You better come to this tour hungry for local delicacies, because your first stop is for a taste of a favourite local treat: crispy pancakes. We'll stop at one of the most famous Thai crispy pancake shops in town, Mae Prapa. Crispy pancakes, known in Thai as khanom buang, were invented in Thailand more than 300 years ago during the Ayutthaya period, which was influenced by European cultures. Mae Prapa started making this snack during World War II, when she created her own recipe and built her own shop. The present owner has preserved Mae Prapa's original techniques and quality, and you'll learn all about this family tradition as you snack.
We'll then catch a panoramic view of the Chao Praya River and the historical fortress of Phra Sumen Fort. Your local guide will tell you about the fort, one of 14 citadels built to protect Bangkok after its founding as the capital of Siam (the old name of Thailand) at the end of the 18th century.
From there, time to give your feet a rest and your mind an adventure as we head back in time on board a tuk-tuk, a three-wheeled vehicle that arrived in Thailand after World War II and has since become synonymous with the city of Bangkok. We'll ride past Rattanakosin Island, home to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho (the Reclining Buddha Temple), to kick off our historical discovery of the city.
We'll make our way to Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit temple, one of 10 royal temples in Bangkok, though it was built before the city was even founded. The princess mother of King Rama IX practiced meditation here and shared it through her son King Rama IX. Thais believe that controlling mindfulness can help to fix any problems, and you'll have an opportunity to ask questions and learn about meditation with an expert Buddhist monk, and practice some mindfulness. (Please note that when visiting a temple in Thailand, men and women should cover their shoulders and knees.)
Then, back in our trusty tuk-tuk, it's off to the Museum of Siam for more lessons in local culture and history. Though it is housed in a neo-Classical mansion, this is an interactive, high-tech funhouse whose motto is “Decoding Thainess.” It’s also known as the discovery museum, created to teach Thai national identity and history and their relationships with neighboring cultures.
We'll then take the tuk-tuk to Mont Nomsod, a 50-year-old, second-generation shop that's considered a local institution. Try some of their famous thick white toasted bread with sweet toppings, or steamed toast dipped in Thai custard. Together, we'll learn some useful Thai words, and we'll stroll over to a few other street vendors and test your newfound Thai language skills to order food. Your guide will give you some local tips on finding the best vendors and will help you to communicate with them.
Back in the tuk-tuk and onwards to the trendy Tep Bar at Soi Nana, Maitrijit Road, close to Bangkok’s Chinatown. This bar is decorated in a style that might best be described as industrial rustic. You can try an herbal liquor called yadong, rice wine or a Nila Pat cocktail made with Thai rum, ginger syrup and a black gelatin cube of Thai herbs. (Non-alcoholic drinks are also available.) Sit back, sip and relax as you listen to traditional live Thai music performed with traditional instruments — but with a definitely contemporary beat! Our New York Times Journey City Tour will end here, but before you go, be sure to ask your guide for recommendations for more places to visit in Bangkok after the tour.
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Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, tuk-tuk fare, street snacks as per itinerary, cocktail or non-alcoholic drink at the last stop.
Exclusions: Items of personal nature, additional food or drink, gratuities for your guide.
Dress standard: When visiting a temple in Thailand, men and women should cover their shoulders and knees.
Additional Information: Please note, if any of the sites in the itinerary happen to be closed due to reasons beyond our control, an alternative site will be visited. For example, if Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit temple is closed, another alternative temple will be visited as a replacement.
Child Policy: Travellers under 8 years of age are not permitted to join this tour.