As you know, there were many things on my to-do list as a first-time visitor to Thailand. After spending a chill 18 days in Koh Tao, however, I found myself drawn to more unique Bangkok sights.
While the following list may not seem extraordinary, these are some of the top moments that made my trip to the Thai kingdom unforgettable. Indeed, it is usually what you don’t plan for that makes you smile until your face hurts.
Unique Bangkok Sights: My Top Moments
Joining a cultural tuk tuk caravan crawl
My first tuk tuk ride was hilarious thanks to Bangkok Food Tours. I joined their midnight by tuk tuk foodie crawl, which involved a tuk tuk caravan prancing through town, stopping for local treats, hidden viewpoints, and deserted temples near their closing time.
I don’t know what I enjoyed the most: the shenanigans of fellow tourists and local drivers as we zigzagged the city… Or the unique egg-wrapped Pat Thai… Or the serene atmosphere of one of the most popular Bangkok attractions outside peak times.
I ended up with achy cheeks and a different perspective of this chaotic city.
Vintage van converted into a sports bar
Khao San Road didn’t impress me much, with its pricey bucket cocktails and low-end clothing. What really made my time there were the vintage Volkswagen vans some imaginative entrepreneurs have converted into bars!
I found the little gem on the video above tucked away on a street adjacent to Khao San. Thanks to Hero, son of the owner of Khaosan River Inn Hostel, for the ride there!
Having the best Pat Thai of my life at a riverside alley
That unassuming Pat Thai was, hands-down, the best I ever had in my life. Its spices and flavor profile even beat Pad Thai Thip Samai‘s, which I tried on my tuk tuk tour!
Juicy, perfectly-balanced peanuty sweetness, cilantro freshness, and slight tartness.
Better yet? It was double the typical size and made out of a local homemaker’s kitchen.
The joint is located on a dark riverside alley by the hostel I stayed at. Another Bangkok hidden gem uncovered by Khaosan River Inn’s gracious host!
360° bird’s eye view of Bangkok’s traditional and contemporary skyline
Want to take in some truly unique Bangkok sights? Climb The Golden Mount.
I couldn’t truly appreciate Bangkok’s diverse architecture and history until I had a 360° bird’s eye view of it.
Glistening skyscrapers, surrounded by golden stupas and terra-cotta-colored clay tiles. So expansive, so diverse. So beautiful!
Bonus? The viewpoint has several Wi-Fi hotspots, so it was a great place to get inspired and write about my trip (and instantly Snapchat it to y’all 😉 ).
Deep-fried Indian curry sandwich with cheese by Chinatown
Trying to find Chinatown and Little India on my own, I ended up in a curious cross street.
Little India is something I couldn’t quite find in Bangkok, minus a couple of Indian clothing stores, snack shops, and a restaurant or two.
BUT! Not all was lost when I spotted this quirky sandwich. The bread had been breaded (ha) and deep-fried. It was stuffed with potato Indian curry and veggies. And a thick slice of…Swiss cheese? Gouda cheese?!
It was so spicy I couldn’t tell amid tears. But wow: what odd, delicious Bangkok sights!
Crashing into a luxury hotel’s pool
There are perks to mingling with the locals, as you know from my Couchsurfing stories. The idea to crash the UMA Residence’s pool came from my hostel’s host, though!
Hero is friends with the hotel staff, so he takes willing guests to the luxurious pool area.
Man, that hostel stay paid for itself 😀 (UMA was very nice and relaxing, by the way. I certainly recommend the property to discerning travelers).
Being persuaded into a free 4-day meditation retreat
One of the top Bangkok sights is Wat Arun. Unfortunately for me, the complex was under extensive renovation during my visit this summer, so I decided to skip the pricey entrance and wander the (free) surrounding grounds instead.
What I stumbled upon was wisdom that would change my life forever.
A “free meditation class” poster caught my attention. I walked into the building and, one hour later, I was seating with an Indonesian man who had been living in Thailand for decades after spending two years on a solitary retreat in the jungle.
On my first session, I learned about the two different types of meditation and was briefly introduced to Buddhism. I was so intrigued, the teacher invited me to come back in two days, if my schedule allowed.
I ended up spending four days exploring all types of meditation, learning from him, and seeing the beautiful work he has done for hundreds of children who have been victims of human trafficking.
The Community Learning Center for Development of Humanity at Wat Arun is the nonprofit organization I found. What an incredible chance encounter. Please pay it visit and make a donation during your trip.
My ping-pong show virginity taken badly
Hella funny moment now, but certainly not then! This is more of a word of advice for you and giggles for my friends…
Two travelers and I were walking down the Patpong Market in Silom district when we were approached by a very pushy old man. He sneaked “the menu” into our hands, promoting the infamous ping-pong show acts.
You know, one of the grossest, yet most intriguing of Bangkok sights.
I’m curious and always take risks for the sake of your entertainment, so I proudly haggled the price down to half the sketchy man’s initial offering and went for it.
What ensued was pretty ridic.
We entered the smallest, sketchiest “bar” I’ver seen in my life, quickly greeted by about three fully-nude “exotic dancers.” One of them was surely my grandmother’s age, but slightly wrinklier.
And theeeeeen? Skinny granny proceeded to play a small trumpet with her vajay-jay, shortly after bumming a smoke and taking a few drags with that same, errm, equipment.
Oh, it gets worse.
The noticeably-miserable waitress brought our “free round” of drinks at that very moment, demanding a tip. She was neither prompt nor nice, so I refused and told the other two travelers to do the same.
The young lady flipped me off, trotting away forcefully, cursing and yelling something in Thai to her coworkers. Then, the entire bar (as of, a handful of employees and 2 other local guests) started to throw the dirtiest looks back at us.
It didn’t quite help I insulted the biatch back, performing an equally-offensive hand gesture in return. Super Sofia Vergara style. Latin POW!
The guy with us must have pooped his pants from the look he had on his face.
Needless to say, he forced his girl and me out of there, drinks unfinished. Lucky for me, I got to keep my “free beer” to finish down the street, as hey, THIS IS THAILAND!
Moral of the story: no more ping-pong shows for Maria 😀
Tip: still curious about the ping-pong shows in Bangkok? Tyler found out that the appropriately-named “Super Pu$$y” offers an affordable, apparently less sketchy version of the one I experienced. Fair warning though: albeit a unique Bangkok attraction, it’ll probably be just as disturbing XD
Give me another drink, please!
Which are your top Bangkok sights, moments? Share below!