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One of the reasons why I love Thailand for holidays is the endless activities and nightlife. It’s a true gem in this regard; there’s literally no limit to what you can do here. Whether that be the night markets, food courts, safari adventures, waterparks, temples, beauty spots or beaches there is so much to do here (and all for a reasonable price!). The climate is also fantastic and consistently hot (especially between December to May where it’s drier and glorious).
Although I now live permanently in the UK, I frequently return to my home country to relax and get away from the busy UK lifestyle. We go probably two times a year to Thailand and hope to go even more frequently in the future.
On my last few trips (2017/18/19), these are some of the activities we did and places we stayed…
Activities in Bangkok:
- Yaowarat (Chinatown) – The Chinatown of Thailand. Incredible, bustling place with wonderful cheap food, in particular the dim sum, seafood and Chinese deserts. It is unique to other Chinatowns, and certainly one of the busiest in the world (too busy at times). Definitely worth a visit or two at night, but expect people, and lots of people.
- Temple of the Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit) – You want to see what a quarter billion dollars of gold looks like? An iconic Buddha statue made in gold and housed in a historic Thai temple (from around 13th century). Not expensive to enter (around 50 baht per person).
- Grand Palace – The ceremonial residence of of the Royal Thai family. Not cheap to enter though and can get crowded quickly, but still worth it on your first visit to Bangklok. Contains the Emerald Buddha from the 15th century.
- MBK market – A huge shopping mall, bargains can be had here (be warned though, there are a lot of counterfeit goods too). Think watches, jewellery, electronics and some clothing. Large food court on the top floor which is very cheap.
- Platinum market – Probably the biggest clothes malls in Thailand if not the world. An ENDLESS number of stalls staggered over various floors, a truly breathtaking number if you haven’t seen it before. You can easily get lost here, but there are plenty of bargains!
- Ratchada night market – A nice, outdoor food place with lots of little stalls to mooch around. Also has a drinking area where lots of young Thais frequent, and a clothes/souvenirs/jewellery stall area.
- JJ Market (Chatuchak Weekend Market) – One of my favourite markets for clothes in the whole of Thailand, also happens to be the largest market in Thailand. This is a weekend market next to the JJ Mall.
- Asiatique – Very Westernised, but a nice boat ride to it nonetheless. We rode the Ferris Wheel Aloha restaurant is my favourite here.
- Siam Center – Upmarket shopping mall. A lot of the main brands are here (less chance of a bargain). Siam BTS Station connects here.
Hotels we stayed in:
- Grand Eastin Sathorn – Not cheap, but worth the luxury if you can afford it. Beautiful views, polite and efficient service, excellent food and a large infinity pool. One of my boyfriend’s favourite hotels in Bangkok. The BTS skyrain connects directly to this hotel, making it easy for travel, but it is not located near the main bar areas.
- Grand President Sukhumvit – Less luxurious than Grand Eastin, but a very good one nonetheless, and situated right in the Sukhumvit nightlife area. Lots of Indians stay here, so the breakfasts have a good selection of vegetarian, hearty food. The pool is also very good and not regularly busy, so the is usually a sun lounger free to catch the rays.
- Hotel Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit: A swanky hotel right near
Restaurants we ate at:
- Terminal 21 Asok food court – A large food court on the top floor of Terminal 21 Asok. Has food for everyone and operates a card system. It’s cheap and easy to get to from Sukhmvit.
- Dubai – My boyfriend is a plant-based vegan and tries to avoid animal foods where he can. He often eats hummus pitta wraps where he can do as there are many Lebanese/Dubai/Turkey restaurants around Bangkok and Thailand generally. He gets a hummus and salad pitta for 60 baht
If you’ve never been to Thailand before, you’ll discover that Bangkok is a completely different experience to the rest of Thailand. It’s a truly unique metropolis, unlike anywhere else on the planet. The heat can be suffocating at times though, because it rarely gets windy here and so the humidity can really set in.
When you get to Bangkok you will likely be overwhelmed with the opportunities in front of you. Where do you go, what do you eat, where do you drink etc? Some of the above places are a good start.
Places like Soi Nana and Cowboy are the red light districts and I would not recommend here if you are a family. However, there are massage parlours across Bangkok if you want to relax for a few hundred baht (a few quid).
Another good alternative is to take a tour guide. I would recommend this if you like the
Activities we did in Pattaya:
- Cartoon Network Waterpark Chon Buri – A large waterpark, probably the superior of the two in terms of slides (but gets a lot busier in my opinion).
- Ramanaya Waterpark Pattaya – Quieter than Cartoon Network, but still a really good variety of slides and activities.
- Pratumnak Hill (Khao Pattaya Viewpoint) – We walk it here every time we go to Pattaya. You can see the amazing panorama of Pattaya’s coastline.
- EasyKart Pattaya – Enjoyable cheap fun, but If you’re a big guy, your bum will struggle to fit in the kart seats! My boyfriend can barely fit unfortunately!
- Walking Street – One of the quirkiest, busiest, craziest, and downright outrageous streets possibly in the known universe. Not for everyone, and definitely not for the faint-hearted, but there’s many bars and clubs to sink down a few gin and tonics! Particularly like Candy Shop for live music and 808 club. This is the main nightclub and entertainment street, but you will see sights you’ve never seen before here (so be warned!)
- TigerPark Pattaya – We had an incredible experience seeing the tigers here. They claim they aren’t drugged (I can’t verify this of course), and
- Jomtien beach – Situated around 15-20 minutes away from the main Pattaya beach. We prefer this beach for various reasons. It’s not as busy, it’s not got as many touts, and it’s still a glorious beach with golden sands. Jomtien has many Russian and European tourists and so there are many restaurants that cater to this clientele.
- Pattaya Floating Market – A little bit too touristy and unauthentic, I would say the Bangkok floating markets are more natural and better. Extreme mosquito alert!
Hotels we stayed in:
- Loma Resort and Spa (Pattaya North) – Very nice pool, but rooms were somewhat dated. Near to the new Terminal 21 Pattaya.
- LK Mantra Pura (Pattaya North) – Modern room, decent swimming pool and also a gym. Only issue is the location which we found a touch far from the beach area.
- Charming Inn (Pattaya North) – A cheap, no frills hotel set right near the main beach, on the long
- The Venetian Condo Resort (Pattaya South)- One of our friends let us stay for cheap in a condo they own. This is a stunning new block set a few streets behind Jomtien beach. Gorgeous Venice-style theme to the complex with a large pool and island feature.
Restaurants we ate at:
- Hops Brew House Pattaya – One of the best pizza joints in Pattaya. A favourite of ours. These are authentic style Italian pizza’s, not the American type, so the dough is thin and soft (not to everyones liking though). It also sells German wheat beer.
Essential travel products we take:
- Mosquito repellent – You want one that is deet-free ideally. You can buy them in the 7/11’s and Family Marts in Thailand, but they’re not that effective (but necessary if you have nothing else!). We generally bring a strong version across. Mosquitoes can ruin a holiday if you’re not careful (my boyfriend regularly gets eaten by them).
- Reimman P20 Suncream – I find this to be the best all-rounder. My skin is fairly dark being a native Thai, but my boyfriend does frequently use it and the fact you can swi in it is a bonus (who wants to keep applying suncream?).
- Aerolite Large ABS Hard Shell Suitcase – I’ve bought expensive suitcases that broke and cheap suitcases that broke. This is a decent affordable suitcase that does the job (there is no such thing as an indestructible suitcase and expect a wheel to come off eventually!). Large 127L capacity is a must for me.
- Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel & Trekking Rucksack – Useful if you’re going on lots of walks. This model is super comfy and not to big with the 38L capacity. Been using it for a few years now and very good.
- StyleBreaker Ladies Pilots Sunglasses – I love the aviator style, and these are Cat 3 rated to protect against the UV rays. Won’t break the bank and have lasted multiple trips.
- Seasickness tablets – You can pick up cheap generic tablets from your local pharmacy (no need to buy expensive ones). These are a must if you suffer motion sickness as we do. Many boat trips are available in Thailand, such as the ferry to travel from Pattaya to Hua Hin.
- MyTravelPal Worldwide Universal 10A Travel Adapter – You can’t use UK plugs in Thailand unless you use an adapter. I like the 4 x USB ports so multiple phones can charge off one plug. Some of the adapters bought in Thailand are crappy and possibly dangerous due to bad quality control.
- Luxuvee Travel Pillow – If you fly economy as we do, you want a good neck pillow to get some sleep in. We all know plane seats are uncomfortable unless you can afford business or first class. We use them because it allows us to sleep. This model has memory foam and is very comfy.
- Eye sleeping mask – Trying to sleep on a highly lit plane is difficult unless you black out your eyes. These sleeping masks are 100% block out, so will help you nod off.