Following the global trend of apartment rental over hotel accommodation for the more independent traveller wanting to live in a city as opposed to simply visit it – we also find an increase in guided experiences with locals.
With this a collective of interesting residents are conducting personally lead tours in Bangkok. Each bringing their own unique recommendations, interpretation and insight to the city, unlocking parts of its history and giving access to people and places that may otherwise have been unavailable to visitors. Be they half day, a night tour or just a few activity based hours, these are a few that are making waves.
- Cool Running Tours to See Street Art
Your host Ratchanee is a certified Tour Guide, born in Bangkok where she studied and lives. Running in Bangkok brings you street art and street food. ‘I always run and capture city living. Not only impressive Buddha wats, but also cool graffiti by famous local artists like Alex face, Lolay, Kult, as well as murals by international creatives.’ What’s better than a street art run? One that ends with street food. Go! Running’s Bangkok tour combines two aspects of the city’s culture in one 8km route. The run starts on Surawong Road, where you can scope some of the city’s leading contemporary art galleries, winding through the Bak Rak area, which is decorated with massive exterior wall paintings produced by some of the world’s most famous street artists during the city’s 2016 Bukruk festival. You’ll end on Yaowarat Road in Chinatown, where you can refuel on some local delicacies.
- Uncover the Secrets of Sacred Tattoos
Arjan Neng has practiced sakyant for 10-plus years, and his clients include celebrities Steven Seagal and Brook Shields. Meet him with Petz, your host on this experience. Petz has worked as a guide for years and has published seven travel guidebooks. You’ll begin by exploring the local market to buy offerings for the sacred tattoo ceremony, and chat and mingle with people who come get sakyant. Learn how the master creates a design by discussing what you want to achieve in your life and find a symbol appropriate for you, should you decide to get a tattoo yourself. This is followed by a Monk’s blessing and getting to know each other better more over lunch.
- Learn Muay Thai Boxing with the Legend
Samart Payakaroon is considered to be the “Muhammad Ali” and “Sugar Ray Robinson” of Muay Thai. He is a living legend of the sport that many Muay Thai boxers respect and look up to. He is well known for his techniques and boxing style and the gym has been running for more than 10 years. All the professional trainers have extensive boxing and teaching experiences. There is no other place for you to learn Muay Thai than from the best who can teach you from the most basic techniques, to professional boxers level. Hosted by Kanyawee, you will start with a warm up and basic techniques, followed by pad work with a professional trainer before taking up the opportunity to spar with one of the professional boxers.
- Go shopping with a shopaholic
Namrata is a big foodie and shopaholic. Indian by origin, but born and raised in Bangkok, she studied at an American International school in there before getting her business management and marketing degree in the USA. Shopaholics and foodies, come to shop locally and enjoy Thai cuisine on the streets, and in the local shopping malls of Bangkok. As a local guide who speaks fluent English, as well as Thai and Hindi, I’ll be able to guide the way to best items and pricing. Bring cash, and wear good walking shoes and comfortable summer clothes. Carry a bag for all your purchases.
Pimlada discovered her passion for food at a young age from her grandma and the rest of my family, who have renowned cooking skills. She would help with preparing the ingredients and even working in the hot kitchen. Having pursued her bachelor’s degree at a very famous international cooking school, she took some years to gather experience as an instructor of cooking classes. Simply put, she love’s eating and her whole life is dedicated to food.
The day will be divided into two parts with a morning class that will have you exploring Khlong Toei—the biggest fresh market in Bangkok—where you shop for fresh ingredients before you cook them. The afternoon class will be conducted in an air-conditioned space where you will be introduced to Thai exotic ingredients, including vegetables, spices, and herbs. Best part of all is you get to enjoy the food that you’ll make.
- Street Food 101 in Local Bangkok
Dwight, Panisha and team are enthusiastic food lovers eager to welcome new friends to Bangkok. Dwight is a food blogger who has lived in Thailand for nearly 10 years. He loves strange dishes and hole in the wall restaurants. Panisha was born in the south of Thailand, where the country’s spiciest food originates. She’s quick to whip up a smoking Thai stir fry, but also has a sweet tooth.
This is a social impact experience where 100% of what you pay goes to Courageous Kitchen. Courageous Kitchen is a non-profit organization inspiring community leadership through the power of food. The organisation provides food aid, education, and training to refugees aiming to improve their health, English skills, and overall confidence. They’re changing the community, one plate at a time.
Ask all of your questions about Thai street food while visiting a fresh market, street side carts, and a specially curated list of stellar shophouses. Everyone on the team is fluent in Thai, so you’ll be able to chat with vendors as you eat your way around the neighborhood.
Come hungry because this experience combines impromptu stops for bites to eat at their favourite places in this off the beaten path neighbourhood. Between eating you’ll have time to talk about food safety, common types of street food, and street food controversy. In the end you’ll have a better understanding of why Bangkok is considered one of the top street food cities in the world. Bear in mind that this experience is not suitable for people with strong dietary restrictions.
There’s nothing like a local guide to bring a city to life, and this couldn’t be more true of Thailand’s vibrant capital.