Well before you start I know I’ve previously stated my dislike for big, densely populated metropolises. And sure Bangkok is hardly the quiet retreat one goes to in order to find themselves. But it is the gateway to Thailand, it is pretty hard to fly into Thailand without going through the main hub of Survanabhumi airport Bangkok.
I thought well if i’m going to fly through Bangkok, why waste the opportunity to visit what is reputed to be in the top 5 visited destinations in the world. Well 15 million people can’t be wrong can they. Anyway this is a pretty long road I’m setting out on so what is a few days. Plus after 12hrs flying from England the last thing I wanted to do was sit on a bus or another plane. A shower and a few cool beverages will be in order.
I decided to get myself a cheap hotel for a few nights and in order to save a little money, I pre booked a place near Khao San road, a favorite of many a backpacker and traveler. The area is a little away from the center of Bangkok and not on the main transport skytrain or metro system. But rooms are cheap and the whole area has a decent vibe, and is a great place to meet other like minded folk.
I stayed here for my whole trip, I did toy with the idea of staying in Bangkok longer than my initially planned few days. It is not like other major cities I have been in. If you stay away from the city center it is actually rather pleasant place to stay. If I had decided to stay here longer I would have looked for a cheaper room slightly out of the city in a more residential area. People I have spoken to advised me for around 5,000thb you can get a decent room, with bathroom, TV and internet. Which is very cheap compared to where I from.
I wasn’t really that bothered by the nightlife scene in Bangkok, well not the scene that is portrayed to us in the media back home. I am not here to find a temporary Thai girlfriend, or strip bars and raunchy fun. I do like a drink and a party of course, who doesn’t? I wanted a little more relaxed evening entertainment maybe spend an evening in a bar learning from others who have just traveled my journey. Food I decided would also play an important role in my journey, I have always loved food and especially food from different countries and cultures.
I didn’t take me long to figure out where the best food in Thailand is, a few conversations and a few hours on the internet and I had decided that Thai food from the streets is what is best. This had several advantages, cost the meals here are extremely cheap 30-50thb a meal. Variety is amazing you can virtually get anything you could want to eat (and a few things you wouldn’t want to eat), convenience these stalls are everywhere, they line virtually every Soi, and grace the entrance to every temple.
There are a few must see sites here in Bangkok, all of which are much cheaper and better if you visit on your own, you do not need to employ a guide, or go on organised tours. They overcharge and if you are anything like me then you will hate the regimented side of organised tours. Navigating around Bangkok is easy, and getting to where you want is very simple.
Places I visited include the Grand Palace, Democracy momument, Patpong market, Khao San road (it is sort of an attraction in its own right), The flower market, Chatuchak marketn and China town. Of course of the best bits is not being to rigid and one of the best things I found to do is wander around, sure I got lost a fair few times but I also found some awesome districts I would highly recommend you also visit if only I could remember where they were or what they were called?
Would I recommend Bangkok, well that depends on how long you have for travelling? If you only have a week I would say your better spending the time elsewhere, if however you are here for longer or don’t have time constraints then for sure you need to visit Bangkok. It is a crazy place, from big shiny modern sky scrappers, to turn a corner and feel like you in ancient Siam. amazing culture and great people. But one thing I couldn’t handle was the heat in the afternoon’s it gets stifling here, and this is only exaggerated by the high buildings and the reflective glass.
For a major city Bangkok offers a lot of value for your money, you can experience a lot here.