Many travellers, particularly students, venture to Thailand during British Summertime. Prices are low, temperatures are high, and there’s an abundance of amazing things to see and do. The one downside with flying into Bangkok, and almost everyone chooses this as their first destination, is the temperamental weather. The region has two seasons, dry (November to March) and rainy (the rest of the year. And we’re not talking a bit of light drizzle, when it rains in Bangkok it pours… Think streets turned into small rivers, electric storms lighting up the night sky and very soggy feet.
It can be frustrating to see traffic grind to a halt, but the rain spells- whilst extremely heavy- rarely last for more than a few hours. My first tip would be to embrace it; a little rain never hurt anybody after all. However, if you do happen to be caught in a downpour in Thailand’s capital and don’t fancy getting yourself soaked, there really is no shortage of stuff to keep you busy.
If you’re in Bangkok, it would be silly not to check out the incredible selection of shopping malls. On most main roads you’ll find a complex to rival the largest of British centres, the likes of the Bullring and the Trafford Centre pail into insignificance against some of these joints. If you’re feeling flush, or just fancy window shopping, try out Siam Paragon- perhaps there’s a Lamborghini that will take your fancy on their floor dedicated to supercars.
For a more restrained budget, try Terminal 21 (attached to Asok skytrain station), a really cool and unique shopping centre where each floor is based on various global locations. London, Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco and Istanbul are just an escalator ride away!
Enjoy the local food!
Bangkok is an incredible food-destination. The street-food is cheap and delicious, but obviously, in the rain this isn’t ideal. Restaurants are in abundance, but for really good quality and value I recommend the Pier food hall at Terminal 21. You’ll struggle to spend over £1.50, the food is some of the best I’ve tasted in Thailand and the choice is incredible.
One of my favourite ways to get out of the rain is to get in the kitchen! There are all sorts of classes on offer, but I can highly recommend Silom Thai Cooking School. Your afternoon involves a trip to the local market, preparing a five course dinner (spring rolls, pad thai, curry, papaya salad, deep fried banans and coconut ice-cream..droool) and, most importantly, eating it all! The added satisfaction of knowing you’d made it yourself makes it extra tasty. Best of all, you’ll be armed with the necessary skills to bring the delights of Southeast Asian cuisine into your kitchen at home.
Every street in Bangkok boasts a massage parlour, and with hour-long massages available for as little as 300 baht (around £6), it’s a really cheap and enjoyable way to spend some time indoors escaping the downpours. If you’re feeling brave- and flexible- go for a full body Thai massage! Just be prepared to engage in some funny body contortionism, and perhaps hear your joints cracking…
Personally, I’d opt for an oil massage, as they tend to be a little gentler than a standard Thai massage. Another favourite is a foot scrub and massage. If the rain gets really heavy, why not spoil yourself all day long?
The traditional sport of Thailand, Muay Thai is a must-see when you’re in the country, and Bangkok is the number one spot for seeing the pros. The sport is engaging, exciting and undoubtedly a good way to spend a rainy evening- the passion of the Thai crowd makes for a really thrilling atmosphere. Throw in cheap beers and you’ve got a great night ahead! If you’re feeling really enthused, not to mention energetic, why not attend a Muay Thai class one day too?
You don’t even need to get your swimwear on. Underneath the glamorous Siam Paragon shopping mall you’ll find Siam Ocean World, one of the largest underground aquariums in Southeast Asia. With over 30,000 creatures, a 270 degree underwater tunnel, glass bottom boat rides and the opportunity to swim with sharks and rays, it can make for a memorable day. Next door is Bangkok’s Madame Tussaud’s, so why not go celeb-spotting while you’re there?