So Australians love going to Thailand. It’s almost like a rite of passage for anyone who takes an overseas trip on the cheap, and it’s only beaten by our infamous addiction to Bali, Indonesia. I have been to Thailand twice and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. It’s a trip that is known for it’s low price, mischief, beauty, adventure, heat, alcohol, culture and bartering, amongst others. I’m going to start this South East Asian Adventures series off with a low down of the capital of Thailand – Bangkok.
All of my experiences can be read about briefly here in an older post – Thailand
I’ve stayed in two hotels, and one hostel while in Bangkok and I didn’t really have a bad experience in any of them, but as is usually the case how much you want to spend will determine which of these you would prefer.
Located in a very convenient location along Rama 1 Road it’s a short walk to essential Bangkok experiences such as the MBK shopping mall, the Paragon complex, and the national sports stadium. It has access to trains (if you wish to take the train from the airport) but the best thing is you can take a cheap tuk-tuk trip into the city to see all the main attractions, in fact we chose to forgo the tuk tuk return trip and just walked home once. This is a 4.5 star hotel, so the luxury is there, but the price is a little steep.
Photo from the infinity pool overlooking the middle of Bangkok and the national sports stadium
Getting There: Airport transfer, Taxi, Train – all are good ways to reach this central hotel.
Cost: Rooms start from around $120 AUD a night
Bangkok Centre Hotel
This was a hotel that was included in a tour we did with G Adventures, so a lot of the details in the organising were lost to me. The quality of the rooms is nice, not quite the standard of Siam@Siam, but still pretty decent. As the name indicates it’s pretty Central to most everything in Bangkok’s centre, but don’t be surprised by the traffic every afternoon.
Getting there: We arrived by taxi, but the Hualampong MRT Station is a few minutes walk away and probably the easiest to use from the Airport
Cost: Rooms start at around $55 AUD a night
Unfortunately, I cannot find the name of the hostel I stayed at for a few nights in Bangkok and I didn’t record it in my diary, but I can tell you it was amazing, and probably my pick for the three…I hope that helps you.
In all seriousness Bangkok is teeming with pretty decent hostels, and as per usual the best way to sus out the reliable ones is by sites that offer extensive reviews. Having chosen our own via this method and ending up with quite a nice result, I can say it’s probably worth a shot.
Cost: A typical 8 man dorm room in a hostel in Bangkok will set you back anywhere between $10-20 AUD
Now unfortunately Bangkok is so expansive and action packed it’s impossible to fit everything into this one post without boring you all to tears and having everyone click away. I will try cover the basics, and maybe one or two of my favourite lesser known adventures.
Shopping in Bangkok
Undoubtedly a major attraction to this city and something I feel that everyone can enjoy in some way. I personally found it fun to barter for everything and never bought anything, but i’m an arse. There are countless options when it comes to shopping in this beautiful city, so i’ll list the main ones that I experienced.
Just unbelievable the first time you see it. You step inside one of its hundred entrances and you’re swept away by people as you pass stall after stall after shop after shop filled with every single thing you could imagine, if all you could imagine was trying to be sold to you cheaply and quickly and could fit into a small store in Thailand. It’s really amazing, I’ve been to the MBK centre about three times now and I’m certain there’s things I’ve missed.
Siam Complex – Paragon
This centre is across the road from the MBK and what the MBK is to market stalls and general cheapness the Siam complex is to name brands and fancy offerings. Everything you imagined that didn’t fit into the small market stall can be found here and usually in a much shiner package. If you visit, and I recommend you do, then don’t miss out on the food court on the top floor – brown soup is to die for.
That’s just the entry way…
Khao San Road
So this isn’t just a market area, it’s a great place to party, get regrettable tattoos, and generally experience a wilder version of shopping in Bangkok. Everything is affordable, and it’s definitely a must do when you’re in town.
Sampeng Lane Markets
This isn’t the biggest of the sprawling day and night markets that Bangkok has to offer, but they were pretty great. Located near Chinatown and seemingly endless it’s incredibly stuffy and will throw you into the deep end of the Thai shopping immersion. Give it a go!
Sights And Sounds Of Bangkok
There is an unbelievable amount of cultural must sees in Bangkok and I’m going to struggle to fit them all in here so i’ll be brief.
Cost: Didn’t cost us more than 40 baht to be taken by tuk tuk to all of these places in one go, and that’s 40 baht total not for each sight. Don’t get ripped off in Thailand!
Golden Mount (Wat Saket)
Iconic and beautiful. The view is spectacular and it was probably my favourite of all the things to see in Bangkok. The gardens at the bottom are lovely, and the experience was well worth the 40 baht entry fee ($1.50 AUD)
Near the imperial palace this best known as the “Temple of the Reclining Buddha”. This thing is unbelievable and for a first time overseas traveller from Australia who grew up in the bush this thing took my breath away. A must see!
Cost: 100 baht and you get a free bottle of water
Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha)
The first temple I saw in Bangkok and quite beautiful in it’s own right. It isn’t as grand as Wat Pho, and a little more touristy as it is in Chinatown, but the beauty and history of that golden Buddha can’t be ignored.
Cost: 40 baht entry fee, 100 baht extra for the museum
The first time I was in Thailand we couldn’t visit this monument as there were protests going on in the area and it was recommended we stay away in order to keep safe. The second time I was there I got to see it on my way to enjoying Khao San road, and while I didn’t find it as entrancing as some of the temples and the Buddhas within, it was definitely worth a looksie.
Cost: Free to see
Khao Kheow – Flight of the Gibbon
So this has been written about a little more extensively here High in the Thai jungle. In short it was a day trip we did from Bangkok out into the jungle in order to do some adrenaline activities in the tree tops. I would recommend you give it a go, and give the zoo a miss.
So that just about wraps up Bangkok. I left a few things out just because I didn’t record enough information on them or no information at all and can’t help with anything here. Trust me, Bangkok is worth the visit, I’ve been there twice totally around a week now and I wasn’t bored for a second.