~ Bangkok ~

Bangkok crosswalk. Think Frogger.

Bangkok crosswalk. Think Frogger.

Bangkok in two days, plenty for me, it’s hectic but interesting.

I visited two of the main attractions, Wat Arun and Wat Po (Pho), both definitely worth a stop. They’re across the river from each other, so you can see both in a half day. If you’re staying downtown, take the river boat, it’s a great way to see the city, peaceful and only 20 baht.

Wat Arun, 70-meter tower (230 feet), you can walk about halfway up for a view of the city. Intricate tile, stone and woodwork.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun

Wat Arun

Wat Arun

Wat Arun

Wat Po, home of the giant reclining Buddha. Seem to be very proud of their recent visitors.

Wat Po, reclining Buddha

Wat Po, reclining Buddha

Wat Po, Obama & Clinton

Wat Po

Practical stuff:

See the Yoga page for Bangkok studio info.

Second building superior

Second building superior


Lamphu Tree House Hotel, http://www.lamphutreehotel.com
Pros: super quiet, clean, comfortable, fan, a/c, good food, reasonable price for Bangkok, family-friendly, small pool, not a party crowd
Con: no nearby public transportation, but easy to get taxis and only a 20-30 minute walk from Wat Po.
A nice way to start my trip, definitely not the cheapest option. My deluxe room in the second building was the same price (1650 baht ~ $55) as the standard room in the old building but newer, about a block up the canal. Breakfast buffet is great, mostly western with some Thai choices like coconut sticky rice, perfect any time of day. Good fresh fruit and coffee. The red & green curries were very good.
Definitely print out a map before leaving home if possible, it’s a bit hidden and taxi drivers won’t know the street name. Note that the hotel’s free map shows the hotel location incorrectly by several blocks… Look for Thanon Phachathipathai and Thanon Phra Sumen, then cross the canal at Wat Chan bridge and turn left down the canal walkway. It’s about 3 blocks north of the Democracy Monument.

Khao San Road – not my scene, crowded with tourist traps and loud bars.

Food: I wasn’t very adventurous with the street food, add suggestions in the comments to help out with this.

Madame Krok Thai food, very basic local spot with an extensive menu. Fried hot basil with chicken and the papaya salad were good & spicy for 70 baht, ~$2.30. (no beer…) Same street as Elements Yoga, cross under the Chit Lom skytrain station, walk about 400 meters, turn right at the Chinese restaurant (also said to be good), down the alley on the left.

Central’s 7th floor Food Loft (Chit Lom station) was also recommended by the Elements Yoga staff, and I didn’t have time to wander. Turned out to be really good, had the Thai fried basil and chicken again, 100 baht, ~$3.30.

Transportation:

River boat taxi http://www.chaophrayaexpressboat.com/en/home/
Highly recommended, take the boat from the downtown pier near Siam / Chit Lom skytrain stations all the way to Wat Arun for 20 baht. Just let them know where you’re going and they’ll tell you when to exit.

Taxis
Generally cheaper and safer than tuk tuks, but slower since they tend to stay in the lanes. Wait for a driver who will use the meter, more likely at an official taxi stand, but many will say yes. Communication is difficult, a good map is helpful if it is in Thai script or has major landmarks. Just don’t say ‘next to 7-11’, there’s one on every other block.

Tuk tuks
Interesting how easy it is to get into the flow of haggling, even over less than a dollar. The driver said 200, that sounded ridiculous even though I had no idea how much it should cost to go 20 blocks. Ended up paying 150 baht, gave up too easily. The yoga staff said they might have paid 100, but they take metered cabs, usually cheaper. And safer, although driving into oncoming traffic in a 3-wheeled, open-air go cart with slippery seats is pretty fun.

Boat taxi, Bangkok
Canal taxi
Try this, very cool and super cheap, a tuk tuk on the canal. 20 baht to go from Chit Lom (about 6 blocks from skytrain station called Chit Lom) to Falilat (end of line, 2 blocks from Democracy Monument.) Some boats looked overcrowded at commute time, wait for the next, they run frequently.

Airports
http://www.suvarnabhumiairport.com/index_en.php Suvarnabhumi International Airport: 450 baht to go from the airport to Lamphu Tree House Hotel, although the guy didn’t really know where it is and dropped me off at Khao San Road, about 5 minutes away. Maybe intentionally since I was impolite enough to ask him to turn on his headlights on the freeway at 1:30am. “What are you, the driver?” Yes, he did.

http://www.donmuangairportonline.com Don Mueang airport (several spelling variations), advertised as 30 min from downtown, took an hour and 15 minutes by taxi, should be around 200-250 baht from the Democracy monument, not far from Khaosan Road. Some taxi drivers will say no meter, 400 baht. When you find one who will use the meter, tip well since they’ll be stuck in traffic getting back to town.

~ end ~

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