Where to find unique views of Bangkok
We might not be able to travel right now but we can certainly look back on fond memories of travelling and also plan for future travels. Finding unique views of Bangkok are amongst my top adventures that I hold close to my heart. I don’t know about you but one of my favourite parts of travelling is the planning part. I love nothing more than ordering a guidebook, reading travel blogs and buying a new notebook to jot down all my travel plans for my upcoming destination. I miss that pre-adventure excitement and cannot wait to be back putting pen to paper for my next trip abroad. If you are dreaming of foreign lands read on for some future travel inspiration and some ideas of how to discover Bangkok from unique viewpoints.
Bangkok is one of my favourite cities in the Far East. I’ve visited this crazy place a handful of times and have to admit when I first arrived, I didn’t like it. My husband and I were on our honeymoon and had just come from five relaxing days on Koh Lipe. We’d stayed in a beach hut with dreamy views of the Andaman Sea. So, to arrive in a hectic city was a bit of a shock to the system. But after 24 hours we slowly got used to the hustle and bustle of our new surroundings and grew to love it.
One of my favourite things about Bangkok is that there are plenty of places to hide away from the hustle and bustle if that’s what you want. There are also some spots to see the city from a completely different perspective. Having been to Bangkok a few times I have found some unique viewpoints I’d love to share and give you a whole new perspective on this Thai city.
View Bangkok from the top of Wat Arun
This beautiful temple is known as the Temple of Dawn. Find it on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Climb the main tower, known as a prang for awesome views. Be warned, the steps are very steep, there are rails to help you climb up, but it got me puffed out. It is definitely more of a climb than a walk up and equally as hard going back down! While you get your breath back take in the unique views of Bangkok from the top. Overlooking the city from high up gives a whole new perspective and totally worth the climb. Boats chugging by and the Grand Palace opposite all add to the magic of seeing the city from one of its famous landmarks. Take some time to admire the intricate detail and colourful porcelain on the towers as well as the sculptures, it really is a beautiful spot.
Like all temples in South East Asia dress modestly by covering shoulders and ankles. You can rent clothing from the entrance if needed. There is a small entrance fee and a ferry that shuttles between the two sides of the river.
A bar on Soi Rambuttri
Although a bar is not necessarily unique, sitting at a bar by the side of the street in southeast Asia is a completely different experience to one you might experience to sitting outside a pub in the UK. Some of my best memories of Bangkok come from sipping an ice-cold Chang beer in the heat of the afternoon whilst watching the world go by. I recommend finding a bar on Soi Rambuttri. Located in the older part of Bangkok it has a slower pace than the well-known Khao San Road. This makes it perfect to escape the crowds. Lower yourself onto a simple Thai cushion on the floor, sit back and immerse yourself in the moment. Beer in hand, phone in pocket, lounge music humming in the distance and the world strolling by. Become still in the moment and maybe a little hazy in the head from your beer!
See Bangkok from a tuk tuk
The classic transport in South East Asia is the tuk tuk and I love nothing more than zipping around the streets in one. Ok, so you might not be zipping around due to all the traffic but it’s a fantastic way to become totally immersed in the city. Take in the ever changing sights, sounds and smells from the back of one of these tiny three wheeled vehicles. I love that the drivers often pimp them up or have massively over the top sound systems! It all adds to the feel of it. What’s more as tuk tuks are so small you’ll often get to take shortcuts, miss traffic jams and buzz down tiny streets. This means you’ll get to experience a whole other side to the city and see some unique views of Bangkok.
Unique views of Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River
One of my favourite trips in Bangkok has to be exploring the backwaters of the Chao Phraya River. Hire a longtail boat all to yourself and escape the crowds. The backwaters and canals feel like another world. Cruising majestically along the narrow waterways, I have a really vivid memory of two ladies dressed in their Sunday best paddling past in a small boat. This is an experience like no other. Houses on stilts, small floating markets, and quiet temples are all hidden away here. It’s hard to believe you are in the centre of a busy city. If you are looking for unique views of Bangkok then this tops it all! For more on this unusual trip head to my post: Exploring the backwaters of Bangkok.
I booked the longtail boat through a lady on one of the small piers along the river, she was offering a few different trips. It was nice to book through a little local company rather than online.
Looking for unique views of Bangkok on foot
Although not unique, walking is one of the best ways to take in Bangkok’s unique views. To help navigate, Nancy Chandler’s Map of Bangkok is a lovely hand illustrated map that gives a great insight into the best areas to visit. Print versions are no longer being published but you might find a second hand one on Amazon, failing that PDF versions are available direct from Nancy Chandler’s website. For me being on foot meant I could take in all the smells and sights of the many food stalls dotted along the streets. Being able to buy hand pressed pommegranite juice or coconut water from street sellers was a refreshing way to cool down in the humidity. I also enjoyed seeing all the weird and wonderdul food stalls on Koh San Road. Perhaps a little touristy but unique all the same were the stalls selling insects to eat. In true ‘I’m a Celebrity style’ you can’t visit Khao San without trying a fried cricket or scorpion! Strolling around the city in the evening is a great way to decide where to eat, something you’d miss if you got a taxi. I’ve had some of the best seafood from food sellers on the street, huge prawns and the best Pad Thai. Although we can’t travel to Thailand at the moment if you are looking for some tasty Thai food, Rosa’s Thai Café have delicious meal kits to order to your door for an authentic taste of Thailand.
Escaping the crowds can sometimes be hard in Bangkok so I hope you find this guide useful for finding unique views and to gain a new perspective on this buzzing city. When the world returns to some sort of normal and we can travel again, Bangkok is one of the first places I’d love to visit. To be immersed back in the culture of another country is something I can’t wait to experience one day soon. For more on exploring Thailand head to Fan Club Thailand and start planning for your future trips.
Update: From July 2021, Thailand is re-opening to travellers who have been fully vaccinated. Starting with Phuket, travellers will be able to stay quarantine free. From October five more Thai destinations will re-open. For more detailed information on upcoming travel to Thailand head here: Thailand Travel Advice.
This post was produced in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) as part of the #ThrowbackThailand and #AmazingThailand campaign.