Locals’ Favourites in Bangkok

With its allure of pristine sandy beaches and tropical jungles, Thailand remains one of the most popular places for holidaymakers from around the globe. There is certainly plenty to see and do, and no more so than in Bangkok, the country’s capital city. But even better than your typical tourist attractions, is exploring the places that the Thais like to go. Here are some of the local’s favourite spots in Bangkok.

 

 Local Favourites Bangkok - akyra Thonglor Bangkok Hotel

 

Local Favourites in Bangkok

 

Ko Kret

Ko Kret is a man-made island north of central Bangkok in the Chao Phraya River. It’s the result of a canal that was built in the 1800s enabling ships to navigate the river more easily by bypassing a natural oxbow-shaped meander. During World War ll, many politicians and officers used the island as a hideout to avoid the bombing of Bangkok.

Visitors to Ko Kret will get a distinctively authentic feel. There are no defined roads and, hence, no cars. You can walk or cycle around the island, or travel on one of the motorcycle taxis on the well-defined trails. The island is littered with evidence of its history, and travelling the trails, you may well come across abandoned kilns, ancient pots and sculptures.

Pottery is a big attraction for visitors to the area and there are many shops selling their beautifully-crafted pots and other hand-thrown items. A visit to these shops will reveal the potters at work, shaping clay masterfully on the pottery wheel. There are several Wats on the island worth exploring, and Ko Kret hosts a bustling weekend market, with clothes, food and pottery at local prices.

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Neilson Hays Library

The all-English Neilson Hays Library is one of the few libraries in Bangkok. It’s located on Surawong Road in the Bang Rak district, about a 20-minute drive from the hotel, and stands out with its neoclassical style and unique architecture.

The library was started by a group of 13 American and British women who formed the Bangkok Ladies’ Library Association in 1869. Their collection of books moved between their homes and at one stage was even housed in a chapel. Eventually, it became clear that a more permanent home was needed, and on 1914 the first library structure was built on the plot where it still stands today.

The library is named after a Danish missionary Jennie Neilson Hays, who lived out her passion for books by serving three terms as President of the Association. When she passed away in 1920, her husband honoured her memory and love of literature by commissioning the new library with its ornate dome that was initially the library entrance but now serves as an art gallery.

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Bangkok Farmers’ Market

An easy 25-minute stroll from the akyra Thonglor Hotel will bring you to the vibey Bangkok Farmers’ Market in Gateway Ekkemai area. The market takes place every second weekend on Saturday and Sunday, and is a local favourite.

You can stock up on fresh produce and organic products, or sample some authentic French baked goods, Greek-style yoghurt or Italian cheese. Or you can just wander through the various stalls and soak up the atmosphere, while sipping on a locally brewed coffee from the expert barista.

The stall holders are always ready for a chat and enthusiastic to share their knowledge with you and tell you about their healthy, environmentally products.

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M.R. Kukrit Pramoj House

M.R. (His Excellency) Kukrit Pramoj served as Prime Minister of Thailand in 1974 and 1975. He was also the author of numerous books, plays, poems and short stories, and was a fierce advocate for traditional Thai culture.

His former home is now a museum and consists of five teak houses on stilts, all connected by a series of wooden walkways. The museum gives you a glimpse into the life and personality of this former statesman and showcases an array of artwork, antiques and rare books. The artefacts on display in the museum are his personal collections which he accumulated over many years.

The houses are surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, complete with fountains, koi ponds, and miniature trees. The expanse of garden is quite traditional of this style and size of house.

M.R. Kukrit Pramoj House is located in the Sathon area of Bangkok, about a 15-minute drive from the hotel.

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Phaya Thai Palace

The Phaya Thai Palace is a bit off the beaten track, located on the Ratchawithi Road in Bangkok’s Ratchathewi district. It’s not generally on the tourist radar of many visitors to the city, and has been used for many things over the years.

The palace was intended as a residence for King Rama V and work on the building started in 1909. It was completed in 1910, but his enjoyment of the property was short-lived as he died several months later. After extensive renovations to the palace that included a hew Royal Residence, King Rama VI then resided there until 1925. Subsequently, the palace has housed a radio station, and acted as an international hotel and a military hospital.

Phaya Thai Palace was built on part of a large paddy field that King Rama V used for agricultural experiments. It also played host to the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony that marked the start of the rice-growing season.

One of the outstanding features of the Phaya Thai Palace is the European-style turret with a cone-like roof that resembles something from a fairy tale. This building houses the King’s study, bathroom and bedroom, and a throne hall.

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The Commons

The Commons in Thonglor is a unique shopping concept that strives to be more of a community than a mall. It’s located just off the Thonglor Road, a short 10-minute walk from the Akyra Thonglor Hotel.

The shopping complex is split over four levels. Each has a different feel and caters to different needs, but all work towards the common goal of promoting a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle.

The Market is the food court area of The Commons. Here, you can choose from the delicious dishes produced by seasoned chefs and well-known eateries. Whatever your preference, be it pizza, Mexican, or traditional Thai-style dishes, you can enjoy it in the vibey atmosphere of the Market.

The Village houses the lifestyle aspect to The Commons, including a florist, hair salon and vintage stores. The Play Yard provides activities for children and adults with a mix of play groups, Pilates and a cycling studio for the fitness-conscious.

The top level of the mall is the Top Yard. Here, you can participate in one of the workshops organised by The Commons Kitchen, or simply relax in natural surroundings and enjoy quality time with friends.

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Suan Luang Rama IX Park

Suan Luang Rama IX Park – generally shortened to Rama IX Park – on the outskirts of Bangkok, is the largest public green space in the city. It opened on the 1st December 1987 to commemorate King Bhumibol’s 60th birthday. A large pavilion houses nine rooms with exhibitions and displays that give visitors a glimpse into the King’s life and projects.

Areas within the park gardens represent different countries, including America, Japan and England. Each area contains plants and structures indicative of that country, such as the dome under which the Nevada desert is replicated, or the Chinese garden with a lily pond and ornate bridges.

There are plenty of activities in the park, much of which is centralised around the extensive lake. If you want to be active, use the outdoor gym or participate in one of the Thai Chi or aerobics classes, or take one of the pedalos out onto the lake. There are also several stalls selling refreshments dotted throughout the park.

The park is very popular with the locals who gravitate there to relax and spend time with family and friends. It’s not yet become a tourist trap, so visitors can get a wonderful glimpse into how Thai people spend their time off.

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Kamthieng House Museum

Kamthieng House is a traditional teakwood house that was originally built on the Ping River in Chiang Mai in the mid-1800s. In 1963 it was given to the Siam Society for preservation, and was dismantled and transported to Bangkok. It took two years to be reconstructed in its original form, and now houses a permanent exhibition showcasing the traditional Lanna culture and lifestyle. It officially opened to the public in 1966.

The museum has audio-visual displays and showcases beautiful artefacts from Northern Thailand. Among these are a series of charms indicating how the Lanna people felt about the supernatural, tools and a loom that was used for weaving silk, and a rice granary. An English description accompanies each display, making it easier for foreign visitors to understand their significance.

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Warehouse 30

Warehouse 30 in Bang Rak opened in 2017 and offers an eclectic shopping experience to the trendy and culturally-inclined. It’s housed in a series of warehouses dating back to WWII and gives local designers and artists the space to create and market their masterpieces.

Warehouse 30 is the brainchild of one of Thailand’s best-known architects, Duangrit Bunnag. In redeveloping the structures to fit their new purpose, he kept many of their original features to maintain the integrity of the buildings. A primary example of this is the old wooden flooring that runs throughout the space.

Housed within the repurposed warehouses, you can find a selection of independent clothing boutiques, home décor outlets, a books store and a flower shop. The space is easy to explore, but if you need a break from your wandering, there are several cafes providing much-needed.

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Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World

Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World is located below the Siam Paragon shopping centre, an easy 20-minute drive from the Akyra Thonglor Hotel. It’s one of the largest aquariums in South East Asia, and houses more than 30,000 forms of marine life from around the globe.

The aquarium is divided into zones, each designed to replicate a specific environment conducive to the accompanying marine life. These zones include the Shark Walk, Coral Reefs, Rockpools and Rainforest Adventure. Panoramic views and interactive experiences give you the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the wonderful ocean life.

More adventurous visitors to the aquarium can book one of the fantastic experiences, such as the Shark Dive or Ocean Walker. Those who prefer to keep their distance can take a trip on the glass bottom boat or enjoy feeding time and watch the seahorses, penguins or otters devour their meal. Several talks take place during the day, giving you a chance to learn more about our wonderful ocean creatures.

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Bangkok will always have a lot to offer tourists, whether you enjoy browsing the markets, cruising the Chao Phraya River or visiting the scores of museums and temples in the city. But if you want a taste of the real Bangkok, include some of these local favourites in your next itinerary.

 

 

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akyra Thonglor Bangkok Hotel

88/333 Sukhumvit 55,

North Klongton, Wattana District,

Bangkok 10110

 

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