My first introduction to the Antelope Canyon was a Windows Desktop wallpaper that came prepackaged with the operating system. Every day, as my system booted up, I remember staring at the water-carved lines of the vibrant slot canyon without knowing where this mysterious place actually was! Never had I imagined then, that I would actually visit Antelope Canyon someday.

Fast-forward to December 2019, a few days before Christmas, I was bored of the Las Vegas Strip and wanted to explore the surrounding desert landscape of Nevada and Arizona. So, I looked up my favorite booking site, GetYourGuide.com for day trips.

Which Antelope Canyon is the best? Upper, Lower or Canyon X?

A tour to the Antelope Canyon immediately caught my attention. The number of hours for the journey, 14 hours, back and forth didn’t deter me as I was so excited to see the Canyon. What surprised me was that there were a variety of tours available. You could either see the Upper Canyon, the Lower Canyon or Canyon X. A quick search on Google showed me that the Upper Canyon and Lower Canyon were both popular with the tourists and promised amazing pictures. So, I was torn about which one to choose?

The Upper Antelope Canyon

Sunlight beams at the Upper Antelope Canyon. Source: Pixabay.com
Sunlight beams at the Upper Antelope Canyon. Source: Pixabay.com

The Upper Antelope Canyon is the most popular of the slot canyons in Page, Arizona. The Upper Antelope Canyon is famous for the “beams of sunlight” that shine through the roof of the slot canyon which make for some of the most beautiful pictures of the canyon. However, these beams of light are mostly assured on clear days in the summer at noon. If you are visiting the canyon in winter, like me, you’ll probably miss the “beam of light” phenomenon. The Upper Canyon is also a better choice for people who are unable to climb stairs and ladders which you’ll need to do in the Lower Canyon. The disadvantage of visiting the Upper canyon is that the Upper Antelope Canyon is usually very crowded and is more expensive than the other canyons.

Buy the trip to Upper Antelope Canyon here

The Lower Antelope Canyon

Ladder at the Lower Antelope Canyon. Source: Glysiak [CC BY-SA]

The Lower Antelope Canyon is a good choice for people who are looking for lesser crowds. Lesser being the operative word as the Lower Canyon is fast gaining in popularity and the crowds are steadily increasing in this canyon as well. The entrance fee to the lower canyon is also less expensive than the Upper Canyon. The cons of visiting the lower canyon are that the lower canyon is narrower than the Upper Canyon and you have to climb down a series ladders to get to the canyon. A moderately fit person can easily do use these ladders and stairs.

Buy tickets to the Lower Antelope Canyon here

Antelope Canyon X – A less touristy Canyon

Antelope Canyon X - A lesser known slot canyon in Page, Arizona
Antelope Canyon X – A lesser known slot canyon in Page, Arizona

Antelope Canyon X is the least crowded of the three canyons at the time of writing this article. Since this is a newer canyon to be opened to the public, it hasn’t yet gained the popularity of the other two canyons. However, it’s just as beautiful.

I gravitate more towards hidden gems when it comes to travel. So, among the three, I chose to visit Antelope Canyon X. Below, I’ll give a more detailed account of my trip. If you want to skip the description and want to buy the tour, here’s the link

Buy the trip to Antelope Canyon X here

Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon

For the day trip from Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon X, I chose a small group tour that had no more than 15 people on board. The tour offered pickup from many hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. The tour was an early start at 5:40 AM. I’m an early riser, so this wasn’t much of a problem for me.

The 12 seater minibus arrived at the hotel promptly. After checking our confirmation and brief hellos to the people on board, the driver proceeded to pick up other passengers. We were fortunate that almost all the people on the tour were on time and ready to go when the minibus arrived at their hotel except for one person. This person was not only not ready to go but was slobbering drunk when the driver called him up. He didn’t even remember booking the trip! To the relief of everyone on board, after a 10-minute wait, the driver decided to leave.

The driver was mindful of the early start and that most of us probably preferred a quiet ride to the Antelope Canyon. He spoke up only when there were interesting things to see on the way but didn’t feel the need to constantly recite unnecessary facts or jokes to “entertain” us. This was perfect in my view and just the type of tour I prefer.

Breakfast and Lunch Provisions on the tour

On the way, we made a stop at a gas station for some coffee and snacks. Though the tour description said there would be snacks, fruits, and water on board, we were not offered any snacks on the tour nor did we ask for it. If you are purchasing the tour through GetYourGuide.com, the entrance fee to the canyon is already included in your price. However, if you have bought the same trip through some other booking websites, you’ll have to pay the driver, the entrance fee in cash. If you don’t have cash with you, there’s an ATM at the gas station.

The lunch stop was at Subway. The cost of the 12-inch Subway sandwich with a large drink and chips are included in the price of the tour. I enjoyed the 45 min stop for lunch. There was enough time to eat the sandwich and stretch our legs before continuing.

Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam

A surprise stop at Lake Powell on the way to Antelope Canyon X
A surprise stop at Lake Powell on the way to Antelope Canyon X

On the way to Antelope Canyon, the driver promised us two surprise stops that were technically not part of the tour. The first stop gave us a view of Lake Powell in the distance. Though the capture here doesn’t do it justice, this was a great stop. The driver encouraged us to take a slow-motion video while jumping, which I haven’t posted here because it didn’t come out well. However, I had a lot of fun jumping for the video.

View of the Colorado river at the Glen Canyon Dam
View of the Colorado river at the Glen Canyon Dam

The second stop was at Glen Canyon Dam which looks remarkably similar to the Hoover dam. The more interesting sight, in my opinion, was on the other side of the road where you can see the Colorado River. I have to admit, however, that this sight which excited me so much at the moment, dulled in comparison once I saw the Horseshoe Bend. It was still worth the stop though.

Finally, Antelope Canyon X

After nearly 6 hours on the bus, with some stops in between, we finally arrived at our destination, Antelope Canyon X. The Antelope Canyon X, just like the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons are owned by the Navajo Indian Families. So, at this point, your minibus driver/tour guide leaves you and the job is taken over by a Navajo Indian guide.

Entrance to the Antelope Canyon X has some steps and a unpaved path beside it.
Entrance to the Antelope Canyon X has some steps and a unpaved path beside it.

First, at the parking lot, you transfer to another minibus. This minibus takes you from to the entrance of the Antelope Canyon. Then, the Navajo India guide leads you down the stairs to the slot canyons. The steps here, as you see in the picture, are not as steep as the steps at the Lower Antelope Canyon. There’s also an unpaved path beside the stairs. Whether this path is suitable for a wheelchair, I don’t have any idea.

Inside the Anteleope Canyon X
Inside the Anteleope Canyon X

There are two slot canyons at Antelope Canyon X within a short distance of each other. They both are beautiful. The Navajo guide who led us into the canyons was very friendly and help everyone take photos. He also taught us some cool photography tricks to get the best photos of the canyon.

Antelope Canyon X  - sunlight peeping in through the roof
Antelope Canyon X – sunlight peeping in through the roof

Since the Canyon was not crowded with tourists, we had plenty of time to get some great shots and explore the canyons at leisure. If you are visiting during winter, there’s snow on the ground and the temperature inside the canyon is cooler than outside. So, remember to wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes.

There are some wider areas at the Antelope Canyon X.
There are some wider areas at the Antelope Canyon X.

There are some wide and narrow areas in the canyon. However, even the narrow areas are not too much of a squeeze. It’s comfortable to walk through.

After about 45 minutes of exploring both the slot canyons, we were ready to head back to our minibus. I was extremely satisfied with the tour of the canyon and I had a great time.

Horseshoe Bend

Horshoe Bend is the last stop on the Antelope Canyon tour
Horshoe Bend is the last stop on the Antelope Canyon tour

If you thought this was the end of the day trip, you’re wrong. There was another wonderful destination to explore i.e. the Horseshoe Bend. The drive from the Antelope Canyon to Horseshoe Bend was just around 20 minutes. Once at the location, we had to hike a little, somewhere around 15 minutes to reach the Horseshoe part of the Colorado River.

The view that awaited us was amazing, to say the least. The Colorado River snaked around the Canyon carving a Horseshoe shape which was glorious to see. I know the scene before you at this point is so beautiful that you are bound to forget precautions. So, I say it here, please beware of edges of the canyon at all times. Don’t be too engrossed in clicking pictures.

This view of the Colorado River was the perfect ending to a perfect day trip. After this stop, we headed straight back to Las Vegas. If you want to go on the same tour as I did, you can purchase the tickets here.

Happy travels!

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Antelope Canyon X is a less touristy option to Upper and Lower canyons. Explore the day trip from Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon here.
Antelope Canyon X is a less touristy option to Upper and Lower canyons. Explore the day trip from Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon here.

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On the way to see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, our bus tour stopped for lunch at the small town of Seligman, Arizona (link to Goolge Maps). Disney fans may recognize Seligman as the inspiration behind the town in the movie ‘Cars’.

My first impression, as I alighted from the bus, was that I’d landed in a post-apocalyptic town. Apart from the bakery/restaurant, a gas station and a few buildings across the street, there wasn’t a man or woman, a car or a house in sight. As any modern human being with a mobile phone and internet would do, I Googled the population of Seligman. Not surprisingly, the population of Seligman as of 2017, was only 471. For a moment, I wondered what it would be like to live in such a small town. Would I enjoy the close-knit community or go insane from boredom…

Seligman Depot at Seligman, Arizona
Seligman Depot at Seligman, Arizona

My hypothetical musings were interrupted by the tour guide shouting that we had 20 minutes at the stop. Tired and hungry from the bus ride, I made my way straight to the bakery to get myself some cake, which the tour guide had praised as award-winning. As I was one of the first ones in line, I bought my cake pretty quickly and still had 15 mins left to explore my surroundings.

Seligman Depot

Fake Storefronts at the Seligman Depot in Arizona
Fake Storefronts at the Seligman Depot in Arizona

I stashed the scrumptious-looking generous slice of the Black Forest cake in my backpack to have later on the bus and crossed the street to check out the vintage-looking buildings. To my surprise, as I got closer, the buildings were just storefronts and not actual stores…

There were 5 storefronts in total. There was a Livery, a “Tonsorial Parlor” which is a complicated way of saying “a Barbershop”, a hotel, a gun shop, and a Wells Fargo Store. I had no idea what a Livery meant. A kind reader and friend on Instagram informed me that a Livery would board horses for owners but they also had horses for ‘rent.’ After the invention of cars, these stores, as expected, went out of use. Thank you to Nancy for giving me a brief lesson in American History.

Model of a 1860's territorial jail at Seligman Depot, Arizona
Model of a 1860’s territorial jail at Seligman Depot, Arizona

A Territorial Jail

These storefronts were definitely interesting but what caught my attention immediately was the small wooden cabin with the words “JAIL” written in bold letters. On entering the Jail, I found there was just one jailcell with a single grubby bed. The door to the Jail cell was open. So, of course, I had to go in and take some crazy shots and indulge in my usual shenanigans. Here’s the proof of my silly behavior. Maybe I should’ve opted for a more somber expression for a more realistic effect, but it was hard to control my laughter.

Shenanigans inside the jail cell
Shenanigans inside the jail cell
A cage used to transport prisoners.
A cage used to transport prisoners.

Once I got out of Jail, I stopped to read the signboard outside. The signboard detailed the “History” of the place. It said,

At one time, this 1860 Territorial Jail, held such notorious outlaws like Seligman Sam, Three Finger Jack, James Younger and many more. In 1866, four Indians escaped by tunneling from this small cell to the OK Saloon. Four days later, they were dead after a shoot out with Marshal Carl, ‘Curly’, Bane.

In my opinion, it read like a plot from an Old Western and I wasn’t wrong. Wikipedia informed me that the jail and the stores of Seligman Depot are not historical buildings but were put there to attract tourists by the RoadKill Cafe owners. What a great way to educate and have fun at the same time! Don’t you agree?

RoadKill Cafe

Roadkill Cafe restaurant at the Seligman Depot
The Seligman Depot and the jail are created by the Roadkill Cafe owners as a tourist attraction

Speaking of the RoadKill Cafe, you can find the restaurant right beside the jail cell and the Seligman Depot. This has a funny story to it. As we neared the lunch stop, the tour guide on our bus joked that the Roadkill Cafe served actual roadkill. Their specialty was raccoon soup. The joke went right over my head. In my defense, our tour guide was pretty bad at jokes. All along the journey, she cracked many jokes and hardly got any laughs. Anyway, I didn’t recognize this as one of her jokes and thought this was actually true.

I didn’t have time to check out the Roadkill Cafe as the stop at the Seligman Depot was just 20 minutes long. After I returned home, I posted on my picture on Instagram telling my readers that the cafe actually served roadkill. How I wish I had done some research before posting this information… To my embarrassment, the son of the owner of Roadkill Cafe happened to read my post. He informed me that the cafe didn’t actually serve roadkill but the standard American fare. The items on the menu were given funny names just as a gimmick! I immediately updated my Instagram post to correct my mistake. You can see my conversation with the owner’s son here.

So, if you visit Seligman Depot on the way to the Grand Canyon, I would recommend you check out the Seligman Depot and the Roadkill Cafe. I, for one, owe it to the Roadkill Cafe owners to make a stop there, the next time I visit. For people who are curious about the Grand Canyon tour I took from Las Vegas, here’s a link to the bus tour. The tour is long (approx. 12 hrs) but a worthwhile day trip to take from Las Vegas.

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Check out the Seligman Depot, the territorial jail and the Roadkill Cafe at Seligman, AZ
Check out the Seligman Depot, the territorial jail and the Roadkill Cafe at Seligman, AZ

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Most of us travel to escape our everyday stress and routine. We plan to get away to another city, even another country to relax, unwind and see some interesting sights. But, what actually happens is quite the opposite. Instead of the trip being a reprieve away from stress, it quickly morphs into a different type of stressful activity.

Picture this familiar scenario!

Even before the trip begins, you spend several hours meticulously planning your upcoming vacation. Every hour and minute of your itinerary is planned to a T. Everything from where you’ll go to what you’ll wear is carefully organized.

On the trip, you run from one attraction to the next seeing anywhere from 3 to 4 attractions in a single day. The whole trip is so rushed that before you know it, your vacation is over and you come back home even more exhausted than before. If any of this describes your trip… then you should switch it up and consider slow travel.

What is Slow Travel?

Slow travel is exactly what the words mean. You travel at a slower pace, taking the time to explore local food and culture along with popular tourist attractions. In this type of travel, there’s no rush to get to places. There’s no list of all the things you MUST do on your holiday. In fact, there’s no strict itinerary. The emphasis is on going with the flow of things, being open to offbeat and spontaneous experiences and mainly just enjoying the trip.

The idea of slow travel spun off from the slow food movement that was founded in Italy in 1986, by Carlo Petrini. The slow food movement took birth as a healthy alternative to the fast-food culture. It promotes local food and traditional ways of cooking. Similarly, slow travel promotes local experiences, alternative modes of travel like walking, bicycles, buses, and trains, environmentally responsible ways of tourism, and generally a slower pace of exploration.

Why I travel slow?

Years ago, when I was a Ph.D. candidate, I was based in London, UK. One big advantage of being in the UK is that Europe is so closeby. The availability of budget flights made it very easy for me to take mini-vacations during my long weekends. During these trips, I behaved like a typical tourist. I tried to see as many places I could in a short space of time. I spent all my time running from one famous cathedral to another must-see museum. Even though I saw a lot of places this way, I don’t have a single lasting memory from these trips. I just have a vague impression of the places I’ve seen but I can’t tell you anything about the places I saw in detail.

In 2016, I took my first slow travel trip to Quebec City. The city is comparatively a smaller city and can be seen within a few days or a week at the most. Yet, I spent a whole month in the city. It was an infinitely more pleasurable experience.

The next year, I did the same when I visited Tokyo in Japan. Since then, I have fallen in love with this form of travel. The memories I made during these slow travel trips have outdone all the trips I have taken before. Now, I don’t want to travel any other way. If, like me, you want to travel slow, here’s how you can do it too.

How to do Slow Travel

There are many ways you can incorporate the ideas of slow travel ideas on your trip. Here’s how to do it.

No Strict Itinerary

A strict itinerary usually leads to FOMO(Fear Of Missing Out) and stress if you don’t adhere to it. Instead, try a loosely planned itinerary. Have some days in your trip itinerary where nothing is planned for the day. You can decide on the go where you want to go or just rest for the day. While this means that you still have some control over the things you plan to see and do during your trip, it allows for more free time and spontaneous sight-seeing.

1. One Attraction per day

Some proponents of slow travel propose avoiding popular tourist attractions altogether and exploring other local experiences. I don’t support this idea completely. For example, If you’re visiting Paris for the first time, there’s no way you want to avoid seeing the Eiffel Tower or The Louvre. They are very much a big part of Paris. However, there are ways to make the experience more enjoyable. Here are some better ways to see popular and crowded tourist attractions:

  1. Plan to see only one popular tourist attraction per day. Since there’s no rush to get to another place the same day, you tend to be more relaxed despite the crowds. After you see the attraction, spend some time exploring the surrounding area. You may find an interesting cafe, a bookstore, or a local restaurant that will make the trip more memorable.
  2. If possible, purchase a skip-the-line ticket so that you spend more time enjoying the attraction rather than standing in the line.
  3. Visit during the shoulder or off-seasons. This is not only beneficial to you but also good for the local economy. Prices for hotels are also generally lower during shoulder and off-seasons.

2. Meaningful trips

It’s true that slow travel lends itself naturally to longer trips that span a month or more. So, if you are passionate about travel, then you could try finding a career that will give you this flexibility. However, this is not an option for many people who work in location-dependent jobs. The good news though, is that the principles of slow travel can be applied to shorter vacations too. As I mentioned before, plan to see fewer places but in more detail even if your vacation is short. There’s no point in seeing 10 things in 2 days, it’s better to see 2 to 4 things in 2 days instead. You may end up seeing a lesser number of things but you will definitely make the trip more meaningful.

3. Try Local experiences

Try experiences that let you get a glimpse of local life. You can do this, for instance, by renting apartments through short-term vacation rental services like Airbnb and HomeAway that bring you in close contact with locals instead of booking a hotel room or resort.

Take a local cooking class. In Japan, similar to an Airbnb, there’s a service called airKitchen that provides travelers with a chance to visit ordinary Japanese family home’s to cook and eat home-cooked meals together with local hosts.

4. Be a Tourist In Your Own City

What better place to explore than your own city! On your days off from work, break out from your routine and explore your own city with the eyes of a tourist. Try the new restaurant in town, find out some off-beat locations that few people know about, check out the new exihit in a museum, plan a picnic in a park nearby. You’ll be surprised how entertaining your city can be.

5. Pick Aparthotels/ homestays over hotels

As a travel blogger, I prefer short-term rentals over hotels for more than one reason. First, they are more economical when compared to hotels. For example, short-term rentals like Airbnb and Homestay, offer huge discounts (around 40% or more) when you stay at an apartment for more than 28 days. Since my stays are typically longer, I save a lot of money this way. I also prefer not to eat out everyday. So, I pick apartments with fully equipped kitchens. So, I can cook whenever I please. The other advantage of staying at a short term rental is that, I automatically feel like I am living in the city rather than merely visiting it. So my experience of the city is more enriched. I can observe the daily lives of the locals up-close.

6. Try alternative means of Travel

Recently, with the climate change movement, the concern over air travel emissions have increased. While it’s not possible for every one to sail across the Atlantic with zero carbon footprint like Greta Thunberg, small efforts can be made to reduce your carbon footprint. For example, take the local transit, travel by trains instead of planes when possible, walk and bike instead of renting a car for shorter distances.

These are some simple ways to travel slow. Whether you follow these are not, I hope you cherish your travels and not let stress get in the way of your enjoyment.

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What is slow travel and how you can do it.
What is slow travel and how you can do it.

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Planning our road trip, we put Alaska as one of the main destinations. And because we started in Vancouver, there was no other way than through Yukon and beautiful Dawson City. That city had so much charm that we decided to share our experience with you and give some guidelines on why you should visit it sooner than later.

Dawson City History

Klondike Kate at Dawson City, Yukon
Klondike Kate at Dawson City, Yukon

Dawson City, aka Town of the City of Dawson, is located in the Canadian part of Yukon territory. Its history is closely linked to Klondike Gold Rush. Even today, visiting this town, you can feel the soul of good old days. This city has a lot of stories to tell, but probably even more, that would never see daylight. To our surprise, Dawson City is vibrant and crowded. It turned out that it is the second biggest city in Yukon (after Whitehorse) with a population of 1375 (as of 2016). But if you add tourists, the number rapidly increases.

Dawson was settled in 1897 and was the capital of Yukon till 1952 when it passed authority to Whitehorse located closer to the British Columbia border and developing faster, probably due to other cities’ proximity. It’s worth to mention that Dawson dropped its population after WWII when Alaska Highway was built about 300 miles to the south bypassing its beautiful historical landmark. But maybe it’s even better. Due to this fact, it still has this old days charm, and you can come and see it with your own eyes. It becomes just another tourist attraction but a very unique one.

Top 5 Things to do in Dawson City, Yukon

1. See the live show in Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall

Visit the live show at Diamond Tooth Gerties gambling hall
Visit the live show at Diamond Tooth Gerties gambling hall

This place literally makes you step back in time. I would say it had for sure not changed since it was open in 1971. And you would never think it is Canada’s oldest casino. The name of the place originates from Gertie Lovejoy, who had a diamond between her two front teeth. But even before that, for nearly 100 years, the building has been the heart and home of many of Dawson’s most essential and festive social gatherings.

What makes this casino unique in Canada? Well, it is the only one where you can gamble, drink alcohol, and watch the live show in the same room. And it is the only one located in northern Canada. And what’s interesting is that since 1971 it is operated by Klondike Visitors Association (a non-profit organization). The revenue is spent on preserving historical sites of Dawson. We would say it’s a really glorious purpose. And we would even spend some money on this casino to keep the legendary Dawson CIty alive in a similar state for the next generations.

2. Visit Claim 33 Gold Panning

It is evident that if you are in the heart of a gold rush historical place, you can’t leave it without panning some gold for you. The right place to try your luck is Claim 33 Gold Panning Museum. They say it is guaranteed that you will dig some gold, and they give you all the instructions and teach techniques. The trick is to separate the wheat from the chaff, i.e., the gold from the gravel. We had great fun in this place and felt like gold panners years ago. The only difference was that we were doing it just for fun, and they were doing it to survive and earn a better future that very often never came…

The place is located outside of the city downtown. It is open since mid-May to mid-September, so it’s best to plan the visit for the summer. The place is family-friendly, so don’t hesitate to come with your kids. Let’s them see how hard was it to earn money back then. To be honest, it didn’t change a lot, and we just have different ways to make that money.

3. Historic Dawson City Walk

Dawson City, Yukon
Dawson City, Yukon

I would say that one of our favorite activities was to just wander the streets of Dawson City and make theories about how could the history of those places looked like. This city looks really old and original. For us, the most surprising thing was wooden pavements that we had no chance to see in other parts of North America. Fortunately, the city is curated by Parks Canada. We trust that due to their effort it looks really great and is preserved pretty well.
As photographers, we had great fun to take portraits with clothes reminding old days with all those historic old buildings in the background. Looking at those pictures, you would never say that they were taken in 2019.
Visit Dawson City Museum

If you like museums, you should definitely visit this one. It will show you the history of the city, focusing mainly on the gold rush era, but you can find some history about the native Athapaskan people of the area. They are trying to be very informative, and on the other side very practical, so you can try some gold mining activities for yourself. Old photographs on display are really very lovely and unique and for sure, worth seeing. Besides, you can take a closer look at the trapper’s cabin, the piano, the parlor, and the bike. Moreover, the building itself is a lovely piece of old architecture and art. Do not forget to visit the outside garden as well.

There is a fascinating history about the railroad that was supposed to come to Paris of the North (how was the city often called because people living here were better situated than in other regions of Canada at that time) and never came. But still, you can find a lot of old trains and steam locomotives in the museum. What is their history we leave for you to get to know when you finally go there.

4. S.S. Keno National Historic Site

S.S. Keno National Historic Site
S.S. Keno National Historic Site

S.S. Keno is the historical remaining of what was once the most luxury and popular way to travel between towns by the Yukon River. The steamboat that had a shallow two-foot draft was build in 1922. In the past, it was used mainly on the Stewart River hauling silver-lead concentrate from Mayo to Stewart City. But it was also used for early and late season trips to Dawson City. Eventually, it was retired from commercial service in 1951 due to the extension and improvement of the in the years after World War II. Nine years later, S.S. Keno became the last sternwheeler steamers to navigate the Yukon River under her own power. It arrived at its current location where you can see it now.

5. Stay in one of the historic hotels

Historic Hotels in Yukon - Downtown Hotel
DownTown Hotel, Yukon

As you already know, Dawson City is a well preserved historic location, and hotels are no different than the rest of the city. We found two excellent maintained, but still operating hotels:

Downtown Hotel

The hotel is situated just one block from the Yukon River and in the very downtown of Dawson City not far from Diamond Tooth Gerties. From the outside, we believe it looks the same as 100 years ago, but inside it’s like a very modern and convenient hotel with everything you need (even working wi-fi!). There are 34 stylish rooms in the main building, together with a lounge and elegant dining room. Book your room at Downtown Hotel here.

Triple J Hotel and Cabins

This stylish hotel is located directly across the street from Diamond Tooth Gerties’s Casino, and two blocks from The Palace Grand Theatre. In practice, everything is walking distance here. The hotel has renovated rooms in the main building and some additional in the annex. Of course, it also has an excellent restaurant serving great local food. Book your room at Triple J Hotel and Cabins here.

Author’s Bio

Hi, we are Aga & Chris – two crazy photographers who love to travel. In August 2019, we started The Van Escape project in Vancouver. With freshly purchased old camper truck, we headed to Alaska to encounter some wildlife and fantastic landscapes. On our blog – The Van Escape – we try to combine the best travel and photo hints from visited locations. We hope it is beneficial for your travel plans!

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5 Top things to do in Dawson City, Yukon
5 Top things to do in Dawson City, Yukon

Paris is a city where you can spend a whole year and still not run out of things to do and see. Among these innumerable options, I asked my fellow travel bloggers to pick some of the best things to see in Paris. Here’s what they suggest.

The Eiffel Tower

Recommended by Theresa from fueledbywanderlust.com
Must-see attractions of Paris - Eiffel Tower
Things to do in Paris – See the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower, standing at 1,063 feet tall, is one of the most iconic structures in the world. Almost 7 million people flock here each year to ride the elevator to the top for sweeping views of Paris. After dark you can even watch its famous lights glitter on the hour, making it truly one of the most romantic places in the world.

The Tower, located in the 7th arrondissement, has three floors open to visitors. You can reach the first and second floors via the stairs or elevator, but you must take the elevator to the third floor.

Fact Box

Opening Times

The Tower is open to visitors every day, with opening hours usually ranging from 9:30 a.m. to 23:45 p.m.

Entrance Fees

Eiffel Tower tickets range from €10.20 to €25.50, with the cheapest option being the stairs and most expensive being the elevator to the top.

Buy your tickets online in advance for a ride to the second or third floor, especially in high season, as the best times will sell out. You can generally buy stairs tickets the same day, although it’s still best to purchase them online to avoid long waits. Skip the long lines with priority access tickets here.

Getting There

The closest Metro stations include Champ de Mars on Line RER C, Ecole Militaire on Line 8, and Bir-Hakeim on Line 6.

The Louvre

Recommended by Lesley from freedom56travel.com

The Louvre
The Louvre

The Louvre is one of the most iconic attractions in Paris, and deservedly so! It is the largest museum in the world and a historic monument of Paris and houses the most revered works of art known to man. The Louvre is definitely a must-see on a visit to Paris.

The Louvre is home to 380,000 individual objects, ranging from archaeological finds to Egyptian antiquities to decorative arts. As the most visited museum in the world, the Louvre is famous for being the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait for as much as an hour or two to see this famous painting!

The Louvre was originally a defensive fortress in the 12th century and was a home and main residence to French kings until the 1600s. The Louvre became a public gallery following the French Revolution.

Fact Box

Opening Times

The Louvre is open daily (except Tuesdays) from 9 am to 6 pm, with later open hours on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Entrance Fees

Located in the 1st arr. on the right bank of the Seine, the Louvre is easy to identify by its beautiful glass pyramid marking the entrance. Buy your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in the long lines to get in. Ticket prices are 17,00 € and are valid for the time period you select. Skip the line with a timed-entrance ticket here or buy the Paris Museum Pass which gives you access to more than 60 museums in Paris.

Getting There

The metro stations closest to the Louvre are Palais-Royal Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7) and Pyramides (line 14).

Arc de Triomphe

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Arc de Triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

You can’t go to Paris without visiting the Arc de Triomphe. I mean, technically you can, but you’d be missing out on such an iconic Paris attraction.

It’s located down the street from the Eiffel Tower on one of the busiest intersections in Paris. While you can take photos and admire the Arc de Triomphe from the street, it’s much cooler to climb up to the top. There are 284 steps to get from the base to the viewing platform and it’s totally worth it.

From the terrace, you can see the Eiffel Tower and the famous Champs Elysees. They even have a cool selfie spot and telescopes set up. It only takes about an hour to explore, so you can easily fit it in your Paris itinerary. And families will love knowing this is a kid-friendly Paris attraction.

Fact Box

Opening Times

Open from 10 am to 10 pm daily

Entrance Fees

Free for people younger than 18 years old. 12 Euro for people 18 years old and older. There are some free days throughout the year.

Getting There

By subway, take lines 1, 2 et 6, stop Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile. By RER, take line A, stop Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile.

Seine River

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River Seine
River Seine

The Seine River is Paris’ most beautiful avenue. The river crosses the French capital from east to west. On its way to the ocean, the Seine River sees Paris’ most beautiful monuments like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum (French Kings’ former palace until they moved to Versailles), the Orsay Museum, or the Eiffel Tower just to name a few. But the Seine has also its own highlights in Paris. Indeed, there are the bridges of the Seine, each one with its own character, and the river islands (Îlle de la Cité, Île Saint Louis, Île aux Cygnes, and Île Louviers) are really cool places to go for a stroll. Île de la Cité hosted during medieval times the royal and religious powers and it is full of historical monuments while Île Saint Louis is well-known for its romantic atmosphere.

There are many ways to enjoy the River Seine, from walks along its banks, to picnics in the summer. One of the most popular activities amongst visitors is to sail the river on a boat tour and there are many kinds of boat tours, some of them with lunch or dinner included.

Pont Neuf

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Pont Neuf
Pont Neuf

Paris’ bridges are definitely among the best things to see in Paris: Pont Alexandre III, Pont des Arts, Bir Hakeim… There are many of them all over the city, and each of them is very unique because of the location, the view or the decorations they can have. Plus, visiting bridges is free! But did you know about the oldest bridge standing in Paris? It is the Pont Neuf, located at the very center of Paris.

The Pont Neuf is an important piece of Paris history as it spans over the Seine river since 1607 – more than 400 years! The bridge also has the first crosswalks of Paris, a huge statue of King Henri IV and more than 800 sculpted masks on its sides. Classified as a Historical Monument since 1889, you can reach the Pont Neuf after visiting the famous cathedral Notre Dame de Paris or the amazing Sainte Chapelle.

Discover more fun facts and photos about the Pont Neuf in this article.

Fact Box

Metro Line 1 and 7 have transit routes that pass near Pont-Neuf.

Chateau Vincennes

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Chateau Vincennes
Chateau Vincennes

If you’re planning to visit Paris and want to get a good look at a castle, this is a great option. While it’s not one of the more famous attractions of Paris, Chateau de Vincennes is a fascinating place to visit. It’s a place full of history and secrets dating back to the 14th century. It’s a full castle completely equipped with a bridge, moat (since dried out) and towers.

The entire complex is really a series of buildings completely surrounded by a massive protective wall. The castle is an excellent place to explore as many parts of it are really well preserved. It’s an excellent place for kids to visit as well. So much of Paris is usually crowded with fellow travelers, so this is a nice change of pace. This place is unique in that it is not furnished at all. It is completely empty, so no worries about breaking anything. But it gives a unique perspective in comparison to other sites like it that you may visit.

On the grounds of the castle, there is also a chapel which was modeled after the Sainte Chapelle on the Ile de la Cite whose gothic architecture is pretty stunning.

Fact Box

Opening Times

For opening times of Chateau Vincennes, please see the linked website.

Entrance Fees

Tickets for adults cost 9 EU and those under 18 and EU citizens between 18 and 25 enter for free. You can also enter with the Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass.You can purchase tickets here.

Getting There

Using the metro from Paris you can take the 1 Train and get off on the Chateau de Vincennes stop which is the last stop. Once you emerge from the Metro you will be about a 5-minute walk from the castle.

Pont Alexandre III

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Araioflight Pont Alexandre
Pont Alexandre

Built way back in the early 1900s, Pont Alexander III is one of the most important bridges in Paris due to its grandeur, architecture, and location. Classed as a historic monument, it connects the Invalides on the Left Bank to the Grand Palais and Petit Palais on the Right Bank and makes for a convenient crossing over the Seine.

The bridge is lavishly decorated with lampposts and sculptures that include huge pillars crowned with bronze winged horse sculptures on each corner. It has become a popular location for wedding photoshoots and you will also find plenty of tourists no matter the time of the day. From here you get sweeping vistas across the river and of the Eiffel Tower, making it a great spot to find some of the best views in Paris.

Fact Box

The closest stations to Pont Alexandre III are Grand Palais or Invalides, both just a two minute walk away.

The Church of Saint-Séverin

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Eglis eSaint-Séverin
Eglis eSaint-Séverin. Source. Available under License CC BY 2.0

The Church of Saint-Séverin is one of the finest Gothic churches in Paris and offers a quiet respite in the heart of the Latin Quarter, a bohemian area filled with students and veg-friendly cafés. The church was first built in the early 13th century, then rebuilt in the 15th century after being damaged by a fire. Since then, it has undergone several restorations, but it still retains many of its Gothic architectural features, such as the distinctive gargoyles that jut out the sides.

One of its most notable features is the beautifully twisted pillar in the ambulatory, which resembles the shape of a palm tree. Its stained glass windows represent a range of different eras, from the 15th-century windows of the chancel to the contemporary ones created by Jean Bazaine in 1970.

Saint-Séverin is one of the oldest churches still standing on the Left Bank of the Seine and should not be missed. Be sure to take a peek at the lovely walled garden in the back while you’re here.

Fact Box

Opening Times

Saint Séverin is open Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 7.30 pm and on Sundays from 9.00 am to 8.30 pm. It’s located at the intersection of Rue Saint-Jacques and Rue Saint-Séverin in the Latin Quarter.

Entrance Fees

Saint Séverin is free to enter

Getting There

The easiest way to get there is by metro, as the church lies within easy walking distance of both the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame and Cluny-La Sorbonne metro stops.

Palais Garnier

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What to see in Paris - Palais Garnier
Palais Garnier

Paris’ Palais Garnier (also known as the Opera Garnier or Paris Opera House) is an absolutely delightful example of the opulent and grand architecture that Paris is known for–and it has an incredible history to boot.

Holding nearly 2,000 people and dating to the 19th century, the Palais Garnier is nestled in Paris’ 9th arrondissement and is absolutely one of the best things to see in Paris.

During the day, you can tour the interior of the opera house, including the theatre itself, its opulent grand staircase, the beautiful second-floor terrace, and the phenomenal Hall of Mirrors that just may make you think that you’ve stepped into the Palace of Versailles… without leaving the heart of Paris.

Today, the Palais Garnier is shrouded in mystery around the world, inspired in large part by the famous Phantom of the Opera novel by Gaston Leroux (and later Broadway play).

While there’s no actual phantom living underneath the opera house, there is a large tank of water beneath the Palais Garnier, and a few choice incidents–including a tragic incident of the chandelier falling and killing a man in 1896–were woven into the novel and give it an eerie hint of reality.

Fact Box

Opening Times

The opera house is open daily to visitors from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, with the exception of days when it is closed for performances.

Getting There

Palais Garnier can be accessed by Metro: Opéra station (lines 3, 7 and 8), RER: Auber station (line A), and by Bus: lines 20, 21, 27, 29, 32, 45, 52, 66, 68, 95

Entrance Fees

Tickets to visit the Palais Garnier cost 14 Euro for a self-guided tour, and guided options are available for an additional fee. And, of course, if you’d like a very different kind of visit to the Palais Garnier, you can always simply buy a ticket to a show–the building is still very much a functional opera house!

Luxembourg Gardens

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Luxembourg Gardens in Paris
Luxembourg Gardens in Paris

Located on the Rive Gauche, the Luxembourg gardens are a must-do when visiting the city of lights. Rivaling the slightly more famous Jardin des Tuileries in the Rive Droite, they’re unmatched in terms of natural and man-made attractions. In the center of the park, you’ll find the grand Luxembourg Palace, which dates back to the 17th century & makes a stunning backdrop to the Grand Bassin duck pond. If visiting Paris with kids, it’s also the perfect place to while away an afternoon. There’s a nature-inspired playground that will entertain little ones for hours (a small entry fee applies), and a traditional puppet theatre that puts on shows on Wednesdays, weekends and public holidays. Partake in the tradition of pushing handmade wooden sailboats around the pond, take a stroll beneath the leafy alleyways, play a game of pétanque, or just sit back in one of the iconic green garden chairs and take in the atmosphere – whichever way you choose to enjoy this garden, you won’t regret a visit.

Fact Box

Opening Times

Opens between 7.30 am and 8.15 am and closes between 4.30 pm and 9.30 pm depending on the season.

Entrance Fees

Entry to the gardens is free but the playground costs €3 for children and €1 for adults.

Sainte Chapelle

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Saint Chapelle
Saint Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) is a Gothic wonder that hails back to the 13th century. It is located in the courtyard of the medieval Palais de la Cité, where kings once lived, on the River Seine. Most of the structure is now the Palais de Justice.

Be sure to visit on a sunny day to get the full impact of the massive stained glass windows with intricate detailing. It is simply breathtaking to walk through the doors to see the stunning array of beautiful colors glistening everywhere you look. You will notice everyone else also looking up in wonder and appreciation of this masterpiece.

Near Sainte-Chapelle is the Conciergerie, the medieval prison where Marie Antoinette was held and tried during the French Revolution. You can purchase a joint entrance ticket for both and can easily see them and the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in a half day.

Since this is a religious place, please remember to dress modestly (cover knees and shoulders).

Fact Box

Opening Times

Sainte-Chapelle is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for most of the year, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from April through September.

Entrance Fees

The entrance cost is 10€ and the joint ticket with the Conciergerie costs 15€. Entrance to both, as well as to Notre Dame and more than 50 other museums and attractions, is also included in the Paris Museum Pass which sells for 48€ for 2 days, 62€ for 4 days, and 74€ for 6 days.

Getting There

The easiest way to get to Sainte-Chapelle is to take the Métro Line 4 to the Cité stop and walk to the Palais de Justice, one block up on Rue de Lutèce. The entrance is on the left of the Palais de Justice and the gilded iron gates.

Champs-Élysées

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Champs-Élysées
Champs-Élysées

Strolling along the Champs-Élysées is a quintessential Paris experience!

“The most beautiful avenue in the world”, as the French call it, has something for everyone, from luxury brands and high-end boutiques, to fast fashion stores, theatres, cinemas, award-winning restaurants, and iconic cafés.

Start at the Place Charles de Gaulle square and walk down the avenue admiring the beautiful architecture or indulging in some shopping.

Another mandatory thing to do at the Champs-Élysées is, of course, trying the delicious French macarons at Ladurée.

At the opposite end of this celebrated avenue, near the Place de la Concorde, you’ll find the Champs-Élysées Gardens, as well as the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais art museums.

After dark, the Champs-Élysées is also one of the most glamorous nightlife spots in Paris.

For a perfect evening, sip a cocktail at one of the many bars and cafés along the avenue, have dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, watch a show at the famous Lido cabaret, or dance the night away at some of the most exclusive Parisian clubs.

How to get there: The best way to get to the Champs-Élysées is by metro. Take Line 1 and get out at Charles de Gaulle-Étoile, George V, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau, or Concorde.

Montmartre

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Montmartre
Montmartre

If in Paris make sure to see Montmartre – the lovely artist neighborhood with the famous Roman-Catholic church Sacré-Coeur Basilica. Sacré-Coeur Basilica which sits on a hill is probably the most famous attraction in the area. It offers lovely views and, of course, it looks absolutely beautiful inside as well.

But of course, there is so much more to see in this Parisian neighborhood (or arrondissement, as it is called here). You’ll find many artists, shops, cafes & restaurants including the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. But there are also many cobblestone lanes, and cute buildings which make this area very charming and so it does not surprise that it is one of the most photogenic and most photographed neighborhoods in Paris.

Fact Box

Opening Times

Opening hours for Sacré-Coeur Open every day from 6 a.m. to 10.30 p.m.

Entrance Fees

No entrance fees.

Getting There

It is very easy to get to Montmartre: take the metro and get out at Abbesses -and you are almost at Sacré-Coeur You can stroll the streets of Montmartre at any time of the day, but shops close in the evening and Sacré-Coeur is still used as s church.

Le Pantheon

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Le Pantheon Paris
Le Pantheon Paris

Le Pantheon, like many buildings in Paris, has a long and complicated history. It was designed to look like the Pantheon in Rome. The building used to be a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve but after the French Revolution, the church was turned into a monument to liberty.

Many famous French people are buried in Le Pantheon, including the writer Voltaire and the philosopher Rousseau. Apparently it’s possible to be evicted from Le Pantheon if the French people decide that you’re no longer worthy of being buried in such a place of honor. Jean-Paul Marat, the politician, was initially buried here, then removed after his reputation declined. When you visit, you can descend into the crypt and learn more about the famous French who are fortunate enough to rest here.

Fact Box

Opening Times

Le Pantheon is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm, but in the summer months it stays open until 6:30 pm.

Entrance Fees

Admission to Le Pantheon is 9 EU.

Getting There

It is easy to get there by metro, and the closest station is the RER station Luxembourg.

Belleville

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Belleville Neighbourhood in Paris
Belleville Neighbourhood in Paris

Compared to the sophisticated center of Paris, Belleville is a down to earth and authentic neighborhood. Located in the far east, it’s way off the touristic center and a real gem. It could remain under the radar of many and preserve its unique charm. Don’t expect a hidden fancy village, though. Belleville appears rough around the edges – it’s a busy quarter, a melting pot of different lifestyles and cultures, and also one of the most important street art sectors of Paris!

The most important and known place to witness urban art is at Rue Denoyez – changing graffitis are decorating the walls but don’t stop just there! Belleville is blotched in art of all sizes and genres – keep your exes open!

The centerpiece of Belleville is the Parc de Belleville. Its ground is stretching along a hill and it’s a steep march up – but you’re granted with one of the nicest views over Paris – The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Centre Pompidou.. you’ll see it all!

Fact Box

Getting There

To reach Belleville, just hop on Metro line 2 or 11, get out at the Station Belleville and set off to explore the neighborhood!

Montparnasse Tower

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Night-view of Paris from Montparnasse Tower
Night-view of Paris from Montparnasse Tower

56-floored Montparnasse Tower is the first skyscraper of Paris. It has the fastest elevator in the world that takes you to the rooftop in no time. The rooftop has a viewing gallery bound by glass walls that offers you a 360-degree panoramic view of the entire. This according to me is the best aerial view of Paris at night. Despite that remains a lesser-known gem of Paris.

We went to this place around 11 pm and experienced the mesmerizing view of the city illuminated at night with its famous landmarks – the Sacre Coir at Montmartre, Arc De Triomphe, the BigWheel among others. It is at the same elevation as that of Eiffel Tower summit from where you get to see Paris with the sparkling Eiffel itself! The access to the roof is open till 11:30 pm and it is free with the Paris Museum Pass. You can also enjoy romantic dining here while watching the city of lights at night.

Fact Box

Opening Times

9:30 am to 11:30 pm

Entrance Fees

18 Euros

Trocadero

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Trocadero
Trocadero

If you want one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadero will give you some of the most Instagramable views of Paris’ most famous structure. The Trocadero area is in the 16th arrondissement and located very centrally. This makes it a great spot for your home base in the city.

A must for your time in Paris is to watch the mesmerizing light show of the Eiffel Tower. And the best place to view it from Place du Trocadéro. The light show happens every hour on the hour and it gets quite crowded, so I recommend getting there at least 30 minutes before. Also, make sure to watch your belongings. Thieves like to take advantage of tourists paying attention to the 20000 flickering lights and the stunning show, not their backpacks.

Trocadéro also has lots of nice restaurants and cafés. You might enjoy the Café du Trocadéro, overlooking the Place du Trocadéro. It is a little fancier, but the food is outstanding. Have an early dinner, watch the sunset and then walk over to see the light show. It doesn’t get more romantic than that!

Fact Box

Getting There

The most central metro stop is Trocadéro and you will exit right at the Place du Trocadéro.

Arc de la Defense District

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Paris La Defense
Paris La Defense

The modern La Defense district in Paris is a gorgeous and unique part of the city. The high-rise office buildings give the neighborhood a unique architectural flair that’s considerably different from any other area in Paris.

The business district dominates the skyline in a way that makes it easily visible from the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Pyramid, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, and other famous attractions.

The star attraction in the area is La Grande Arche, a giant modern-looking hollow square building that happens to be on the same road as Paris’ top attractions: the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde and the Louvre Museum. Named the “Triumphal Way”, one can start at La Grande Arche and continue on the same trajectory all the way to the Louvre, an infamous walk peppered with Paris’ most beautiful and legendary attractions. The Arche has recently been opened again so you can take the elevator to the very top for one of the best views of Paris.

You can easily spend at least half a day in the area, as it is filled with shops, attractions, and cafes.

Notre Dame

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Notre Dame in Paris
Notre Dame in Paris

Notre Dame de Paris is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, not least because of the tragic fire in April 2019 that left the building with serious damage to its roof, spire, and windows. Originally built between 1160 and 1260, Notre Dame is a medieval Catholic church that is the epitome of French Gothic architecture. The grand twin towers of at the front of the building stood above a large, intricate stained-glass window and a delicately statued facade. On the inside, the church features vast, arched ceilings, a huge organ and church bells that chime out proudly throughout the streets of Paris.

While there was some debate about modernizing the design of Notre Dame after the devastating fire, the French government has requested that the church be rebuilt in exactly the same way as before. It is unsure as to when this masterpiece will be reopened but at least we know that future generations will be able to admire Notre Dame once again.

Fact Box

The Notre Dame has been closed to the public after a fire broke out on April 15th, 2019. The reconstruction efforts may take 6 years or more. If you want to contribute to restoration of Notre Dame, you can find a link to the fund at the bottom of this article.

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Best Places to see in Paris

Japan Rail Pass Vendor

If you are visiting Japan for the first time, “riding the bullet train” will probably be on your must-do list. Bullet trains, locally known as Shinkansen, are a novel way of travel for many tourists who don’t have high-speed trains in their own countries. I personally love traveling by the Shinkansen because it’s an eco-friendly and efficient alternative to flying.

A common question that arises when you think of riding the Shinkansen is – is it worth buying the Japan Rail Pass?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors such as:

  • The number of days you plan to spend in Japan
  • The places you want to visit
  • The number of long-distance train journeys you plan to take

Since the answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no, I’ve written this detailed article giving all the information you need so that you can decide for yourself. To help you further, I’ll show you my own trip report on how I saved money with the JR Pass.

If you want to skip the info and buy the JR pass, you can buy it here.

What is a Japan Rail Pass?

Japan Rail Pass or the JR Pass is a pass that gives you unlimited access to all JR operated trains and buses, some ferries and airport transfers. It’s particularly useful when you intend to take multiple long-distance journeys between different cities in Japan using the Shinkansen. Also, the pass is convenient and cost-effective when used properly.

Japan Rail Pass Vendor

Where to buy Japan Rail Pass or JR Pass?

Steps to buy Japan Rail Pass
5 Steps to buy and use the JR Pass

The 5 steps of buying and using the Japan Rail Pass is as illustrated in this picture. It’s important to note that only tourists to Japan, who are visiting Japan on a tourist visa for a maximum duration of 90 days, are eligible to buy the JR Pass.

How to buy and use the Japan Rail Pass

  1. To buy the JR pass, visit this website. You can have the order delivered to your home address or to your temporary residence in Japan.
  2. What you receive in the mail is not the pass but an Exchange order or Exchange Voucher. This Exchange order cannot be used directly, you have to exchange it for the JR pass once you arrive in Japan.
  3. On arrival, after you get the tourist visa stamp in your passport, exchange the voucher for the Japan Rail Pass at any JR East Travel Service Center. You can find one at the Narita International Airport and at Haneda airport in Tokyo. If you are not in a hurry, you can also exchange it later at other JR East Travel Service centers in the city. Remember, you need your passport and the original exchange order for the exchange.
  4. Activate the pass when you exchange it. You can choose the date when you want to start using it. However, the start date can’t be more than 30 days away. If you know your plans in advance, you can also reserve your seats at this time. Reserving your seats is recommended as the trains get booked quickly especially in peak tourist season.
  5. Once the pass is activated, you can use the pass on all JR trains and buses in Japan.

Japan Rail Pass Vendor

Can you buy JR Pass in Japan?

JR Pass is available in Japan, on a trial basis till March 2020, for a much higher price in major airports and train stations.

In Japan, the Japan Rail Pass is available at the following train stations: Sapporo, Sendai, Niigata, Tokyo, Shinjuku, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Takamatsu, Hakata.

It’s also available in these airports: Narita Airport(Terminals 1,2, and 3), Haneda Airport – International Airport, and Kansai Airport.

Types of JR Pass

Depending on your travel plans, you can buy either a 7-day, 14-day or 21-day Japan Rail Pass. An ordinary 7-day JR Pass costs 271 USD, the 14-day pass costs 433 USD and the 21-day pass costs 554 USD.

If you want to travel first-class, then you can buy the Green Class Pass. The Green Class Pass costs 363 USD for a 7-day pass, 587 USD for a 14-day pass and 764 USD for a 21-day pass.

With the Green Pass, you have access to separate First-class carriages, extra-wide seats, more luggage space, and more privacy. Depending on the train, you’ll also get free amenities like drinks, Oshibori hand-towels, and candy. The Green Pass is helpful during the peak tourist season, especially during the Golden Week in Japan, when the trains are very busy.

Where can you use the JR Pass?

JR Pass can be used on all bullet trains except for the Nozomi and Mizuho on the Tokaido and Sanyo lines.

Is the JR Pass Worth it?

As I said at the beginning of the article, assessing the worth buying a Japan Rail Pass depends on your individual travel plans. Here are two case studies, one shows you when a JR Pass saves you money and the other shows a case when the JR Pass is not necessary.

Case Study 1:

Let’s say a traveler purchases a 7-day Japan Rail Pass. He activates the JR Pass at Narita International Airport and travels by Narita Express to Tokyo. The traveler spends 4 days in Tokyo, visiting the local attractions using the JR Yamanote Line and other JR trains. Then, he travels to Kyoto, via the bullet train, and spends 3 days there. He then travels back to Tokyo to take the Narita Express to Narita International airport for his return flight.

Trip Details Cost JR Pass
Narita Express to Tokyo(round-trip) 6140 JPY covered
Tokyo to Kyoto (Hikari bullet train) 28,340 JPY covered
Total 34,480 JPY (approx. 315 USD) 29,650 JPY (approx. 271 USD)

In this case, as shown by the table of expenses, the traveler saves approx. $44 USD when he uses the Japan Rail Pass . From this case, it’s clear that if you plan to take at least one round-trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, the 7-day Japan Rail Pass almost pays for itself. You can save more by using the local JR trains and buses.

Case Study 2 (Negative Case):

This second case shows a scenario when a JR Pass isn’t necessary. Same as the case above, a traveler purchases a 7-day Japan Rail Pass. He arrives in Tokyo, spends 4 days there, then travels to Kyoto to spend the remaining 3 days. However, his return flight leaves from Kansai International airport instead of Tokyo. So a round-trip from Tokyo to Kyoto isn’t required.

Trip Details Cost JR Pass
One-way Narita Express ticket to Tokyo 3000 JPY covered
One-way trip to Kyoto (Hikari bullet train) 14170 JPY covered
Kyoto to Kansai Internarional Airport 4960 JPY covered
Total 23,640 JPY (approx. 216 USD) 29,650 JPY (approx. 271 USD

Here, the traveler actually loses $54.93 USD if he buys the JR Pass. If your itinerary resembles this one, I would suggest you are better off purchasing your tickets separately rather than the JR Pass.

How I saved 1000 USD with the Japan Rail Pass

If you are a regular reader of my blog or follow me on Instagram, you already know that I like slow travel. That means, I usually spend a month or more in a single place exploring it in-depth rather than rushing around.

Following my slow travel philosophy, I was based out of Tokyo for the 34 days of my Japan trip. Unlike me, many people would probably have explored the length and breadth of Japan in 34 days. I, however, stuck mainly to Tokyo and took day trips to Kyoto, Nara, Kumano Kodo, and Mount Fuji.

For the trip, I purchased a 14-day Japan Rail Pass which cost me 433 USD. Since I wasn’t planning to take any long-distance journeys in the first week of my trip, I didn’t activate the pass right away when I landed. So, I had to purchase tickets to Narita Express separately.

I activated the pass a week later when I made my first Shinkansen journey to Arashiyama near Kyoto. As expected, I was able to see only Arashiyama and the surrounding region on that day. I had to return to Kyoto several times, a total of 4 times, to see Kyoto and Nara.

One might imagine, going to and fro from Tokyo to Kyoto 4 times is bound to be stressful. Surprisingly, it was not. Travel via the Shinkansen was very relaxing. The journey from Tokyo to Kyoto is only 2 hrs and 40 mins on the Hikari and the seats were so comfortable that I slept through most of it. Also, I didn’t take these day trips back-to-back. I spread them over a period of 14 days so that I wasn’t stressed out.

So, without further ado, here are my trip details.

My Trip Costs

Trip Details Cost JR Pass
Tokyo to Kyoto (4 round trips) 112960 JPY covered
round trip Kyoto to Nara (Hikari bullet train) 1440 JPY covered
one-way journey from Tokyo to Mount Fuji 1140JPY partly covered
Tokyo- Nagoya-Nachi (round-trip) 38,320 JPY partly covered
Local transit in Tokyo(14 days) (280 *14)=3920 JPY covered
Total 157,800 JPY (approx. 1,442 USD) 47,250 JPY (approx. 433 USD

As you can see from my trip report, I saved more than a 1000 USD. I realize that most people wouldn’t follow this type of itinerary. Regardless, what’s clear from the report is that if you plan on taking more multiple long-distance journeys, the Japan rail pass is really useful and can save you a lot of money.

Japan Rail Pass Vendor

If you are an avid shopper like me, you’ll love the Toronto shopping scene. It’s diverse and caters to all types of shoppers. Toronto malls also provide some much-needed entertainment during the winter months when it’s too cold to stay outside for too long.

Here’s a list of the best places to shop in Toronto with suggestions on what to buy and where to eat. Happy Shopping!

1. Eaton Centre

Toronto shopping malls - Eaton Centre
Toronto Eaton Centre

Eaton Centre is the most popular place to shop in Toronto. It’s a huge shopping mall with more than 230 retailers. It’s centrally located at the intersection of Yonge and Dundas, smack in the middle of Downtown Toronto and has great access to the subway and streetcars. So, it’s very easy to get to. However, this also means that this shopping mall is usually crowded on weekends. So, it’s best to shop here mid-week.

Eaton Centre Stores – What to buy?

Buy casual wear from Scotch and Soda, ALDO, Call It Spring and Zara. For luxury brands, visit the topmost floor of Eaton Centre . My favorite brand shops are Michael Kors, Coach and the British brand, Ted Baker. The Apple store is also located on the same floor. If you want to buy electronics other than Apple, visit BestBuy or The Source.

Across the bridge, at Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay, you can buy more designer labels. If you are shopping for wedding dresses or bridal accessories try Kleinfeld’s at Hudson’s Bay.

Where to eat?

There’s a food court at the lowest level of Eaton Centre serving food from various cuisines. There’s also Richtree Natural Market Restaurants on the ground floor of Eaton Centre closer to the Queen Street exit. At Hudson’s Bay, there’s also Pusateri’s. However, if you are looking for restaurants, there’s Joey Eaton Centre located near the Dundas Street exit, Akashiro By Sushi Q located in the food court, and Lena restaurant serving South American cuisine.

Eaton Centre Hours

Eaton Centre is open from 10.00 AM to 9.30 PM on weekdays, 9.30 AM to 9.30 PM on Saturday and 10.00 AM to 7.00 PM on Sundays. Holiday hours differ.

Address

220 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5B 2H1. Map

2. Yorkdale Mall

Toronto Shopping Malls - Yorkdale Mall
Yorkdale Mall. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Yorkdale Mall is my second favorite shopping mall in Toronto after Eaton center. The shopping mall is spacious with 40 ft wide halls and 27 ft tall ceilings giving it a luxurious feel. It’s also less crowded than Eaton Centre. The only drawback is the location. Yorkdale mall is located in the northern part of Toronto which is far away from the core of the city. Sure, there’s a subway station right next to it. However, it’s still a longish ride to the mall from downtown.

What to buy?

October’s Very Own (OVO)

October’s Very Own (OVO) is a brand owned by the Canadian rapper, singer and songwriter, Drake. You can find the flagship store of OVO at Yorkdale mall where you can shop a range of casual wear all with their signature owl logo on them. A new store of OVO has recently opened at Toronto Eaton Centre (Aug 2019) as well.

Winter Jackets

The most popular shops in Yorkdale mall, especially in winter, are Canada Goose, Moose Knuckle and Mackage, which sell high-end winter jackets. The jackets are so in-demand that you may have to stand in line for an hour to get inside during peak shopping hours.

Luxury Watches

Yorkdale Mall is the place to go if you are shopping for ultra-luxurious watches. You can choose from many high-end brands like Piaget, Panerai, Vacheron Constantin, IWC Schaffhausen, and Cartier.

Where to eat?

Yorkdale mall has a food court on the topmost floor, which is usually very crowded. If you are looking for restaurants, there are plenty of options too. There’s Jamie’s Italian and Joey’s Yorkdale restaurant; Both of these have an exterior entrance. Inside the mall, there’s Bazille restaurant and Habitat inside Nordstrom, Moxie’s Classic Grill, Laudree and others. My favorite is the RH Courtyard Cafe where you can sit beneath olive trees inside the mall! You can find the RH Courtyard Cafe near the J2 entrance.

Yorkdale mall hours

Yorkdale mall is open from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm from Monday to Friday, from 9.30 am to 9.00 pm on Saturdays and from 11.00 am to 7 pm on Sundays. The mall is also open on Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. The opening and closing times on these days differ from normal times.

Address

Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Dufferin Street, Toronto, ON. Map

3. Bloor-Yorkville

Toronto Shopping Areas : Bloor-Yorkville
Bloor-Yorkville. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Another area known for luxury shopping in Toronto is the Bloor-Yorkville area. It’s so popular that you can sometimes spot Hollywood celebrities in this area. My number one go-to departmental store in this area is Holt-Renfrew on Bloor Street. You can shop everything from makeup to designer dresses, bags and shoes in one place. On occasion, there are some great sales and discounts available.

Other designer shops in the same line-up are Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Burberry, and Hermes. If you saunter onto Yorkville street, you’ll find more brands like Christian Louboutin, Chanel, and Yorkville Village – an upscale shopping complex. A recent popular addition to the shops in Bloor-Yorkville is Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.

What to buy?

Wandler Bags

I am a big fan of the Netherlands brand, Wandler. I like the simple clean lines of the bag which come in distinctive shapes. You can buy these bags on the topmost floor at Holt Renfrew.

Nordstorm Rack

Go designer for a lower price tag at Nordstorm Rack. You can’t miss the store, it looms large across from the Bloor-street subway station and occupies the lower floors of the One-Bloor Condominium building.

Where to eat?

Yonge Street, which runs perpendicular to Bloor Street, has a number of restaurants lining both sides of the street. I particularly like Korean BBQ Grill, where you can grill your own meat and get a shot of Soju. The trend on Yonge Street, in terms of restaurants, is certainly leaning towards Asian or Asian-Fusion in recent days.

Address

Bloor-Yorkville Business Improvement Area, Bay Street #310, Toronto, ON. Map

4. Queen Street West

Shopping malls in Toronto are for days when the weather is not good and you want to shop indoors. On days that are bright and sunny, the best place to shop in Toronto is on Queen St. West. Walk along Queen St. West from Yonge to

Queen Street West is the best place to find unique boutiques, Canadian designer brands and pop-up stores. The pop-up stores keep the shopping scene fresh bringing in the latest in trends and fashion.

What to buy?

Arc’teryx

If you are a winter-sports, hiking and climbing enthusiast, then you will appreciate the winter-ready gear of Arc’teryx. You can find their brand store at 339 Queen Street West. You can also find them at Yorkdale mall.

OD TO

Shops on Queen Street West - ODTO
ODTO on Queen Street West

Find some rare collectible shoes, skateboards, and T-shirts from brands such as Nike, OVO and Supreme all neatly wrapped in cellophane and displayed with the sign “Don’t touch”. Though the shoes and skateboards are too expensive to be actually bought, it’s still fun to visit the store and marvel at the collection.

Where to eat?

Ricarda’s Mediterranean Restaurant

This restaurant located at the corner of Peter and Richmond St. serves one of the best risotto I have ever eaten complemented by the perfect tomato chutney. If you visit on a Sunday, you can enjoy a delicious All-You-Can-Eat breakfast, which is slightly on the expensive side, but totally worth it!

Address

The part of Queen Street West starting from Yonge Street to Trinity Bellwoods Park. Map

5. Kensington Market

Kensington Market is a great places to shop for Vintage clothes in Toronto
Shop vintage and eat ethnic food at Kensington Market

Kensington Market is an eclectic neighborhood with vintage shops, restaurants, and bars. People’s opinions are usually split when it comes to this area. Some would describe the area as dingy, unkempt, an area in need of serious policing whereas others would say that it’s ethnically diverse with interesting specialty shops and restaurants. In my opinion, the truth is a bit of both. If you look past the shortcomings of Kensington Market, you’ll enjoy shopping and dining in this area.

What to buy

Vintage Clothes

Kensington Market is known for vintage clothes and accessories. Since I have never shopped vintage before, I wouldn’t know what to recommend from personal experience. However, for people who are interested in vintage, there are plenty of shops here.

Artisinal Chocolates and Macaroons

Kensington market Eats - Daango
Daango at Kensington Market

Kensington Market is home to many specialty shops. One of my favorite specialty stores in Kensington Market is CXBO chocolates. These artisanal chocolates are beautiful to look and delightful to eat.

Another specialty store I like is DaanGo. Located right opposite CXBO chocolates, this shop caught my eye because of the colorful macaroon display. Popular cartoon characters such as Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger and others adorn the macaroon shells. If you think this is cute, wait till you see the Lucky duck almond dacquoise and Tira-Meow-Su creations. These are just too cute to eat!

Where to eat

Film Cafe By Eative

Film Cafe is a film-themed, self-service restaurant serving all-day Japanese breakfast. It’s not immediately evident that the restaurant is self-service. The menus are placed near the staircase leading up to the seating area or you can directly order at the counter. Your food will be served to you at the table when it’s ready. On my visit to the cafe, I tried the Kyoto breakfast which had Tamago Yaki, Japanese-style thinly rolled eggs, Shrimp Tempura, Onigiri purple rice balls, and Edamame with miso soup.

Hanabusa Cafe

Try Japanese pancakes at Hanabusa Cafe
Fluffy Japanese Pancakes at Hanabusa Cafe

Hanabusa Cafe serves the fluffiest pancakes I have seen. These delicious pancakes which look quite thick and heavy at first glance, melt in your mouth and are consumed in seconds. The texture of the pancake is different from a normal pancake and it reminded me of Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake, a popular Japanese Cheesecake in Toronto. The cream and fruit toppings were delightful too. However, I was not quite as taken with my matcha green tea which even though was cute to look at, didn’t taste as good.

Address

Kensington Market occupies the block starting from the intersection of College Street and Spadina Avenue and goes up to Bathurst Street. You can enter the Kensington market from Augusta Avenue on College Street. Map

6. Distillery District

Shopping in Toronto - Distillery District
Distillery District

The Gooderham and Worts Distillery was the largest whiskey distillery in the world circa 1860. Now, it’s a cool, hip place to shop, eat and enjoy art. I particularly like the cobblestone streets and the fact that many shops have not gone overboard with renovations and modernizations. So, you can experience a good blend of historic and modern vibes.

What to buy in Distillery District?

John Fluevog Shoes

Designed by Jon Fluevog, these shoes are one of the most distinctive shoes you’ll ever find. Owning a Vog, as they are called, is like owning a piece of art. What sets them apart from other shoes is their bold colors, design and distinctive heel shape. The only other location in Toronto where you can find John Fluevog shoes is at 686 Queen St. W.

Local Arts and Crafts

If you are looking to buy local art and crafts, you’ve come to the right place. There are many art galleries to choose from such as Jason Leo Bantle’s wildlife photography gallery called All in the Wild, Arta Gallery, Beauchamp Art Gallery, Corkin Gallery, Thomson Landry, and Gallery Indigena. You can also see some artists at work in their studios at Artscape Distillery Studios when they have an open house. You can buy their creations at the stores in the same building.

Where to eat in Distillery District?

There are a variety of restaurants and cafes in Distillery district with patio seating that you can enjoy in summer. If you are craving Ramen, try the Boku Noodle Bar. For some authentic Mexican with a modern twist, try the El Catrin. For some sweet and savory chocolates with unusual flavors, visit SOMA Chocolate makers.

Address

Distillery District, Old Toronto, Toronto, ON. Map

Bangkok is a shopaholic’s paradise. The shopping opportunities are endless.. you can shop at big malls such as MBK, Terminal 21, River City, or at the myriad of local boutiques in the Sukhumvit area not to mention the weekend flea markets. The new kid on the block in Bangkok’s thriving shopping landscape is ICONSIAM.

ICONSIAM opened as recently as Nov 2018 and I was lucky that I visited Bangkok soon after. I fell in love with ICONSIAM within a few minutes of being there. The riverside location, the luxurious decor, and above all – Sook Siam, the indoor floating market, made ICONSIAM stand out among all the malls I’ve visited in Bangkok. Here are 7 reasons why I think ICONSIAM is the best shopping mall in Bangkok.

1. Sook Siam – Indoor Floating Market

First floor of Sook Siam overlooking the floating market
First floor of Sook Siam overlooking the floating market

The prime attraction for me in ICONSIAM is the indoor floating market city, also known as Sook Siam. The amazing thing about Sook Siam is that it’s so well done that you’ll soon forget that you’re inside a mall. Instead, you’ll feel as though you are out for an evening stroll in a traditional Thai city/town. While on the stroll, you’ll have a chance to buy street food from vendors in street-side stalls. Some vendors are also on boats moored on a make-believe river, which is nothing but a shallow pool of water lighted by tiny bulbs which look like stars in the night sky when seen from the balcony.

Street food vensors at the floating market in Icon Siam
Street food vendors at the floating market in Icon Siam

The ambiance inside Sook Siam is that of a night scene. So you’ll find soft lighting throughout which makes it difficult to capture the grandeur of the surroundings in photos, as you can see in the photo above, but it makes up by providing a warm and cozy atmosphere while you are there.

Sook Siam has two floors. The ground floor has a floating market and other street vendors. Wooden stairs lead you to the first floor where you’ll find quaint Thai style restaurants. You can sit down for a meal or just roam around and admire the floating market from above.

Khanom Krok, a dessert made of coconut and rice flour, at ICONSIAM
Khanom Krok At Icon Siam

The street food at Sook Siam includes typical Thai food favorites such as pork barbeque, Pad Thai, fried chicken and noodles. There were also some dishes I had never tried before. For example, I tried Khanom Krok, a small coconut and rice flour crêpe topped with mango, sweet corn, taro or other toppings. It was delicious.

Gelatinous sweets at Icon Siam
Gelatinous sweets at Icon Siam

Another Thai dessert I discovered in Icon Siam was a gelatinous gooey dessert, whose name I don’t know, presented in various colors and flavors. Generally, I’m not a big fan of gooey things, still, this one wasn’t unpleasant to taste. In fact, I tried one of every color and flavor.

2. ICONLUXE

You can find the top fashion brands at ICONLUXE
Find top high-fashion brands at ICONLUXE in Icon Siam

ICONLUXE in ICONSIAM is the epitome of luxury stores in Bangkok. Here, you’ll find some of the biggest names in fashion like Chanel, Versace, Celine, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermes, Prada, Fendi, Bvlgari to name a few. Each luxury brand enjoys a dedicated store and space. If you don’t have big bucks to spend, even window-shopping in this glamorous setting is a delight.

3. Motor Vehicle Kingdom at ICONSIAM

Motor vehicle kingdom, ICONSIAM
Motor vehicle kingdom, ICONSIAM

If you are car fanatic, then you’ll enjoy the ultraluxe car display in the Motor Vehicle Kingdom at Icon Siam. This is the first time I had a chance to inspect a Rolls Royce up close. Other high-end cars that grace this display are Maserati, Porsche, Mini, and BMW. Motorcycle lovers don’t need to feel left out. There’s a display of BMW Motorrad on the 3rd and 4th floors for you.

4. River Park

ICONSIAM is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya river
ICONSIAM is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya river

ICONSIAM is on the banks of the Chao Phraya river right opposite the Sathorn Pier. This river-side place not only makes for gorgeous scenery but also ease of travel. To get to ICONSIAM, you can take the BTS to Sapan Taksin Station. Then, from the Sathorn Pier, take a free shuttle to the mall. Alternatively, the Chao Phraya express boats (orange flag) that run along the Chao Phraya river also make a stop at ICON SIAM on their way to the Sathorn Pier.

River Park at ICONSIAM
River Park at ICONSIAM. Pic Credit: Tris T7 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The River Park at Icon Siam features a 10,000 sq. m. space in front of ICONLUXE where people can relax by the river and enjoy the Bangkok skyline and the multimedia fountain display, which is said to be the longest in Asia. The River Park also plays host to various events and festivities during special occasions, so it may be a great time to visit then.

5. First Apple Store in Thailand

Thailand's first Apple store at Icon Siam
Thailand’s first Apple store at Icon Siam

The first Apple store in Thailand has opened its doors in ICONSIAM. The store features huge floor-to-ceiling glass walls which makes the outside blend seamlessly with the inside giving it an airy and open feel. Whatsmore, the glass doors open to an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy views of Bangkok’s skyline and the river. Inside the store, you can sample a plethora of Apple products or get help from Apple geniuses if you need assistance.

6. Siam Takashimaya

Siam Takashimaya is a collaboration between the well-known Japanese departmental store, Takashimaya, and ICONSIAM. Just like the Apple Store, Siam Takashimaya is the first store of this brand in Thailand. The store represents both Japanese and Thai cultures and as such offers high-quality products from both Japanese and Thai brands.

Cute interiors of Q-pot café at ICONSIAM
Q-pot café at ICONSIAM

Each floor of Siam Takashimaya also has a café or dining options. My personal favorite was the Q-Pot Cafe on the 2nd floor. The decor and ambiance of this café, with its pastel hues and cute decor, reminds me of the cafes that are characteristic of Harajuku, Tokyo. The menu also matches the decor – they offer coffee, snacks, and milkshakes which are elaborately decorated.

Cutesy decor at Q-pot cafe
Q-pot cafe has a Harajuku-inspired decor

7. ICONSIAM restaurants and dining experiences

ICONSIAM offers a variety of dining experiences. Apart from the street food in Sook Siam, there are added dining options throughout. Try one of these dining spaces and restaurants when you visit ICONSIAM.

Alangkarn on Sixth Floor

The Alangkarn dining space on the 6th floor of ICONSIAM, modeled after a Thai farm, is more than just a dining space. It’s a work of Art! Thai artists have semi-handcrafted the different pavilions in this area to represent different facets of the Thai farming industry. So, you’ll see greenery, art installations, cocoon-shaped enclosures meant to represent the silk-farming industry and farming equipment. This dining space also has one of the most spectacular artificial waterfalls I’ve seen. The waterfall is 15m high and as the water cascades down, it creates patterns and shapes in the water as you can see in the video.

The Veranda

The Veranda dining space in Icon Siam
One of dining spaces in Icon Siam – The Veranda. Pic Credit: By Tris T7Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

The Veranda is an exquisitely decorated space right next to Sook Siam. The decor of the Veranda is unique; it has an upside down hanging garden and artificial waterfalls throughout giving it a forest vibe.

Veranda has 24 different eateries of varied cuisine to choose from. My personal favorite restaurant was TAPAS by NAN Charcoal Grill that serves Spanish cuisine. If you visit, try the seafood Paella – it’s divine.

At the Veranda, some restaurants also take advantage of the scenic views of Bangkok by having a patio space in the River Park facing the Chao Phraya river. This is perfect for a romantic dinner on your night out with your partner.

Cafes at Siam Takashimaya

As mentioned before, Siam Takashimaya has a cafe on each floor. There’s Van Hart Cafe and Ganon Florist Cafe on the ground floor, UCC coffee shop on the 1st, Q-Pot cafe on the 2nd, Stand Alone Revolution on the 3rd and Elle Cafe on the 4th floor.

Apart from the Cafes, there’s also the Rose Dining zone on the fourth floor which has fine-dining restaurants that serve authentic Japanese cuisine.

All in all, no matter where you are in ICONSIAM, delicious food and amazing experiences are never far away. Go visit and have fun exploring!

*Featured Image Picture Credit: Tris T7 [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The thought of Thailand holidays brings up images of pristine beaches, beautiful temples, and delicious food. You’re truly spoilt for choice here. However, if you can’t decide where to go and what to see, hear from some travel bloggers below who know Thailand well. By the end of the article, I’m sure you would have made your choice.

Best Places to Visit in Thailand

1. Bangkok

Best places to visit in Thailand - Bangkok
Best places to visit in Thailand – Bangkok

Bangkok is a place which I have a love-hate relationship with. Nonetheless, I would say it’s a must-see place if you visit Thailand.

Most tourists, who are trying to take a break from city life only spend about 1 or 2 days in Bangkok before they fly to the islands in the south. If you intend to do the same, then follow my 2 days in Bangkok Itinerary. I assure you, you’ll cover all the important tourist attractions that Bangkok has to offer.

However, if you have the time, I suggest you spend more than 2 days in this city. Sure, it’s rampant with scams and has a lot of pollution but this city grows on you as the time passes.

Thailand Holiday Idea by: Pari from TravelingPari

2. Phuket

Places to see in Thailand - Phuket
Best Places to visit in Thailand -Phuket

Phuket is an island in the Andaman Sea with some great beaches along its coast. The most well-known among these is Pa Tong Beach. More than the beach itself, this area is known for its nightlife and it’s walking street. It’s a popular pick for anyone looking to party.

Frankly, I thought Pa Tong beach was too crowded and touristy. If you are looking for a quieter place to relax, you’ll prefer Karon, Kamala or Surin beach. You can also take a ferry from Phuket to Phi Phi islands.

Other than beaches, there are many other things to do in Phuket like seeing the giant white Buddha statue perched on a hill, visiting an elephant sanctuary, seeing a Muay Thai boxing match and others. Check out my linked article for some ideas.

Thailand Holiday Idea by: Pari from TravelingPari

3. Krabi

Best Places to see in Thailand - Krabi
Best places to visit in Thailand – Krabi

Krabi is a quieter version of Phuket and my favorite place to visit in Thailand. What I loved about this place is the small town feel and as in any small town, people here are more friendly and relaxed.

Krabi has some beautiful beaches of its own like the Ao Nang beach, Railay beach, and Nopharrat Thara beach. Also, you can take a ferry or a day tour to the Phi Phi islands by speed boat. The Tiger cave temple and Emerald Pools are also a short distance away from this town. Find directions on how to visit and other things to do in Krabi in my linked article. If you are looking for the best place to stay in Krabi, find it here.

Thailand Holiday Idea by: Pari from TravelingPari

4. Ayutthaya

Best places to visit in Thailand - Ayutthaya
Best places to visit in Thailand – Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is about 2 hours from Bangkok by train, and many people visit the historical city on a day tour. But we think one day in Ayutthaya isn’t long enough as it’s one of the best places to visit in Thailand. After all, the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is deserving of more than a few rushed hours.

History buffs will love visiting the temples at the Ayutthaya Historical Park. These crumbling religious sites are very different to the sparkling temples found elsewhere in the country. But Ayutthaya isn’t all about temple hopping, and visitors can enjoy river cruises (best at sunset) museums and bustling markets where you can experience a slice of real Thai life.

Thailand Holiday Idea by: Audrey Chalmers – Gumnuts Abroad

5. Pai

Best places to visit in Thailand - Pai
Best places to visit in Thailand – Pai

Located in the mountains about a 3-4 hour bus ride through windy roads, you’ll find Pai – a small hippie town with laidback vibes and tons of things to see and do. The best time to visit would be during the cooler months from November to February so you can explore without melting 🙂

Pai is one of the best places to visit in Thailand because the views are incredible, you’ll be completely surrounded by nature, there are waterfalls and canyons to explore and best of all – it’s very cheap.

Some of the best things to do in Pai are to explore:

  • Pai Canyon
  • Go on an adventure to the Tham Lod Caves
  • Watch the sunset from the white buddha at the top of the hill
  • Visit the Pambok Waterfall or the Mo Paeng waterfalls
  • Soak in the Tha Pai Hotsprings
  • Check out some of the unique cafes like Coffee in Love and Om Garden
  • Explore the walking street and night market

For such a small place, there are tons of things to do and Pai was definitely one of my favorites places in Thailand.

Thailand Holiday Idea submitted by: Naomi from Eat Love Explore

6. Chiang Mai

Thailand Holidays - Chiang Mai
Best places to visit in Thailand – Chiang Mai

The second most visited city in Thailand – Chiang Mai offers a mixture of a big city comforts and small-town coziness. Tucked between the mountains of northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is one of the preferable places for expats from all over the world and there is a good reason for that.

If you visit the city between November and mid-February ( the coolest dry season), you can enjoy all the range of activities Chiang Mai has to offer. And it has quite a lot to offer.

For the adventure junkies, there is one of the longest single ziplines in Asia – The Flight of the Gibbon. If you prefer to experience more Thai culture – celebrate the Loi Krathong festival aka Chiang Mai’s lantern festival, visit the fantastic Doi Suthep Temple or take part in one of the dozens of cooking classes and learn how to make traditional Northern Thailand food.

Last but not least, if you care about animals, Chiang Mai is the best place in Thailand to support rescued elephants and learn more about their sad history while taking a mud bath with them!
Find out the best way to include Chiang Mai in your Thailand itinerary.

Thailand Holiday Idea submitted by: Slavi from Globalcastaway.com

7. Kanchanaburi

Thai Holidays - Kanchanaburi
Best places to visit in Thailand – Kanchanaburi

History buffs need look no further than Kanchanaburi, an easy day trip from Bangkok.

Hop on a train from the capital and watch the countryside float by from an open window. Once in Kanchanaburi, stay on for an unforgettable journey across the steel Bridge over the River Khwae, immortalized in an epic 1957 film. Learn about the infamous Death Railway in the nearby JEATH War Museum and visit the Allied War Cemetery.

Slightly further afield is the unmissable Hellfire Pass – a memorial built to commemorate those that lost their lives building the Thailand-Burma railway. It’s a genuinely moving experience. The train journey here, as the carriages rattle over the Wampo Viaduct, is stunning.

There is plenty else to keep you occupied around Kanchanaburi. Erawan National Park is home to waterfalls, caves and elephants while Wats Tham Sua and Tham Khao Noi will scratch your temple itch.
Visit Kanchanaburi from November-February.

Thailand Holiday idea submitted by: Alexei from Travel Lexx

8. Koh Samui

Thailand Holidays - Koh Samui
Best places to visit in Thailand – Koh Samui

Koh Samui is the perfect destination for a relaxing beach vacation. The island has stunning white sandy beaches, a good selection of restaurants, a large choice of hotels and resorts to suit every budget and lots of fun things to do.

If you love the beach, you will be spoilt for choice in Koh Samui. There are so many beautiful beaches to choose from to hang out on for the day. But there is more to Koh Samui than just beaches. Kayaking and snorkeling in Ang Thong Marine Park is a popular day trip for island hopping and exploring lagoons. There are also two fun water parks to choose from, plus canopy adventures, go-karting, and crazy golf. Don’t miss a visit to the famous Big Buddha temple for a morning of culture.

Koh Samui is hot and humid all year round, with a rainy season lasting from September to early December.

Thailand Holiday idea submitted by: Marianne from Mum on the Move

9. Similan Islands

Best places to visit in Thailand – Similan Islands

If you are a diver, then the Similan Islands are an absolute don’t-miss place to go in Thailand. The islands, together with the nearby Surin Islands, are about 50 kilometers offshore, are uninhabited so they can only be visited by a live aboard dive boat.

The marine life is incredible with an incredible variety of brightly colored tropical fish, eels, sharks, rays, and coral. Visibility can be so great that it’s like looking through air. Night dives can be is a sea of luminescent phosphorescence. Snorkeling is also possible at some sites for non-divers. Boats also stop at the rocky islands themselves.

The sunsets here are some of the most spectacular you may ever see. The best months are October to May, with the best visibility in March.

Thailand Holiday idea submitted by: James Ian at Travel Collecting

10. Koh Phag-Nan

Best Places to see in Thailand - Koh Phagnan
Best places to visit in Thailand – Koh Phagnan

Ko is the Thai word for an island and the southern part of the country is plentiful in them. Ko Pha-Ngan is famous for its monthly full moon parties, which admittedly are pretty fun. Leading up to the full moon party, the island had several smaller scale parties including a jungle experience party, located in a beautiful lush garden-clearing deep in the midst of the jungle.

Despite its reputation, Ko Pha-Ngan has more to offer than just parties. Rent a motorbike and explore the more secluded beaches of the East Coast, the national parks, and all the gorgeous waterfalls. Almost 90% of Ko Pha-Ngan is an unspoiled tropical paradise. Ko Pha-Ngan also offers diving, more low-key then nearby Ko Tao, but there’s no shortage of professional, well-priced dive operations. After a day of adventure, head to Amsterdam bar for perfect sunset views over the island.

Thailand Holiday idea by: Lora Pope from explorewithlora.com

11. Koh Lanta

Best places to see in Thailand - Koh Lanta
Best places to visit in Thailand – Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta is a beautiful noodle-shaped laid-back island located off the western coast of Thailand. It lies slightly off the beaten path since it takes a ferry ride to get there (in the past you even had to take 2 ferries).

Apart from enjoying it’s plethora of beaches, from fully developed ones with all amenities to hidden pristine beaches, you can get to explore the National park in the very South, as well as the lovely towns and villages. Delicious street food can be found at several spots too.

One of the best things to do in Koh Lanta is to simply take a boat trip to even smaller uninhabited islands around.

Thailand Holiday idea by: Veronika Primm, TravelGeekery

12. Koh Mook

Places to see in Thailand - Koh Mook
Best places to visit in Thailand – Koh Mook

Koh Mook is an incredible off the beaten path island in The Andaman Sea off the Trang coast. The island is mainly known for the Emerald Cave and boats from the neighboring islands bring tourists solely to visit the cave which is stunning. It takes 80 meters of swimming through the cave before you get to a mesmerizing opening with a beach surrounded by tall cliff walls on all sides.

However, Koh Mook itself has a lot more to offer. The island has long, white, empty beaches and gives you the opportunity to experience Thai island village life without the crowds and without the touristy things. To explore the island, you can rent a bicycle or a scooter. There are also hiking routes through the tight jungle that takes you to some real off the beaten path beaches.
Thailand Holiday idea by: Linn Haglund, Brainy Backpackers travel blog

13. Khao Sok National Park

Places to see in Thailand - Khao Sok National Park
Best places to visit in Thailand – Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park is located in Southern Thailand and offers a refreshing change of pace and scenery from the rest of the country. The park is in the middle of a lush jungle, home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. You can explore its beauty by going on one of the guided hikes or doing a shorter 3km tour by yourself.

Even the shorter hike is very exciting as you visit waterfalls, a natural pool, and encounter insects and plants you have never seen before. The diversity of size and colors of local butterflies is just breath-taking. Simply keep your eyes and ears open for a wonderful nature experience.

If you want to avoid tourist crowds while taking advantage of low-season prices, opt for visiting Khao Sok National Park at the end of the rainy season (May – November).

Thailand Holiday idea by: Darja from DeeGees Travel

14. Koh Jum

Places to see in Thailand - Koh Jum
Best places to visit in Thailand – Koh Jum

When most people think of Thailand, names like Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Samui spring to mind. As Thailand has over 1,000 islands, it’s no surprise that most of the other islands are relatively unknown. One of those is tiny Koh Jum, located close to both Koh Phi Phi and Krabi.

Koh Jum is a great place if you are looking for somewhere to relax in Thailand. All you can find on Koh Jum is friendly people, delicious food, long sandy beaches and cozy bungalows for all budgets.

Koh Jum has several quiet, sandy beaches, the best of which are on the west coast. You can spend the whole day on the beach and stay for the amazing sunset. It’s best to stay in bungalows anywhere on the coast. Many people prefer Golden Pearl Beach, but our favourite was Loma beach. You can get around the island on foot, or hire a bicycle or moped if you want to cover longer distances.

In terms of weather, it’s best to go to Koh Jum in January or February, which are the driest months. After March, the temperature starts to rise, while the period between May and November is best avoided as it’s the rainy season.

Check out Dave’s guide to Koh Jum island for more.

Thailand Holiday idea by: Dave from Dave’s Travel Pages

15. Phu Chi Fa – Chiang Rai

Best places to see in Thailand - Phu Chi Fa
Best places to visit in Thailand – Phu Chi Fa

One of the best places to visit in Thailand is hidden right up in the north east corner of the country, in the quiet province of Chiang Rai. The peak of Phu Chi Fa is perhaps the best sunrise location in the entire country, with a spectacular view looking out across Laos blanketed under a ‘sea of clouds.’

The trip out to Phu Chi Fa is more than a day trip though. Located about 90km from Chiang Rai town centre, you will need to make the trip up the mountains and spend one night in the small ethnic village just below the summit. Even then, you will still need to get up early, around 5am, to make the short but steep hike to the summit. The cool climate up in the mountains is also a refreshing change from the steamy days you will find in Chiang Mai or Bangkok, so enjoy it while you’re there!

Thailand Holiday idea by: Josh Shephard – The Lost Passport

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So, you have only 2 days in Bangkok. It’s not a lot but I assure you, if you follow this itinerary, you’ll be able to visit all the important attractions of Bangkok.

Day 1 Of Bangkok Itinerary

First Stop – Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, Wat Pho

The first stop on the 2 day Itinerary  is  Grand Palace and temple of the Emerald Buddha.
Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew , temple of the Emerald Buddha

Bangkok has over a hundred temples. However, after you’ve seen a few, you’ll start to feel that they are all the same. Among the hundreds of Bangkok Temples, the ones that stand out and are distinct from the other temples are the Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. Conveniently for a tourist, these three temples are close to each other and can be visited in quick succession.

Before you start your trip, please take note of the points I have highlighted below. They can save you time and a lot of unnecessary headaches.

Beware of Scammers near the Grand Palace

The area around Grand Palace is scam-central in Bangkok. Many tuk-tuk drivers and “friendly” locals lurk around the Grand Palace and nearby tourist attractions to scam tourists and steal their money. Beware, if a tuk-tuk driver approaches you and tells you that the Grand Palace is closed for prayers or some other reason. This “helpful” tuk-tuk driver will then offer to take you to another temple which is far better. Once you are on the way to the so-called temple, he’ll stop at a jewelry shop or travel agency, which will pay him a commission for bringing a customer.

I fell prey to a similar Bangkok scam called the Lucky Buddha scam. I didn’t lose a lot of money but I quickly learned not to trust any friendly strangers in Bangkok. Read what happened to me in the linked article to avoid falling for these scams. To be safe, just ignore people who give unsolicited advice and do your own research.


Temple Etiquette

When you visit the temple of the Emerald Buddha or any other temple in Thailand, you have to be dress according to temple dress code to be admitted inside the temple. The temple dress etiquette requires all visitors to have their legs (above the knees) and shoulders covered.

I prefer wearing shorts in Bangkok because of the heat. However, for such occasions, I carry a thin wraparound skirt in my bag, which I whip out and wear over my shorts when I visit temples. If you forget to carry a wraparound skirt with you, don’t worry, there are shops that rent out wraparound skirts and pants near the temple for 100 Baht. You can find these shops just across the road from the Grand Palace.

Start the day 1 of your itinerary by visiting Wat Phra Kaew, the temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Grand Palace.
Opening hours: 0.8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Plan to visit as early in the morning as possible as the place gets crowded later in the day.

The Grand Palace complex, which was constructed as the main residence of the royal family in 1782, has around 36 buildings and structures within the complex. Don’t be intimidated by the sheer number of buildings and structures I’ve mentioned here. Most of them are close to each other, so you will not spend as much time as you anticipate.

The most notable of the 36 buildings are the royal residence, Wat Phra Kaew – the temple of the Emerald Buddha, Phra Siratana Chedi – a golden stupa containing the relics of Lord Buddha and a miniature model of Angor Wat temple.


Wat Pho

The second stop on our itinerary is Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha.
Wat Pho – Temple of the reclining Buddha

The next stop after Grand Palace is Wat Pho where you’ll find the statue of the reclining Buddha. The temple is very narrow and you can’t linger inside the temple for too long as there’s always a line of people eager to get into the temple and click a photo.

So, snap a few quick photos and move on. On the other side of the statue, you’ll notice 108 bronze bowls lined up against the wall. The custom is to drop a coin into each of these bowls while praying. It’s believed that if you do so, your prayers and wishes will be answered. If you want to partake in this custom, you can purchase the golden coins from a counter inside the temple.

At Wat Pho, you'll see a line of Buddha Statues in one of the temples
Buddha Statues lined up at Wat Pho

There are other temples and structures inside Wat Pho that are also worth a look. I particularly like the line of Golden Buddha statues inside one of the temples.


Wat Arun

Wat Arun is another temple which is a must-see when in Bangkok.
Wat Arun Bangkok

After Wat Pho, the next stop is Wat Arun. To get to Wat Arun, you have to take a ferry across the Chao Phraya river. The ferry terminal is located right across from Wat Pho. The entrance is not clearly visible as it’s located inside the Tha Tian Market. See the map below for directions to the ferry terminal.

The Tha Tian Market is a good place to shop for clothes and other souveniers. The items here are much cheaper than what you find in other touristy locations such as Khao San road. You can also grab a bite to eat as there are many food vendors here.

At Wat Arun, the main attraction is the giant spire. The spire is beautiful with carvings and decorations through out. The decorations are made of glass and ceramics and have been painted in yellow, green, blue and red which contrasts well with the white background of the spire.

There are stairs to get to the top of the spire. However, only a few levels are open to public. Once you ascend the stairs, walk on the narrow balcony that wraps around the spire.


Try the traditional Thai dress – Chut Thai

Traditional dress of Thailand - Chut Thai
Traditional dress of Thailand – Chut Thai

Once you complete your tour of Wat Arun, check out stalls outside the temple. You can buy souvenirs and get something to eat and drink.

The most interesting stall I found in this small market, was the one renting out traditional Thai clothes. The traditional Thai dress for women is known as Chut Thai. For 100 Baht, you can try on the Chut Thai along with the jewelry and headress that come along with it.


Cruise the Chao Phraya river

Chao Phraya River - How to use the express boats
Chao Phraya River – How to use the express boats

After Wat Arun, take a cruise down the Chao Phraya river to the Icon Siam shopping mall. There are different types of boats on the Chao Phraya river. How do you know which one to take? Don’t worry, I have written a detailed guide to Chao Phraya river express boats.

If you don’t have the patience to read the entire guide, I can safely say board the boat with an orange flag headed towards Sathorn Pier and get down at Icon Siam.


Icon Siam

Visit Icon Siam, the new mall on the bank of the Chao Phraya river.
The new mall on the banks of the Chao Phraya river – Icon Siam

Icon Siam is one of my favorite malls in the world. What distinguishes this mall from the other run of the mill malls all over the world is that it has an entire section dedicated to showcasing Thai culture and tradition.

This Thai section is in the ground floor. Inside, you’ll find a representation of the Thai floating market, street food stalls, quaint wooden shops that make you feel that you have entered a small rural village in Thailand. The music, the aroma of Thai food, and the ambience is just perfect!

After you’ve had your fill of Thai food and the rural village, get on the escalator and enter a world of luxury. You can shop till you drop in this mall and there are all kinds of things to choose from local brands to high-end brands.

You can also have dinner at one of the wonderful river facing restaurants on the ground floor or go to the top-floor where there are plenty of restaurants as well.


Sky Bar at Lebua Hotel

The Sky Bar, made famous by the movie Hangover, is located at a short distance from the Sathorn Pier.
Sky bar at the Lebua Hotel in Bangkok. Pic credit: Pixabay.

After dinner, I’m sure you’ll be on a lookout for a bar to relax. If you have seen the movie Hangover, then you’ll remember that the Sky Bar was featured in this movie. There’s even a special cocktail named after the movie. This rooftop bar gives you stunning views of the city and it’s not far from Icon Siam. Take the free shuttle from Icon Siam across the Chao Phraya river. It’s a short 10 min walk from the Sathon Pier as shown in the map below.


Day 2 Bangkok Itinerary

If your 2-day Bangkok vacation is during a weekend, then I would suggest you visit the Chatuchak weekend market, else skip this part and go shopping at Terminal 21 instead.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Buy inexpensive clothes, jewellery, shoes, bath products and other knick knacks at the Chatuchak weekend market
Shop at Chatuchak weekend market

As the name suggests the Chatuchak weekend market is open only on weekends from 9:00 to 18:00 on Saturdays and Sundays and Friday evenings from 18:00 to 24:00.

This sprawling market is packed with small stalls selling everything from souvenirs, bath products, inexpensive jewelry, clothes, shoes, leather products, and knick-knacks. You can also munch on street food favorites like Thai roti, coconut ice cream, tender coconut, juicy mango slices when you take a break from shopping.

The one drawback of visiting this market is that it’s very crowded. If it’s a warm and humid day, you’ll tire out easily inside the market where there’s no ventilation. To solve this problem, some of the shop owners have air conditioners installed. Needless to say, I spent more time at these stores.


Terminal 21 and Sukhumvit area

Terminal 21 has a theme showcasing a different country on every floor. Here you can see a model of Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco
Terminal 21 Shopping Centre, Bangkok

If you are not in Bangkok on a weekend, then instead of the Chatuchak weekend market, you can explore another shopping centre – Terminal 21 and the surrounding Sukhumvit area.

Terminal 21 is not just a shopping mall but also a tourist attraction because of its themed approach to each floor. What I mean by this is that each floor is Terminal 21 has a theme that showcases a country. For example, you’ll find the pillars and fountains of Rome on one floor, the high streets of London complete with a model of a double-decker bus on another, the Geishas and Sumo Wrestlers of Tokyo, the Eiffel tower of Paris, the illuminated streets of Istanbul and a model of the Golden Gate bridge on the topmost floor.

There are many shops selling local and international brands as well. If you found Icon Siam too expensive, this mall may suit your needs better.

After shopping at Terminal 21, get out and explore the surrounding Sukhumvit area. The area is a busy commercial area with many shops and restaurants.


Take a Tuk Tuk ride

Your visit to Bangkok won’t be complete if you don’t take the infamous tuk-tuk ride. Riding a tuk-tuk may be a new experience to people who don’t have these three wheeler rides in their country. However, these tuk-tuk drivers are notorious of taking advantage of tourists.

You can avoid the scams and enjoy your tuk-tuk experience if you take the following precautions.

  1. Know in advance how much it approximately costs to get to your destination. You can do this by downloading the Grab app on your phone. The Grab app is similar to the Uber app with a post-paid model. This app will show you how much it’ll cost to your destination. You can use this amount to haggle with your tuk-tuk driver.
  2. In most cases, a tuk-tuk driver will ask for double what it costs to get to your destination. As a rule of thumb, you offer less than half the amount the tuk-tuk driver suggested and go up from there.
  3. Try two of more tuk-tuk drivers before settling.
  4. Have the exact change with you if you can. I haven’t met a driver who hasn’t given me my change back but it’s better to be cautious.
  5. Always pay after you have reached the destination. Don’t pay in advance.
  6. If all else fails, order a Grab taxi which is a safer option.

Now that you know how to bargain with a tuk-tuk driver, take a tuk-tuk ride to the Golden Mount or Wat Saket temple from Sukhumvit to your next destination – the Golden Mount Temple.


Wat Saket or the Golden Mount Temple

Wat Saket also known as the Golden Mount temple is one of temples you should include in your Bangkok itinerary
The Golden Mount temple or Wat Saket. Pic Credit: Nawit science, 005-วัดสระเกศราชวรมหาวิหาร (ภูเขาทอง), CC BY-SA 4.0

Wat Saket is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok. It’s located on the edge of the Rattanakosin area or old town. If you wish to see Wat Saket, be ready for some physical exertion as the temple is perched on the top of a 80 meter high mountain. You have to climb 300 steps to get to the top. There are plenty of viewing points and rest stops along the way and once you reach the top you’ll see a 360 degree view of Bangkok. If you are there at sunset, you’ll get to see some amazing views.


Try the Street food at China Town

Yaowarat road in China town, Bangkok, is famous for it's street food market.
Street food market at Yaowarat road in China Town. Pic Credit: Mr.Sayompoo Setabhrahmana, Bangkok Yaowarat1, CC BY-SA 4.0

After your climb to the Golden Mount Temple, I’m sure you’ll be ravenous. Fortunately, the Yaowarat street and the neighbouring Charoen Krung Road, in China Town, famous for its street food is just ten minutes away by walk. This street is a heaven for foodies all of the world. People flock to this street especially at night as the entire street is converted into a food market. So hang around, relax and have some great Thai and Chinese dishes. If you need directions from the Golden Mount temple to the Yaowarat road, see the map below.


Get a Foot Massage at a street-side Massage place

After all the running around you’ve done and especially after climbing those 300 steps to the Golden Mount temple, I’m sure a foot massage is exactly what you crave. However, some may feel uncomforatble going to the Thai massage parlours as some of them are a bit shady. Well, there’s a solution for this. Try a street-side massage parlour. These street-side massage parlours have rows of massage chairs set up right outside their shop. You’ll find these street-side foot massage places at your next destination, Khao San road.


Party at Khao San road or visit the quieter Rambuttri Village

Khao San Road, Bangkok
Khao San Road, Bangkok

Khao San road has a reputation as a party street and that’s exactly what you’ll get here. The party on this street is in full swing even beyond midnight. If you visit the street before nihgtfall, you can enjoy the quieter aspect of the street. You can shop, eat at the street side stalls and get a foot massage as I suggested.

As the evening progresses, be prepared for noise levels to increase. If you like to party hard you’ll love this place. Music blares from the bars while people drink Alchohol served in tiny buckets. There are some dangerous items like laughing gas balloons being sold on these streets as well. I would strongly advise you to steer clear of the laughing gas as it’s injurious to health if it’s not administered under medical supervision.

Rambuttri Village is a quieter alternative to the nearby Khao San road.
Rambuttri Village, Bangkok

If you don’t like the party atmosphere, you can visit the quieter Rambuttri village. It’s just opposite the Khao San road and and it’s a more pleasant option to Khao San road. You’ll find plenty of restaurants, street food stalls and shops in Rambuttri village minus all the noise.

Whether you end your trip with a bang or with a quiet night out, I hope you’ve enjoyed every bit of the trip. If you’ve followed this itinerary or found it useful in planning your own, don’t forget to share on social media and pin it on Pinterest.

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Follow this Itinerary to see the best attractions of Bangkok in 2 Days
2 Days in Bangkok Itinerary