24 Hours In…Unexpected Bangkok
Whether you are flying from Australia, USA, Britain or some other far away destination, it is likely that at some point you will transit in Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. Why not take advantage of the plane ticket you purchased and break up your journey with a 24 hour stopover. Bangkok is a fascinating, exciting an intoxicating city to visit. With over nine million inhabitants living within the city you will find yourself encountering every walk of life, from the extrmely poor to the mega rich; they all congregate in the one city and each feels at home as the other.
Over the years Bangkok has received a bad rap for being a destination that was better known for its GoGo Bars and fake designer handbags stalls. However, a visit to Bangkok can be culturally immersive and that mini break you are looking for as part of a stopover or pre/post your tour kicking off. Check out our list of unique accommodation, dining, transport and experiences to immerse yourself in a different side of Bangkok; don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure and open mind for a couple of our suggestions!
Unique Accommodation: Bangkok Tree House
Tucked away in a patch of Jungle on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, this quirky eco- hotel with bamboo and glass architecture is accessible only by boat, bike or foot.
Bangkok Tree house is perfect for those looking for an alternative experience in Bangkok. Accomodations options range from basic open air treetop ‘nest’ rooms with mosquito nets, to relaxed 2 story rooms featuring glass walls and furnished rooftop terraces, all having river views. For the full nature experience, try the “View with a room” which is an open-air platform under the stars and surrounded by mangroves.
Located just outside the city centre, the Bangkok Tree House allows you to sleep under the stars in a natural environment without going up any home comforts and also offers free bicycle rental to explore the ‘Green Lung of Bangkok’.
Insider Tip: Being a totally ‘green’ environment this accommodation may not be for everyone. You will enjoy the Bangkok Tree House if you love trees, plants, exotic lizards, birds, firflies, cicada, butterflies and mother nature.
Unique Dining: Cabbages and Condoms
Yes you read correctly, Cabbages and Condoms! This is one restaurant with a difference; using a quirky name to get attention and highlight a serious issue. It is also a great place to enjoy some seriously tasty Thai food, knowing that part of the profit goes to a good cause is also another reason to visit. Money from your meal is used to support development programs initiated by the Population and Community Development Program (PDA). The restaurant motto is ‘our food won’t make you pregnant’ – one of the more unusual tag lines we have seen in the city.
The theme of the restaurant is defiantly half of the fun, as you wander down the leafy path you discover your first condom character. Throughout the restaurant there are a series of life size mannequins dressed up in rubber; Captain Condom, a bride and Father Christmas are just a few to mention. Although there are plenty of amusing things to keep you entertained, it is the atmosphere on the terrace that is worth a mention. Picture thousands of fairy lights hanging from the trees and a bubbling man made waterfall with traditional Thai music in the background. If you are looking for a different dining experience then head to this restaurant with a cause.
Unique Transport: Chao Praya River Boat System
One of the most interesting ways to get around Bangkok is the Chao Praya river boat system. Blessedly free from the traffic that wracks the rest of the metropolis during day light hours, the riverboats whistle, chug, roaring splash their way up the river. You can see the reasons that Bangkok used to rely on their canal system in place of roads. Wats open onto the river an heavy barges loaded with sugar or coal drift by. Vegetables speed down the river from upcountry farms ready for market and police skiffs glide along looking for smuggled goods.
Insider TIp: If you are a morning person (or just having a bout of jet leg and are up early) head up the river to Thewat(N15) Pier for a morning snack and a wander through the flower market. Don’t forget your camera, brighten up your Instagram feed with some colourful flower photos.
Unique Experience: Jim Thompsons House
Unlike any other; homeowner and famous silk entrepreneur Jim Thompson mysteriously vanished in the jungle, and his home became a living museum of sorts. Since his disappearance in 1967, little has changed in the home that was the ‘talk of the town’ and the ‘city’s most celebrated social centre’. The house consists of a complex of six traditional Thai-style houses, teak structures that were purchased from several owners and brought to the present location from various parts of Thailand.
Make this experience yours and speak to our team about creating a unique Bangkok stopover for your next visit.
Prefer to travel independently? Our Crooked Compass App is packed culturally immersive travel ideas. A brilliant tool for travellers who are already on the go, to those who are still in the planning or daydreaming stage, the app is an informative platform showcasing some of the world’s best-kept secrets. Available on the App Store or get it on Google Play.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.