We have developed a love/hate relationship with this city. We were told that Bangkok is a great place to use as a base for traveling. It truly is. We ended up coming back to Bangkok six different times. Sometimes we stayed for a few days in between traveling to other places. Other times it was literally just to get onto the next plane, train or bus leaving for our next destination.
It is a great location that makes for easy access to so many other countries. Cheap accommodation is abundant. You can get rooms as cheap as $4 Canadian a night, but they will usually be dirty little boxes with no air conditioning and a shared bathroom. We could generally get an acceptable double room for around $18 to $20. We did however pay up to $50 on occasion to get a bit more amenities and comfort.
We found it best to first ask how much a room would cost for one night. Once you have been given the price for one night, then try to negotiate a price if you are going to be staying for several nights. We found that most often we got a discount for multiple night stays at one location.
We have a brief description in this post of some of the accommodations we used during our various stays.
Planes, Trains And Buses
There are frequent cheap flights to many destinations both within Thailand and to other countries. We flew from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on Thai Air instead of taking the train. The flight was 45 minutes long versus the thirteen hour train ride. The train would have been around $19 and the flight came to $50. We opted to be there in 45 minutes. If you took the train in the daytime I’m sure you would benefit from passing through some beautiful scenery. We did take a train once during the night. We found it to be extremely bumpy and noisy. We didn’t get much sleep at all.
There are buses going to almost every destination as well. Sometimes it can be a bit difficult to figure out the schedules and to make sure you are on the right bus. If you have a bit of patience and try to communicate your questions you can usually work it out. For the most part the buses were comfortable and the driving seemed to be done in a safe manner. We enjoyed seeing the sites of the country side from the bus. The buses are very reasonable in price.
Getting From The Bangkok Airport Into Town
The airport had a hotel reservation desk, as most do. We got a place arranged and went outside to catch a taxi. When we stepped outside it was like walking into a brick wall. The heat and humidity here is more than anything we experienced in Africa. Thank goodness our hotel has air conditioning.
The madness began right from the start. The taxi had no suspension to speak of and made a horrible scraping noise as we bumped our way along the road. The traffic is insane, as most other large cities like this. It was about a twenty minute taxi ride into the city and cost about 400 Baht. It is about 35 Baht to $1 Canadian dollar, so the ride was about $11 Canadian.
The Royal Hotel
We checked into our hotel, the Royal Hotel. It is a bit more than we wanted to pay here, since we kept hearing how cheap you can get accommodation in Thailand. It was 1700 baht, about $48 Canadian. The price does include a large buffet breakfast with both western and Thai selections. We booked two nights.
The hotel is in a good location to many attractions including the Grand Palace and Khao San Road. It was clean and the staff were friendly enough. There are definitely cheaper options. The one drawback is the insane amount of traffic on the main roads outside the hotel entrance. Sometimes it takes quite a while to cross the roads. We found ourselves having to take more increasing risks to get across during our stay. Otherwise you could stand there for over ten minutes waiting for a break in the traffic.
We were in the office behind the reception of the hotel using the internet. As I type Jack is sitting beside me planning our day for tomorrow. He taps me on the shoulder and motions for me to look at the desk behind the computers. In a pulled out drawer a tiny brown squirrel is poking out his head. The lady in the office sees us looking at it and motions for us to come over. She says I can pet it. I asked if it would bite and she nods no. When I went over I was surprised to see the tiniest baby in the drawer with it. There was a little bowl of water and a small dish of rice in the desk with them. The squirrel sat and looked at me while I stroked his head, it was so tame.
Lamphu House And Rambutri Street
We stayed at the Lamphu House on Rambutri Street. It is the next road over from Khoa San. It is not quite as crazy but does have some strange things of its own. It’s kind of a smaller and quieter version of Khao San. Our guest house was friendly, clean and cheap. We payed 600 baht ($18 Canadian) for a double with air conditioning and hot water.
The only complaint we had about our room was a slight almost sewer like smell coming from the bathroom. We have since found that this is the case in many hotels we have stayed in throughout Thailand. It doesn’t seem to have any connection to the price or quality of the hotel.
The food we tried at the hotel was not that good, we would frequently go down the road from our hotel to a restaurant. We had breakfast there a few times and a pizza for dinner one night. It wasn’t long before we learned that the food you are ordering from the menu does not necessarily come from the restaurant you are sitting in. Our pizza arrived in a cardboard box strapped onto the back of a bicycle!
Our favorite thing to indulge in are the watermelon slushies. They are so good and refreshing. Any of the main tourists streets will have vendors that can make them up for you. We never got sick from them once so we assume they used purified water to make their ice.
We Didn’t Know The Room Came With A Built In Ice Machine
We had a humorous evening in our room on the first night staying here. I woke up in the middle of the night because of a strange clunking sound. I could hear something hitting the floor a few feet away from the bed. It was pitch black and my mind was going crazy in fear, god knows what it could be. It kept going on randomly every few seconds or so. I woke Jack up and got him to go turn the light on.
We laughed hysterically when we found out it was the air conditioning unit above our window. Perhaps we had turned it on a bit too high. It was actually freezing up and spitting chunks of ice onto the floor!!!
New World City Hotel
We found a very nice place called the New World City Hotel for 1100 baht($30 Canadian) it had a double suite with air con, a bathroom, a fridge and breakfast. The hotel is in a great location and the atmosphere is great. We enjoyed refreshing blended drinks in the patio bar area. There are computers for internet use near the lobby, it even has a fitness room.
The staff were extremely friendly and helpful. There is twenty four hour concierge available. We used them several times to get a taxi. Each time we had a legitimate taxi and trust worthy driver who used the meter to take us to our destination.