Bangkok has been called the Venice of the East, the City of Angels and the Eternal Jewel City. Whatever name you use for Bangkok, you’ll be describing an exciting city that magically mixes the ancient and the modern. You’ll find century-old canals next to towering skyscrapers, floating markets near ultra-luxury shopping plazas and performances of traditional dance steps away from chic dance clubs. Helping to drive this economic and cultural powerhouse is the gem and jewellery industry.
Places to Eat (6)
Ramen soup is a beloved dish in Japan, and now you can enjoy a great bowl of it at Yamagoya Ramen, right in the same building as GIA. The celebrated restaurant is no ordinary ramen shop: Masato Okata is an acclaimed Japanese chef who created Yamagoya Ramen’s delicious recipes and still hand picks the ingredients. The boiled egg dish and ChaShu pork are house favourites.
Diners say that Seven Spoons has delicious food and a warm atmosphere, and is one of the best restaurants in Bangkok. One critic wrote, “This is the kind of food that you will be talking about for weeks”. When critics write reviews like this, you know that you’ve stumbled upon a special place. It’s even more impressive considering that Seven Spoons has only four tables.The meals are also extremely affordable. The only problem is getting seats, so be sure to book in advance.
Himali Cha Cha
Every great city seems to have an Indian restaurant that has been around for decades. Himali Cha Cha holds this title in Bangkok, and has been a favourite for generations of Thais. You’ll find delicious Indian cuisine, and as one diner wrote, “an oasis of calm and peace”. The chicken kebab and masala papadum win rave reviews. Fodors recommends breads and the mango lassi. Go and enjoy an unforgettable meal.
How about a delicious dinner served up with some striking scenery? You find those features aboard one of the city’s many river cruises. The food and entertainment are typically traditional: authentic Thai cuisine, ancient Thai dance and classical Thai music. The views are both ultra-modern and a step back in time. You’ll see the gleaming towers that are the city’s skyscrapers and get a glimpse of the Grand Palace aglow in the evening.
If you’re looking to eat some good Japanese food between classes, head for Fuji Restaurant. It is conveniently located in the same building as the GIA campus. You’ll find sushi and sashimi classics, like Alaska Salmon Roll. You’ll also find more exotic dishes, like Spaghetti Mentai Sauce and Ume Jelly. It’s a great place to grab lunch between classes.
There are outdoor markets … and then there’s Chatuchak. Just a few facts to put Chatuchak in perspective. The world’s largest market spans 35 acres with more than 35,000 vendors. That means that you’ll find anything you’re looking for: crafts, food, artwork, clothing, household goods and whatever else you might want.
Blue Elephant Cooking School
Thailand is home to world-renowned cooking schools that teach people how to whip up delicious dishes. Out of the many in the city, CNN named the Blue Elephant Cooking School as Bangkok’s best equipped. The school specialises in Royal Thai cuisine. Courses include trips to the market and instruction by a master chef. Take a course and start loving what you cook.
Thailand is a land of breath-taking beaches, so picking one is unfair if not impossible. Railay, Phra Nang and Nai Harn are just a few of the popular ones. We chose Phi Phi because you’ll find the essentials – a beautiful beach, stunning views, water sports – plus nearby hiking trails. You can spend your day lazing on the beach or exploring the lush hills that rise up near the shore.
Club Culture is four dance clubs rolled into one. Hit the dance floor on the first floor. Go to the martini bar on the second. Live music rocks on the third. Special exhibitions and events have their home on the fourth. There’s a world of entertainment all under one roof, and all of the fun takes place in a funky colonial French building.
Seeing a performance of Thai dance is something that you have to do at least once in Bangkok. Siam Niramit is a great choice: it’s a critically acclaimed show in a state-of-the-art theatre. Here you’ll experience the best of Thai dance and theatre. More than 100 performers dressed in spectacular costumes recreate centuries of art in just 80 minutes. Enjoy the cultural tour de force.
Things to See (6)
The Grand Palace is an eclectic collection of breath-taking buildings. The architecture reflects the styles and tastes of generations of kings. With temples, forts and a museum spread over its two million square feet, you’re sure to find something inspiring in this monument of living history. Be sure to visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the royal chapel of the king.
Bangkok’s floating markets are one of the most unique shopping experiences in the world. Here you’ll find hundreds of vendors whose boats are overflowing with tropical fruits, vegetables, coconut juice and even local dishes prepared in floating kitchens. Find a picturesque place on a dock and enjoy a leisurely lunch in this scenic spot.
Delicious foods, stalls piled high with gold, and ancient temples are waiting for you at Bangkok’s Chinatown. A favourite destination for shoppers and those who enjoy food, Chinatown is alive with energy. Be sure to go at night, when it’s especially vibrant and the streets are packed with visitors. Start at the Odeon Circle Gate and make your way to Sampeng Lane Market, the centre of the action.
What can be more relaxing than being in the presence of a 46-metre, gold-leafed reclining Buddha? If the magnificent statue of the “Awakened One” isn’t enough to put you in a meditative mood, then Wat Pho’s school of traditional Thai massage should do it. It’s regarded as the finest in Thailand, and you’re sure to receive a massage that will leave you feeling blissful.
Bangkok has been called the “Venice of the East”, and for good reason. Hundreds of canals snake their way through the city, making travelling by boat a popular way to get around the metropolis. Hop on a boat, drift down a canal and take in the sights of local life. It’s one of the best ways to experience the essence of this unique city.