”Welcome to Thailand” I heard a local say as we waited in line for our ‘official government taxi’ to take us to our hotel. We had arranged a two night Bangkok stopover with The Ultimate Travel Company a week before departing the UK and thank goodness we did!
I’ve found that travelling with small children people smile more but in Thailand, you don’t need children to see smiles everywhere as they are, by nature, one of the friendliest nations in the world. It’s always so good to be back here, that wonderful smell of Asia, the noise and hustle of the streets…. after having survived an 11 hour Qantas flight from Sydney, it was great to be heading for the recommended Marriott Hotel. A two night cultural break before heading down to Ko Phangan, one of Thailand’s least developed islands, was essential to help acclimatise properly before relaxing on those wonderful beaches… and who can refuse the undeniable, if somewhat brief allure of the bustle of Bangkok!?
As much you will want to keep your Bangkok stopover brief, you will also want to pack it in as there are many fantastic things to see and do. World Travel with Bridge recommend pre-booking certain tours or at least having a good idea as to what you’re going to do. Day trip considerations should also include what to wear, when to eat and the weather. It should be noted that Bangkok has a tropical monsoon climate and holds claim to being the hottest city in the world. Sitting at the same latitude as Khartoum and Guatemala City, it is both hot and humid in equal measure. The two periods of April-May and September-October are the steamiest. The Southwest monsoons arrive between May and October and for many, this is a welcome respite.
There are plenty of easy day trips from Bangkok but some tours are jam-packed full of facts, sights and history – so much, in fact, you barely have a moment to yourself. When it comes to the crunch we believe that the best ones not only offer insight into what makes Bangkok one of the most exciting Asian cities – be it culture, history or back-to-nature – but are also a great day out for all the family.
Bangkok City, Temples & Grand Palace Old City – Duration: 3.30 hours
Ayutthaya Tour by River Sun Cruise Bang Pa-In, Ayutthaya – Duration: 8 hours
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (Half Day) Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi – Duration: 5 hours
River Kwai Tour incl. Long-tail Boat Kanchanaburi – Duration: 10 hours
Candle light Dinner by Grand Pearl Cruise Riverside – Duration: 2.30 hours
Dream World Amusement park Rangsit – Duration: all day
Of course there are other activities we would recommend if time allowed. Similar to London’s famous Camden Market You will not be disappointed at the weekend market out at the 35-acre area of Chatuchak which is home to more than 8,000 market stalls. Similar to London’s famous Camden Market, on a typical weekend more than 200,000 visitors come here to sift through the goods on offer.
We always try and take a trip down memory lane and have lunch, dinner or a beer at least in Bangkok’s Khao San Road, a thriving community that caters to the every need of the budget traveller, from cut-priced airfares and accommodation, to shopping, restaurants and night markets. But back in 1982 when I first visited this small street there were just a handful of cheap backpacker hostels and guest houses…oh, how times have changed!