a little cul-de-sac with a few small shops and some traditional housing.
- After 300m on the right hand side is a wooden bridge that crosses the canal, controlled by the governments tobacco company, on the left hand side of the bridge is a little concrete path, take the path and follow it until the end.
- The steps on the left will take you down to your next right turning into Witthayu Road to Lumphini Park.
Rock pubs are my thing so when I found out about this little gem I was over the moon. The entrance to this loud and wonderful live music venue looks like the gate to a robber baron’s castle. Open from 7pm - 2am this little find has rocked the lives of many music lovers in the city.
Where? - Phaya Thai Road - (opposite Asia Hotel)
Skytrain - Ratchathewi
If you’re into your fashion or you want to pretend to be on instagram the alleyways of Siam Square are where all the hip kids hang out. Young designers sell their creation at a fraction of the cost of those elsewhere and although not an open market, it’s a pretty cool place to hang out and explore.
Where? - Rama I Road
Skytrain - Siam Central
Phra Athit Road - Party Central…
The Latin quarter of Bangkok is lined with 100 year old buildings, live music, restaurants, cafés and filled to the brim with students from nearby Thammasat Uni. You won’t find many tourists down here so get your phrase book out and practice your Thai because you don’t want to be ordering something you’re not expecting *cough cough*. Whilst you’re there take a look in some of their specialist live music bars they range from country and western to rasta… something for every taste.
Chao Phraya express boat - Phra Athi
If you’re wanting authentic Thai food this place is going to be your best friend… although I would recommend being VERY clear about the heat you want as their hot is like volcano and their mild is like a medium Nandos, so if heat isn’t for you, find somewhere else. What I will say is that there were many locals dining in there, which my Dad always told me was a good sign that they’re a good bet.
Where - Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 11 (the end of the road)
Skytrain - Nana