Bangkok has a huge amount of hotel accommodation, at all levels.
Rather than settling for a travel-agent 'package', consider the following options:
1) Use an internet resource, such as Expedia.com, for a flight and hotel deal. These can be extremely good value.
2) Consider booking your flight on the internet and using an internet hotel provider for the hotel.
3) Think about booking the first night's stay in Bangkok and then finding your own accommodation, at a cheaper rate, in the city itself. Don't be afraid to barter for a rate.
4) Rather than automatically booking a room with a hotel chain, consider a small, one-off, boutique hotel: the Tartawan Place, in Surawongse Road, is an excellent example: beautiful rooms and suites for about £35-£45.
Finally, remember that hotels, on their web pages, often have a 'special internet rate', which may be very much under the regular rack rate.
The biggest market in the city. On the weekends all the stalls are open, on Wednesdays and Thursdays there's an amazing plant market. Friday's the day for wholesale, but it's still very interesting.Wander around and buy when you see something you like, you'll never find the same spot twice.
Take the metro to Kamphaengphet station, and the market is right there.
The airport bus departs regulary from ticket booths outside all terminals (the last one is at midnight) the staff are very helpful and if you have the address of where you are going they will tell you what bus to catch and the best stop to get off at.
The bus is safe, clean, air-conditioned and cheap - just 100 baht. Yes, you can probably get where you are going a bit quicker in a taxi, but at some times of the day (rush hour) nobody goes anywhere fast.
It's also a good way to meet people, enjoyable conversations and great nights out in Bangkok have all started on the airport bus.
A club and restaurant known to many passing through the Thai capital and which has spawned a number of offspring trying to replicate its style.
Bed offers horizontal dining described by one of its DJs, Heron White, as "Kubrick's Korova Milk Bar meets a triclinium banquet with a sprinkling of Edinburgh Fringe theatre staffed by hostesses from 2001's Space Station V."
What was most significant to me was the detail put into the performance art and video projections, including a reworking of the soundtrack to Henri-Georges Clouzot's film on Picasso. Perfect accompaniment for the palette.
26 Sukhumvit 11 Wattana, Bangkok; www.bedsupperclub.com; Tel: 0066 (0)2 6513537; Nearest Skytrain: Nana station
If you are in Bangkok for two or three days there is no better place to stay than the Shangri-La. It's right on the river, so there is always something going on.
The transport links are also excellent - Saphan Taksin Skytrain terminal is next door and there's a riverboat station nearby, from where you can get straight to the main temples, the grand palace, Wat Arun and Wat Po.
Take a riverside room in the main building and book through the hotel website as there are usually good value packages.
89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road, Bangrak, 10500; Tel: (66 2) 236 7777; www.shangri-la.com/bangkok/shangri-la/en/index.aspx
A roadside shed selling drinks, mainly to expats. Baht-pinchers may not find it excessively cheap, but it's a great place to stand for a few warm-up drinks before going off exploring. Handy for the Bed Supperclub.
Sukhumvit Soi 11;www.cheapcharliesbangkok.com;Close to Nana Skytrain
Always remember that Thais do not normally approach strangers and engage them in conversation. So watch out for people who approach you with something along the lines of: "I am a policemen, it's my day off, what are you looking for?"This always leads to shopping advice and before you know it, you're in a tuk-tuk, heading for a jewellery store. The scamsters hang around the Skytrain terminal in Siam Square and pick out first timers as they read the signs and look for the exit.Another scam involves con-artists convincing tourists that the grand palace is closed and and then attempting to take them on a "shopping" trip.
Step off Soi 11 and onto the set of a Bond movie; a huge white room where the most gorgeous women you've ever seen descend staircases to furnish you with cocktails. Except they're not women at all, they're ladyboys.
This space-age building also contains a less sedate, but more conventional, club area. The usual smattering of sleazy westerners remind you you're in Bangkok, but it's all about a thousand light years from the Khao San Road. A world-class bar.
26 Soi Sukhumvit 11; www.bedsupperclub.com
Just a few blocks from the Blackpool-esque atmosphere of the Khao San Road, is the Phra Arthit Road. It has a variety of eateries where locals still go and a park with a sala at the end, by the little fort, which is a fantastic vantage point at night to watch the brightly lit riverboats and the smooching lovers. You'll even see aerobics at 6pm, but don't forget to stand for the national anthem. A haven.
Phra Arthit Road, Bangalamphu
It's a tourist map with the emphasis on shopping. I agree with the postings that say it's useful, but don't rely on it alone. Unfortunately, Chandler's calligraphic excesses sometimes get in the way of simple navigation. She's good for telling you where the shops are, but she'd never get a job with Ordnance Survey.
Buy it in hostels and tourist areas.
In my experience, Bangkok is a much more enjoyable place to return to than to arrive in.
It can be a bit of a shock to the system when you arrive fresh off the plane, for this reason I would recommend getting out of there quickly but giving yourself lots of time to explore it properly when you inevitably have to return.
After spending time in Thailand you will find Bangkok makes a lot more sense and becomes somewhere that you really want to explore.
For a truly exceptional night in Bangkok try Lumphini stadium for some Muay Thai (Tuesday is the best night). Don't pay the tourist rate, the 600 baht seats are the best in the house - you're right among the locals rather than a couple from Blackpool.
Lumphini stadium, Rama IV Road www.muaythaionline.net/features/thaistadiums.html
One of the best massages you can get in Bangkok is in the grounds of Wat Po. They will do you a one hour herbal massage which leaves you feeling wonderful, and it's amazingly peaceful there, despite the proximity of the traffic. A soothing respite from the heat of a Bangkok afternoon.
Wat Po is the temple with the huge reclining Buddha, next to the Grand Palace. The massage school is at the back of the Wat compound.
There's a great selection of restaurants here; Vietnamese, Japanese, Isaan (north-eastern Thai food), Western at Tee Sud Isaan (if you don't get insulted by Doug the drunken American co-owner) and a good quality (if a touch pricey) Thai restaurant called Baan Ajarn's at the lower end of the street. You can also find some reasonably priced hotels/apartments down the street.
Get off the Skytrain at Victory Monument and walk away from the monument, it's the first left.
Bangkok is well served by canals (khlongs) which run right across town. The quickest, easiest and most fun way to get from, say, Siam Square to Banglamphu is by river taxi. Don't forget to duck when you see a low bridge approaching.
There is a boat taxi terminal right by Golden Mount and another on the Siam Square side of MBK shopping centre.
The Emerald Buddha temple is perhaps the most famous Buddhist temple in Bangkok and features some beautiful art and architecture. It should not be missed if you're visiting Bangkok and you are interested in Buddhism.
Make sure to dress accordingly in long pants for your visit. And always make sure to tell your taxi driver to turn the meter on when going anywhere, never agree to a pre-arranged price.
Entrance off Thanon Na Phra Lan
Quirky museum - for those days when you fancy something a little different and are a bit "templed-out". It's free and consists of a bizarre collection of real pickled murderers and body parts. Maybe something for a strong stomach but certainly an alternative experience.
Visitors can study haemorrhaged brains, severed arms with tattoos, and lungs with stab wounds. The most popular exhibit is the corpse of Thailand’s most notorious serial killer and cannibal, See Uey Sae Ung.
While I was there a party of school kids were going around sketching away like crazy!
Songkran Miyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum, 2nd Floor, Adulayadejvigrom Building, behind Siriraj Hospital, Phrannok Road.
Open Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm. Admission free.
Take the cross river ferry for two baht from Maharaj Pier (near Sanam Luang/Grand Palace) to Phrannok Pier
A pocket-sized map of Bangkok with great recommendations for sightseeing, restaurants, shopping etc. Really handy and better than carrying a big guidebook.
It's available at most hotels, guesthouses and bookshops in Bangkok.
Beat the notorious Bangkok traffic jams by taking the BTS Skytrain - although it has a limited route, it's great for getting around several of Bangkok's hotel and shopping districts. Trains are nicely air-conditioned, run from 6am until midnight and you can get a day pass for 100 baht (about £1.50). There are 3 interchanges with the new subway system - plus the public riverboat service at Saphan Taksin station.
Taxis are easy to come by and pretty cheap, but you should make sure your driver uses the meter rather than barter the fare as it will generally work out cheaper. Although a lot of drivers speak English, it is worth having your destination written down in Thai or on a map just in case.
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