Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Bangkok Travel Review: Weekend Escapade Tips

By Saturday, May 26, 2012 , , ,

Bangkok, the enigmatic gem in the Land of Smiles, the budget shopper's paradise and a non spicy eater's nightmare. From the indie to plebeian, high class luxury to ghetto queer, there's everything and anything for anyone. Following my post on A different kind of traveling, this post will provide some specific tips and things to do in Bangkok in a weekend. I will follow up with other posts on my eats soon!
It's been a while since the boy and i headed back to the start of our travel adventures. Bangkok was our first travel destination as a couple. Back then I don't suppose we thought it would have been this long. Haha. Even as poor undergraduates, our spending power was multiplied (thanks to our strong currency) and we lived like kings and queens. Every long holiday or during breaks, this would be our home. That was before we started exploring the other continents. It's been what.. more than 5 years since we last had our awesome bowl of tom yum gung? So anyway S & i decided it was time to drop by for a visit and so we did, over a weekend in March! Gotta love weekend escapades. 
Tip 1: Location Location Location
One thing that we remembered about BKK was the horrendous traffic jams. We had to factor at least 1.5h to get to the airport by cab previously. Now say hello to an efficient airport train that brings you right into the heart of the city (it connects with the Subway as well as the BTS sky train). It took us about 30mins to get to the Siam area. 

If you only have a weekend to explore Bangkok, Siam is the best place to base yourself. We stayed at Holiday Inn Bangkok which was just in front of the Chit Lom BTS. It is a station away from Siam Square and Siam Paragon shopping area and shopping starts right outside your door stop. The other plus point is that you can walk anywhere from here and it's all sheltered. 
No time for sightseeing? It's alright. The Thao Maha Brahma, a famous 4 face Buddha temple is right across the hotel. That is usually my dose of sightseeing in Bangkok. We tried to visit a temple this time round but we didn't have the luxury of time considering how we wanna just enjoy and soak up the Bangkok atmosphere. :P 

Tip 2: Plan for a mid day break
The dust and grim, soot and dirt could be quite annoying and uncomfortable after a day of shopping. So why not take a break and head back for a mid day break? Taxis are readily available and even with the crazy traffic at times, it doesn't cost much to cab from anywhere in the city. (Make sure the meter is set to run when you board the cab). We used to head back to the hotel mid day to wash the dirt off ourselves and reward the aching feet with a soak in the jacuzzi. Trust me, it's the best break you can get. Make sure you factor in the mid day hot tub relaxation time. Can't go wrong with that. 

Tip 3: Street Food FTW, Tom Yum Gung ALL THE WAY!
The best food are eaten off the streets (Not literally off the pavements! The 5 second rule does not work ANYWHERE my friends). We used to head to the Suan Lum Night Market at Lumphini for local designer shopping in much cooler weather and also to enjoy the street dishes at the alfresco food court with live entertainment. Damn the closure! :( Anyway, i have yet to taste any bad tom yum gung in Bangkok, so this dish is safe to eat anywhere. Some good options are those little eateries hidden in the alleys in Siam Square. We saw long queues and the food smelled awesome. This particular tom yum soup is from a seafood restaurant at Siam Paragon and it was pretty good too (we were really too tired to walk and hence it was a convenient option).
Yummy huge ass juice crunchy prawns! Love love tom yum gong. You simply gotta have this at every meal. Really. If you don't, i guarantee you immediate regret the moment you plonk your behind on the plane seat back home. There is never too much tom yum. Period. 

Tip 4: MacDonald's Pork Burger

A must eat for you phatty Chinese girls and boys out there because this will never appear on the shores of our sunny island. The MacDonald Samurai Pork Burger is a simple snack in between meals or as a late night snack. The Thais aren't that big on supper i feel. Perhaps we just didn't explore the supper spots. Do tell me if you know any! Holidays are meant for overeating. It's our prerogative.

The pork patty is very tender, even more so than our grilled chicken burgers. Glazed with a light teriyaki sauce and simply served with lettuce, a dollop of mayonnaise and sandwiched between 2 soft sesame buns. Somehow the bun is more fluffy than those we have in Sg. Boo.   

Tip 5: Forgo the touristy Chao Phraya Boat Tour
Maybe it's just our bad bad luck but this is the 2nd time we tried to take the boat down the Chao Phraya River and we still failed! The first time round we decided to explore the Khao San area and then find our way back to Chinatown by the ferry. We walked through workshops and deserted alleys and had to ask for directions a million times. Not sure if they understood us in the first place. When we finally got to the dock, they told us that the river was closed for the rehearsal of the King's birthday. Bad luck. 

So what happened this time? We decided to play smart by cabbing to the Sathorn-Thaksin pier. Can't possibly get lost right? Wrong again. Cabby dropped us at the private tourist boat area but we wanted the authentic local experience! After figuring how to walk to the right pier, we boarded the wrong ferry which took us across the river. Ferry trip FAIL. Never again will i do this. Anyway we checked out the right queue and it's crazy. Moral of the story? Don't waste your time taking the ferry. Take the BTS. Take a cab. Or walk. Better still, take a pink Tuk Tuk. 
Tip 6: Cafe hopping at Thong Lor
Sick of all the shopping and squeezing with the impossible crowd at the Chatuchak weekend market or the air conditioned Platinum Mall? Need some indie chill out place to soothe the raw nerves? Head to Thong Lor then (be prepared to walk though). There are some really really cool cafes and shops and a very strong Japanese culture brewing here. 
Some high end boutiques and stores selling branded second hand goods. I was lusting after a particular brand new Hermes Cuff and AMQ clutch and Chanel ear rings. It was quite funny because S and i were wearing matching singlets that I bought from Vietnam and that didn't go very well with high fashion. 

Another cool restaurant that we chanced upon while walking to our cafe destination. Reminded me of the cool boutiques opposite Harajuku shopping street. Will be back to explore this area more thoroughly soon. Indie and luxury is more up my alley and i'll be posting my indulgent eats in Bangkok soon. Watch this space!

Tip 7: Check out the full service flights
For weekend trips, you obviously wouldn't want to be spending too much on the flights. BUT, do not immediately book yourself on a flight on Jetstar (that's the bare minimum i can accept and only for short flights). Do check our the full service flights because for a little more ka-ching, you will enjoy better service, better food and better entertainment. I think it's very reasonable to pay about $50 extra for full service. Sometimes, budget airlines end up charging close to or more than full flights. For this particular trip, we went with Thai Airways which is comfortable enough. Nice food. Friendly service. Not too bad entertainment system (acceptable for short trips). I've taken Cathay to BKK before (it's really great of course) and TA comes close. :))

My 7 cents worth of tips for a faboosh BKK weekend. Do check back on my indulgent eats soon! Till then, BKK my love.

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  1. Yes! Thailand is still one of the cheapest countries in the world to visit, meaning you can go out there with relatively little cash and still live like a king or queen. And Bangkok is the city that you need to check out if you want to have an enjoyable Thai travel!:)

  2. Hi. I would like to check for the Holiday Inn Express hotel, is 3 people allowed to share a room? Cos we have 3 people and we do not want to split rooms. I will still click 1 room, 2 adults.

    Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

    1. Hi Camellia, they could add an additional bed to your room at a charge. Best to email the hotel for a reservation for 3.