Bangkok… My Jump Off Point…
I am going to briefly touch on Bangkok that I consider “Jump Off Point”…
First let’s talk about getting around and transportation, do NOT use “Flat Rate” Taxi. You will end up paying much more than you would by using a “Metered” Taxi and they are everywhere. This is especially true at the airports, of which there are two in Bangkok.
If you are flying internationally you will probably be using Suvarnabhumiknown as BKK. If flying domestically it will be Don Mueang known as DMK.
Another option that I use all the time in Bangkok is “Grab” Taxi. They equivalent to Uber, which is no longer in Thailand. Download the app and you are ready to go.
They are usually nicer because they are personal vehicles, the driver usually speaks English better as many are students and it is usually less expensive, so it is a win… win… win.
Both airports are far from most areas of the city. You can expect an hour to where ever you are headed. However, you can tell the driver that you want to use the highway. This will save you time and it is well worth the extra $2 – $3 dollars for the tolls. With tolls I averaged $12 from the airport to Khao San Road and it is about the same form either airport.
I would like to say that many people love the city of Bangkok a great deal and enjoy spending time there. But for me the keyword is “city”. I consider them “jump off points” and usually flying out to somewhere more remote.
Everyone that knows me personally knows I hate cities, any city whether it is in a place I am traveling in the world or if it is in my country the United States, I hate cities.
For the vast majority of my life I have lived in small communities such as Avalon on Catalina Island, in Yosemite National Park, in the Wood River Valley in the Rocky Mountains of Idaho to mention a few.
As for Bangkok I wanted to see a few of the places it is known for like Khao San Road. I spent a couple days there experiencing what it had to offer and to start the cool down period of recuperating from jet lag after a 21 hour flight from Los Angeles.
I decided to stay at the “Derm in the Park” Hotel. I have no idea why they call it that as it is not in a park, it is right on Khao San Road. It was very nice and around $40 per night.
During the day Khao San is relatively quiet, though busy but nothing like you will experience at night. Around 4-5pm the carts and booth vendors start to show up and the road is closed to vehicles for the most part. As the evening progresses It gets nothing but busier and crazier.
There are many food stalls lining the road selling everything from Pad Thai at about 40-50 baht, less than $2 to alligator $10 slowing being roasted on a skewer to snake, scorpions and spiders. Many restaurants also line the road, but they are usually double if not triple the price of the carts.
I personally loved eating at carts and street food and do so in many of the places I have traveled throughout the world. On Khao San I found a couple favorites.
I had a favorite place for Pad Thai 40 baht, one for grilled meat on a stick pork 15 baht, chicken 20 baht and beef 30 baht. And still another for chicken kebab that was roasted chicken breast slow cooked rotating on a skewer, shaved off and placed in a large wrap with lettuce, tomatoes and your choice of sauce for 60 baht. Just so you know 30 baht is roughly $1US
Beer was also very inexpensive and around 30-40 baht which I’m sure contributed to the rowdiness and party atmosphere of the area. By 8pm the place is wall to wall people to the point you can hardly move as you inch your way along the road. It makes Disneyland look like a ghost town. With all that said Khao San is a fun place to visit and recover for a few days.
I have also been to Bangkok on my ship and did go and see a couple to the temples etc. You can certainly do this while staying in Bangkok as well. There are many attractions, temples and if shopping is your thing there are a handful of very modern malls that you can visit.
If you have never been to Bangkok I would suggest staying there from anywhere to just a couple days if you want to experience Khao San Road to a week if you want to explore more of the city.