The sin cities of Asia, Bangkok and Pattaya are famous for its notorious night-life and parties rambling through colourful neon street markets. But there is a different facet to these cities introducing you with Culture of Thailand and its rich heritage. This Trail will help you explore such destinations in Bangkok and Pattaya to have a different experience during your trip to Thailand.
How much time you require to Explore?
Majority of the places of interest in Bangkok and Pattaya can be easily visited with two days in hand for each city. We were there for 4 days and comfortably covered most of the places listed on our itinerary. But if you’ve got more days for leisure, then there are umpteen activities to do, some of those we’ve intermittently suggested in this article.
How to commute?
Commuting within city boundaries of Bangkok should not be a hassle as you’ve got multiple modes of transportation including even ferries! We tried all these modes and you can read about these in detail in our ultimate itinerary to Bangkok and Pattaya. We extensively used App-based Grab Taxi which is easily available anywhere and anytime in Bangkok and Pattaya.
Ready to Begin the Trail!
As we were staying near Backpackers’ hub in Bangkok, Khao San Road, we allocated Day 1 to explore Central and West of Bangkok, whilst Eastern Bangkok on other day.
We started our trail in Bangkok with The Grand Palace which opens at 08:30 in morning. This huge Palace was built 200+ years ago and require at least 2-3 hours to explore entirely. Once a home to Thai King, this dazzling Grand Palace is most popular tourist destination in Bangkok and has an entry fee of 500 THB. Note that you must be dressed modestly (full sleeves, long pants, no bare shoulders/knees/feets) unless you’re a local or Chinese citizen (seems like security persons have soft corner for them), otherwise you’ll be denied entry to majority of temples in Bangkok including The Grand Palace.
Within premises of the Grand Palace is located Wat Phra Kaew, commonly known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This temple is palladium of Thailand and is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. Upon taking a short walk from the Grand Palace, we reached Wat Pho temple. It is home to world’s largest Reclining Buddha and admits you with a fee of 200 THB. We had plan to get massage from the School of Traditional Thai Massage located within temple arena. Here you can get authentic massage from massage practitioners in a communal open-pavilion at competitive prices. Wat Pho is quite huge and will take 1-2 hours to roam around all sections.
Due to time shortage, we had to ditch our massage plan at Wat Pho and directly walked for Wat Arun. This legendary temple of dawn is located straight at mirror position to Wat Pho on other side of Chao Phraya river. It’s hardly a 5-minute boat ride costing merely 3 THB from Tha Tien ferry terminal. While waiting for our ferry to arrive, we relished the popular Thai Banana Roti in neighbouring market selling street food and local stuff. Wat Arun is relatively small and charges an entry fee of 100 THB to view main sections of temple. We pretty much found its architecture similar to Wat Pho and didn’t spent much time here. It is said that Wat Arun appears majestically beautiful during sunset.
Now it was time to explore the famous floating markets of Thailand and we shortlisted to visit Khlong Lad Mayom Floating Market which was nearby to Wat Arun. But we were informed that it was closed and hence we switched to Plan B to visit Taling Chan Floating Market, a little away.
Note that the most popular floating market of Bangkok are Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Amphawa Floating Market, but both are bit far. Hence, we pinned the next two best from the list. Also, you might also encounter various boat tours sailing you to these markets. But, you would need to shell out huge Bahts from your pocket for that.
We chose the economical way to reach Taling Chan Floating Market, a GRAB taxi! It was a vibrant place with myriad of local stuff being sold such as fruits, snacks, craft and spa items etc. Almost every floating boat was selling variety of fresh sea food. We revived ourselves by riverside, with views of long-tail boats, sipping chilled Beer and relishing delicious Mangosteen fruit.
Next few pit-stops on our itinerary were Chao Mae Tuptim (The Temple of Goddess of Fertility), Wat Traimitr (The Temple of Golden Buddha), Wat Saket (The Golden Mount) and Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple). But we decided to skip those and headed directly to our hostel to get over fatigue and prepare for night stroll exploring the party streets of Bangkok. All these temples are unique and popular in their own way with wonderful architecture, but we’d recommend visiting those only if you’ve sufficient time.
We reserved the second day at Bangkok for Exploring its Ocean World, weekend Markets and Malls. Bangkok too have a Safari World which includes Marine Park and Safari Park organizing dolphin shows, orangutan boxing shows etc. We gave it a leap as it is on other end of the city taking a complete full day to explore it.
To start our day, we reached Sea Life Ocean World, which is inside Siam Paragon Mall situated close to BTS Siam Station. We had already booked tickets for this aquarium from Klook, a day prior on a great discount. This place is huge and no doubt why largest in south-east Asia exhibiting hundreds of different species even including Sharks, Stingrays and Penguins etc. We comfortably spent more than 3 hours inside indulging in various games, shows and activities
Now we headed to the most popular Chatuchak Weekend Market. It was just a BTS ride away from Siam to Mo Chit. From there you can follow the crowd to reach the largest market of Thailand spanned into 27 sections with more than 15,000 stalls and vendors. No wonder if you’re puzzled by it’s narrow streets selling wide variety of items. You need to plan your visit carefully as entire sections of market are open only on weekends (Sat-Sun), from 9AM to 6PM. We spent nearly 4 hours exploring the diversity of market, buying some interesting items at reasonable costs and enjoying lip-smacking snacks and fresh coconut ice-cream! We can surely say that Chatuchak is probably the best place to purchase diverse stuff at great prices in entire Bangkok and Pattaya.
After exploring the traditional Thai markets at Chatuchak, we thought of visiting a Mall. There are numerous malls in Bangkok with giant structures and global brand outlets. We shortlisted MBK Center Mall and Central World Mall due to its proximity with BTS Stations. We had read a lot about the amazing Food Court at MBK Center Mall, hence decided to go there. Food Court at MBK is huge and you can find cuisines of worldwide origins at very reasonable prices. Later we went for a stroll on few notorious streets to witness Bangkok’s nightlife and a sneak peak to same is furnished in this trail.
Next day we embarked on our trail in Pattaya with Sanctuary of Truth which is an astonishing wooden structure filled with traditional Buddhist and Hindu motifs and sculptures. Situated a little away from Pattaya town, Sanctuary of Truth place also provides great views of coastline costing an entrance fee of 500 THB. Nearby is a place with miniature of famous world monuments, called as Mini Siam Miniature Park. But we have already seen few such places earlier so didn’t bother to pay 300 THB for this.
Next in our itinerary was mind-blowing museum of Ripley’s Believe it or Not and 3D gallery at Art in Paradise but ditched it for a mighty splash at our Hotel’s swimming pool in Central Pattaya. Both these places combined would cost anywhere around 800 THB and are fun place for your inner child!
Later for an evening walk we headed to hilltop Wat Phra Yai Temple, also called as Big Buddha Hill. A free entry through staircase flanked by huge dragons leads to a colossal Buddha statue. Adjacent to Big Buddha hill is Pattaya View Point on Pratumanak Hill which is best place for panoramic views of Pattaya City & its crescent-shaped coastline.
We earlier had plans to visit Four Regions Floating Market but skipped this as we had already visited Taling Chan floating market in Bangkok. In contrast to those in Bangkok, Pattaya floating market is constructed by Thai government specifically for tourism purpose and hence also charges an entry fee of 200 THB. Close by to Pattaya floating market is situated Under Water World but we didn’t visit it as well, because Sea Life Ocean World in Bangkok is supposedly believed to be much better than this.
With dusk falling rapidly in colourful sky of Pattaya, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset wandering on Pattaya Beach Road. It’s a long promenade stretched along Pattaya Beach seafront surrounded by numerous hotels, shopping malls, food-joints and bars & restaurants. However, Pattaya beach is not much clean and have mucky water, but nevertheless a nice place to relax in the shacks under trees.
We reserved our second day in Pattaya to overcome our deficiency of vitamin sea. And for that we decided to sail to Koh Larn, commonly called as coral island. Situated just a 30 mins scenic ferry ride off-coast Pattaya, Koh Larn is particularly famous for it’s white-sand, clear-water beaches. We spent our whole day amid corals and diverse sea life of this Coral Island enjoying its beaches and under-sea activities like sea walk. You can read our detailed experience to Koh Larn in this trail.
You can skip Koh Larn and explore few other prominent places of interest in Pattaya if you’re visiting exotic islands of Southern Thailand later during your travel. One such destination is Sri Racha Tiger Zoo on outskirts of Pattaya city. It hosts shows of tigers, elephants and crocodiles, where you can personally click pictures with them. But you’d need to not only dedicate almost entire day but also shell-out good amount of Bahts to visit.
Another getaway can be stunning Nong Nooch Tropical Garden. You can explore this 500-acre botanical garden by renting a bicycle and enjoy elephant shows and other activities. With an entry ticket of 500 THB you should be able to spend nearly 5-6 hours gazing its beauty. Then you can visit Khao Chi Chan Buddha to witness a huge Buddha image carved into wall of mountain. If museums enthrall you then take a short drive to Anek Kuson Sala. This Viharnra Sien is a beautiful Chinese temple as well as museum sitting next to a quaint lake. Both these places provide an entry free of cost.
For a vinous experience you can opt for a tour of Silverlake Vineyard. Here you can drift off in winery, tasting wines and enjoying lavish food at its restaurant and bar. Take a break at Jomtien Beach while returning to Pattaya. Apparently, Jomtien Beach is cleaner and less crowded than Pattaya beach, making it a great choice to relax by the Sea!
This brings an end to this trail to cultural side of Bangkok and Pattaya capturing everlasting memories and experiences. Tell us your experience from Bangkok and Pattaya in comments below or if you have any questions and we’ll be happy to help you out!
In case you’re planning a trip to Thailand, then check our Itinerary for Bangkok and Pattaya. Read another trail of us to get a Sneak Peek into Vibrant Nightlife of Bangkok and Pattaya. Also, do check out our trail to Koh Larn – A Trail under sea of Pattaya’s coral island.