11 Alternative Things to Do in Bangkok
After a smooth, pretty much trouble free border crossing from Cambodia to Thailand, we were back in Bangkok again, staying at our beloved Sam Sen Sam Place. If you follow us in real time on Instagram or Facebook, you'll know that we are now back in Bangkok after a trip to Myanmar (Burma) with posts forthcoming. What to do in a week? I did what I always do when in doubt, I wrote a list. I researched things to do, fun things, alternative things, anything that we hadn't thought of doing before.
So, what alternative things did we actually do? Ok full disclosure, we took this opportunity to recharge our batteries, do some travel planning and got on top of the blog. So without further rambling, here is our list of Alternative Things to do in Bangkok once you've done the Lonely Planet Top Sights.
1) Visit the macabre and fascinating Medical museum at Siriraj hospital.
It's not for the faint hearted that's for sure, but it is fascinating and a real alternative to your average museum. There are three main parts to the museum (pathology, forensics and parasitology) and entry to all of them will set you back 200 baht (£4) each. With this, you get an English audio guide -- but make sure you ask for it, as we weren't offered it initially.
My favourite was the forensic section, which housed some interesting information on Thailand's first serial killers. I even managed a sneaky pic......
There is also an amazing exhibit on the role Siriraj Hospital played in helping victims of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. You get to see mock-ups of the most common wounds encountered by the team -- and there is a great video documentary showing their work in detail. It's pretty easy to forget how devastating the 2004 tsunami was, and we couldn't believe that it is the ten year anniversary this year. More shocking was the incredibly graphic footage of various victims.
2) Try out Wang Lang Market
(next to Siriraj)
A true local market, Wang Lang is full of delicious street food, trendy Thai clothes (no elephant pants here) and stacks of people. It was my first time at this market, and it won't be my last.
3) Live like an Ex Pat
We are very lucky that Oli has some lovely friends (Nick & Alex) who let us stay in their amazing flat in Bangkok. We had a washing machine, a kitchen (I ate a lot of cornflakes) AND a swimming pool. With a slide. There was also a gym, but I'm no gym bunny, so we skipped that.
You don't have to have an ex-pat friend to enjoy the lifestyle -- just use Airbnb.
4) Enjoy the perks of being a lady in Bangkok
Don't be gross. Every Wednesday night, various bars and restaurants in Bangkok offer ladies free drinks all night. We went to the delightful Maya, in Sukhumvit and ate delicious Indian food for a very reasonable price and more importantly, I DRANK PROSECCO FOR FREE ALL NIGHT.
Seemed like a great idea at the time, not at 4am the next morning when we had to get up for our flight to Myanmar.
5) Overheat at the HUGE Chatuchak weekend market
This was my 4th time at the epic, 35 acre weekend market in Bangkok, and I never learn my lesson. We got there too late in the day, overheated pretty quickly, and came away empty handed. It wasn't a total loss though; we did some great people watching and ate all manner of snacks. We ate some yummy coconut ice cream with peanuts, lots of 10 baht meat skewers and, of course, mother natures very own Lucozade -- a cold coconut.
6) Get all caught up in the Thai coup
I mean, this isn't something you really want to plan to do as an alternative Bangkok activity -- but it was interesting to be there when the Thai Army launched their 12th coup since the 1920's. Yep, they love a coup. Interestingly, one of the main ladies night bars is called Ku De Tat......say it -- yep genius.
7) Get a Tattoo from one of Bangkok's finest.
The tattoo artists in Bangkok are some of the best in the world, so I've long thought my next piece would be from here. We found a great little studio, and I popped in to have a chat, sneakily checking out hygiene, etc., etc.
Kitti was great, despite finger tattoos being kind of awkward and a very bad place to get them done (different skin = quick fading).
8) Drink in fancy ex-pat bars.
Sometimes you've just got to find the least smelly thing in your backpack, slap a bit of lippy on and pretend you aren't a backpacker for the night.Which venue did we choose? One of my Bangkok faves: Iron Fairies in Thong Lo, Sukhumvit. #twobackpackateertoptip: Iron Fairies is close to the cheap as chips food market on Soi 38.
9) Go to Chinatown and graze to your ❤️ content.
There is a stack of great, free, downloadable walking maps so you can maximise on eating fun. Check out this one.
10) Go to the Cinema.
If you're a regular reader, you may have noticed that Oli and I LOVE going to the cinema. We go in most cities we visit, and love experiencing all the different quirks -- half-time in India, and standing for the National Anthem in Myanmar, and Thailand.
Check out SF Cinema city at MBK for a truly affordable VIP experience.
11) Enjoy free aerobics in the park.
Every day at 6pm, Thais gather in green spaces and enjoy some seriously high energy workouts. You can join in for free, or enjoy the view. It's classic.
If you're looking for somewhere to stay in Bangkok, you can find some great accommodation options here.
So that's all I guess. Not a huge list by anyone's standards but a list nonetheless, one that contains my favourite Bangkok activities.
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