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So far in this series covering the recent trip to Thailand one of our own, Freya, got to enjoy thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand and EVA Air to check out some of the stuff you could get up to on your next trip to the Land of Smiles, we’ve seen her explore coastal city Pattaya and fall head over heels for dreamy Koh Samui.

In the next and final part, she spends a whirlwind 24 hours in Thailand’s capital and one of the most-visited cities on the planet, Bangkok.

Day 5: Arrival in Bangkok

A map of Thailand showing the location of Bangkok.

We said our teary goodbyes to the beautiful island of Samui (and its equally pretty airport) and took an early flight to Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. After landing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport (it’s not as hard to pronounce as you think, I promise), we hopped in our minivan and started the drive into the city – about 30 mins away. You can take the Airport Rail Link into the city too – it takes about 26 mins and only costs around 30p. No, really.

MBK Centre

We had a few hours to kill before checking into our hotel, so our guide recommended we make a stop at the MBK Centre, an absolute behemoth of a shopping centre, for its whopping 8 floors of shops, its food courts, and – most importantly – its air-con.

There’s 2000 shops here, running the gamut from luggage to clothing to jewellery (there’s even a Boots!), and whilst a lot of these are brand name stores, there’s also a lot of stalls and shops which are open to some bargaining from shoppers. It’s not as slick as other shopping centres in Bangkok, like Siam Discovery, Siam Centre, or Siam Paragon, but it is less expensive.

After the flight from Koh Samui, we were all pretty keen for a bite to eat, so we headed up to the local food court on level 6 (there’s an international one on level 5) which, despite being in the middle of a huge shopping centre, is actually a really great place to get a proper taste of Thailand with loads of authentic dishes up for grabs. You put a set amount of a money on cash card at the entrance, and then you use this card to purchase the food and drink you want and, believe me, there’s a lot. Expect to make at least 3 laps of the place before you get even close to deciding what you’re gonna have. And then do another lap. Just to be sure.

Connected to the MBK Centre is OneSiam Skywalk, an elevated walkway that sits above the Pathumwan intersection and gives you an amazing view of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok below, as well as the BTS Skytrain – part of Bangkok’s metro system – passing overhead. I only happened to stumble across this place as I was mooching around level 2 of MBK, so definitely keep an eye out for it – it’ll get you to Siam Discovery, Siam Square, and the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre without having to traverse the traffic below. And if there’s one word to describe Bangkok, it’s ‘traffic’.

Brewski at Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok

A rooftop bar is a must do when in Bangkok.

When you have just one evening to spend in Bangkok, what do you do? Get yourself up to a rooftop bar, of course! Bangkok is known for its bottoms up in the sky, and there’s more than 50 of ’em across the city. You’ve got CRU Champagne Bar atop the Centara Grand at CentralWorld, the super sleek The Loft at the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, and Siam Hotel’s Insta-perfect Paradise Lost. Sky Beach Bangkok at the Standard, meanwhile, is the highest in the city, way up on the 78th floor.

When it comes to picking your bar, you don’t really need to worry about picking the one with best view, because they all have unbelievable ones. Instead, focus in on what kind of drinks you’re after, whether it’s craft beers, cocktails that have smoke coming out of them, or champagne. Whilst all bars will have these on offer, some will specialise in them, so you know you’re gonna get the good stuff. The other thing to consider is price! Some rooftop bars in Bangkok can set you back $$$$, whilst others can be much more reasonably priced. Wherever you go though, you’re still going to be paying more than the usual dirt cheap price for alcohol you can find in Thailand because those views ain’t for free!

We ended up at Brewski, on the 29th and 30th floors of the Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok,  in the affluent Watthana district of the city. Billed as the highest craft beer bar in Thailand, it was mega laid-back and spread across two floors. With a ‘brewery-inspired’ feel and both an indoor lounge and open-air terrace, it’s got a sleek and more minimalistic feel to it than a lot of the other rooftop bars in Bangkok, meaning you can focus right in on that view.

There’s 18 taps and over 100 craft brews and ciders to play with, and they do some proper pub-style grub too, if you’re missing the taste of home or if your taste buds just can’t hack any more spice.

Getting around Bangkok

One of the best ways to get around Bangkok is by tuktuk.

Taxis are a dime dozen in this city, so it’s never that tricky to catch them. You can’t really miss them either, as they’re in practically every colour under the sun.

  • If the red light is on, that means it’s free for the taking
  • You don’t need to negotiate prices as a meter is mandatory
  • It’s common to round the fare up to nearest 5 or 10 baht as a courtesy

The BTS Skytrain is an elevated transport system with stations spread across 2 lines (a 3rd and 4th line is covered by the MRT), and is a air-conditioned godsend for those who don’t fancy tackling the Bangkok traffic – which is basically everyone. It stops at all the good stuff, like Chatuchak Weekend Market, Lumpini Park, ICONSIAM and the Jim Thompson House Museum. Tickets are  cheap as chips too – a single ticket to one stop will cost you less than 50p, whilst a one-day ticket for unlimited travel will set you back – brace yourselves – just over £3. Oh, and kids under 90cm travel for absolutely nada.

The MRT is Bangkok’s subway – it covers less tourist stops than the BTS but still ticks off most of the big ones. With the MRT, you don’t actually have tickets, the machines give you  black tokens to use instead. One stop will cost you around 30p, whilst riding the full line is closer to £1.

Tuktuks, meanwhile, are the other option – and it’s what we went with when we needed to get back to hotel at the end of the night. There ain’t nothing like whizzing around the streets of Bangkok at breakneck speed after a couple of drinks 30 floors up to clear the head!

  • Always agree your price before getting in, and enjoy the haggle! You’ll be surprised how quickly the price drops
  • Most short rides will cost you around £1.50, or 50-60 baht, but this will be more in the mega touristy areas

Here for a good time, not a long time

We had an early flight back to the UK the next morning, so we all reluctantly trudged back to the hotel and packed our bags, whilst trying not to become too depressed at the idea of having to leave when it felt like we’d just arrived. We’d stayed in incredible, Insta-worthy hotels, eaten unbelievable (and unbelievably spicy) food, and seen some of the most breath-taking, nobody-pinch-me views. We’d just started to get used that humidity, and all, too.

But, hey, thanks to EVA Air, we did have VIP lounge access and Premium Economy seats back to Heathrow waiting for us to soften the blow.

So things could be worse.

Bangkok on your bucketlist? Get it ticked off with our cheap Bangkok flights today.

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