"Bangkok, though, is a rejuvenating tonic; the people seem to have found the magic elixir. Life, a visitor feels, has not been wasted on the Thais." – Bernard Kalb
I grew up in Thailand. I used to go back to Bangkok 2-3 times a year. A few years ago my parents moved back to the states and my visits have become less frequent. But Thailand will always be home.
Getting There. You have to fly unless you are living in Laos. Go on Google Flights. Find the flight option from wherever you are to Bangkok that makes sense for you time-wise and financially. And book it.
Bangkok. Sometimes when I'm having a conversation that is putting me to sleep I start telling the person I'm with about how I used to haze kids new kids in high school by taking them to ping pong shows. I'm often asked if I were trying to bore them to death by making them watch ping pong. I explain the concept of shooting a ping pong ball out of a pussy and then I judge them based on their reaction. Everything you've heard about Bangkok is true. It's awesome and magical and depressing and depraved all at the same time.
Things to do in Bangkok. Obviously go to a ping pong show. It's depressing AF, but its a cultural experience you need to have. Chatuchak Weekend Market is great for shoppingyou can buy everything from a slow loris to vintage Prince t-shirts to Thai silk. Siam Square is also great shopping, but more mainstream (think Chanel not rare animals). Stay at The Siam Hotel, or if it's out of your budget at least eat there. Party in Silom and Khao San. Silom has more high end options. But I've always loved Khao San -- sometimes you just need to be at a shitty club in cut off shorts drinking whiskey out of a bucket and making out with a Norwegian backpacker whose name you can't pronounce (remember). Eat anywhere, I've always thought the best Thai food was on the street (I've never gotten a stomach virus from eating it). Bangkok has a lot more to offer than commercialism and debauchery and my two favorite cultural activities are islands in the river. Call your hotel concierge and tell them you want a boat to take you to Ayutthaya and/or Koh Kret (you can also reach both of these by car/train and then small boat). Ayutthaya is more history and temples and Koh Kret is more culture and pottery.
BEACHES. Thailand is really about the beaches. My favorite visually is Railay Beach in Krabi. But almost everyone there is on a honeymoon, which if you're a couple great, if not (and you aren't trying to heal yourself with a spa trip) head to Koh Phi Phi. It isn't as perfectly chic as Railay, but it's where the movie The Beach was filmed and let's be honest I think that movie is everyone's vacation goals. To get to these beaches you have various options based on your budget. If you have more than $136 you can fly. If you have $17.50 you can take an overnight train and then a ferry. If you have no money you could try hitchhiking and sneaking on a fishing boat.
Elephants. Everyone wants to touch an elephant. And you can do this virtually anywhere in Thailand. On the beach. In the forest. In Bangkok. There are sanctuaries in Chang Mai. Makes for great instagram photos.
If you have questions or you want to tell me how amazing/horrible you think I am you can always DM me on instagram @oceanandsunset. Maybe I'll write you back. Maybe I'll decline your message request. Depends on what you say.