Bangkok by Night: Tuk-Tuk Around Town

Bangkok by night is something to see! All the temples are lit up and the streets are crowded with people. We’re slowly easing into this trip. “Slowly” being the key word. We were chatting about this transition the other day; Last year we worked right up until the last possible moment before the hiking the PCT. We came off the PCT and then had four very emotionally intense months helping our parents. We left our daughter’s house to head to Thailand just a few days after Noelle’s dad passed away. So, all that to say, we’re physically wrung out and emotionally spent.

On a side note: We are trying to update Instagram on a regular basis, so come on over and join us! (Steve_and_Noelle). We’re posting lots of fun pics!

Our first few days were spent by staying fairly close to our hotel. We ventured out to eat and wandered around our neighborhood a bit, but we’ve kept our activities to a minimum. We’ve slept a lot and caught up on our reading.

It’s quite nice that we’re not locked into a schedule. Our typical vacation schedules have been jam packed. Time was finite so we prioritized events over rest, we could rest when we got back home! This trip we have the luxury of not being in a hurry. We do have a larger envelope of time to explore.

So, with a relaxed attitude, we stuck our toe in the water and booked ourselves into a Bangkok by Night Tuk-Tuk food/drink/history tour. Three hours duration and about $80USD per person. Definitely kind of expensive, but we decided to splurge.

We met our tour guide and two other couples (One couple was Australian and one couple was English) at the train station. We were split into three Tuk-Tuk’s and headed out for our first stop of the evening.

Our tour guide, Nyhla, squeezed into the Tuk-Tuk with us and chatted up a storm as our driver took us towards an open air market. I believe that Nyhla was mildly disappointed that we’d already been to several street food vendors.

I was able to confirm with Nyhla that my lunch (yesterday) was in fact noodles with pigs blood.

Kuayteow Nam Tok
Noodles anyone?

I thought the noodle dish flavor was a bit too intense. I added a bit of sugar and a tiny bit of chili. The added flavors kind of decreased the intensity of the blood flavor. I think, but I’m not positive, that the dish also had sliced blood sausages.

So into the open air market we marched. 1st dining option of the evening was a small grilled sausage.

A small tasty morsel to pop into your mouth…or just a sausage

Our next stop on the Bangkok by night tour? A mere three feet away at the very next stall…

Kluay Tap is flattened, grilled banana that’s cut into slices and served with (optional) syrup. I can’t say that I loved it, or even really liked it. The banana’s seemed to be a long distance from being ripe. The consistency was very firm and chewy.

Kluay Tap

Each group was given a small bag that contained about eight banana slices. I watched both of the other couples, just like us, look for somewhere to ditch the bag (and it’s contents) after eating a banana slice. I’ll try Kluay Tap again and find out if I really don’t like it.

The next stop in the market was a clothing stand where they sold women’s clothing and a few packages of fruit. Nyhla opened a package and handed out wedges of Pomello with chili & sugar to dip it in. I didn’t find the fruit to be all that flavorful. I declined a second offering.

To be honest, at this point in the tour I was pretty much thinking “uh-oh”. We’re not food snobs, but, we do like good food. I almost always lean towards quality over quantity.

Pork ball noodle soup

So far in Bangkok, the best food I’ve eaten was pork ball noodle soup. We purchased it at a street vendor for about 50B, so it’s not necessarily all about the cost of the food. So, anyway, with alarm bells sounding in my head we loaded back into the Tuk-Tuk’s and headed for our next stop….which was just a moment or two away.

Bangkok by night
Chilling on the dock

So our next stop was a boat dock. We hung out on the dock and Nyhla gave us a history lesson about the capitol cities of Thailand. It was informative! In this photo Nyhla is calling the Tuk-Tuk drivers to come back and pick us up.

Next stop on our Bangkok by night tour: Phra Pathommachedi Chedi where we viewed a stupa. The stupa was magnificent to behold. This helped to make up for the less than stellar food earlier in the evening. I had been viewing the evening as a “foodie” event and I began to switch my thinking towards “History, with a few snacks thrown in for good measure”.

Bangkok by night
Roughly 120m high

Next our group made our way to the world famous Thipsamai restaurant. So, on the positive side, we bypassed the entire line of customers and marched straight into the restaurant, up the stairs and plopped down at our assigned tables.

Bangkok by night
Crowded line at Thipsamai

The set menu let us choose from Pad Thai with chicken or shrimp, Pad Thai wrapped in an egg or a vegetarian Pad Thai option. Honestly, they all sounded delicious.

I enjoyed the straight up Pad Thai and Noelle ordered the Pad Thai with shrimp wrapped up in an egg.

It was a small plate!

So, would we go back to Thipsamai again? Most likely not, unless we were walking by and there was NO line. Yes, the Pad Thai was good, but…we’ve had the same quality (dare I say better???) at home in Portland. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but not the kind of good that makes we want to wait in a queue of fifty folks for an hour. It was our first taste of the local orange juice though! Wow! Now that was spectacular! We both like Pad Thai, so we’ll keep sampling on our travels!

After dinner, our Bangkok by Night tour took us to Wat Pho. It was great to wander around the area at night when the tourist crowd wasn’t so large. We’re headed back there in a few days on our own, so we’ll give Wat Pho a separate blog post of it’s own in a day or two.

Bangkok by night
Hanging with Mr. Phat in our Tuk-Tuk

We wrapped up the evening at the 24 hour flower market. The market is a beehive of activity with all the the temples and shrines nearby. Vendors make marigold leis, wreaths and bundles for temple visitor to leave as a sign of respect.

Bangkok by night tour
Orchids by the basketful

I was surprised at all the activity given the late hour of 10PM. The nearest example I have would be the old Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. Vendors were all over the place in the flower market, cutting flowers, stringing flowers, stripping flower stalks, etc.

Yellow Marigolds
Bangkok by night
Hanging yellow Marigolds

Why all the yellow marigolds? Thai’s consider the flower to be good luck and the flowers are used in decorative garlands. The garlands are everywhere.

Roses, anyone? 25 roses for 60B/$1.94USD

So we wrapped up our evening at the flower market with mango sticky rice and coconut ice cream. It was a nice way to end the evening.

Bangkok by night

So, would we do the night tour again? Most likely not. What we enjoyed were the history lesson and discussion far more than the food. We would be much more inclined to hire a tour guide for a few hours and ask them to show us the city. The food was fine, but it wasn’t anything to write home about.

Related: Ayutthaya, Thailand: Bangkok Day Trip


  1. Vfat

    Write a book. Seriously. You can write.

    Tell engineering stories.

    • mcgarveysan

      The climax of most of my engineering stories involve cocaine, prostitution and excessive alcohol…or maybe just imperfect formulas by imperfect engineers seeking impossible levels of perfection.

      • Vfat

        Hookers and blow, baby. Hookers and blow.

        And lyrical prose.


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