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Who doesn’t want to ride around Bangkok in a tuk-tuk at night? Despite travellers to Thailand often becoming tired of being continually asked whether they want a tuk-tuk (or massage), there are no better (legal) experiences than exploring the sights, sounds (and most importantly, tastes) of the city by night on a Bangkok tuk tuk tour.
Expique offer a four hour Bangkok tuk tuk adventure tour that allows you to see the best of the city with a small group and your own vehicle complete with driver.
We all arrived at the designated meeting point for 7pm and were greeted by our guide, Lek (her name, we are told means small’ in Thai – well, she wasn’t 6 foot tall but…). This was then followed up with a quick introduction to the Thai language (and how to ensure I use the correct versions of words so people don’t think I’m a ‘LadyBoy’), plus an introduction to the rest of the group – including ourselves, there were two couples from Britain, plus two lone female travellers from the States and Singapore respectively. The minimum age for travellers is 10 so it is a great activity to do when visiting Bangkok with teenagers.
After being given our designated tuk-tuk and driver for the night, we all jumped enthusiastically into our carriages to visit a local riverside market, whereby Lek proceeded to take us through a variety of local dishes, including kanom bang (or Thai pancakes as they are colloquially known), fried bananas, fresh Vietnamese rice paper spring rolls plus my favourite dish of the market, traditional E-san Northeastern Thai sausage.
My best advice so far here is to enjoy the food, pace yourself for the delights that await you and try not to get run down by the motorbikes that career through the market (all part of the experience). Lek also showed us a local shrine and talked about how some locals rub trees (and toads) with talc in bid to hopefully get luck (or lucky numbers for the lottery) – I prefer picking the same numbers every week but each to their own.
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We then circumnavigated the city to Wat Prayoon – a beautiful white temple situated on the banks of the mighty Chopra Phraya river – as well as getting an evening view along the river of Wat Arun. We also indulged in yet more delicious food here – brioche bread Thai style with coconut custard dip, with a vivid green colour created by use of the pandan leaf. It was so delicious I had to have a second portion.
One of the highlights of our night was the stop to Thip Samai Pad Thai restaurant to sample their legendary staple Thai dish (supposedly the best Pad Thai in Bangkok) and possibly proven by both the queue outside snaking around the corner (no joke!) and the various accolades and plaudits that adorn the wall inside. It also has the renowned ‘bowl’ symbol on its shopfront, meaning the food is renowned for it’s excellent quality.
One of the advantages of this tour is that we didn’t have to queue up for 40 minutes like all the other eager diners wanting a table outside. The circus of watching the Thip Samai team cook pad thai en masse was equally entertaining for us and kept the queue amused.
Next was the Giant Swing (originally constructed in 1784 in front of the Devasathan Shrine under the watchful eye of King Rama but moved to the current location in 1920). The use of the structure for the swing ceremony was stopped in 1935 due to several deaths that occured.
After a historic overview of the Giant Swing, we were then treated to Expiques’ very own BTS*-style boyband – all of the tuk-tuk drivers (and Lek) serenaded us with a song about the full name of Bangkok…are you ready for this?….”“Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.”– we were then also allowed to get into the tuk-tuks to pose and take our own pictures (fun!)
*BTS as in the world famous Korean boy band, not Bangkok’s transport system!
We then had a chance to take a walk around and photograph some of the illuminated monuments on Ratchdamoen Avenue – a peaceful and very historic road.
Another temple Wat Pho (also currently ranked as the No 1 ‘attraction’ in Bangkok on Tripadvisor)- was tranquil and terrific to experience at night. I’m sure in daytime it would be heaving with tourists so this was a fantastic time to visit. Apparently after dark, locals are fearful of spirits (other than Hong Thong) so stay away from the temples. A cavalcade of cats and kittens also constantly appeared from the shadows, ready for some nighttime mousing.
Thundering across the city, our final stop was the Pak Khlong Talat flower market – it felt so unusual to walk around it and night and still find it a flurry of floristry action. We were very fortunate on this tour as it was the night before the aforementioned King’s Bike festival so the flower sellers were in full swing – the streets outside the flower market were also lined with ‘carpets’ of flowers, presumably ready to be picked up by buyers / visitors for the next day’s festival.
We then got to try two more final dishes – both desserts – mango sticky rice with coconut sauce, followed by an ice-cream flavour of your choosing – we opted for red-bull (erm, different!) and coconut.
As a final and fitting farewell touch from the flower market, we were all presented with our very own pretty floral bracelets for the journey home. As we whizzed across the city for one last time in the tuk-tuk back to our hotel in Sukhumvit, we couldn’t believe how much we had seen (and eaten) in just four hours. All in all, fantastic fun and I ‘tuk tuk’ a lot away from this evening escapade.
How to book the Bangkok tuk tuk tour
You can join the Bangkok Night Lights Tuk Tuk tour by booking directly at Expique. The group tour price is 2050 baht per person (but can be upgraded to a private tour for an additional fee). The price includes the guide, food and drinks, transport and insurance for a 4 hour experience.
Expique offer a few other fab tuk tuk tours, some food/walking tours and an excellent cooking class located in the flower market. Check out their Bangkok tours online here, and read about our cooking class experience here.
Other Bangkok blogs posts
- Bangkok on a Budget guide – cheap backpacking in Thailand
- Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok guide
- A Thai cooking class ‘with a twist’ in Bangkok’s 24 hour flower market
- Mahanakhon Skywalk – Bangkok’s Newest Observation Deck
- Lhong 1919 guide – historic Chinese mansion in Bangkok
- Avani Riverside hotel in Bangkok – a luxury stay
- Things to do in Silom, Bangkok
Download the Grab app
Grab taxis are widely used by both tourists and locals, and the fares are really cheap! Download the Grab app here and use the code GRABCKTRAVELS to earn a free ride when you sign up.
Sim cards and pocket WIFI
Having data on your phone whilst travelling is almost essential these days – from planning your route around the city, booking a Grab taxi or for staying connected with friends and family back home. SIM cards are pretty cheap in Thailand with generous data allowances and are available to purchase from both of Bangkok’s airports, malls and 7-Elevens (bring your passport along for identification purposes).
You can also prepay online and collect a SIM from Suvarnabhumi AirpoVrt, Don Muang Airport or Siam Centre. Just remember to make sure your phone is not locked to your local network provider before purchasing one.
Alternatively if you do not want to change your sim card then renting a pocket WIFI device with unlimited high speed internet access might be for you. We’ve used them multiple times and love that we can both connect our devices to it. Pre-order one online with Klook for collection when you arrive at either Suvarnabhumi or Don Muang Airport.
Disclosure: The tour places were complimentary but as always, opinions are all our own.
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