By Chris K

This Weekend’s Itinerary

Bangkok’s full name is really, really, really, really long

According to Wikitravel, Bangkok’s full name is “Krung thep mahanakhon amorn ratanakosin mahintharayutthaya mahadilok popnoparat ratchathani burirom udomratchanivetmahasathan amornpiman avatarnsathit sakkathattiyavisnukarmprasit” (กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยามหาดิลกภพ นพรัตน์ราชธานี บุรีรมย์อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์).

Surely one of the world’s longest location name, it roughly translates as “The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city of Ayutthaya of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn”.

Wow.

Once we’ve finished that mouthful, we’re out to explore Bangkok on Day Two of our visit here. Read all about Day One in Bangkok!

10 AM: Jim Thompson, an American Millionaire, has left an incredible House of Asian art in Bangkok

We start the day with a visit to Jim Thompson’s House, an essential part of any visit to Bangkok and a great way to get a comprehensive overview of Asian art from Thailand and from the region.

Jim Thompson's House, Bangkok, Thailand

“Jim Thompson’s House”, a photo by mashfiq, licensed under Creative Commons.

Plus, the tranquility of the setting will make it seem like you are taking a pleasant walk through some eccentric gentleman’s art collection, instead of a museum tour.

And, in fact, you are.

This museum has a long history owed to it’s namesake, Jim Thompson – an American businessman who collected Asian art throughout the 1950 and 1960s.

The house was built specifically to house his collection of Asian art, gathered from countries including Thailand as well as Laos and Cambodia. The house is very accessible, and a fantastic way for us to easily see art from across Asia in one location.

Asian art in Jim Thompsons House, Bangkok, Thailand

“Jim Thompson House”, a photo by cb_agulto, licensed under Creative Commons.

1 PM: Stop…Fashion Time

Like many before us, we are becoming slaves to fashion and sacrificing our lunch. But there’s a good reason – as Anna has promised to let us in on a local Bangkok fashion secret.

We leave Jim Thompson’s house and make our way by motorcycle taxi (see Day One in Bangkok for the reason why we’ve skipped the tuktuk), zipping across the congested streets of Bangkok.

We arrive shortly after, exhilarated, at Anna’s favourite tailor, Taj Mahal Clothiers, located on Soi 4 Sukhumvit. We’re told that although they are a little more expensive than most Bangkok tailors, they’re worth the extra because of the quality of the materials and their craftmanship. I’m not one to argue with a Bangkok local, especially since Anna’s boyfriend owns six of their suits!

So many fabrics, so many choices. Safari suits are coming back this season, right guys?

Guys?

Thailand Tips – Be kind to the King!

Respect for the Royal family in Thailand is taken really, really seriously. Don’t make the mistake this guy did and insult the Royal Family of Thailand – you could end up in gaol!

In fact, maybe you should earn some brownie points, just in case, by sending the King of Thailand a personalised message here.

5 PM: OPTION ONE: Muay Thai Fight Night Thrills

Alright, so this isn’t going to be to everyone’s tastes, which is why there’s alternative itinerary for our last evening exploring Bangkok, but hear us out – life should be an adventure and if you don’t push the boundaries of your experience whilst you are travelling, then when will you? Not convinced? Ok then, well then skip ahead to Option Two and enjoy Bangkok’s sweltering, sexy nightlife.

The rest of us are going to push the envelope a little and visit Lumpini stadium, Thailand’s premiere venue for Muay Thai Kickboxing.

Run by the Royal Thai Army, fights are held Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 6 PM, and we’ve got ringside tickets.

Muay Thai Kickboxing, Bangkok, Thailand

“Muay-Thai-7”, a photo by idirectori, CC License

Now, gambling is permitted here, which is certainly the exception in Thailand (at least, according to the strict letter of the law), but you’ll only be able to gamble if you’re a man. Anna says;

If you’re a guy, find the crowd of gambling men at the back and mingle with them, and put on a bet or two. You should learn the words for blue and red in Thai beforehand – that’s all you’ll need to bet. Make sure you keep an eye on the dudes that have taken your bet – they’ll try to slink away without paying if they lose!

If you are after unique, local experiences, then watching a live Muay Thai kickboxing bout in Bangkok will definitely fit the bill.

5 PM: OPTION TWO: Bangkok Bar Scene Chilling

If watching Muay Thai kickboxing isn’t really your cup of tea, or cocktail, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some great bars and restaurants recommended by Bangkok locals.

Cheap Charlie’s ( 1 Sukhumvit Soi 11 ) is an institution and the best way to kick your night off. It is almost exclusively frequented by Bangkok locals and has few tourists, although it has been featured on CNN Travel so that may not always be the case in the future.

Nest ( 33/33 Sukhumvit soi 11Klongtoey-Nua ) is just a little bit classier than Cheap Charlie’s, and is a great place for a cool drink. Anna says that it’s at end of same street as Cheap Charlie’s;

Up an elevator to a rooftop bar – ask someone who looks like a local because it’s hard to find!

Finally, Bed Supperclub ( Sukhumvit 11, Klongtoey-Nua ) is where you’ll head if you’re looking for a place to see and be seen – trendy, if a little weird.

Goodbye Bangkok!

We eventually stumble back into our hotel rooms at…er…what time was it again?

It doesn’t really matter – we have a late flight tomorrow and luckily have all morning to pull ourselves together. There’s even time to collect our suits and send them home, before our midnight flight from Bkk to Brisbane, Australia.

We’ll land just after lunch on Sunday afternoon, and we’ve organised the limo to take us to an early check-in at the Stamford Plaza Hotel. Three decades after hosting the Commonwealth Games and twenty-five years after World Expo ’88, Brisbane has emerged from the shadow of Australia’s larger cities. Restaurants still close too early, but that’s not a problem for us today – instead of dinner out, we’re filling up closer to home at the Stamford’s Sunday afternoon Chocolate High Tea.

It’s a long way to go for a hangover cure, but so worth it.

Want to go? Need to know!

  • Taj Mahal Clothiers both ship to, and visit, many cities around the world. Great for us travellers, but even if you don’t make it to Bangkok you can always see them when they’re in your town.
  • In Bangkok, like in any other city, you should always watch your drink, and don’t accept drinks from strangers.
  • Learn the rules of Muay Thai Kickboxing here, if you’re so inclined.

Have you been to Bangkok? What did you love? What did we miss?

What should we see when we come back?

Tell us in the comments!