One of the great things about Bangkok is that you can discover so much in this large city without even trying! With culture and hidden gems tucked away deep in every corner, it’s easy to miss out on the good stuff. Taking the time to revel in the beauty of a temple is a given, but really digesting the meaning and history behind it is vital. It’s important to understand someone’s culture or religion when you’re in their space. That’s one thing The BKK City Hike cherishes when they take you on their journey. This past week, I had the pleasure of taking a walk down cultural lane with Sy & First, two of the Hike’s extraordinaires! While I won’t give away every location's name that we went to, it’s going to be fun recanting the laughs and things we saw!
First up, we went to an amazing little alleyway that was filled with local vendors selling food, drinks, clothes, you name it! Now, while this is something you’re able to find quite often in the city, I do prefer to go to the alleyways that aren’t filled with tourists. Luckily, Sy & First felt the same! This little spot ended up having one of the best pineapple smoothies I’ve had in a long time. If this was the beginning of my tour, I knew I had made the right decision to join. After we grabbed a few drinks and snacks to gain fuel for the trip, we headed straight to a small museum hidden so well that we were the only people there! We had stayed for a little over 30 minutes and still, no one came or gone.
It blew my mind because while this was the first official stop on the tour, it may have been one of my favorites. This beauty was rich with history, but not only history about why and how this particular museum came to be. In the back of this location, there was a little house that had a second floor dedicated entirely to the history of Bangkok. From wall to wall, there were facts highlighted with color, flags and historical figures. While the writing was in Thai, with the help of the Google Translation app, learning about the city I was exploring was a breeze. I was baffled at the fact that this was such a little known place, being that it had such a important history that everyone should know about if they’re visiting Thailand.
After being in awe, the group and I headed to We Cafe Bangkok to get hydrated and ready for more surprises. The inside was super cute and I could wholeheartedly see myself sitting in there all day, drinking coffee and getting acquainted with a really good book. But, now just wasn’t the time, because adventure was waiting!
We set off on the road and witnessed amazing street art (which I have a huge weakness for) and I don’t mean just graffiti. There was a stunning wall engraved with leaders you may recognize below. Notice anyone familiar? ;)
It was perfect, as the walk led us to a breathtaking church. My heart was filled with joy as we approached this sanctuary, because it was right next to a school! We all smiled the biggest smiles we’ve ever had on our faces as we heard the little kids yell, “sà-wàt-dii!!” They waved at us and before we knew it, we were on the steps of brilliance. The architecture of this place was so pure, it gave me chills as I walked in. You could tell that every detail from the floor to the ceiling had meaning to them. Gold pillars and crystal chandeliers riddled this place of worship, and all five of us couldn’t do anything but walk around in silence while we took in every characteristic our eyes landed upon. After experiencing this kind of peace, we all left the church to wave our farewells to the kids outside playing!
A few minutes later, we eventually ended up at one of the first Chinese temples built over 100 years ago. This charmer was full of life and vivid color! I took my shoes off before entering (of course), and I was immediately met with peace and the aroma of incense. The silence in the temple made it easy to say prayers and give thanks. Besides the church, this was one of the most peaceful places we had ventured to. That can be said for any temple here, honestly! There were lanterns, candles, and Chinese lettering everywhere you looked. It amazed me at how many cultures I was learning about from Sy & First while on this tour. It was here at this temple that I realized how much of a melting pot Bangkok was!
After the temple, we stopped by one of Chinatown’s best kept secrets! A mansion that had tasty smoothies, a pool so deep that they use it for scuba-diving school, and the owners are award winning pure-bred beagle breeders. Kind of a crazy combination, right? Well, if that wasn’t enough, they plan to open an intimate restaurant if all goes well! Quite frankly, the entrance of this location is an Instagramer’s dream!
It was time to take a boat ride to another side of town where we’d wrap up the tour with some cheap but AMAZING food. We all sat down and talked about our individual experience, what we loved and things we personally thought were memorable. It was such an amazing tour and I can honestly say we all created a bond on this journey that we’ll never forget. We got up, went to a local hostel and grabbed a few drinks before we parted ways. This wasn’t just a city hike after all. This was a chance to meet new people and create new bonds. If that was Sy & First’s mission with The BKK City Hike, they passed with flying colors! So, if you’re ever in Bangkok and are looking for something to do, be sure to head over to their Facebook page and make a reservation for their upcoming free tour. I promise you, this is the way you should see and learn about this big city!