13 cultural experiences you need to have in Bangkok

There’s just always something new to discover and something new to explore in Bangkok.

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Bangkok, the Land of Smiles, the City of Angels. Even if you’re born and raised here all your life you’ll never really unravel every thread of the Bangkok story. There’s just always something new to discover and something new to explore.

On that note, let us introduce SHOW DC. But whatever you do, don’t call it a shopping mall; it’s much more than that. It’s an entertainment destination and a tourist hub where visitors to Bangkok can experience every comfort and find all the help and support they might require. It’s home to markets, boutiques, street food zones, concert halls, spas, and special areas exclusively for travelers to relax, book trips, plan tours, and experience everything Bangkok has to offer all at once.

To celebrate the opening of SHOW DC (and their FUNtastic Grand Sale!) we’ve compiled thirteen Bangkok experiences we think are worth your time, from the everyday (you’ve never had durian like this) to the once-is-enough (speeding down Sukhumvit Road in a colorful tuk tuk, perhaps?). But even we’ll admit, this list is just a drop in the bucket of the true Bangkok experience.

 

Travel by strange forms of Thai transportation

One of the first experiences you’ll have in Bangkok is probably transportation. Tuk tuks congregate around certain areas of Bangkok, like the shopping meccas of Pratunam and Chinatown. Hop onto a shiny blue tuk tuk (if you dare) and you’re bound to get to your destination as fast as humanly possible. Each ride will be your own unforgettable battle on the road.

But the iconic three-wheeler isn’t the only strange form of transportation you’ll find around town. Sometimes the best way to make it through our notorious rush hour traffic is on the back of a motorcycle taxi. Hop on a motocy, as they’re known, and weave your way through lines of cars. Bangkok traffic ain’t a thang, man!

Every journey starts with a single step, as they say. And your Bangkok journey should start with a step into SHOW DC’s Tourist Lounge. It’s a must-stop hub for anyone coming in and out of Bangkok.

As soon as you arrive you can take a SHOW DC bus from the airport straight to the lounge for some R&R. Or arrive via tuk tuk at any time during your trip. The lounge is set up with everything a traveler may need – tour agencies, help and support, easy transport around Bangkok via SHOW DC bus, and food, drinks and entertainment are just a step away.

Experience traditional Thai culture
 

Can we talk traditional for a moment? We might be a cosmopolitan metropolis with everyone clutching the latest iPhone and communicating via Facebook Live. But Bangkok is one of the best places in the world to see the contrast between old and new, tradition and modernity, ancient culture and pop culture. That’s our charm.

Even if you’re from Bangkok, isn’t it nice to just look around and be reminded of the gleaming temples, traditional restaurants and old shophouses? Then there are the traditions that each person keeps alive; from something as basic as the wai to the age-old tradition of giving alms to monks first thing in the morning.

And of the exciting parts of SHOW DC, is their dedication to Thai culture, from authentic food (more on that soon!) to the arts. Himmapan Avatar is a new musical created here in Bangkok as an expression of cultural traditions and modern entertainment – as you might have guessed from the name.

Take a seat, or don’t, because this isn’t your ordinary musical. Watch a thrilling show then walk through the magical, mystical 4D production and experience Thai legends coming to life through song and dance.

Try the art of Muay Thai

Thai kickboxing is a legendary sport that goes back over a hundred years to the era of King Rama V. He was a big fan of the sport and brought it to global attention during his reign. Now, you can find a Muay Thai gym in every city in the world, but nothing beats learning the sport in its home country.

Take a lesson and learn the basics of Muay Thai or join an intensive camp to immerse yourself in the fighting culture. It’s more than just a martial art – it involves dance, rhythm, discipline and history.

The hit movie Ong Bak, Tony Jaa’s breakout 2003 film, introduced the art (and the power) of Muay Thai to a whole new generation. Remember Tony’s deadly elbows and knees? Now, entertainment destination SHOW DC presents Ong Bak Live, a cultural performance that builds an engaging story, and features some seriously badass Muay Thai moves. Ong Bak Live is now open and you can already get your tickets at Thai Ticket Major!

 

Indulge in a family style Thai feast

Let’s just agree right now that Thai food, in all its chili-laden glory, is one of the best things on the planet. And it’s one cultural experience that we’ll gladly have every day of our lives. You’ll soon be just as hooked!

In Thailand we eat family style. That means big plates of food are laid out in the center of the table to be shared. A traditional dinner usually consists of a curry, a stir fried vegetable, a whole fried or steamed fish, a soup, an omlette and perhaps a stir fried meat dish. It’s important to cover all the flavors – sweet, spicy, salty and savory – and the food is always bite size. Grab your plate of rice, a fork and spoon, and dig in!

At SHOW DC, head to the famous Krua Wandee for pla tod naam pla (fish deep fried in fish sauce), panang kai (chicken in spicy coconut milk curry) tom yum (spicy soup with lemongrass and coconut milk), and many more Thai treats.

Sample street food

Photo: Ludo Raedts/Flickr

While we’re on the topic of Thai food, let’s get straight to the important, iconic stuff – namely, street food. Bangkok is teeming with carts hawking all sorts of food from coconut milk snacks to sesame fried bananas, egg noodle soup with barbequed pork, fried chicken and sticky rice and so, so much more.

Chinatown is one of the most popular destinations in Bangkok. Each evening when the wholesalers go home, the street food carts come out. Head to Yaowarat Road around 9pm for peak street food dining. You’ll find everything from fresh chestnuts and fruit to khao mun gai (Thailand’s version of Hainanese chicken rice), laad na (noodles in thick gravy) and khao naa muu (rice topped with savory roast and crispy pork combo).

Browse all the top types of street food in Bangkok at SHOW DC’s Food Tradition.  There is really no need to go anywhere else, because this “street” within the entertainment destination is a great place to see all the amazing street food of Bangkok – and beyond! – in one place.

Embrace Durian, the forbidden fruit

Durian is known as the King of Fruit. Rightfully so. This spiky, seemingly impenetrable fortress of a fruit is fleshy, smelly, intoxicating and unique. You either love it or hate it on first taste. The meat actually seems like real meat and Thai people say it can make you drunk. Whatever your stance on this eye-catching fruit, you have to give it a try. At SHOW DC’s Thai Thai Market, fresh durian, as well as every variety of prepared and packed durian, is up for grabs.

Some hotels ban durian, but at SHOW DC, they really care for durian-lovers like us. That’s precisely why they have their very own durian eating room – the first one in Thailand – where you can spend your hours and days enjoying this majestic fruit to your heart’s content.

Try your hand at fruit carving
 

Photo: Kurt Bauschardt/Flickr

The Thai art of fruit carving goes back hundreds of years. During the Sukhothai period in the early 1800’s it was used regularly in the royal court to beautify the food and decorate the plates of royalty. Now you can learn fruit carving in Bangkok. At SHOW DC, head to Thai Thai to experience and learn the beauty of fruit carving. It’s where we take beauty in eating and presenting our food, that makes us uniquely, authentically Thai.

Discover the many ways of the mango

 

Mangoes might just be the next best thing to happen to fruits since durian. In Bangkok, mangoes are eaten green and unripe, with a potent mixture of salt, chili and sugar or a sticky, spicy shrimp paste. Ripe, orange mangoes are a dessert to be eaten with sweet sticky rice and coconut milk. When mangoes are in season (around April to July each year in Thailand) you’ll see them absolutely everywhere. Pick up fresh mango and every variety of dried, candied, pureed and processed mango you could possibly think of at SHOW DC’s Thai Thai Market.

For a dose of freshness head to Mango Bar at SHOW DC for a special promotion during the FUNtastic Grand Sale – get two mango smoothies with toppings free with a triple waffle set. Yum!

Look out at Bangkok from a rooftop bar
 

Photo: Swaminathan/Flickr

See Bangkok from above and be awed by just how vast this city is. No wonder, the new experiences here are endless! Leave the relentless traffic far behind (and below you) and clink cocktail glasses many stories high on a rooftop overlooking the Bangkok skyline. It’s one modern cultural experience you’ll want to repeat every Friday night.

SHOW DC’s YG Republique is a rooftop destination for eating, drinking, partying and relaxing. Featuring many famous artists from Korea, so be sure to experience nightlife in a whole different way, while enjoying all the cultural entertainment SHOW DC has to offer.

Get into the Korean crazeyes its real!

Speaking of K-everything, it’s time to talk about K-District, SHOW DC’s fantastic dedication to everything Korean. And yes, this is actually part of Bangkok culture – we’re crazy about Korea, in case you hadn’t noticed. Korean pop culture – celebrities, music, fashion and beauty – have had a huge impact on Bangkok, and the rest of Thailand for that matter. And there’s no better place to experience the love that Bangkok has for K-Anything than at SHOW DC’s K-District.

K-District is a section of the massive entertainment destination that is devoted to Korean celebrities and products. Browse the top cosmetics and fashion from Seoul or “touch” virtual hands with K-Pop celebrities. Eat Korean food and snacks at celebrity owned restaurants. Try out all the food, clothes, products and services that are imported from Korea – basically, the Korean culture has landed in Bangkok and it’s not going anywhere!

 Experience the famously vigorous Thai massage

Photo: Tara Angkor Hotel/Flickr

We couldn’t end the list without a mention of the famous Thai massage. But that’s not the only aspect of Thai culture that’s focused on pampering your body and relaxing your soul. No, indeed, there’s a whole industry in Bangkok around spa treatments. From massages to facial scrubs, detoxifying masks with Thai herbs and even manicures and pedicures, the way of the spa is magnificent in Bangkok. It’s all about letting go of the stress of the day and focusing inwards on rejuvenation and replenishment.

SHOW DC features several quality institutions that will unwind and refresh you. Al Safiyyah Nail Spa offers high quality manicures in a relaxing setting, and from Mar. 16 – Apr. 30 you can receive a Paraffin Hand Treatment or Paraffin Foot Treatment (valued at THB400 and THB500) free with the Exquisite Spa package (THB1,800).

Harnn, the well-known Thai spa brand, is also offering a special promotion on products like body care sets, candles and massage oils.

Go shopping

You can’t leave Bangkok without shopping. Just try it, we dare you! There are just too many gorgeous things that your sister, brother, or uncle’s girlfriend’s dog walker’s best friend would absolutely love!

Whether you’re a backpacker, flashpacker, or 5-star hotel fanatic, you’ll find an array of tempting items to purchase in all parts of Thailand. And one cultural phenomenon you should be prepared for is bargaining. Yes, the artful dance between buyer and seller. Get your poker face on and consider your opening bid wisely.

SHOW DC is giving you the special chance to just do that, and maybe without all the hassle. Head to SHOW DC now until Apr. 30 to find everything from souvenirs and local goods to name brands duds on sale at up to 90% off! The FUNtastic Grand Sale is a massive celebration of shopping and entertainment taking over all of SHOW DC. Thai and international brands will be on sale, there will be surprise promotions during “Happy Hour”, and there will be cultural shows to entertain you to no end.

At Anita Boutique find unique Thai souvenirs like fabric bags covered in tuk tuks and elephant themed décor to take home with you. During the FUNtastic sale, certain items will be up to 30% off.

At nearby shop Drakarn you’ll find home décor items and fashion accessories like handbags and umbrellas with a Thai twist. Shop during the FUNtastic sale and get up to 20% on selected items.

Get out and start exploring!

Ok, we’re cheating a bit with this last one. But, hey it’s part of the experience! We adore this city, but one of the best parts is getting out for a day or two and exploring neighboring towns or even visiting some attractions on the outskirts of Bangkok.

Now that you’ve had a series of amazing Bangkok experiences, head back to SHOW DC’s Tourist Lounge to book a trip to seaside destinations like Pattaya and Hua Hin, or iconic destinations like Damnoen Saduak floating market or Wat Pho in Old Bangkok.

As your hub for travel around Bangkok and beyond, the Tourist Lounge makes it incredibly easy to plan trips and book transportation. There are tons of tour services at your disposal and comfortable buses to take you anywhere from the iconic Grand Palace to the infamous Khaosan Road. You decide!

Now that youve explored our list of the 13 cultural experiences you just gotta have in Bangkok, head to SHOW DC to experience them all. From now until Apr. 30 you can shop at the FUNtastic Grand Sale for up to 90% off clothes, accessories, food and souvenirs. Bangkokians and tourists alike, heres your chance get a dose of culture, try delicious Thai food and shop til you drop, all in one!

What: Have a try on Thai cultural experiences at SHOW DC

Where: SHOW DC (BTS Asoke, MRT Petchaburi, 30 minutes drive from the airports with free shuttle services)

When: Everyday from 10:00am to 10:00pm

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