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Bangkok, Pattaya

14 days in Thailand, what not to miss?

So, after previously mulling a trip to Thailand, we're about to book a 14 night stay tomorrow, for the end of April. I start a new job soon and have the time and money, woo hoo.

The basic plan is fly to bangkok and stay in a hotel for 4-5 days, have 4-5 days without much of a plan, then stay in Pattaya for 4-5 days. We're hoping to stay/work in an elephant sanctuary in the middle section (note: I don't want to ride an elephant, or watch one paint, I'd like to help out and donate some money to a good cause).

So, the question! What should we do in and around Bangkok and Pattaya? And if we head north (to the right elephant sanctuary), what should we do there? We are open to taking a flight, or doing a short tour.

Thanks Trippy members, I look forward to your suggestions!

5 Answers

answered first by
Courtney from Los Angeles

Sounds like a great trip! 

I have a couple of hotels I can recommend in Bangkok:

W Hotel Bangkok - this is an insanely fabulous hotel and believe it or not you can find some very inexpensive rates online--I was actually kind of shocked. 

Bliston Hotel Bangkok - this is a very quiet, very clean, very budget-friendly hotel in a good area. Not a place where you'll want to go down to the lobby for a drink, but a good value for sure. 

Grande Centre Point Hotel & Residence - this is a little more upscale than the Bliston, but still a great value and very well located. 


Wat Pho - the reclining Buddha here is maybe one of the most remarkable attractions I've ever seen. It's about the length of a football field but plan on taking a fair amount of time here as you'll want to really take in the whole temple. 

Jim Thompson House - This was one of my favorite places in all Bangkok--it's the former home of the man who was responsible for reviving the silk trade in Thailand and it's a really lovely, serene place!Nightingale-Olympic - you know how sometimes you just have to trust what someone's telling you? Well, trust me that you will never, ever find a stranger, more bizarre attraction in your life. It's basically a department store that seems to have ceased business sometime in the 1950s and yet is still open to customers. It's just something you have to see to believe and you may not even believe it even then (I still can't believe it). It's not all that centrally located so I wouldn't go nuts trying to see it (actually that's not true-I would go nuts trying to see it again now that I have but I realize not everyone would feel that way), but if you're in the neighborhood, check it out (it's not that far from Wat Pho). It's very hard to find, though, so I would bring a pinned map to show your taxi or rickshaw driver!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. W Hotel Bangkok (hotel)
  2. Bliston Hotel Bangkok (hotel)
  3. Grande Centre Point Hotel & Residence (hotel)
  4. Wat Pho (attraction)
  5. Jim Thompson House (attraction)
  6. Nightingale-Olympic (park)
7 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Ruth from Vancouver

I can heartily recommend The Atlanta Hotel (Atlanta Hotel) in Bangkok, which has the oldest unaltered foyer in Thailand (beautiful art deco style). It is the most photographed hotel foyer in Thailand and is frequently used as a filmset. It is actually a budget hotel and the rooms are quite spartan, but perfectly functional and fine. The restaurant is very good and they are one of the few hotels in the area to have a full-sized outdoor pool.

In terms of stuff to see, DO NOT MISS The Royal Grand Palace It was perhaps the most overawing thing I saw in the whole of Thailand. Note: Make sure you and your companions wear temple-appropriate clothing or they'll have to be rented from reception which is time-consuming and bothersome. For men - long pants, shirts (dress conservatively). Women - shoulders/midriff/legs covered. No skinny jeans/leggings. TIP: the walled perimeter is crawling with guys telling you it isn't open to tourists today/this morning, you won't be allowed in because of your clothing, it's about to close, etc. Ignore them all, they're trying to get you to go on a tuk tuk ride to a suit shop (their sponsor). Take a good 3/4 hours to enjoy it as the complex is roughly has a combined area of 218,400 square metres (2,351,000 sq ft). Close by is Wat Pho (The Temple of the Reclining Buddha), which is awesome in the traditional sense of the word.

Go out to Ayutthaya and spend a whole day exploring the ruins and temples (including the amazing Wat Mahathat) there.

Perhaps visit one of the floating markets - I went to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market but there are several to choose from. Remember to haggle (it's expected of you)!

If you're in BK at the weekend, visit Chatuchak Weekend Market which is the largest in Thailand and the world's largest weekend market. It covers over 35 acres (0.14 km²) and contains upwards of 15,000 stalls. Products include household items, clothing, Thai handicrafts, religious artifacts, collectables, foods, and live animals. For tourists, there are a number of onsite companies who'll send purchases abroad. Be careful not to buy any knock-offs as that may lead to criminal charges being pressed against you either when they're discovered at Bangkok airport or when you go through customs at home!

Siriraj Medical Museum is a treasure trove of pathological, forensic, parasitological, and anatomical specimens including a preserved human body, and Chao Mae Tuptim Shrine (Goddess Tuptim Shrine) is interesting if you're in the area!

You mention having a few days in the middle of your trip unplanned - I'd use this to visit Chiang Mai which also has a superb Elephant Sanctuary called Elephant Nature Park (Elephant Nature Park), a completely cruelty-free shelter (so no elephant rides, tricks, painting, etc). They have several programs to choose from and it is very informative. If you're lucky you might also get to meet Lek, the founder, who drops in from time to time! 

While in the north I'd suggest eating Khao Soi (local dish of coconut curry noodles with lime and pickles - delicious!) and having a Thai massage (challenging!)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Atlanta Hotel (hotel)
  2. The Royal Grand Palace (attraction)
  3. Wat Pho (attraction)
  4. Ayutthaya (attraction)
  5. Wat Mahathat (attraction)
  6. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (attraction)
  7. Chatuchak Weekend Market (attraction)
  8. Siriraj Medical Museum (attraction)
  9. Chao Mae Tuptim Shrine (attraction)
  10. Chiang Mai (city)
  11. Elephant Nature Park (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Cameron from Salt Lake City

Congrats on the new job! Very exciting stuff. Glad you are taking advantage of the time you have until you start. There is a reason the song One Night in Bangkok was written. It truly is a city that will eat you up. I, personally can't do more than one night, but have a friend who could live there. So, be flexible with your plan and figure what works for you, I personally would try to find more time in the jungles (North Thailand) or on the beaches (South Thailand).

In Bangkok, during the day, buy a river ferry pass and you can ride it all day and hop on and hop off at temples and other sights. Walk to the royal palace, don't listen to anyone who tells you the palace or another attraction is closed for the day or a couple hours, they are trying to hustle you. If they offer a tuk-tuk, they are probably hustling you too. In the evening, check out a Muay Thai fight. They are quite entertaining. Spend a little more and sit in the "First Class" seats - I think I paid about $25-30US for the seats. at first it seemed a little steep, but ended up watching about 12 or 13 fights and was hooked by the end. Also check out the floating market, you can hire a driver for the day for about $30-40US. If the driver takes you to a desolate place with power boats, they are hustling you. Insist they take you to the market, where the boat should be about $10. If they refuse, tell them that they should take you back and they're not getting paid. You hired them to take you where you want to go. 

I haven't ventured up North or to any Elephant Sanctuaries, so I can't be much help there, but if you are looking to go to the beaches, I recommend avoiding Phuket and flying to Krabi. Get a long tail boat to take you to Ton Sai Bay beach (or Railay Beach). Ton Sai is a climber's beach, and is on a beach that can only be accessed by boat, so it isn't super touristy and quite affordable. The villas on the far right of the beach (if you're standing in the water looking at the beach) are the best on the island, have hot water, a/c and breakfast for about $15/nt (low season). If you're a climber, the walls are amazing and you can rent a long tail boat to take you to some of the nearby islands to deep water freestyle solo climb - the boat will pull up to a cliff on the island, you swim to the wall and climb up sans rope and harness. When you burn out, fall or reach the top, simply jump into the ocean. If you're not a climber, still rent a long tail boat and have them take you to the surrounding islands. Chicken island is kind of cool to see up close and there are some islands that you can hop off, have a lunch and be the only ones on the island. 

Nowadays, however, I skip Ton Sai and catch a ferry from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi (there is a ferry from Railay if you want to do both). Koh Phi Phi is where the movie, "The Beach" was filmed. The waters are there and the nightlife is always happening, with a couple of the bars being voted for top 25 bars in the world (although, they are true beach party bars, not the kind of bar you'll find in any US city). During the day on Koh Phi Phi, I typically SCUBA dive - the waters are extremely consistent and I don't think there has been a trip I haven't seen some phenomenal sea life. I have done quite a bit of rambling, hopefully it has helped your planning. Have fun!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Krabi (city)
  2. Ton Sai Bay (attraction)
  3. Railay Beach (attraction)
  4. Koh Phi Phi (city)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by

Don't go to Pattaya. The beach is so so and You will only find bunch of 50+ Crowd looking for cheap sex. I don't think its worth 4-5 days. Head to Chiang Mai instead for Elephant Nature Park 

If you really have to include the beach on your trip, you can go to Phuket, Koh Samui, Ko Yao Yai or Krabi instead.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chiang Mai (city)
  2. Elephant Nature Park (attraction)
  3. Phuket (city)
  4. Koh Samui (island)
  5. Ko Yao Yai (city)
  6. Krabi (city)
3 thankscomments (1)

top answer by
Anthony from New York City

Try a local favorite breakfast (rice porridge with pork and soft-boiled egg) at the hidden Jok Prince

Amphawa Floating Market, smaller and less touristy, is worth a trip in the afternoon, especially for the fresh seafood.

For the cherry on top, head up to Sky Bar for cocktails and a stunning panoramic view of the city from the world’s highest open air bar.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jok Prince (restaurant)
  2. Amphawa Floating Market (attraction)
  3. Sky Bar (restaurant)
11 thankscomments (3)

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