Take Siam is the center of Bangkok, extending east is Sukhumvit Road, one of the cities main roads with gorgeous shops, restaurants, and offices, with hipster neighborhoods Thonglor and Ekami (Bangkok’s trendiest part of town). To the Southwest are Yaowarat (Chinatown), Silom and Sathorn; running parallel to the Chao Phraya River is Charoen Krung Road with the Riverside hotels. Chatuchak “JJ” Market is North and worth spending an entire day there; it’s extremely hot, oversized, and you could get lost for years trying to figure it out, but stay on the outer two lanes of the perimeter and make your way around. Have your driver drop you off at Main Gain (Gate 3). Bangkok also has some of the best night markets, so make sure to check them out for street food and treats.
The best time to visit Bangkok is over the Western holidays from November- February; it’s super hot otherwise. I actually was last in Bangkok over the holidays in 2016 after my trip to Australia and I spent Christmas here. The main reason for my trip was to make a stop to get some things made by my tailor in town. Buy a local sim card from the AIS stand in the airport; you'll see it when you are collecting your bags (a SIM for 6GB is about 599 Baht/ $18 USD) and it will give you the fastest and best service that you can get in Thailand. Suvarnabhumi Airport is 45 minutes away and around 350 Baht. You can also take an Uber to the airport and the prices are comparable. Uber's in town are efficient and very cheap. We’re talking $2 USD for a 45 minute ride, but never call an Uber in a busy area because it will be impossible to find your driver with traffic. Worst case, you can hail a taxi, but haggle them down and agree on a price before you get in, as they will try and over charge you since there is no meter (they are still cheap though. Go for the bright pink ones that are newer). Tuk-Tuks are a fun experience if you are with a few friends and not in a super rush. You’ll feel great with the breeze in your hair and enjoy seeing more the local routes (negotiate cash fare prior to getting in).
If you run out of cash because you are buying too many things (like me), don’t fret, there are ATMs all around the city. If you want to explore temples, you have to be modest and cover your shoulders (make sure to lose the shorts and the shoes). If you are in Bangkok for a few days, you need to carve out at least two-hours for a Thai massage (I love Oasis Spa). It will be $12 USD and you’ll thank me later. Make a friend with a local and have them show you the REAL Bangkok (this includes seeing touristy things like all the breathtaking temples, but also things outside of the city in desolate areas where you hunt your own dinner and it’s survival of the fittest… kidding, or am I?).
*PS, a HUGE thanks to my dear friends: Fon, Tan, and Namfon for showing me your Bangkok
"It’s my own worst enemy and torments me constantly with boredom of the world today. From as early as I can remember, I have always had trouble sleeping as every minute my mind takes me into hundreds of scenarios and places. I have at least a dozen exciting ideas for concepts in my head at any given time. Most of them are severely detailed and every now and again, I get the chance to turn them into reality." -Ashley Sutton, Ophelia (Bangkok Bar)