This Bangkok Trip was an impulse decision although I have my eyes set on it after my week-long trip 2 years ago, when due to circumstances, that trip was limited and I stayed in only one area for the most of the trip. I always see Bangkok or Thailand in general while browsing through Southeast Asia travel brochures and leaflets and having a glimpse of it last 2015, I wanted to explore more…
My friends were travelling around Southeast Asia and their last stop was Bangkok. So I joined them in their last leg. I’m used to travelling alone, so this trip was quite a memorable experience.
For those looking for travel itinerary inspiration, here’s a rough guide to our trip.
Of course, it starts off with a flight unless you are taking a land transfer via Train or bus or combination from either Cambodia or Malaysia. Coming from Singapore, I took TigerAir flight via Scoot, which was the cheapest that time. Do take note that Singapore is one hour ahead of Bangkok.
244 SGD was quite a good deal I believe, considering I booked a Holy Week ticket. I’m also glad that Tigerair fare tickets already include 10kg hand carry and 20kg check-in baggage.
Flight duration takes about 2 hours. There are two international airports in Bangkok. One is Don Muang Airport and the other is Suvarnabhumi Airport. Did my research and found out that both airports are actually close to the heart of the city, so it was reasonable that I booked the cheaper one although yes, I believe the latter one is more modern in terms of facilities. Nonetheless, my experience at DMK was okay. The only downside was that Scoot did not provide Departure and Arrival cards that it became too hassle for passengers where to get them when we arrived for immigration clearance especially because of the language barrier.
Immigration Clearance took about 1 hour and so I only got cleared past midnight, hoping my friends were still there waiting for me. It was too late for me to rent Changi Recommends so I didn’t have internet connection that time. Tip: Reserve yours at least 1 day before your departure.
Luckily, I found my friends almost immediately. We then booked a cab to our hotel in Khao San Road for 450 Baht. We didn’t know any other cheaper option that time and we were all tired so we just took it.
I booked a 3 star hotel right in the middle of Khao San Road – Dang Derm Hotel.
For those seeking a good night’s rest, I do not recommend this place since the noise from the street only goes down at around 2 am. However, it fared well to the party-goers and for us, I guess it’s so-so since we’re used to sleeping late anyways. Below is the Booking.com costing for the whole duration of our stay which included a buffet breakfast (and already included a Genius member 10% discount):
I will put up a separate review for this hotel so do stay tuned! 🙂
SONGKRAN FESTIVAL @ KHAO SAN ROAD
So we arrived at Khao San Road and there we were greeted by water guns, waterproof necklaces, and smiling faces. Khao San road has always been a vibrant street, but this is the first time I’ve seen such crowd! I would have been more than willing to participate if only I didn’t have a luggage with me. Our cab driver dropped us off on the wrong side of the road where we had to brave the crowd to get to our hotel. But alas! yes we did brave the crowd and yes we did get to our hotel, but only soaking wet.
It was a great experience though. In the first place, I didn’t know they were celebrating this Festival that time so it was exciting for me. Next time, I’ll definitely come more prepared!
CHAO PHRAYA RIVER TOUR
We were supposed to visit the Grand Palace the morning after but we were told that it was closed for the whole day and that we can only visit the next day. We were not exactly sure what to do in lieu but along the way, some traffic officers recommended a river tour where we can also see a “floating market”.
I have a gut this was going to be a scam of some sort, but we took it anyway. From the Grand Palace, we paid the tuktuk driver 30Baht for 3 people to get to the pier.
There we were greeted by a tout who initially offered us 1000 Baht each for a private 1 hour boat tour ride along Chao Phraya River. We were hesitant, so he lowered the price for 900 Baht, then 800 Baht. We were still a little hesitant especially since the water seems so scary!
Once we turned our backs, he shouted 1,200 Baht for all 3 of us lol. The catch is, we were joined by few more guests. We took the offer anyway. Here are some of the views:
Don’t be fooled by the floating markets. I would rather call them “mini floating markets” as we only saw 2-3 boats. They weren’t authentic. The reason why we still took the offer was mainly to experience the river and the lives and houses of the people living near it.
I read somewhere that Bangkok will sink in roughly 15 years from now. Having seen how beautiful this city is, I hope their government or at least someone would address the issue very soon.
BONUS: Strolling Around a Village in the City
While on our way to finding our cab, we stumbled upon an interesting village. I wasn’t able to catch the village’s name but we were enticed to enter since we were advised it was free. I guess it’s normal to stumble upon these kinds of places in Bangkok – which is a good thing. They’re one of the city secrets and not flooded with tourists.
The place was photogenic and my cup of tea!
If this is a normally travel itinerary, anyone would have put this destination on the last day. It was different for us since as mentioned, we were set to visit the Grand Palace that day.
So our quest to this popular weekend market begins! What a way to begin the trip – spending money! 😀
From Grand Palace area, we paid a cab 200 baht to the nearest MRT Station – Hua Lamphong. Since it’s not a metered taxi, this fare was a bit steep.
Arriving to Hua Lampong Station, we asked around and found that the best stop to Chatuchak Market is at Kampheng Phet. So we boarded the train going to Bang Sue.
The MRT Stations were surprisingly clean and efficient. Unlike Singapore’s though, they have security checks before entering but they don’t have the one where you can check how many more minutes will the next train arrive.
We paid 42 Baht each for a one-way ticket from Hua Lamphong to Kampheng Phet using a vending machine which produces a token for you to swipe at the beginning of the journey and that which you have to return upon exiting.
The entrance / exit to the MRT Station. It looks like something I would have made if I’m asked to design an MRT entrypoint. Quite efficient as right after we descended down those steps, it’s a visual feast that’s basically telling you to do these things – shop, eat, buy!
I cannot exactly recall where this stall was but I can remember it’s along one of the roads. We ate lunch at around 2:30 in the afternoon, and still it was hard to find a food stall which has vacant seats and tables. We managed to grab this one but it took more than 20 minutes before our orders arrive. Frankly, the 30 Baht Pad Thai in Khao San Road tastes just as satisfying although I understand that since this is a weekend market that’s why the costs of food and drinks are higher.
Chatuchak market is the place to go if you need some souvenirs for families and friends. Besides, there are also a lot of artistic finds and you can always find something for yourself!
More of my Bangkok & Pattaya trip below: