How to Spend Two Days in Bangkok, Thailand

Bonsai Trees in Chautchak Market in Bangkok Thailand
Bonsai Trees being sold at Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, Thailand 
Why is it that in order to describe something we attempt to compare it? I tried to describe Bangkok to a couple of friends and immediately tried to form a connection to all the cities I have ever visited. I didn't feel comfortable with any comparison, none of them fit.

Bangkok is like me, a bunch of contradictions. It appears quiet at first, but it quickly reveals a vibrant more genuine self. It's as if there was an electrical current running through the air; it's a busy city but unlike America's version of busy. It's more of a constant movement rather than the feeling of always being in a hurry.  You could say it's almost overwhelming, but the sheer curiosity of what's next keeps you from going over. Then all of a sudden the markets have closed shop, the people are gone, the smells have long-disappeared as if you hadn't just been in the middle of a hurricane.

The markets are so fragrant, but you won't get a real chance to evaluate the scent until it has passed and another smell had made it's way to you. The scents never blended, they each moved distinctly and by one by one. But they all pass, the smell of the shellfish, the meat, the flowers, the strays, the ground, the city, and the people.

We weren't in Bangkok for very long but managed to get all of the most important sights in. I believe this is the best way to spend 2 days in Bangkok if you are looking to get the most out of it.

View from the train station in Bangkok, Thailand
How to Spend Two Days in Bangkok, Thailand

Day 1 in Bangkok

Arrived: Emirates (Houston - Dubai, Dubai- Bangkok)
Accommodation: Mad Monkey Hostel
1. Khao San Road
2. Market -Chatuchak
3. Khao San Road - Nighlife

The jetlag was awful! It is honestly the most annoying thing about traveling to south-east Asia. We landed, and we were so exhausted, so we had a pretty relaxed day and mostly wandered! We stayed in a hostel called, Mad Monkey Hostel. Honestly, hostels in big cities always tend to be great. There is a lot of competition in big, touristy, so hostels have to keep appearances or lose guests to more maintained competitors. Mad Monkey was perfect; excellent location, clean, safe, not too pricey, the staff was super nice, and it had a fun atmosphere. They had a pool, a bar, a restaurant and all the amenities you could ever need.

Seafood galore on Khao San Road
Natural fruit juices on Khao San Road
Khao San Road - Day
We wandered around looking for a bite to eat and shopped around on the famous Khao San Road. During the day there are tons of little pop-up shops selling all kinds of souvenirs. It's known as the backpacker street so everything there is very touristy. It is mainly known for its nightlife.

Market - Chatuchak Market
Being in Thailand, we decided to go check out a Muay Thai fight. I read on a blog somewhere that they are free every Sunday near some TV Station. We got a taxi to said TV Station and never made it to the fight (which is probably for the best because I don't think I could've watched it). We were distracted by the most extensive market I have ever seen. I am in no way exaggerating. It was giant! I later ended up looking up markets in Bangkok and found out that this is one of the biggest in the world. The Chatuchak Market is only open during the weekends but there are SO many impressive markets in Bangkok, make sure to check out at least one. They are almost everywhere so you are bound to accidentally find one just like we did (s/o to the shopping gods who are always looking out for this little shopaholic). Everything you could ever possibly need was sold here, from baby turtles to very trendy clothing. My friend and I tried to stay for as long as possible, but we were exhausted. The overload of this sensorial experience paired with burdening jetlag made for a quick burnout.

Just turning 25 and drinking cheap alcy out of a bucket on Khao San Road (typical)

Khao San Road - Nightlife
During the nighttime is when Khao San Road becomes the "it" place to be for tourists. All the bars are open and packed with seating that extends to the street. It's loud with Top 40 music from ten years ago, and everyone is trying to get you to come to their bar enticing you with drink offers. It reminded me a lot of my college days on 6th Street in Austin, TX.

Day 2 in Bangkok

Accommodation: Mad Monkey Hostel
Transportation: Water Taxi
1. The Grand Palace
2. Wat Phra Kaew aka The Temple of the Emerald Budha (inside the Grand Palace)
3. Wat Arun
4. Rooftop Bar - Vertigo Rooftop Bar at the Banyan Tree Bangkok

We surprisingly woke up early even after a night of drinking and still suffering from jet lag. We had a heavy breakfast at the hostel and regretted it (don't get ambitious and try new things so early in the morning, not a good idea).

Our mission for this day was to visit all the top Bangkok sights. The easiest and cheapest (also really fun) way to do this was through their water taxi system. The Chao Phraya River is a river that runs through the middle of the city and conveniently alongside all the most famous landmarks. At every stop, there are markets, stores, and coffee shops. Tip: Our hostel gave us a coupon for a day pass on the taxi. It was already inexpensive but I would never say no to saving! The Chao Phraya River was a 10-minute walk from our hostel.

Looking like those ladies that travel the world in loose clothing
Wat Arun in all its beauty

The Grand Palace - Wat Phra Kaew
Per my last post, I talked about The Grand Palace and how in awe I was it. TThis is on my list of one the things everyone must see before they die. I would also call it the top place to visit in Bangkok, if you don't do anything else, you must witness this breathtaking landmark. It is spectacular! There is a strict dress code, and you must be covered up. I was let in at first, but my friend wasn't and then she was let in, but I wasn't. I was wearing a black jumpsuit and a long kimono and she was wearing a short sleeve maxi dress. We were told to purchase something from their store to cover up, the selection in the store was worse than the dollar store. Tip: Go across the street and pick up cute and cheap clothing. Just make sure your clothes have sleeves, are not removable (kimono, jacket, scarf), cover your knees, and cover your chest. The vendors sell everything from those typical pants everyone buys while in southeast Asia to lightweight tunics. I bought a cute little tunic for a much lower price and was finally let inside.

It was hot, humid, and overrun with tourists but so worth it. It is one of the most beautiful human-made landmarks I have ever seen. If you never see anything in your life, please see this.

Blessing myself (because I don't need anybody) at The Emerald Buddha Temple
Wat Arun 
This temple was surprisingly empty which was perfect because it this temple was much smaller. There was more visible wear and tear here but still stunning. It had pastel tiles on a white background.  The same rules applied but they weren't as specific with the clothing you had to wear, I got in with my black jumpsuit and kimono.

Flower Market - I don't necessarily recommend
Okay, a lot of sites mention the flower market in Bangkok and I am going to have to disagree with all of those articles. I imagined a farmers market but instead blossoms of every kind and color, not what happened. It is a very local market and I only spotted two types of flowers, roses, and the traditional cassia fistula. The place reminded of Home Depot because you don't go to Home Depot for fun, you got for necessity. I imagine locals come here to pick up flowers in a hurry to put into their offerings as they head off to accomplish the needs of modern life and work. The flowers are everywhere so you won't need to go here to catch a glimpse of them.

Nopparat De Gallery - Cutest restaurant with beautiful art!
Rooftop Bar - Vertigo Rooftop Bar at the Banyan Tree Bangkok
We had to leave the next day, so we wanted a low key and classy night (we failed at this). Bangkok has the best rooftop bars, a scene from Hangover 2 was filmed at SkyBar and everyone we met talked about it. We had our hearts set on Vertigo Rooftop Bar at the Banyan Tree Bangkok. It was stunning, had great drinks, and they weren't too overpriced. They were $17-$20, I know this isn't cheap, but this is what a usual drink would cost at an average bar in Miami. A more luxurious bar would charge you more so I was just glad that I didn't pay $30 for a drink. I wouldn't say this is a must do for everyone, but if you have the money go ahead and splurge! We wanted to wander around because this location was the downtown of Bangkok were those on business trips stay. This is where our night failed. We spotted a night market and thought "how fun." Narrator: It was not fun.

Walking up to the market we were immediately confused and put off. Something was not right and I quickly noticed the products being sold were counterfeit clothing and accessories. Yes, this is illegal and wrong for lots of other reasons. As we were rushing away, men came to us offering "Sex-shows." Best believe we ran out of there. We had accidentally ended up in one of Bangkok's red light districts. TYPICAL. It was very shady, and I felt so weird. We shook it off and tried to laugh it off as we headed back to our hostel.

Just a cute little building close to our hostel.
(Disclaimer: Sex tourism is very problematic. I do not have anything against those who willingly work these kinds of jobs. I have a problem with the abuse that comes along with this "industry." Please be informed as a tourist. Your money equals support, so make sure you know what you are supporting.)

I always had an interest in visiting Bangkok but who would've thought this Salvadorian girl from Texas would be seeing parts of the world I had only seen in documentaries. I am so grateful for the chance to get to travel. I know it is not accessible to everyone but it is my hope that my experiences bring you one step closer to yours.

I don't think I have ever felt so passionate for a city. Really take the time to soak it all in. It's nothing like you have ever seen. Notice the fragrances, the sounds, the heat, the locals, the architecture, really take it all in. Before you know it you'll be on a plane back home wondering if it was all a dream.
The bestie and I at The Grand Palace
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