During our time in Asia somehow we ended up returning to Bangkok several times and for each visit we’ve had a different experience that has bonded us with this city and with the special people we had the fortune to meet there. Bangkok is one of the most popular destination in Asia, it’s incredibly cosmopolitan and despite having a reputation of being dirty, polluted, chaotic and with an high level of sex tourism – which we of course discourage – it has nice little corners that we managed to discover and appreciate.
In all honesty, the first time we went to Bangkok we weren’t really impressed either, but when we returned we decided to avoid the usual tourist traps and we went to different and local places instead. In that way we rediscovered the beauty of Bangkok and started to like it.
Here are some places we discovered and loved that we are more than happy to share with you. We hope that if you travel to Bangkok, the following tips will be handy, especially if you wish to do and see something slightly different and decide not to only follow the usual tips found in the travel guides.
Tip #1 – HOF Eat & Art
We are so pleased we walked into this amazing place attracted by both the smell of the food and the artistic look it has. HOF Eat & Art is one part art gallery, one part Japanese restaurant with vegetarian food too, we couldn’t ask for anything more really. The food we ordered was delicious and it was nice being surrounded by art and great design whilst enjoying it.
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Tip #2 – Rod Fai Market
If you like markets and you love vintage and tasty Thai food, Rod Fai Market is a must. This isn’t such a secret and unknown place and you’ll find other tourists there for sure, but it’s also full of local people that simply spend the night at the market, stopping at one of the bars, perhaps listening to local bands playing and having fun between a drink or two.
We would definitely go back to Rod Fai if we go to Bangkok again, we remember leaving the market pretty content at having found a nice spot to satisfy our constant search for interesting design, art and music.
Make sure to check the current and new location, we heard that Rod Fai Market has been moved since we visited it.
Tip #3 – Gallery Drip Coffee
If you are looking for a great coffee to drink whilst in Bangkok, Gallery Drip Coffee is where we would recommend you to go. It’s a cozy and well designed cafe’ where good quality coffee comes first. The whole process of making you a coffee is done by hand from grinding the beans to dripping the coffee into the cup and it taste so good! We only wished we found out about this place earlier and not just before leaving.
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Tip #4 – Kai3 Studio
We usually don’t pick up souvenirs because we like to travel light, but when we saw the amazing designed t-shirts done by Kai3 a local Thai studio we couldn’t resist, we had to have one. The fact that we needed to replace some hole-filled tops we had, made us feel less guilty for getting new ones.
If you look for a souvenir from Bangkok different from the usual stuff you can find in every store and market stall in the city, and if you like to support the local businesses, these t-shirts won’t disappoint you.
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Tip #5 – Think twice about Khao San Road
One of the first things our Thai Couchsurfing host told us, was to avoid going to Khao San Road, she explained to us how that area was very westernized, full of foreigners and places designed for them, Even if she warned us and said that if we wanted to see the real Bangkok, Khao San Road was the last place to go. Unfortunately, like sheep we went anyway because we were too curious to see it with our eyes – and she was right!
If you want a more real experience of Thai and Bangkok culture, we wouldn’t recommend you going to Khao San Road unless you are as curious as we were, or you are looking exactly for that kind of experience.