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60 kilometers north from Bangkok, you’ll find the beautiful & tranquil summer palace for Thailand Kings – The Bang Pa-In palace.

Far from being extremely crowded like the Grand Place in Bangkok, the king’s summer palace is a joy to walk around and be admired in peace.

My knee high shirt dress in not long enough for the royal grounds so a sarong is rented. It was actually a very beautiful purple sarong made of thick cotton with golden trims. Fully equipped with layers of clothes, a blue sticker from the tour, a sun hat and large backpack, I was a typical tourist full of baggage. It was a very hot day, but the vast greenery and cool breeze over the lake made the excursion pleasant.

What a world of difference between this place and those little dark, smelly alleys in Thailand. It’s good to be the king.

best bangkok shopping

My focus of the trip to Bangkok wasn’t on shopping itself but on exploring and sightseeing. However research the best shopping in Bangkok was also part of the mission. The hotel I stayed in Bangkok is within the Siam District and right opposite to MBK shopping centre, therefore it was a super convenient spot and I’d stay there again next time in Bangkok. The thing is, you might be overwhelmed by the endless shopping choices in Bangkok. So where to start? Where can you find quality gems instead of cheap & nasty knockoffs?

Here are 20 Best Bangkok Shopping Places including shopping centres and markets.

best bangkok shopping

Siam Paragon – Photo source: Tourism Thailand

Let’s start with shopping centres and shopping malls first:

Siam Paragon

With a prime location next to the city’s busiest BTS station, its towering glass facade contains a huge selection of designer stores, from Hermes and Chanel to street favourites such as Zara and H&M. Siam Ocean World aquarium, a bowling alley, a concert venue and a multi-screen cinema is also there. Definitely one of the best Bangkok shopping places.; 999 Rama 1 Rd. Siam

Siam Centre

After a major renovation, Siam Centre offers new inspirational spaces for art and design, befitting its reputation at the vanguard of the local fashion scene. The highlight is the Fashion Visionary space on the third floor, home to the flagship stores of top Thai designers and multi-Thai_label store The selected.; Rama 1 Rd. Siam

Siam Discovery

The sister mall of Siam Centre celebrated its’s 10th anniversary with an overhaul in 2011, which included the addition of lots of new eateries as well as the opening of an ice-skating rink and a Madame Tussaud’s wax museum.; Rama 1 Road, Siam

Erawan Bangkok

This mini-mall might look petite, but it offers high-end boutique you can’t find elsewhere, including Comme de Garcons, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Lanvin and Alexander Wang.; 494 Ploenchit Rd, Chit Lom


This massive complex is home to seven floors, or 550,000 sq meters of restaurants, cinemas and stores. It’s a good spot for high-street brands like Topshop, Gap and Uniqlo, as well as Thai favourites and also houses an Isetan Department Store.; Ratchaprasong Intersection, Ratchadamri Rd. Siam

Central Chidlom

Opened in 1973, it’s the closest thing Bangkok has to Harrods, and remains the Central Group’s flagship department store. It’s packed with leading brands, like Ralph Lauren, DVF, Coach, Paul Smith and Gucci. Don’t miss the great view from the seventh-floor food court.; 1027 Ploenchit Rd. Chit Lom

Armarin Plaza

The mall’s Greco-Roman facade actually hides some unexpected gems. ID1 on the first floor holds a collection of local designers, while the Thai Craft Market on the third floor is good for souvenirs.; 596-502 Ploenchit Rd. Chit Lom


Thailand’s leading high-end mall is home to numerous luxury international labels such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, and Fendi and Thai brands like Sretsis, Disaya, Zenithorial and Panpuri.; 999 Ploechit Rd. Chit Lom


Actually part of the sprawling CentralWorld complex, this trendy department store stands apart thanks to its focus on cutting-edge fashion, leading labels and high-end home decor.; 4/5 Ratchadamri Rd. Pathumwan, Chit Lom

MBK Center

Clothes, shoes, cameras, mobile phones, suitcases and souvenirs – everything is here at bargain prices. This is a shopping centre where you can haggle for your purchases. You’ll find quite a few nice Japanese restaurants here including my favourite all you can eat hotpot and sushi place. There’s a popular Thai food court on the six floor and there’s a everyday market offering a variety of delicious street food right outside MBK centre. Definitely one of the best Bangkok shopping places.; 444 Phayathai Rd. National Stadium

K Village

One of the city’s first semi-alfresco community malls remains a popular spot among expats and locals who call the area home. It features a number of boutiques ranging from high-end pet stores to bespoke tailors, as well as lots of restaurants. One real draw is the monthly farmer’s markets held on the last Sunday of the month.; Soi Sukhumvit 26. Sukhumvit

Terminal 21

Boasting an airport terminal-cum-international destinations theme, the nine floors let you stop off a the Caribbean, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London and Istanbul. The lower floors are dedicated to high-street chains, while the upper floors offer intriguing boutiques by Thai designers. There’s also a food court, restaurants and a cinema.; 2-88 Sukhumvit Soi 19, Sukhumvit

The Emporium

Set in the heart of an upscale residential area, The Emporium offers luxury shopping from brands like Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior and Celine, along with Thai favourites like Jaspal and Jim Thompson. There are also lots of eating option, a cinema and the Thailand Creative and Design Centre on the top floor.; 622 Sukhumvit Rd. Phrom Phong

Platinum Fashion Mall

Platinum is Bangkok’s wholesale fashion shopping centre and the biggest source for the city’s street and market stalls. You can find everything fashion-related from women’s shoes to men’s suits. And don’t worry about having to buy wholesale, as even single items come very cheap.; 222 Petchaburi Rd.


This evening-only (from 4pm) shopping centre on the banks of the Chao Phraya River is themed according to the city’s old architecture. divided into sections ranging from the waterfront to a 100 year old refurbished sawmill, it includes over 1,500 boutiques covering quirky fashions and intriguing souvenirs, plus offers a variety of eateries and wine bars. Asiatique is also home to a large ferris Wheel, Calypso Cabaret, Joe Lois puppet theatre.; 2195 Charoenkrung Rd.

OP Place

Situated in a beautiful neoclassical-style building close to the river, this luxury mall oozes charm from the sweeping wooden staircase to the antique lift. It’s home to a host of high-end boutiques offering unique and rare antiques and artefacts from across Southeast Asia, handcrafted jewellery, bespoke tailors and fine art. there’s also a free shuttle service to the nearby OP garden, which houses art galleries, restaurants and high-end boutiques.

Address: 30/1, Soi 38, Charoenkrung Rd., Bang Rak

River City

Situated right on the river, the third and fourth floors of this mall are packed with boutique stores selling the very best in Thai and Southeast Asian art, antiques and artefacts. Once you’re done shopping, you can also take advantage of the collection of bars and restaurants on the ground floor, which offer great river views out on the terrace.; Yotha Rd. Si Phraya Pier

A few of the best markets in Bangkok:

Chatuchak Market

Better known by locals as JJ, Chatuchak is a vast weekend market. More than 15,000 retailers occupy the 27 -acre space, which is broken down into 27 sections, roughly categorised by the products each section offers. You can literally spend days amid the warren of stalls, but if have limited time, then this is the general breakdown:books are in Section 1, while Sections 2-4 are home to young fashion designers. Sections 5-6 have vintage clothing, and you’ll find art in Sections 7-9, Sections 10-24 offer a real mix of miscellaneous stuff, while Sections 25-27 are dedicated to crafts and home-decor items.

Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak

Open Sat-Sun 09:00–18:00, and Fridays 18:00–24:00.

Talad Rod Fai (Train Market)

The popular “Thailand Rotfai” or train market has found its feet at its new location behind the Seacon Square Shopping Mall. Featuring a large number of vintage hop, cool bars with live music and foods talls in a retro setting, the massive weekend night market is packed with character and a hit with shoppers looking to find vintage items. The market is open on Wednesday, and Friday to Sunday from about 6pm to midnight.

Ratchada Train Market is located on Sri Nakarin Soi 51, open from 17:00 to 01:00, from Thursday to Sunday.

Sampeng Market in China Town

We’ll finish the list of 20 best Bangkok shopping places with my personal favourite market in Bangkok: Sampeng market. I’ve talked about it in my previous Bangkok China Town blog post. This is very easy to get to and not only limited to the weekend. Open from 9:oo -18:00 daily, Sampeng Market is also a wholesale market where many store owners and market stall vendors from other parts of Bangkok come to buy wholesale deals and then re-sell elsewhere. Needless to say, you can find some good deals here. Just keep wandering through the alleys and shop till you drop.


Grand Palace Thailand

Grand Palace Thailand

Planning to travel to Bangkok for the first time? You can’t miss the Grand Palace Thailand. Since I posted some of my travel photos in Thailand on my Instagram, many people asked me questions about  their up coming travels in Bangkok through private messages. So here are the top 10 travel tips to the Grand Palace Thailand for the first time visitors.

Get there early.

The Grand Place opens daily from 8am to 4pm. Make sure you go there early! Why? Because you’ll be bombarded by countless large group tours (20 -30 people) after 9am. If you want to get some of those “exclusive” photos without so many tourists in the background, get in early.

How to Get there

Many people get there by boat. Other people go by Sky Train then boat. The easiest way? By taxi. Getting a taxi in Bangkok is very convenient and cheap, as long as your taxi driver uses the meter. Just make sure you ask your taxi driver to switch their meter on politely (or firmly if you have to).

Reasonable entrance fee

The current entrance fee for foreigners is 500 Bart for foreigners which is significantly higher than what Thai locals are paying. You might feel slightly discriminated but considering tourism is Thailand’s main source of income, don’t.  The ticket will also give you access to Wat Phra Kaeo, The Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion and Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile, which are located within the Grand Palace compound, and to Vimanmek Mansion Museum on Ratchawithi Road. There have been quite a few people on travel forums complaining that the entrance fee is a bit expensive but I think the 500 Bart (about $20)  fee charged is very reasonable.

Dress code

It’s always very hot in Bangkok, so you’ll be tempted to wear shots or tank tops to go out and about. The Grand Palace has strict dress code and you won’t be allowed to get in wearing clothes that are considered inappropriate for the sacred sits of Thailand. But don’t worry, you can rent something to cover yourself up for free easily at the Grant Place if you are stopped for not wearing long enough pants. All you need to do is to pay a small deposit which will be returned to you once you’ve returned the rented clothes.

Once you are in the Grand Place, make sure you are covered properly and behaving respectfully.

It’ll be more crowded than you’ve imagined.

You’ll see more people than you can imagine, especially after 9am. You’ll see many large group of Chinese tours, way more than you can imagine. Don’t expect to take photos of the landmarks without any tourist in the background.

Grand Palace Thailand tours (1 of 1)

Bring drinking water and a sunhat

It’ll be hotter inside the Grand Place than outside. Make sure you have plenty of drinking water to keep you hydrated. A sunhat would be helpful too if you are not used to heat like this.

Take a guided tour or not

The choice is yours. Maps and brochures are available to help you explore. There are also free guided tours in English are available from 10am, 10:30am, 1pm and 2pm. Those guided tours last about 40 minutes and go in one direction. You can also rent an audio tour for 100 Bart and explore at your own pace.

Shoot up and go for detailed shots

It might be hard to shoot the landmarks without lots of tourists in your photos but here’s a trick or two to help you get perfect photos:

  1. Shoot up. You’ll be able to photograph those glorious architectures with perfect blue sky as your background. Lots of opportunities for detail shots. if you shoot up, you see blue sky and get a great.
  2. Go for close-up, detailed shots. There are so many amazing details that be your perfect photo objects.

Grand Palace Thailand entrance (1 of 1)

Grand Palace Thailand demons (1 of 1)-2

Don’t miss the Temple of Emerald Buddha

Among many temples in Thailand, the Temple of Emerald Buddha – Wat Phra Kaew, is regarded the most sacred and a must see. Shoes need to removed before entering the temple. Once you get in, look around and you’ll admire those walls around you. The Emerald Buddha is quite small in size, about 66 centimetres (26 in) tall, carved from a single jade stone. Wat Phra Kaew is located within the compound of the Grand Place so make sure you don’t miss it.

You’ve got go

#Obviously. Ok the point is, Grand Place Thailand is THE must go historical sight in Bangkok. I know someone would go to Bangkok and spend most of their time drinking in the bars. Some people might be on a business trip with not much time for sightseeing. If you can make a trip to one sight in Bangkok, go to The Grand Palace. One of the best known and most sunning landmark in Bangkok, the compound is home to a collection of royal palaces, which blend European and Thai architecture. Every visitor to Bangkok must go to see the Grand Place:).

Grand Palace Thailand demons (1 of 1) Grand Palace Thailand doors (1 of 1)


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During our day tour to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, we had two stopovers: one to a coconut producer’s workshop on the way to the floating market; one to an elephant farm on the way back to Bangkok.

That workshop was very small with a fair sized orchard farm adjacent to it. Not surprisingly, the souvenir market comes with this stopover was much bigger than both the coconut workshop and orchard farm:).

The stopover in the afternoon was  much more exciting. We had the chance to ride an elephant inside the farm and across the river. There were also buckets of lady finger bananas were available for elephant feeding for 100 bart each. We grabbed a bucket and waited eagerly in the queue for our turn to ride. While waiting in the queue, a lady in front of started to eat those bananas in her bucket. Curious about the taste of those bananas, we tried one from our bucket too… It was sweet and delicious!

Having heard quite a few horror stories such as elephants were treated badly or elephant keeper killed by his elephant, I was a little wary of it but our elephant ride turned out to be super pleasant. The elephant ride was super pleasant. Those elephants we so calm and well looked after from what I saw. Our elephant keeper kept talking to his elephant and obviously there was a strong bond between them. Not sure if there’s a term of “elephant whisper”, but if there’s such expression, our elephant keeper certainly is one.

The elephant was stopped for us to have many photo opportunities on the way. Towards the end of our ride, the elephant keeper pulled out a box suddenly and presented us a box of jewellery which appeared to be mad of elephant tusks. Kind of turn off by it, I didn’t show any interest. “Ok, tip, tip.” The elephant keeper then asked. That’s fair enough, he did a good job and deserved his tip. Would have given him without being asked:).

Oh, remember those bananas we bought for elephant feeding? We gave the bucket to our elephant keeper, then he passed the whole bucket of bananas to the elephant; they were taken in one go and finished off within 30 seconds, skin included. Cute hey? Why did I imagine elephants would eat those bananas one by one like humans do!

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market was in the “maybe” pile on my itinerary to Bangkok. While definitely wanting to visit one of the floating markets in Thailand, I also read a lot comments about Damnoen Saduak Floating Market market on the internet. Most comments are mainly among those lines: “It’s too touristy nowadays…” ” It is very far from Bangkok city centre…”  “Buyers there are 100% tourists… etc. ets.” Happy to report that I did manage to go to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (1 of 1)

You might have been deterred from the thought of paying a visit to the market like I did originally, but come to think of it, you are going to Thailand for a visit, not to live there long term. You are going to be tourists! Hence being touristy is totally fine, right? Now, what about the problem of having to get up early and catch the 7am tour bus? Is that a real problem? 7am is not that early! Do you really want to spend your mornings on vacation in your hotel room? I hope not. It is actually easier to get to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market than you might have imagined!

Here’s a quick guide to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market based on my personal experience:

1.It’s the largest and most famous floating market in Thailand.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market has the most boats! It was also featured in one of the James Bond movies.

2. It is about 100 kilo meters southwest of Bangkok.

That’s why I thought it might be a hassle and not easy to get too.

3. It opens everyday!

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market opens everyday from 7am -11am. “Open everyday” is very convenient for tourists like us because some markets only open on the weekends. As most short term visitors only have 1 or 2 weekends in Bangkok, it is very practical to fit this activity during the week.

4. The easiest way to get there as a tourist is to join a tour.

The easiest way to get to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market from Bangkok is by tour. As mentioned earlier, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the largest and the most famous floating market, it is so easy to book a tour in Bangkok. Most hotel help desk could help you with that. We booked ours through our hotel and it took less than 5 minutes of our time.

5. You’ll be looked after by your tour company.

The tour bus normally will come to pick you up in the morning at 7am and drop you off after the tour finishes. English speaking tour guides will keep your entertained and explain what to expect on the way.

6. You’ll have stopovers.

There will be stopovers on your bus tour to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Our tour had Damnoen Saduak Floating Market day tour stopovers: One to the Orchid Farm and coconut producer workshop on the way to Orchid Farm and coconut producer; one to an elephant farm on the way back. I’ll post photos of the stopovers in a separate blog post.

7. Long tail boat ride is going to be a bumpy one.

After the coconut workshop, it takes about 10 minutes bus ride to the pier where you can hop onto one of those painted long tail boats to finally arrive the market. The long tail boat ride will be a bumpy one. Remember to keep your head high and mouth closed, because you definitely don’t want to drink the water from that river, not even by accident!

8. You have the choice to hire a boat to cruising along the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

The long tail boat ride is included in your tour price. That’s how they get you to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Once you are in the market, you have a choice of just walking along the banks of the canals or hiring a boat to cruise along the canals.

9. The boat fairs are different for tourists and local Thai people. 

Surprised? You shouldn’t. It is common practise to charge tourists much, much higher fees than local Thai so get used to it! To share a wooden rowing boat with other people, fares very between 200-350 bart. There are many boat hiring businesses among the banks of the canals. Those ones near the entrance usually have long queues and demand higher fees. But if you walk a few meters further, the queue will eventually disappear and you’ll also get charged 100 bart less.

10. Someone will quickly snap a photo of you and sell it to you later.

The moment I took a seat on the boat, a thai girl quickly emerged and took a snap of us. “How friendly these people are.” I thought and left to explore. The same girl appeared again on my way back with a photo of us stuck in the middle of a picture board and offered to sell it to us. It wasn’t a bad photo so I bought it.

11.The boat will stop at every vendor that offers merchandise that one of the passenger on board.

If you don’t want to spend 1000 bart to hire a private boat to cruise along the canals, you might want to consider who you want to share your boat with. The boat will stop at every vendor that offers merchandise that one of the passenger on board. So unless you are a keen shopper or not a shopper but super patient, ideally you’d like to share your boat with people who have less tendency to shop and haggle for a long time. But it’s hard to tell when you don’t really know people so it’s purely a game of luck.

12. Unless you have to, don’t buy souvenirs from the market.

The boat stops when the passengers want to buy something. The ladies sharing the boat with us stopped boat many times to buy stuff. Obviously they didn’t know anything about the hat shop in Chinatown. It took them at least 20 minutes to pick and haggle, the hats they bought on the boat were still more expensive than the asking price in the shop in Chinatown.

13. There are more boats for tourists than vendor boats.

Overlooking the canals of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, there are boats of boats of tourists with the occasional vendor boats. Those vendor boats mainly offer food, fruits or … hats.

15. Authentic Thai food.

The food sellers along the docks have some nice photos of their food on offer and I do believe they are just as tasty as they look. But after seeing how food was usually handled locally and the cleanness of the canal water, I didn’t try anything:). On the positive note, big bottle of change beer were offered at super reasonable price. I really liked the taste of Chung beer and it was wonderful to sip cold beer in the shade.

16. Photo opportunities?

Guaranteed, there are quite a few fruit sellers rowing their boats along the narrow canal that provide a unique experience for tourists and great photo opportunities. Believe it or not, boats of tourists holding cameras also provide photo opportunities haha.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market fruit seller (1 of 1)

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

17. Countless stalls along the banks of the canals.

Souvenirs, fake handbags, Thai spices, buddha heads, wooden carvings are among the most popular merchandise on offer.

18. There are live monkeys and snakes.

Should these be grouped as photo opportunities too? It’s up to you.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

19. Don’t try to buy a pig souvenir. 

A friend of us wanted a pig figure as a souvenir from Thailand so we went for our mission seriously. Though I didn’t want to do any shopping here but still paid close attention to see if they have any cute pig figures  for sale. Well, you guessed it, there were lots of elephants – no pigs.

20. Alright, call it a tourist trap but what isn’t?

It totally depends how you see it. Yes there will be more tourists than local Thai poeple. Most likely they’d try to rip you off just as you’ve been warned. But Thailand is touristy country nowadays and it is expected.  If you choose to travel in Thailand, be ready for those type of experiences and enjoy the ride!

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Want to see more photos? Here are more posts about my trip to Thailand:



Bangkok Chinatown is listed on many travel guides as one of the tourist attractions for obvious reasons. Maybe because I’m an adopted Australian Chinese, Chinatown has always been on my must see list wherever I go. Every time prior to any overseas trip, I’d Google that country’s China Town and plan and trip there. A meal in China town is a must too! As a keen traveller, I’ve visited many Chinatown in different cities all over the world but Chinatown Bangkok by far offered the most unique and authentic experience.

Our hotel wasn’t far from China Town and initially we wanted a “local” treat getting there by tuk tuk, because you have to do that once you are in Thailand right? So we went out on the street around mid day. Immediately we were swapped by many tuk tuk drivers which made me a little uncomfortable. Fear not, I asked how much is the fare to China Town. They offered something ridiculous like 4 times more than a taxi fare to Bangkok China Town. We knew the price is negotiable but who had the time and patience to deal with them in a hot day? Besides that, I was sick of being harrassed.

As we walked away, one persistent tuk tuk driver follow along. He reduced his price to twice as much as a taxi fair. As we refused to get onto his tuk tuk once again, he said, ” China Town is closed now. It’s only open at night, so you won’t see anything there now.” “Oh really?” I felt disappointed and nearly believed him and stopped trying to go. Yes I’m just someone naive like that. “Yes. nothing.” Tuk Tuk driver replied firmly like a local authority. But lucky I wasn’t by myself and we decided to go and see ourselves anyway.

Bangkok Chinatown, Thailand

We got there by a taxi. No haggling involved because we simply asked the taxi driver to turn taxi meter on. After a short and easy drive, we arrived Bangkok China Town. It was full on! Nothing was closed, therefore the “China Town is closed until night.” wasn’t true. Wonder why a local person would say something like that is not remotely true? Nevertheless, I wasted no time exploring. Bangkok China Town is wonderful and foreign, even to me.

Here’s a collection of 15 weird or wonderful things to see and do in Bangkok Chinatown from my personal experience. The list is nevertheless not exhausted. You can choose to see and experience as much as you can or as little you can. The choice is yours!

1. Shark fin and bird nest shops everywhere

Chinatown Bangkok must have the most shark fin and bird nest shops per square meter in the whole world. I mean, they are everywhere there. I know the old generation of Cantonese love shark fins and bird nest, but until my visit to Chinatown Bangkok, I didn’t realise shark fins and bird nest are loved that much.

Have you ever tried shark fin soup or bird nest? I’ve had shark fin soup many times and it tastes like some kind of vermicelli soup. It normally comes as part of a banquet in expensive Chinese Restaurant. I’ve never tried bird nest though. Never had the desire to try – it doesn’t sound edible. Looking back, I should at least try. It’s not as scary as those fried insects!

chinatown Bangkok bird nest

2. Seafood from market stalls, fresh or dry

Bangkok didn’t strike me as the city that offers the best seafood but those seafood stalls from Sampeng market certainly left a good impression on me. They reminded me of some seafood stalls in China and Japan, especially China where I grew up. The fresh and dry seafoods of those kind are no where to be found in Sydney Fish Market. We mainly have large sized crabs, boneless fillets and limited kinds of seafood for sale here in Australia. Seafood is getting slightly more diversified in Sydney nowadays because of the hugely increased amount of Asian immigrates in recent years. But markets in Australia are totally different. Look at those crabs with roes! If I had cooking facilities in my hotel room, I’d totally cook them there. Haha, there isn’t of course so I kept walking.

chinatown bangkok seafood (1 of 2)

chinatown bangkok seafood

3. Walking along those little dark alley ways

Those little dark alley ways didn’t look inviting. They look a little scary actually. It’s quite dark even in broad day light. I was hesitant to go that way but to experience the authentic Thai way of life, one must walk through those little dark alleys in Bangkok Chinatown Bangkok in my opinion. We didn’t see any tourist in those part of China Town, only local residents there doing their everyday thing.

Perhaps tourists are scared to go in just like I initially felt. We went in anyway because we were curious and kind of brave, lol. Check out those stoves and pots, you don’t get to see these things anywhere else. One can easily get lost in those dark little alleys ways. But your most memorable experience getting lost in those alleys can be the most memorable experience of your trip.

chinatown bangkok dark alleys

bangkok chinatown bangkok dark alleys

It’s very dark!

4. Lots of grand Chinese restaurants

If your stomach is not strong enough and you are cautious about food offered by various street vendors and small restaurants, there are many Grand Chinese restaurants in Chinatown Bangkok for you to choose from. Guess what are most common signature dishes? Yes, that’s right – shark fin soup, bird nest and seafood of course:).

bangkok chinatown

5. The “Facial”

This is quite an ancient way to get rid of the facial hair. I’ve heard that in the old days, all Chinese brides had their faces done in this way the first time in their life on their wedding day but not with the white cream on their faces. It was so fascinating to see the procedure in real life especially when it’s so commonly available on the streets.

chinatown bangkok facial

6. Wat Traimit with the largest golden Buddha inside

Temples in Thailand are like churches in Europe. They are everywhere! As if there are not enough temples in Bangkok already, there’s a famous temple right in Chinatown – Wat Traimit.

Wat Traimit hosts the world’s largest golden Buddha so indeed it’s quite worthwhile to visit. I personal love seeing temples and Buddhas because I’m a sucker for anything old and beautiful.

7. Best souvenir shopping

Every tourist attraction you go, it’s guaranteed you’ll find lots of souvenir shops. I  don’t buy much souvenirs nowadays because I’ve accumulated enough junk over the years. While in Bangkok China Town, I discovered a secret. Now I’ll share the secret with you: If you want to bring some typical Thai souvenirs back home, don’t buy them from the usually tourist attractions, buy them from the Sampeng Market in Chinatown Bangkok. No only you can find endless choices there, you’ll also get the best value for your money because Sampeng Market is a wholesale place for retailers. Even the retail price there is much lower than what you can get from any other tourist places in Thailand.

8. Practical clothes & accessory shopping

Chinatown bangkok market

I was really happy with my hat purchase. So why don’t I look happy in this picture… too hot?

You’ll need a hat in the hot sun in Thailand. I knew I was going to buy some new hats in Bangkok but didn’t have any idea about where to buy them from, until I came across this hat shop in Chinatown. It was located in one of the alleys in Sampeng Market. The size of the shop was huge compared to many little stalls and shops and it was very busy serving retailers from everywhere in the world. If I have a shop boutique, I’d buy from them too! Spoilt with choices, I ended up buying 3. Seriously, if I’d buy more if time permitted.

There was no need to haggle, the asking retail price was still only half as much as you buy from other tourist shops after haggling.  It made me wonder how low the wholesale price would be. J also bought a pair of the most comfortable pyjama pants made of good quality cotton. We didn’t manage to find something similar anywhere else afterwards.

9. Traditional Thai massage.

After half day of sight seeing and shopping, you might want to stop for a massage. Why not? Thai massage is world famous and in Chinatown Bangkok. Of course there are good one and not so good ones. The good news is you can get the good traditional Thai massage easily in Chinatown.

chinatown bangkok massage

10. Sharing the narrowest streets with cars and motor bikes.

Exploring Chinatown is not going to be a leisurely stroll. The streets and alleys are so narrow and you have to share them with many cars and motor bikes. How spoilt are we in Sydney Chinatown where the streets ( much wider and neat ) are blocked for pedestrians only!

chinatown bangkok

11. Fried Insects

You’ll find fried insets in Bangkok China Town. People generally call them “exotic food” or “delicacies”. Do you think I’d try them because of their fancy names? Of course not. 🙂 I consider myself quite adventurous when it comes to food, but there’s no way in the world that I’d like to ever try those fried insects.

12. Bustling gold shops

There are many gold shops in Chinatown Bangkok – almost as many as the shark fin and bird nest shops.

Want to buy gold as pure as 96.5%? There is no better place to buy in Bangkok other than Yaowarat Road,Chinatown and one of the most reputable along this road is Hua Seng Heng. You won’t miss it wandering around Chinatown.

chinatown bangkok gold shops

13. Thieves Market

Intriguing name. It’s no longer called that I believe and it’s no longer selling the stolen goods. For those who are curious, the market closes at 6pm and provides interesting objects for photography.

chinatown bangkok thieves market (1 of 1)

14. Night life

If you think Chinatown is busy during the day, come at night and see what “busy” really means:). Cooler air, abundant food, neon lights, night markets, bars, and night clubs will welcome you in open arms.

15. Grand China Princess revolving rooftop bar

Feeling tired after a day’s exploration and in need of a little chilling out time? There’s a rooftop bar in Chinatown too! The top floors of the Grand China Princess Hotel Bangkok offers brilliant view of surrounding attractions sites such as Wat Arun Golden Mount and Wat Traimit. For less than 100 baht, the cost of a drink including a draft beer at 75 baht only, you get the view of Chinatown and beyond, all the way to the Chao Phraya river at Sky View 360˙Restaurant Rooftop Bar and Restaurant. It is located on the revolving top floor of the China Princess Hotel and it takes about two hours to complete a full round.

chinatown bangkok the grand China hotel

What a perfect to unwind and chill after a hot and busy day.

Want to see more photos? Here are some other posts of my trip to Thailand:

Thailand hotel Thailand hotel-2

Our hotel in Bangkok has a really nice rooftop pool/bar area where guests can relax and watch the day go by.

Since there’s a 4-hours time difference between Sydney Bangkok, I always woke up before the sun rise and could easily be the first one on the rooftop.

It was truly a beautiful way to welcome another amazing day and enjoy the best the glorious morning could offer.


Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Wearing: Zimmerman silk dress

sunrise in Bangkok

shooting sunrise

It’s been more than a week since my last blog post as I’m traveling in Thailand now and everyday is so full on! But it’s time for a quick update on what’s happening right now.

I’ve always wanted to shoot some sunrise photos but never really made an effort for it. You know, I love my sleep. This trip to Bangkok just changed everything.

Our inbound flight to Bangkok was delayed for 3 hours, the taxi ride from Bangkok airport was extremely slow too because of traffic jam. When we got the hotel, it was nearly midnight  local time as apposed to 5:30 in the afternoon. The next morning I woke up, it was 6am in the morning Bangkok time and 10am Sydney time. I slowly opened the window curtain from my hotel room…What a nice surprise.  The room is high up with an with a huge floor to ceiling widow looking out to South, east and west. What an amazing view! Sunrise on that day was 6:35am so it was the perfect time to shoot sunrise without moving far at all.  Never did I dream of getting up to shoot sunrise so effortlessly. Obviously the 4 hours time difference helped!

Thank you Bangkok. You made my dream become true.


5 Unmissable Things To Do In Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a hidden gem, floating in the Indian ocean. Found just off the coast of India, it is one of the most beautiful and truly unique countries on the planet. Sri Lanka is a paradise of wildlife, natural beauty, and vibrant culture. With a deep religious history, the country bears the marks of Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim tradition. It also has a colonial history, overseen by Britain until the 1970s. As a result, there are hints of European influence too. If you’re planning a visit to this wonderful country, here are some of the unmissable sights.

5 Unmissable Things To Do In Sri Lanka:

  1. Adam’s Peak

Adam’s Peak is an enormous mountain that reaches 2,234m above the dense forest around it. It has an iconic, lonely presence against the Sri lankan scenery. However, Adam’s Peak is not just famous for its domineering presence. It has a religious significance to the Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim communities. A sacred footprint at the top of the peak is said to be Buddha’s very own foot mark. Hindus, however, believe it to be Shiva’s, while Muslims and Christians believe it is Adam’s. Whatever you choose to believe, the views are simply magnificent from up here!

The view from Adam’s Peak (credit)

5 Unmissable Things To Do In Sri Lanka

  1. Yala National Park

There are lots of national parks in Sri lanka. Each one has its own areas of natural wonder and beauty. It’s Yala national park that makes our list though. It’s the most popular park, and the second biggest on the island. It’s also the best place to spot the local leopards. In fact, it has the largest leopard density of any area on the planet. We suggest you find a local guide, and head out on safari!

  1. The coastline

The Indian ocean is perhaps the most dazzling in the world. Its crystal clear oceans meet the pristine beaches on every coast of Sri Lanka. Our personal favourite is the east coast, which looks out into the Bay of Bengal. Book yourself into a luxury Sri Lanka hotel, and spend your days relaxing in the sunshine.

  1. Kataragama

Sri Lanka is home to hundreds of remote, colonial towns. Each has their unique character and charm. However, there is something particularly special about Kataragama. One of the things that makes it so wonderful is the nightly temple ceremony. It instantly reminded us of Nantien Temple here in Australia. The ceremony marks the end of a pilgrimage for Buddhist, Hindus, and Muslims alike.

  1. Eat!

We couldn’t possibly reach the end of this article without mentioning the food. Sri Lanka has one of the best cuisines on the planet. Much like India, the food is based around curries and rice. But, their unique blend of spices set it apart from its Indian neighbours. Coconut is used heavily, as are lentils. Perhaps the most famous Sri Lankan export is Dhal curry, which you’ll see in many Indian restaurants. Of course, it’s nothing compared to the real thing!

5 Unmissable Things To Do In Sri Lanka

Photo credit
As you can see, Sri Lanka is a unique and mesmerising country. There is a beautiful melting pot of cultures and religions, giving it a magical vibe. Have we missed any of Sri Lanka’s best bits?

There are so many things to do in Beijing. Any travel website or guide will give you a lot of information about Beijing, the capital of China, the most populous country in the world. However, to really get a feel of what a city has to offer, you need to be there, breathe in the air, get a feel of the atmosphere, taste the food and observe the local people and their life.
Beijing has a lot to offer to a visitor. Like most capital cities, it is the center of political, cultural, economic and trade activities in the country. You will be able to see many historical attractions giving you a glimpse into the ancient past. You will also understand why it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world with more than 4 million international tourists and 140 million domestic tourists coming in every year.

If you are excited about the idea of visiting Beijing but feeling a bit overwhelmed and don’t know what to do and where to start, here are a few things to do in Beijing:

5 Things To Do In Beijing As A Tourist

1. Sight Seeing

I’m sure this is the main purpose of any tourist visiting Beijing. Not sure about what the major attractions are? Here’s the must -go list:

  • Forbidden city (Imperial Palace)
  • The Summer Palace
  • The Great Wall
  • Ming Dynasty Tombs
  • Tiananmen Square
  • Beijing Hutongs
  • Temples of Heaven
  • Beihai Park
  • Shichahai
  • Jingshan Park
Things To Do In Beijing summer palace

Summer Palace

2. Take a rickshaw ride

Considering the traffic situation in Beijing, only the most maneuverable vehicles can really get you somewhere fast and rickshaws fit the bill perfectly. They have this knack of making progress on chocked roads by driving on the footpaths, going the wrong way on one way streets and in general disregarding all road rules.

Lights and indicators probably don’t come as part of standard equipment for rickshaws as many are without these essential devices. However, that doesn’t prevent them from operating at night. A rickshaw ride through Beijing can be as exciting as the ride of an adventure theme park, the only difference is that in this case there is real danger. If you want to know what it is like, take a look at James Bond’s rickshaw ride in Octopussy. You will have your heart in your throat during the ride and will thank your stars when you get off alive.

I know you are getting worried by now. Don’t be. There are also rickshaws taking people around Beijing Hutons, Shichahai and other historical areas leisurely. The seats are comfortable, drivers (also the tour guides) are friendly and knowledgeable and price is like less than 30$ an hour.

things to do in Beijing rickshaw ride

3. Try The Local Cousin

Things To Do In Beijing Beijing Duck

Food is Beijing is generally fresh, delicious and cheap. If you are in Beijing, you should not miss the famous Peking duck. Also called the Beijing duck, this roast duck is one of the most famous foods of China. There are many famous Peking duck restaurants in the city like the Quanjude Beijing Roast Duck restaurant and the Dadong Peking Duck restaurant. Pecking duck is usually served with pancakes, sweet noodle sauce and spring onions.

If you are looking for something exotic, the Wangfujing Snack Street is the place to go. It is packed with food stalls offering a wide variety of local street delicacies. You can either settle for the less exotic lamb kebabs or for fried scorpions and insects which can give you an Indiana Jones experience.

You can be sure that the fried insects are fresh as some of them are still alive when they are on the skewers. I didn’t see any locals eating it, so it could just be a tourist only delicacy for brave people.

If you are looking for some simple snack, I recommend you try baked sweet potatoes from a local farmer. At five yuan (less than a dollar) for three pieces, it is definitely worth it. You have to be careful about what you drink, especially on the streets. Water borne diseases like diarrhea are common. When you are in doubt, it is better to stick to hot beverages like tea or coffee.

4. Get A message

Beijing is massive and there will be lots of walking involved. A good massage is very relaxing after a tough touring day in Beijing.  Massage parlors offering massage for about nine dollars an hour are available round the clock. It’s a far cry from 90 dollars an hour price tag in Sydney. So enjoy while you are there. There are many large massage/bath houses open 24 hours a day. If you are too tired to travel to the massage place, they can come to your hotels too.

5. Shopping

From international brand names to little street stalls, Beijing offers all kinds of shopping experiences. China is laced with spectacular places to visit, but when it comes to shopping ‘Wangfujing Street’ is brilliant. It is ripe with various shops to fulfill all possible needs one could possibly think of. Encompassing the Chinese culture and all it has to offer, it can be a goldmine for tourists looking to find souvenirs and other items of interest. You can buy souvenirs from all the tourist attractions too. The price can be tricky though.

This Chinese army hat is my favorite souvenir I bought from a normal shopping street in the heart of the city for 10 Yuan ( 1 dollar something).

Things To Do In Beijing Forbidden City

Forbidden City

The same hat was selling for 45 yuan in Summer Palace. At the great wall, the price for this hat was 80 yuan. Unfortunately I lost my hat in a taxi a couple of days after I bought it. But luckily I still have this photo as souvenir.

So when you go as a tourist, do the things to do in Beijing that a tourist would do and have fun. I loved my Beijing trip, despite loosing my favorite Chinese army hat.