Bangkok Unplugged: 5 Native Things To Do
The thriving Thai metropolis of Bangkok is the epitome of modernity with its many skyscrapers, upmarket malls and exclusive hip clubs. Amidst all this luxury however, there is another side of the city that boasts a cultural experience that is more native, one that takes us on a slightly more colourful and adventurous journey. This is Bangkok Unplugged and here are 5 things to do.
Thai Boat Noodles
If you’re in the mood for an explosion of flavours, head down to Victory Monument for some tantalising Thai boat noodles. What it is essentially, is noodles with an assortment of sliced meat (pork or beef) and pork meatballs in a flavourful broth with a dash of fresh pig’s blood. Condiments like chilli flakes and fish oil are usually available for those who like a little more spice and fragrance.
This delicacy used to be served from boats on the canal, and most of the vendors today, mostly operate on the mainland streets and the most notable vendor is none other than “The Best Of The Boat Noodles” located right by the canal near the monument. Distinguishable by the orange shirts worn by their staff, this place is not to be mistaken for the other two boat noodle shops that flank it. Enjoy your bowl indoors or alfresco, and try the different types of noodles they offer. Keeping with heritage, their portions are small so it is common to have at least three or more servings depending on your appetite. If you want a light bite before dinner, this place is not to be missed.
The city is lined with numerous mega malls in its central district but for bargain hunters, everybody knows that Pratunam with its street retail and wholesale fashion malls is the place to go. A short walk from Chidlom station, be immersed in the vast labyrinth of makeshift apparel and trinket stalls scattered all over the vicinity with items going for as cheap as 150THB onwards. Many can be spotted hauling small luggage in preparation for bulk purchases and even though prices are already low, negotiating is still commonplace here.
If you prefer to do your shopping off the streets and in air conditioned comfort, head to Platinum Fashion Mall. It’s more or less the same, but better organised and there are information boards on every level. Most of the shops here have a fixed price which is tagged onto their clothes so you know there’s no haggling allowed, but the cost is roughly the same as those in the market below. The entire building is sectioned by category of goods so it’s easy to locate exactly where to find what you’re looking for. With everything from infant care and souvenirs to superhero themed clothing, you’ll find it all here without breaking the bank.
Authentic Thai Massage
Should your extensive exploration of the city tire you down, the area encompassing Siam Square has several massage and foot reflexology establishments to soothe your aches and pains away. Of these, Siam Relax Massage and Spa is certainly value for money with its tranquil ambience and professional masseurs. For a mere 250THB to 400THB, you can choose from a selection ranging from a simple foot massage to a back and shoulder press depending on the time duration. I would suggest going for the 1-hour foot reflexology and just nap your way through. Still, whatever you choose, it’s a good way to rejuvenate yourself and refresh those tired muscles.
Muay Thai Match
The Ratchadamnoen and Lumpinee Stadiums are two venues where you can catch a genuine muay thai fight. Tickets range from 500THB for rafter seats to 2,000THB for upfront ringside seats. There are a total of 9 matches every fight night and an exhilarating atmosphere to boot.
Watch as the opponents try to take each other down in what seems like a martial arts ballet. The sparring is presided by a referee and the crowd although loud, do not get rowdy. You’ll feel safe watching from the audience and even if you don’t fully understand the rules, the excitement will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.
Affordable Rooftop Bar
A popular hangout for a chill night, Wanderlust is located in the Thonglor Soi 13 atop Nakiya Japanese Restaurant building. With beers from 120THB and cocktails from 200THB, it’s light on the wallet but promises a good time. The menu also offers pub fares like burgers, ribs and fish n’ chips. Faux grass, wooden tables and rattan chairs create a feel of an indoor garden, allowing you to admire the illuminated skyline of Bangkok city. If you’re looking for a casual nightcap, this is the bar to be.
Images Credits: Wikimedia & Wanderlust