When you think about Thailand, the first few things that come to mind would be full moon party, Songkran, massage, temples, and shopping. Every year, tons of tourist flock into this beautiful country to enjoy what this amazing country got to offer. If you love beaches and water activities, head to the southern region in which most of the beautiful island is located. And if you love nature, northern region have plenty of hiking trail to offer.
In the Northern region, we have Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. I have travelled to Bangkok for more than 3 times and despite it being a city, Bangkok is truly an interesting place to visit. It is known as the shopping heaven of Thailand with plenty of malls to go to. There are also other attractions such as The Grand Palace and floating market.
Being a city itself, people do not tend to stay for a long period of time, but for a stop over simply because there is nothing much to do in a city itself. Apart from Bangkok city itself, there are many other attractions nearby. So the next time you travel to Bangkok, here are some other place nearby you might want to travel to.
1. Koh Kret
45 mins away or 20 km away from the busy city is a small man-made island. Island in the middle of the city? How is that possible? I was curious too so I decided to pay a visit down to this place. Turns out, it is a small island in the middle of Chao Phraya river. This is not a mainstream tourist attraction as not many tourists know about this place. Which makes it an interesting to go since I personally do not like touristy place.
The island is small (8 km in perimeter if I remember correctly) and you can travel by foot around the entire island in 2 hours. If walking does not sound appealing, you can even rent a bicycle at a ridiculously cheap price (50 baht). There is nothing fancy to look at but an amazing place to just chill from busy Bangkok. The place is pretty deserted with only 2 to 5 shops open on the weekdays. So if you love the tranquillity, go during the weekdays. But if you would want to see more of the island, weekend would be a good choice as most of the shops are open with the place flooded by local tourists.
One of the popular things on the island is their pottery. So be sure to get one of those when you are there. You can also visit the pottery village and pottery museum. Besides that, they also have plenty of temples for you to hop around.
How To Get There:
You can get there by taking the BTS to Victoria Monument stop. There is a huge bus stop surrounding the Victoria Monument. Look for Bus no.166 which will cost 18 baht each way but remember to ask the bus attendant if the bus is heading to Pak Kret before you board the bus. Once you arrive at Pak Kret, you will need to take a boat over to Koh Kret island which cost only 2 baht. You did not read wrongly. You will see Pak Kret pier which every normal person would head to thinking that the boat is there but the boat to Koh Kret is not located there. The best way is to ask the locals and they will point you in the right direction. Don’t worry as it is walking distance.
Kanchanaburi is a place many have not heard of. I did not heard of it as well and was recommended by other travellers I have met. A place which Japanese forces used Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and Asian labours to build a rail route to Myanmar. There are lots of stories behind this small province making it a fun day trip. Some of the famous place to visit while you are there are the River Kwai Bridge, JEATH Museum, War cemetery, and the night market.
The one thing you have to do while you are there is taking the train. Simple for the amazing view. There is a weekend pass which allows you to take travel by train from Bangkok itself. Definitely a route I would take if I am to go back again. I missed out on the train ride and I regret it till today.
How To Get There:
There are 3 ways to get there. The first way which is also how I get there is by taking the minivan from Victoria Monument. It is the fastest and most convenient way to get there. The second way is by taking the bus from Southern Bus terminal. The third way is by taking the train from Thonburi station, the way I would probably take if I happen to visit Kanchanaburi again. The view of the place is just magnificent. Thus, making the train an ideal way of travelling there. It is, however, very time consuming and may even cost more. Last time I check, it cost 100 baht for each stop you went down.
Ayutthaya is one of the Unesco heritage places you do not want to miss. Located just a few hours from Bangkok makes it a perfect place for a day trip. If you fancy ancient temple, Ayutthaya is the place to go. From my own opinion, it is the Angkor Wat of Thailand. Of course at a smaller scale. You can easily get a map from the hostel and hop from temple to temple. Pretty interesting activities to do after a long week in the busy city. A bicycle would be perfect to get around in Ayutthaya.
There are many temples in Ayutthaya but the one temple that caught my attention and also the main reason why people visit Ayutthaya is Wat Mahathat. Here is where the famous Buddha head in the roots is located.
As much as you love taking photos, be sure to squat down if you plan to take a photo of yourself in it. The rationale behind it is that you must not be standing above the Buddha. A way to show respect to the place.
How To Get There:
If you are planning to head down to Ayutthaya, I would suggest taking the train. The cheapest way to get there along with a good view of the countryside and travel along with the locals. I paid like 28 baht to a province further up of Ayutthaya in which it should cost around that price or slightly lesser. From Bangkok, take the BTS to Hua Lamphong train station (the main train terminal in Bangkok). Hua Lamphong station is a well-run place so it is pretty easy to get a one-way ticket to Ayutthaya station. There is no need to buy the ticket in advance.
Heard of the monkey temple? Or a temple filled with monkeys? That is what Lopburi is popular for. If you have a few hours to spare, make a quick stopover at Lopburi and visit Prang Sam Yod, or also known as the monkey temple. In fact, almost the entire town is inhabitant by monkeys. In order to prevent the monkeys from attacking people, the local authorities feed them at a fixed time daily. And you can actually join in the feeding.
During my previous trip, I took a train straight up to Lopburi. Spent a few hours visiting the city and the monkey temple then head down to Ayutthaya. You can consider this route as well as Lopburi and Ayutthaya, is pretty close to each other.
How To Get There:
Similar to getting to Ayutthaya, go to Hua Lamphong train station and take the train to Lopburi. It should cost around 28 baht for the one-way ticket. There is no fixed seating so be prepared to stand if the train is full. It would take approximately 2-3 hours to reach Lopburi.
4 days Itinerary around Bangkok
If you are heading up to Bangkok for a couple of days, here are 4 days itinerary to explore places around Bangkok.
Day 1: Koh Kret and exploring Bangkok
Day 2: Head over to Lopburi to visit the Monkey temple
Day 3: Explore the beauty of UNESCO World Heritage centre.
Day 4: Day trip over to Kanchanaburi
Those are the places you might want to visit when you are there. Each province has their own specialities and it is amazing to visit each one. Is there any other place around Bangkok you have visited?