How would you make the most of 1 full day without sleep in Bangkok?
December 16, 2009 1:25 PM   Subscribe

How would you make the most of 1 full day without sleep in Bangkok?

My friends and I will have only 1 day in Bangkok but we want to see/do as much as possible. I want to organise something similar to the 'Amazing Race', rush from one place to another non-stop, except, not as crazy and the destinations should be all nearby (within Bangkok).

We decided not to even book for 1 night accommodation. Instead we will just stay up partying hopefully and have a nap afterwards at Bangkok airport before flying to Patong.

Who: 4 male adults
Interests: food, anything unique to Bangkok, socialising, nightlife
Time: day 1, arrive at airport 11:10 AM --- day 2 depart at 7:30 AM

What would you do?

Something similar to the below will be most helpful:
catch a taxi at xxx outside the airport
go to xxx
visit xxx
ride the xxx
eat at xxx
run to xxx
avoid xxx
drink/party at xxx
catch taxi at xxx to go back to airport

Otherwise, even simple suggestions will be appreciated, Thank you so much!
posted by gttommy to Travel & Transportation around Thailand (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Number 1: is catch a METERED taxi from the airport. Not from one of the touts who will approach you as you exit arrivals. From memory I think the meter taxis are outside gates 3 and 9. Walk outside one of those gates and there's someone at a desk who you tell your destination to, they'll write it in Thai and give it to the driver - you will have to probably pay 2 tolls along the route and also an extra B50 on top of the meter. The tolls are (I think) B25 and B40.

I suppose most people will visit the Grand Palace/Wat Pho (they're adjacent). Jim Thompson's house is near MBK (MBK is a huge shopping mall). Baiyoke tower (tallest building in BKK) isn't that far from MBK (you can buy a ticket which includes 1 free drink to go up to the highest floor).

Baiyoke is surrounded by a huge sprawling market (Pratunam) which is very good for clothes - not the absolute cheapest place, but loads of stalls/shops and cheaper than MBK.

Ride the skytrain (BTS) or subway (MRT) whenever that's an option, it's much, much quicker than going by road.

Don't be fooled by "the last day of the sale" or "this temple is open only 1 day a month". Just ignore anyone who mentions anything like that or a tuk-tuk or taxi driver that offers to take you to "sexy ladies" - if you want "sexy ladies" do some research before hand and you won't have to pay (tacked onto your bill) the tuk tuks commission - the same principle goes for tailors also.

Personally I'd completely avoid Sukhumvit and Patpong, but depends what you're idea of a good night out is - see above.
posted by selton at 1:56 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's a route that will hit most of the sites. I'm not sure it's possible in 5 hours though.

Take a taxi to the south river ferry station.
Take the ferry to the Grand Palace stop.
See the Grand Palace.
See Wat Pho (directly south of grand palace). Huge reclining buddha and massages.
Walk back to the river and take the cheap ferry across to Wat Arun. Big tower temple.
Take the ferry back and walk to Chinatown. (Too far?)
Walk to the train station and take the Metro to the Skytrain transfer stop (Asok).
Take the SkyTrain to Siam stop, and see the malls.
See Jim Thompson's House in same area.
Take a cab to KSR.
posted by smackfu at 2:09 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you're up for it, you could go watch a thai kickboxing match. I think there are two locations, and the dates alternate, so it would depend on when you were there.

You could have a "go to MBK and purchase a copy of 'Snakes on a Plane'" (or some other random DVD), that's bound to be available there.
posted by backwards guitar at 2:10 PM on December 16, 2009

You're daft. No hotel means no place to have a shower - Bangkok is a hot and polluted, you realise? And Thais are fastidiously clean.
posted by the cuban at 2:13 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Go outside to the metered taxi rank and catch a taxi to Jim Thompson's House. With an 11.10am arrival, you should be there about an hour after landing. Jim Thompson was a famous silk merchant who built a beautiful house out of traditional wooden Thai houses. He disappeared in the Malaysian highlands in mysterious circumstances. Take the tour around the house and garden, and then if you are ready for lunch, this isn't a bad place to eat. While the food is not too spicy as it is designed for tourists, I think there are some good dishes (the prawn and pomelo salad is great and the mixed fruit shake is great, though ridiculously expensive for Bangkok). There are nice tables outdoors overlooking a waterlily pond.

Then, take another metered taxi (cheapest way for 4 of you to get around - and insist they use the meter) to Wat Pho, temple of the reclining buddha. Huge reclining buddha (46m long), but it also has a massage school. So, look at the temple, and get a massage.

I would then take a quick ride on one of the river ferries. You could get a tuk tuk to the river stop from the temple if you insist on riding in such a contraption (and they will charge you some ridiculous amount, taxis are usually cheaper), but some people just want to do that in Bangkok. You may walk, depending on how hot and tired you are. Go to the nearest river stop (Tha Thien (N8)) and get on a ferry headed towards Nonthaburi. Get off at stop N14 (King Rama VII bridge). It will only cost a few baht each.

Go to riverside restaurant Khin Lom Chom Saphan (address and details on the website - if you have a phone that works in Thailand, call earlier in the day to try to reserve a table right on the edge of the river). Order plenty of seafood (although it has all kinds of Thai food, so whatever you like) and beer. It is right on the edge of the river, and has a great view of the bridge, and you can watch all the boats going past. They also have a boat, so if you felt inclined, you could have dinner cruising up and down the river.

After dinner, grab a taxi and head for Saxophone Pub and enjoy the live music with a few beers. The main show is usually at 9 or 9.30pm, no cover charge. Jazz, blues, great stuff. When you've finished up there, jump in another taxi and head for the Moon Bar, one of the highest open air bars. Enjoy some drinks whilst looking out at the city lights (check the dress code, you can't be wearing really scruffy stuff). Shuts at 1am.

Now, after this, you're sort of on your own because it depends what you like. You could go to Patpong and see a girly show if you like (don't drink anything without seeing a price list and be prepared to be ripped off somehow). Officially, lots of things shut by about 1am (curfew). Probably best bet for all-night-open would then be to head for Khao San Road area (although I dislike it). This is the backpacker area and is more likely to have things open, street stalls open until late etc. It can be interesting people watching! Gullivers was the old time meeting place there, but these days, there are probably far better places to hang out. For a more Thai experience, you could try going to RCA (the taxi driver will know), although it is certainly for younger Thais. For a very too-cool-for-school nightclub, go to Bed. For something more tame to do in the middle of the night, you could visit Pak Khlong Talat (the night flower market) - busiest between 2am - 6am.

If you get sick of hanging about, go back out to the airport. If you can check in, there are massage services in the airport that are very pleasant (and you probably need a foot massage after your busy day out). If you haven't checked in, try the Thai food court that the staff use - take an elevator near exits 7 & 8 down to the bottom floor and turn left.
posted by AnnaRat at 2:22 PM on December 16, 2009

They've cracked down a bit on Khao San Road. There's still places open but the streets are pretty deserted after one. (Info as of last month.)
posted by smackfu at 2:26 PM on December 16, 2009

the cuban is 200% correct. You will need somewhere to shower.

For a base, there are loads of hotels all over BKK: Khao San Road and the lower end of Sukhumvit particularly cater for "Farang".

There's also a small lane (lane = "soi" in Thai) opposite MBK. It runs parallel to the lane Jim Thompson's house is on.

It's called "Soi Kasem San 3" which has about 8 hotels all in a row - from memory "White Lodge hotel", "The Wendy House", "Reno hotel", "The Bed and Breakfast", "A One hotel" - some others I've forgotten but you can google if interested.

I'd guess you could get a twin room there for about B700 or maybe even cheaper - I haven't stayed there in many years though so maybe prices have gone up.

Chinatown (Yaoworat in Thai) is certainly worth visiting, but one of the problems you'll have is that it's an area as opposed to a single identifiable destination in itself - if that makes sense.

There are lots of markets/interesting places but they're mostly tucked away down some alleyway - and how would someone with no knowledge of the city find the 1st alleyway and then get from that alleyway to the next? I think a whistle stop visitor will find it hard to get around.

One other thing I'll add, that I've told to many friends coming to Thailand. B1,000 is a lot of money = US$ 30 or £18 - if you spend B1,000 on something in Thailand it should be something that you'd be happy to spend twice that on back at home.
posted by selton at 2:59 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just a piece of advice on getting a metered taxi at the airport. I've gone through the desk and the driver still tried to "negotiate" the fare after putting all our luggage in the boot. Forced him to use the meter (which he had covered) and he proceeded to drive us all over town. It was a bit scary, as he was being a royal jerk and I wasn't sure we wouldn't be dumped somewhere else in the city.

The good news is that the meter, even after the big detour, was still less than what he wanted to "negotiate".

So, just be aware that some times drivers will still try to scam you. I should have just gotten another cab when he was resistant.
posted by qwip at 1:05 AM on December 17, 2009

Response by poster: Good ideas everyone, keep them coming!
posted by gttommy at 3:23 AM on December 17, 2009

Response by poster: If we book a hotel, will there be any curfew or issues preventing us from entering our rooms at 3-5am in the morning, and catching a cab to the airport?
posted by gttommy at 3:27 AM on December 17, 2009

No, there shouldn't be an issue with you returning to your hotel at that time. They do sometimes have issues about 'guests' in rooms after a certain time, so depending on the hotel, you may need a room that is appropriate to the number of travellers (rather than a room for two being used for four - but it perhaps depends on what you look like you might be up to). I book my hotels in Bangkok through Agoda most of the time these days.

And yes, cab drivers at the airport will often try to not run on the meter. Just be insistent and make sure you keep the piece of paper with their details on it from the desk (it has info on how to complain and their cab details - not that you'd have time to complain, but if they know you can, they will give up the hassling sooner). And agree with Selton above - anyone who tries to tell you something is closed for the day is probably trying to scam you.
posted by AnnaRat at 9:52 PM on December 17, 2009

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