With a city as huge as Bangkok, I knew a tour would be the best way to explore. I also knew I would not be up for schlepping around in the heat of the day. So, I was pretty excited to find the Expique Tour: Bangkok Night Lights / Tuk Tuk Tour. For a very reasonable 1850 Thai Baht (about $55) we had a 4 hour nighttime tour of Bangkok via tuk tuk. While not specifically advertised as a food tour, it definitely centers around food! I was quite full by the end of the night.
The tuk tuk tour begins at the Krong Thonburi train station, where we were met by our tour guide, Natt, as well as Expique owner, Simon. Our international group totaled 9 – 3 couples (Italy, Austria, Germany) and 3 solo ladies (US, Puerto Rico, Australia) and we were divided into 5 tuk tuks for the evening. We were each given a small pamphlet with a map showing the places we’d visit, as well as a few key phrases and random facts.
Our first stop was the Klong San Market, where our local food sampling began. I really liked the fish balls, which were little fried dough balls sprinkled with a spicy red sauce.
We then stopped by Wat Prayoon on the banks of the Chao Praya river. It was quite beautiful lit up at night.
Mid-tour, we had a sit down dinner at Thipsamai, supposedly the best pad thai in Bangkok. I have no real reference point, as my only previous pad thai experience was at Uwajimaya in Seattle, and I was not a fan. We were whisked past a long line out the door, and given menus to select our entree, and tall glasses of cold tangerine juice. I went with the guides recommendation, shrimp pad thai, which was quite tasty and, interestingly, wrapped in a cooked egg. (Eggs show up in strange places in Thailand, like on every club sandwich)
With full bellies, it was back to the tuk tuk for more adventure. Next up was Wat Pho, famously known as the home of the Reclining Buddha (which, sadly, I did not see as it was closed earlier in the day when I tried to visit) With no crowds of tourists, we were free to roam around the exterior of the temples. Our guide explained how all the tiles were porcelain from China, originally used as ballast to weigh down the ships coming back.
We then moved on to the flower market. It is amazing how many street markets I saw in Thailand and Cambodia – all of them rolled out and rolled up every day. The flower market was huge, stall after stall filled with fragrant flowers, and women making Buddha offerings with flower buds. Such a treat for the senses!
Our last stop was in Chinatown, where we again entered a restaurant and enjoyed some sweet treats. We had white bread cubes which we dipped in a delicious bright green custard sauce. And I finally got to try mango sticky rice with coconut milk..so good that I was recently searching Yelp to see where I can find it in Chicago!
At this time, it was nearing 11pm, and we had the option of retaining our tuk tuk drivers for a ride back to our hotels. I gladly chose this option and enjoyed a breezy ride back to the Aloft hotel, arriving way past my usual bed time!
Expique offers several tours in Bangkok, and they are reasonably priced and well organized. Throughout the tour, we were given cold bottled water, and even cold washcloths to cool down – an extra nice touch in the crazy heat! I would highly recommend this tour, or any other option from Expique if you are visiting Bangkok.
For all of my Bangkok pictures, click here!