Helen is an excellent travel writer and blogger and she’s amassed a treasure of information with Travelling Hippy. She admirably incorporates the spiritual and the emotional into her work, and pieces such as her discussion about travelling in your 20’s are bold and informational, giving anyone who reads them a new perspective.
Bangkok is a small world within itself, and it’s one of the busiest cities in the world with crowds that extend as far as the eye can see. You can do so many things that it’s impossible to mention them all, but I can absolutely guarantee that you’re going to need a break whether it happens at hour five or hour fifteen. That isn’t easy considering the people around, and the less social among us may get overwhelmed.
Yet there are places that don’t see the kind of foot traffic as the rest of the city, and while they may not be perfect, they certainly acted as places of respite on my Bangkok vacation. Some nights were good for Netflix in the hotel, but that wasn’t the way I wanted to relax during my entire stay. I wanted to see what the city had to offer.
Here are a few of my favorite places in Bangkok I escaped to when I needed a little room to myself:
Dining on the Rooftops
I would hate to limit this to just one place, but if you ever need a breath of fresh air, your best bet is to go up instead of trying to find a side street or unused corner (I don’t think they really exist in Bangkok). I can’t say the food will be cheap, but you can often get some of the best views you can find of the city and, if the weather agrees with you, there are no places better for a dinner for two. Take a look online to find out what rooftop restaurants suit your style and budget best, and feel free to experiment! It’ll be a nice break, and you’ll get some elbow room.
While flashing lights and buildings of every size and shape can command your attention in Bangkok for days at a time, you shouldn’t ignore the natural wonders that the city has to offer you in the form of its parks and gardens. Perhaps my favorite among these is Lumphini Park, which had birds chirping and flowers blooming before my ears and eyes. The waters were beautiful, and as long as I was there, I felt as though I was on another planet entirely. You’ll miss it immediately when you see cars again.
Lat Mayom’s Floating Market
The floating markets can prove to be a little insane at the wrong hour, but the one at Lat Mayom is often held to be the most authentic and tourist-free. So for an experience away from the crowds I recommend this market, where I found some great food to enjoy for a cheap price. You can even get a little bit out of the city and explore the local area, which is an amazing way to spend a restful Bangkok afternoon.
The Golden Mount
The Golden Mount is absolutely a must-visit whether you are looking to relax or not. It is an island of peace and nature in a rough sea of city life. The temple is gorgeous, and there is enough space so that pedestrians don’t take up all of your way. You can appreciate the history and sanctity of the mount at your own pace, and I would even recommend budgeting out an entire day for it. You should consider making it your second to last day destination to revitalize your spirit before you leave.
Travelling Hippy’s top tip to escape the crowds in Bangkok: Go for a Thai massage
I am a big fan of the Thai massage style. It’s not for the faint-hearted: expect to be pummelled, elbowed, kneeled on and contorted by a small and unnaturally strong Thai woman. Let’s just say you aren’t likely to fall asleep during your treatment. Yet you will be treated to an hour of relative silence (you can usually expect the massage therapists to keep up a running commentary in Thai which can send the self-conscious into a paranoid meltdown over what they might be saying). Steer clear of the dodgy, happy-ending offering establishments near the tourist districts and do a little research on recommended establishments. Having said that, the best massages I’ve received in Bangkok were pot luck – one was given by a young girl of about 15 with the grip of a pro wrestler. Enter, try to relax and enjoy, leave walking on a cloud of loose limbs and soft muscles.
Have a great escape
Don’t let the crowds divert you from your enjoyment of one of the greatest cities in the world. Taking a breather every once in a while is an absolute must so you can dive right back into the chaos of the city at the proper time. Meeting new people and trying new things when you go will leave you so much happier with your experience. You never know when you’ll get to go again!
Do you have any thoughts or experiences regarding the above locations? Any other places that you can’t help but tell everyone about? We’d love to hear about your travels and stories from Bangkok, so please leave a comment below for everyone to see.