My first experience of Bangkok was as a 24-year-old solo backpacker. I had spent the summer travelling Asia with two of my guy friends and made my way to Bangkok for one final experience before flying home. Naturally, being broke AF, I booked myself into a cheap-a** hostel on Khao San Road, brought myself to an Irish bar down the street… and the rest of that night is history.
At least, it was history until last year when my boyfriend and I drove to Abu Dhabi to catch a spontaneous standby flight (6 hours direct!) to Bangkok. It’s certainly not the first place that springs to mind when you think ‘couples getaway’, but here’s a rundown of our top things to do in Bangkok for couples:
Stay in an awesome hotel
Money goes a lot further in Bangkok, so staying in a five-star hotel like The Continent Hotel, after only paying AED 600 for flights, was totally doable for us – we would have spent more at a Dubai brunch than we did for three nights in this hotel. What I loved about The Continent was its boutique feel, the many design quirks that revolve around travel and the sunset view from the Sky Lounge! What he loved was the location; The Continent is in Sukhumvit Bangkok, and the Skytrain is just a two-minute walk, so you can escape the crazy Bangkok traffic when you’re not exploring the streets on foot.
Visit Vertigo Restaurant & Moon Bar
A good friend of mine recommended sunset dinner at the secret sky-high Vertigo Restaurant & Moon Bar… It is something ‘coupley’ to do for an evening, and it has to be the best spot in the city for panoramic views! This rooftop bar and restaurant is located on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok, which is another dreamy hotel that was definitely out of our budget, but splashing out for dinner with this special sunset was SO worth it, even if portions were a little small for the 6’4 male across the table from me.
Ride through the city in a Tuk-Tuk
It’s not the most practical form of transport, but it’s definitely an experience to ride through Bangkok in a tuk-tuk… preferably, for short trips! These color-popping three-wheelers were made for tourist adventures (haggling the price is expected!), and many drivers give their tuk-tuk a personalised design. Tuk-tuk rides weren’t new for me, so what I loved most was watching my bf’s face as we raced through back-roads with the wind and sporadic downpour of rain hitting us straight in the face.
Explore the city using the Skytrain
Okay, so Bangkok’s ‘Skytrain’ sounds a lot cooler than the train actually is! However, it is an extremely efficient way to get around the city at speed due to the fact that the track runs above the main roads! It’s clean; it’s cheap and it was a great way for us to see Bangkok with only 3 nights in the city. We got the Skytrain (BTS) day pass for 140 Bhat (approx AED 16) and spent a day hopping from sight to sight.
Try a Thai Couples Massage!
One of the best experiences we had in Bangkok was a traditional Thai Massage. I had googled loads of cool Thai spas, but when ‘Health Land’ kept flagging as the most popular place for locals, he said he was willing to do it with me for the laugh. And laugh we did… at least at the beginning. Entering Health Land is like entering a hotel lobby; it’s always busy. We were brought to one of many, many rooms for couples and told to change into these (incredibly awkward-looking) outfits, which was just about the same time that we started to question why we had booked two-hours of this torture. However, these guys are massage experts! We laughed our way through the first 30 minutes because of the techniques and the initial discomfort, but my the time two hours was up, we had to be woken from a relaxed slumber!
People-watch at Patpong night market!
I previously summed up Bangkok nightlife in an Instagram post, but I think the photo above offers you a glimpse into the night that curiosity got the better of us while we were in Bangkok! We decided to hit-up Patpong Night Market, and there was absolutely no shopping involved. To be frank, Patpong night market is smack-bang in the middle of Bangkok’s notorious nightlife spot, where Go-Go Bars line the market street and street bars allow you first-hand viewing of some very illicit shenanigans over a couple of cheap beers. To sum-up the night: Ping Pong shows are hilariously vile and probably should be banned; the street itself entertains late-night vices; and, ‘Super Pussy’ is not something you should add to your Bangkok to-do list any time soon… pardon the innuendo.
Take a trip to Khao San Road!
Our trip to Khao San Road was all about taking me for a walk down memory lane and showing him the sights. This is an anything-goes street brimming with bars, market stalls, budget hostels, massage stop-offs and backpackers! We decided that a boozy bar crawl along the Khao San was a perfect way to let loose on our last night in Bangkok, so we sat on stools, sipping Singha beer while watching the buzz of Bangkok life. Of course, the scorpion-tasting had to be done while on Khao San Road, but this is certainly not the street-side snack anybody needs in their life! It’s best to try the local Kao Pad (Thai-style fried rice), Gaeng Kiew Wan Gai (a fiery Thai green curry) or the Khao Niew Ma Muang (famous mango sticky rice) instead!
Go to Talin Chan Floating Market
Floating markets in Bangkok will certainly show up when you search on Google, and Damnoen Saduak will more than likely top the list. But, unless you have time on your side, do not go – it’s over 100km away and you’ll need to allocate a whole day for it. We opted for the much smaller Talin Chan Floating Market instead; it has a little bit of everything to offer you a taste of any floating market in Bangkok. There are little stalls and eateries at Talin Chan but we didn’t stick around for long. Instead, we hopped into a wooden long-tail boat from Talin Chan market and hitched a ride through the Khlongs (canals!) to another nearby market called Lat Mayom Riverside Market. It’s not a ‘wow’ experience, but it does offer a glimpse into local Thai life, and it is an escape from the chaos of inner-city life.
3 nights in Bangkok with your boyfriend may not be the stereotypical ‘romantic getaway’, but it is an adventure that let’s your embrace a little taste of luxury, city fun and some absolute craziness that you’ll laugh about in years to come!