The Various Markets of Bangkok Thailand

Thursday, May 31, 2018
One thing is for sure, you cannot visit Bangkok without seeing a market. Street markets, night markets, floating markets, weekend markets....they are everywhere. During our two week trip, we visited more than 10 markets throughout the various locations we visited. Here are a few we experienced in Bangkok and my honest thoughts about them.

Floating Market
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
While in Bangkok, we booked a half day tour to visit the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Visiting a floating market was on all of our "must see" lists. However, if I were to go back, I would absolutely find a different one to visit. Here is why: It's 100% tourist trap. Although there are many other blogs and websites suggesting to miss this and visit another, we were starry eyed over the variety of photos we saw online, making this what we thought was a must visit experience. 
We visited the floating market the second day in Bangkok and we weren't prepared for the amount of bartering we would experience. We even had to barter buying beer. Sure it was cool seeing all the vendors on the side of the narrow canals and the food being served off of a boat. Yet it was a floating flea market. If floating in a boat, being haggled to buy Knock off designer bags or Thailand souvenirs are your thing, than you would like it. I expected more of an authentic experience, not an attraction - and didn't expect inflated pricing.
Here's an example. Once we arrived and got on a boat (the boat isn't part of the tours and is an extra cost), we were instantly approached by a woman in a boat selling beverages. We decided to get a beer and she charged us each 200 baht. We didn't know any better. I did the math and realized we just spent $24 USD on 4 beers. The average price for 1 beer is 60 baht (about $1.80). We laughed it off, rookie mistake. Then another beverage person approached us and our driver talked to her in Thai, surely saying we just spent 200 baht a beer. We told her we would take 4 for 500, which is still pretty high considering... and she flipped out on us. It wasn't pleasant at all.  We ended up agreeing on 4 for 600. When we got off the boat, we saw a bar/restaurant selling beer for 50 baht. We got hosed.
Getting to the market was the best part, we went into a longtail boat and saw the local houses and way of living. That part made the tour worth it. I was a unique experience seeing the floating market in action, and we got some really cool pics - but I would never go out of my way to do it again. I wish we would have listened to the other sites and visited a floating market with a bit more authenticity.

Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Now this is what I'm talking about. I will never shop the same again! The Chatuchak Weekend Market has everything your heart desires at prices so low you feel bad to negotiate (but still do it!). We spent half a day exploring the weekend market but could have easily spent the entire day given the size.
The Chatuchak Weekend Market is the largest weekend market in the world and the largest market in Thailand. It's massive.
We purchased Thai silk, hand carved figurines, hand stitched silk wall art and bought a ton of street food.
Being Bangkok was our first destination, I didn't want to lug around too much stuff early on, this was a mistake made by us as we ended up buying additional gifts at 10x the price at the airport.
We got foot massages for 200 baht ($6 USD).
You must try the coconut ice cream (this coming from someone who insn't a coconut fan). It's delicious and will cool you down. Watermelon smoothies were my go-to in the heat.
The food at the market is out of control and you can find whatever you want, including paella! If you find yourself in Bangkok on a weekend, this is a must see experience.

Night Market
JJ Green
Right beside the Chatuchak Weekend Market is JJ Green night market. This is open 7 days a week and we decided to visit one night and grab dinner while there. I will say, it wasn't what we were expecting and I wish we would have spent the night over in China Town. JJ Green was cool and had a hipster feel to it, but it wasn't a must visit for me.
We ended up having dinner at a spot called Hachi Grill Dip Cheese, which was essentially fondue meats Korean BBQ. Very cool experience and made the trip over to JJ Green worth it. We also tried a few of the street food items.
Regarding stuff to buy, this market was geared towards locals, which was really cool to see. Tons of apparel and shoes - shoes - shoes. What's with the shoes!?
JJ Green also had quite a few bars, but all were empty. We did visit at the beginning of their low season which I did prefer. If you want to do a night market, I would suggest visiting China Town over JJ Green.

Street Markets
Khaosan Road
I am not sure if you can even call Khaosan Road a "street market", but I am - it's a long street that resembles Bourbon Street with vendors everywhere you look, once again selling knockoffs and food. This is where you can eat bugs. They had everything from tarantulas to centipedes. However, no photos without paying. Yuck.
We ventured down the road, beer in hand and stared at the scene in front of us. People approached us every 5 seconds, asking the guys if they wanted to buy a custom suit, pushing signs in front of us for laughing gas. It was a very bizarre experience.  Worth seeing if you're in the area but we didn't venture into the bars or truly experience Khaosan Road other than walking down the street.

Thailand is definitely full of unique experiences and adventures everywhere you turn. In closing, here is what I would suggest for the Thailand Markets:

Floating Market: Yes, just not Damnoen Saduak. I wish we would have gone to Amphawa Floating Market instead. Here is an article on 5 different floating markets. I know my post was negative on Damnoen, but it was just not what we expected. It was great for photographs though :)

Weekend Market: YES YES YES! I 100% suggest visiting Chatuchak Weekend Market. Go early, beat the crowd and the heat. Bring a bag to carry your purchases and if you see something you really want, buy it!

Night Market: We did so many markets, I could have easily done without the night market and spent that night exploring other parts of Bangkok. I would plan on visiting two markets and deciding which is most important.

Visiting Bangkok Temples in one day

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Hello! We are back from Thailand, what an amazing trip that was and I have so much to share. We started off our trip to in Bangkok, arriving at 5:30am after a 27 hour flight (including layovers). Luckily, we slept fairly well on the plane and thanks to our amazing airbnb host, we were able to get in the condo at 7am. After a quick breakfast and shower, we headed off to visit some of the Temples in Bangkok.

I honestly didn't think it would be possible to arrive in Bangkok, check-in, shower and do the three main temples we wanted to visit within one day. Not only did we manage it, we had time to spare!

On the agenda:
The itinerary below was based on us being able to walk from place to place. 
Grand Palace
Lunch at Home Cafe Tha Tien
Wat Pho
Wat Arun
Happy Hour at Amorosa Bar at Arun Residence
Dinner at Err

Grand Palace
When I planned out our agenda, I based it on us not being jet lagged. We were all doing very well considering the time change. However, what I didn't account for was Bangkok traffic. My lord, I will NEVER EVER complain about traffic in the US ever again! After a 45 minute Grab ride (Asia's Uber), we finally made it to The Grand Palace.
We got out of the car and jaws started dropping and weren't inside yet the grounds yet. We each paid our 500 baht entry fee (about $15 USD each).  Grand Palace was the highest priced temple we visited but so worth it. It was also the busiest temple we visited.
Grand Palace is home to the Emerald Buddha but sadly photographs were not allowed. However, we took a ton of pics. I never saw so much gold in my life. Everything was sparkling and gorgeous beyond words. Photos do not do justice!

Following Grand Palace, we stopped for lunch at Home Cafe Tha Tien, which is across the st. from Wat Pho. This down to earth restaurant is highly rated on Trip Advisor. Everyone in our party agrees that it was one of the top meals we had on the entire trip. Each couple got a starter, main entree and drinks. It set us back a total of $7.50 each couple. I was very happy with my decision of Pad See Ew and Papaya Salad.

Wat Pho
With full bellies, we headed across the street to Wat Pho. If you're planning a trip to Bangkok, I am sure you have already heard of the scams - that people will come up to you and tell you the temples are closed. This was tried on us and we smiled and kept walking. The temples rarely close so don't fall for it.
Of the three temples we visited, Wat Pho was by far my favorite. It wasn't nearly as crowded as Grand Palace and it was stunning. The entry fee here was 100 baht a person ($3 USD).
Wat Pho is also home to the Thai Massage school. I had my first (of many) massages at a temple. I will tell you, this is not the traditional massage you're used to in America. You lay on a thin mat in an open room. You are clothed but it is a little awkward having so many people around you. Once you get over that, it's a fantastic experience and I strongly suggest it. Both my husband and I opted for the oil massage which was 620 baht ($19 USD).
I about flipped when I saw cats walking around the temple. Little did I know, my entire vacation would be filled with kitties! This helped with my homesickness (I only facetimed Baloo 10 times). With your 100 baht ticket to the temple, you get a free bottle of water which was much appreciated given how hot it is in Thailand.
At Wat Pho, we visited the temple of the reclining Buddha. Words cannot express the beauty.
The detail everywhere you looked was a bit mind blowing. I didn't want to leave!

Wat Arun
We left Wat Pho and headed down the street towards the pier. There were tuk tuks everywhere but it was a very easy and quick walk. You have to take a short ferry (literally across the waterway) to access Wat Arun. The boat ride was 3 baht each way (10 cents USD) and was a very quick ride.
The price to enter Wat Arun was only 50 baht ($1.50 USD). Wat Arun was the smallest of the temples we visited but the details are something you must see in person. It was truly breathtaking.

Sunset & Cocktails overlooking Wat Arun
Once we were done walking around Wat Arun, we walked around the marina and decided it was cocktail time. We were a few hours earlier than expected and could have technically fit another temple in if it weren't so hot outside. The heat and time difference was finally hitting us. At 5:00, we headed to The Amorosa Bar at Arun Residence to watch the sunset overlooking Wat Arun. It was spectacular and I suggest seeing at least one sunset here!

Finally, it was time for dinner. A friend suggested we dine at Err, which was very close to where we were. They had crazy craft cocktails and the food was pretty good. I won't say it was the best meal we had in Bangkok but due to the proximity of where we were, it was a nice night out.

Thai Temple Dress Code
The temples all have dress codes, some stricter than others. Ladies need to have their shoulders covered, with long skirts or pants. Depending on the temple, Men either have to have long pants or are OK in shorts. Be sure to do your research prior to heading out. However, if you forget, they all have sarongs you can rent.

We could have easily fit a fourth temple in our day, but we hit a brick wall. After dinner, we couldn't pay our checks fast enough. I was so thankful for the Grab app. The one time we tried to use a taxi, the driver had no idea where I wanted to go as we were staying at a condo, not a hotel. If you find yourself in this situation, have your host write down your address in Thai, something I wish we would have done.

Sirata Beach Resort Staycation, St Pete Beach

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
This past weekend, my husband Gabe and I got to spend a few days checking out the Sirata Beach Resort in St Pete Beach, FL. Sirata is currently undergoing a massive $15 million renovation and their newly renovated guestrooms (they have 382 guest rooms and suites). After making the 40 minute drive from New Tampa, we arrived to our staycation and were able to spend 2 full days doing nothing but relax.
We've stayed in St Pete Beach quite a few times but this was our first experience at Sirata. It is a pet friendly resort and we found ourselves wishing we brought along Baloo. I can just imagine him sitting in the living room, watching birds fly by. They give back to Pet Pal Animal Shelter, which is a organization close to my heart.
I was very impressed with our room, a one bedroom suite with a separate living area and kitchenette. It was  modern mixed with beach casual, a perfect setting for a beach getaway!

During our stay, we enjoyed the most perfect weather Florida could offer. It wasn't hot, it wasn't cold, it didn't rain and it wasn't humid. While on the beach, I noticed a golf cart driving around and learned that it was the first day Sirata began their Beach Bites, offering guests a variety of food and beverages. It was VERY popular among those laying out.
Sirata Beach Resort owns it's portion of the beach, so the alcohol rules do not apply in their section. We enjoyed a glass of prosecco on the beach! There are only a few places alcohol is allowed on the beach, so this was a pleasant surprise. Even with alcohol permitted on the beach, it wasn't a party atmosphere which was fantastic. We were able to have our drink and relax at the same time in a beautiful setting.
Parts of Sirata were still under construction , including two of the pools and famous Harry's Beach Bar. I am very excited to see what it will look like under construction, as the same architects that renovated Rowe Bar at neighboring Don CeSar. Harry's will be an open air concept with views of the pool and beach.
Due to multiple weddings on property, we didn't spend much time at the pool but once the two new ones have finished their transforamation, Sirata will be home to an oceanside oasis with amenities such as a hanging chair garden, fire pit, pool bar and private cabanas.
We had lunch at Rum Runner’s, which will be next to get a facelift once Harry's is completed. Even as is, I loved the vyb this beach bar had to offer. I made the joke that I didn't wear makeup for two days while on this trip, which was partially true. Rum Runner's will have a rustic feel to it with a communal table of liquor crates, Adirondack chairs, a fire pit and activities such as over-sized Jenga and foosball tables.
We had a very chill beach stay, something I haven't experienced in a very long time. No pressure to get dressed up or make it to a specific timed reservation. Very come and go as we pleased, with flip flops on and sand in our hair, while witnessing two nights of magical sunsets and waking up to walks on the beach. I couldn't have asked for more!

Sirata Beach Resort Transformation Schedule:
February 13 – August 2
Creating a new North Pool playground area, including updating Harry’s Beach Bar. While we’ll be sprucing Harry’s up, don’t worry, we’re maintaining that genuine ‘flip flop’ beach bar entertainment experience that has made it famous.

May 28 – October 2 we’ll be adding a uniquely St. Pete design touch to the breezeway featuring artwork from a locally sourced Tampa Bay artist. This will truly complement the transformed North Pool and Harry’s area.

August 3 – October 31 our transformation concludes as we create a new area where you can truly “Play More”. The transformation of Rum Runners Bar & Grille will make it an authentically fun and engaging beachfront dining area. And, for more of that “Play More” Siratafied experience, you’ll want to check-out our new beachfront private lanai guest rooms, a signature of Sirata Beach Resort.

Many thanks to Sirata Beach Resort for hosting us. I was not required to write a post, and all opinions are my own. 
Powered by Blogger.