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Thailand forum

Bangkok for beginners?

Posted by susiq on 23/5/2008 at 06:19

I was just after some advice for novice travelers heading for Bangkok next week.A friend and I are headed there for 8 days for dental work(aust prices are beyond our pockets) and im starting to worry that we are going to spend all our free time holed up in a hotel room:(..I keep getting told that its a dirty dangerous city with not much to offer..Im sure there must be many exotic delights 2 excited travelers can safely enjoy??? Already from this site , learning about the sign up desk for taxis at the airport has helped enormously :) any advice for 2 women, 40 and 25 , staying in Phrom Phong district ,who know nothing about anything???

#1 susiq has been a member since 23/5/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by SBE on 23/5/2008 at 14:46

Who told you Bangkok was dangerous??? The air is rather polluted but it's very safe! Easy to get about the city with the skytrain, underground, zillions of comfortable A/C meter taxis and river ferries. Do a little research for things to see and do...any guidebook will have lots of suggestions and there's a Bangkok section on this site too.

#2 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,052
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Posted by susiq on 23/5/2008 at 15:03

Thanks I must admit after spending the day on the internet looking up sites I do feel much more confident about the trip :)

Unfortunatly it only takes one person to have negative comments to put fear into first time travelers who dont know what to expect...
skytrain looks fairly easy to use and lots to see . Looking forward to the street food and some thai cooking lessons,hoping to go to see all the temples and ruins and few trips up the river sightseeing this site has helped more than all the other sites put together

#3 susiq has been a member since 23/5/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by sirhalberd on 24/5/2008 at 02:20

Hopefully you have a hotel near the Skytrain so you can use that overhead rapid transit service to get you around the city.

Bangkok is probably safer than your capital city back where you come from! You won't get in trouble unless you do something stupid like waving loads of money around and drunk as a skunk!

Travel agencies handle tours. Find the nearest travel agency to your hotel and check out their menu selection of available tours. There is lots to do if you take the time to leave the hotel! There are evening dinner cruises and single day tours that you can take. The tour company picks you up at your hotel and returns you there at the end of the day when the tour is over.

Remember when you take a taxi in Bangkok tell the driver to use the meter. Using the meter for your rides will be cheaper than bargaining the fare. Wave a moving taxi over, usually taxi cabs parked at hotels and bus stations want to bargain the fare and you pay more! Meter taxi cabs will be cheaper than tuk-tuks, probably safer too! Besides, unless you are very short you won't be able to see anything from the back of a tuk-tuk unless you duck down all the time. A roof canopy blocks your view a lot.

Good luck.

#4 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
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Posted by andrea73 on 26/5/2008 at 12:52

Just left Bangkok for Chiang Mai (first time to both), and am VERY sad we left so quickly!

Bangkok is seductive; it is beautiful, fast and strange, but all in wonderful ways.

The skytrain is great to get to and from a few select areas, particularly when used in conjunction with the river ferry and tuk-tuks.

When planning our trip, many people told us that Bangkok wasn't great, that they couldn't wait to leave. When we DID leave Bangkok (after only four days), we felt as if we left a part of ourselves behind. Upon arriving in Chiang Mai, we nearly hopped the next day's train back to the big city, we loved it in Bangkok so much.

Take your time and enjoy the city. It will enrapture your sense if you are not careful. Not a place for everyone, Bangkok took us by surprise. We still might return for a few more hot Bangkok nights.

I think a lot has to do with your "home base." We were located in an *amazing* hotel/guesthouse near the Thewes Pier (next to the Thewes Flower Market). It's called Phranakorn-Nornlen, and was the *best* place I've *ever* stayed (and I've stayed in 5-star spots). Very simple spot with a lovely garden, the best brekfast and amazingly wonderful service, I just can't say nearly enough good things about the place. A delightful secret that won't remain secret for long. Around $60/night (and no, not paid to say any of this).

Can you tell I can't *wait* to get back to Bangkok!!! Still might skip time in Chiang Mai or Vietnam to get back there...

Enjoy your time in BKK, it's hard to leave.

#5 andrea73 has been a member since 8/5/2008. Posts: 12

Posted by susiq on 26/5/2008 at 13:59

Thank you so much for your input.. I really appreciate it..The more i read , the more confident and excited i become!!Im not sure how much time we will have out of the 8 days to sightsee but im planning lots of little trips to all sorts of places..Half day to the Grand Palace and emerald buddah with a long boat ride.. shopping day at the weekend markets.. thai cooking class..dinner cruise..and hoping for a day trip to the Samphran elephant ground ? im really really wanting to ride an elephant.. I know its a little contrived and for the tourists( I am a tourist afterall :) ) but as far as elephant rides go this is the best one i have read about so far ?.. 80 minutes from the city?.. just have to figure out how to get there. Also doing the siam theatre show and still looking for safe nighttime fun that wont land us in any trouble..
Now really my main concern it trying to learn the best ways to get around so we dont get majorly ripped off( I dont mind being ripped off a little.. It all seems so cheap! would be nice to give a little more to those who could really use it)
I will have to ask my friend if we are locked in to the accomodation as your sounds divine!! I think we are paying about $63 a night but that is for 2 .. I think?
Thanks again guys :)

#6 susiq has been a member since 23/5/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by SBE on 26/5/2008 at 16:49

Wait till you see the elephants in Bangkok before you decide whether or not to go on an elephant ride. The poor things get dragged around the busy city streets every evening in the main tourist areas. The owners make money selling tourists bananas to feed them. Occasionally the elephants go mad because of the stress and run amuk in the streets... I think some have had to be shot.

Places where you can have elephant rides or have your picture taken with tigers are equally exploitative of animals IMO but up to you.

#7 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,052
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Posted by andrea73 on 26/5/2008 at 19:04

We paid $60 USD per night total for a double at Phranakorn-Nornlen (it's online, just add a .com to the name), which included breakfast (it changes daily, according to what is available at the markets; vegetarian, fresh, organic, wonderful) and drinking water daily. Very clean, very quaint and kitchy. It's down a quiet soi in a neighborhood that isn't over-ridden by tourists, but so close to the pier that you can get anywhere in the city cheaply, quickly and easily. I really encourage you to stay there if possible. It's a delightful escape from the bustle of the city. Enjoy your time, you should be able to do and see a ton of things. :-)

#8 andrea73 has been a member since 8/5/2008. Posts: 12

Posted by susiq on 27/5/2008 at 07:44

What an AWESOME little place! have cut our original booking at other place to 3 nights and booked there for remaining 5 nights.. thanks sooo much for your help :)))))

any advice on things to do and see or resturants to go to or avoid in that area????

Im so excited now i cant stop smiling :)))))

#9 susiq has been a member since 23/5/2008. Posts: 4

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