One of the most interesting places I've visited. Cycling through Bangkok back roads along canals, taking a local train, then continuing into the countryside, where you can visit farmers, villagers, schoolchildren, temples, markets.
People are very friendly. We had lunch in the simple Thai house of a village head. Participating in a local classroom was also fun and lively, with people trying to speak to us, even though they couldn’t speak English. While cycling, you are surrounded by rice fields everywhere you look. I was blown away.
You can see pictures of our tour here: www.absoluteexplorer.com/share/dailypic.php?year=2006&month=6&day=22
Looking for some cheap clothes, and can't be bothered to haggle in the markets? Or perhaps you need to stock up on toiletries for your trip, or you need baby supplies - for all of these reasons you might want to join the locals and head for the nearest hypermarket. Tesco have a major presence in Bangkok, but for most tourists the best located hypermarket is the Big C store on Ratchadamri Road, right opposite the Central World Plaza mall. As well as the main store, there is an excellent food court and a multiplex cinema in the building. Open 9am until 11pm daily.
Walk up from Chit Lom Skytrain station;
A vibrant nightlife district of Bangkok. However, amongst the shows, bars and endless offers of “DVD, VCD, sex,” there is a reminder of how the west abuses the east. There are some great bargains, though (in the clothes markets, I mean!)
The Thais like to say that the best food in Thailand is on the street. Many visitors to Bangkok stick to hotels and guesthouses for their meals and neglect the most delicious, not to mention cheapest, food around - street food.
If you pass a street stall and see lots of Thai people tucking in, it probably means there's something delicious getting served up, so get involved.
Don't be worried that you can't speak Thai - just point at what looks good and your friendly Thai server will be more than happy to oblige.
I can particularly recommend laap (north-eastern spicy minced meat salad), khao man gai (boiled chicken served with spicy sauce and rice) and large roasted salt fish.
On the street, anywhere in Bangkok
Set aside plenty of time to visit the Royal palace and Wat Phra Kaew, it’s not just that this is one of the city's major tourist attractions and therefore full of visitors, but that there is just so much detail to take in.Your senses will be crowded with the vivid flood of colour from the fantastically decorated buildings and statues, the sound of bells along the rooflines and the smell of incense.The Emerald Buddha - a figure of great reverence in Thailand – dressed in one of his gold costumes (they are changed dependent on the season) is housed in a wonderfully decorated royal chapel.The palace, by contrast to the classical Thai architecture of Wat Phra Kaew, is almost a Western looking pavilion (it was designed by a British architect) topped with Thai spires. It is currently being renovated so any photo opportunities are rather scuppered by scaffolding.There is a very strict dress code for the Wat and palace complex. You should wear long trousers or skirts that are below the knee and shirts with sleeves (a shawl/wrap over a sleeveless top will not do). If you don’t adhere to the dress code you can borrow suitable wear from an office near the entrance.
Entrance off Thanon Na Phra Lan. Nearest Boat Stop: Tha Change. Open: 8.30pm-3.30pm. Entry Fee: 250 baht.
Looking a bit like the Arndale Centre circa the mid-eighties, MBK (Mah Boon Krong) is basically a huge covered market spread over five floors also incorporating a cinema and food court. Need a new watch? Choose from fake Rolex, D&G, Guess and any number of other names. Always wanted a Thai football shirt? You’ll find one here. Run out of credit on your mobile phone? Just buy another one. If you want plenty – and I mean plenty – of choice in you fake goods/souvenir/gift shopping then this is the place. Be prepared to bargain, be prepared to spend and be prepared to buy yourself that Louis Vuitton handbag you always knew you really wanted.
Corner of Tha Phra Ram 1 and Th PhayathaiNearest Skytrain station: National StadiumOpen: 10am-10pm
Siam Square is a magnificent shopping area frequented by locals and tourists alike. The multi-story halls house hundreds of local stalls selling everything from fake football shirts to cockroaches. A must see in Bangkok. And of course, it is incredibly cheap, the cheapest I found in my whole stay in Thailand. Go there!
Near the World Trade Centre
A street lined with cheap eats. One place worth mentioning is the open shop with bowls of curry and random stir-frys on show and a few tables set out in front. Everything is cheap, and everything is good. Try the potato and chicken curry at 30 - 50 baht a plate.
Thanon Rambutri just behind Khao San, up past the police station.
Let's face it, Khao San is a 'farang' magnet. Everyone ends up there at some point. Grab a Singha beer from the 7/11 about half-way down the road, pull up a chair at one of the few patio-style tables on the pavement and do some of the best people-watching to be had in Thailand.
Banglamphu Neighbourhood. Just listen for Jack Johnson asking 'Where'd all the good people go?'
It's a restaurant come guesthouse situated in Trok Mayom which is an alley that runs parallel to Koh San Road. It does by far and away the best food in that area and they also sell wine by the glass which is difficult to find. For those not yet used to the delights of firey food it does a fab western menu in tandem to the best currys I have ever tasted (try the Massaman). As a guesthouse it's not great but it is cheap.
Runs paralell to Koh San Road
Every backpacker knows Bangkok's Khao Sanh Road, but running parallel to it is a much lesser-known alley with all the cheap hostels, bars, restaurants and shops you find on the main drag. Just far less crowded and frenetic.
Find your way to the Khao Sanh road in the Banglamphu area: Trok Mayom lies just to the north. Walkable also from Phra Athit river pier.
A lovely boutique hotel quite close to the old part of the city and in walking distance of Khao San Road. It is run by a mother and son team who are welcoming and attentive. Together they have created an oasis of calm in this hot, frenetic city.
The rooms are beautiful and themed. We stayed in the lemongrass room, which had furniture made from reclaimed wood. The hotel even has a green policy.
The homemade breakfasts include Thai porridge and the most amazing array of fresh fruit you can imagine.
Room prices are good compared to bigger hotels and breakfast and all refreshments are included.
On our last night, Joey (the son) even gave us a lift to his favourite restaurant where we had an amazing meal.
Rajadamnern Avenue, 609 Phra Sumen Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, 10200
Tel: 02-6291785-7 ext. 0
There are a number of Foodland supermarkets around Bangkok but the one most local to our hotel was on Sukhumvit Soi 5.
As well as being an excellent place to stock up on Thai spices, coconut milk and Chang beer there is also a food counter at the front of the store serving up cheap and tasty fare. They do serve western dishes – American breakfast, beefsteak and even scotch egg – but better still go for any number of Thai/Asian dishes – including a wide range of vegetarian options- cooked fresh in sizzling woks in the small kitchen area behind the counter.
They are also open 24 hours, so if you just have to have that extra hit of yellow curry or pad thai at 2am, Foodland is the place
Sukhumvit Soi 5 or other outlets around the city
The cheapest place I found to stay (and trust me, I looked). It's 80 baht a night for a bed in a very dark and noisy dorm. The staff are friendly and offer the best prices on tours and transport. Just watch out for the low ceiling fans. I'm 6'3'' and almost lost a digit on two occasions.
Th. Chakraphong (near The Connection Travellers and over the road from the Airport Shuttle Bus Stop)
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