Bangkok logding suggestions?
July 26, 2007 9:31 PM   Subscribe

Places to stay in Bangkok, and cool things to do there...

My wife and I are going to Thailand from mid-December into the 1st week of January. We'll be in Bangkok part of the time, with side trips planned to Hua Hin, the Chiang Mai area, and probably Cambodia.

We're looking for a cool hotel in Bangkok, not too expensive, but we don't want to do the hostel-type thing either. We'll need a place where the staff speaks English (I'm trying to learn some Thai but it's not progressing much) but it would be cool if we're not totally surrounded by other farangs. The Arun Residence and Eugenia both look really nice.

Bonus points for recommendations of interesting things to do in BKK. We're planning on a lot of sightseeing in the city, some shopping, and, of course, lots of Thai food!
posted by altcountryman to Travel & Transportation around Thailand (17 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Duh - that's supposed to say Bangkok lodging suggestions...
posted by altcountryman at 9:32 PM on July 26, 2007


Go see some Muay Thai at one of the big boxing stadiums.
Check out Chatuchak Weekend Market and buy some knock off football (soccer) shirts.
Even if you sre not staying in Banlampoo, visit Khao San Rd just to see the crazyness.
Theres temples galore if thats your bag.

Sorry I have no recommendations for lodging. I walways stayed in a £1 room at Mamma's guesthouse in the Khao san area.
posted by gergtreble at 10:05 PM on July 26, 2007


*cough*

Have a great time!
posted by mdonley at 10:08 PM on July 26, 2007


Email me. I have favorite hotel in a good neighborhood that runs about $35-$50 a night. Rooftop pool, great breakfast included with the room, nice clean A/C rooms and a very pleasant staff. Also, whatever you do, get the regular sleeper when you take the train to Chiang Mai, not the first-class, which is boring and weird.

The regular sleeper is really nice - very comfortable, fantastic staff, and you get thai food - not weird antiseptic bacon & eggs like on the first class private cabin, where you never meet anyone or see anything except out your window.

Chatuchak is fantastic. You can spend a whole day there easily. And check out the downtown malls - the two biggest ones are incredible, and the Skytrain goes right into one of them. Floating market is fun too, but go EARLY in the AM before it's full of tourists. You could rent a boat and spend a day going up and down the rivers, but since it's easy to get lost I recommend hiring some nice young person with their own boat to spend 4 or 5 hours taking you to visit out of the way small-island wats in the various canals ... You can have a nice afternoon this way for about $50-$75 with tip.

If you want an island trip, most hotels can arrange a shared van trip to Koh Chiang, a 1.5 hr drive and 40 minute ferry ride from Krungthep/Bangkok. On the island, you can take a songtaew out to Seaview resort where you can stay in a bougainvillea-encrusted bungalow on the cliffside over the ocean - the hotel rooms are just OK and more expensive, so I suggest the bungalow ... that was my favorite island experience in SE Asia.

Should you be interested in trekking in Chiangmai, I can recommend a good guide. He's in his 70s now but still going strong.
posted by luriete at 11:09 PM on July 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


Since you mentioned Thai food, don't be afraid to eat the street food! You'll find stalls all over the place with 10 to 20 or different curries & other dishes - you can select a couple on rice for less than a dollar. They won't make you sick, but you'd better like your chilli! Also, 1001 different kinds of instant snacks & drinks from street stalls everywhere. *drools*

visit Khao San Rd just to see the crazyness - if you do this, go at night when the street is closed off to traffic & the night markets are in full swing. You'll get a farang overload, but also heaps of trendy young Thais - including plenty of ladyboys - who also go there to hang out & socialise. It might not be your scene, but it's reasonably lively & good for people-watching. I wouldn't avoid it just for the sake of avoiding it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:27 PM on July 26, 2007


I was in BKK earlier this year. We booked a hotel via Rates To Go and were very happy - we ended up paying about AUD$70 per night for a place that was charging AUD$200 a night at list price. I'm pretty sure the name of the hotel was the Twin Towers (yes i know) and it was very nice, with a huge room, comfy beds, great bathroom. Added to that, it was very central (5 minutes from that big shopping mall i keep forgetting the name of).

Do check out Ayuttaya. We rented a little motorbike (no license necessary!) and whizzed our way all over the area. It was hot, sweaty, but beautiful. Try and catch a sunset there. That was the best day trip we took whilst there.

And i agree thoroughly about not avoiding street food! It's GREAT!

Have fun!
posted by miz brown at 11:59 PM on July 26, 2007


Suggestion for a place to stay is Reflections, a hotel where every room has been decorated by a different artist. It is not wildly expensive, but certainly you could find cheaper (and it is much cheaper than the places you have listed). While the staff speak English, the area is much more 'Thai' and less touristy, though there are plenty of restaurants etc in the area (including their own restaurant which is very good) as it is an area becoming more popular for 'independent' foreigners to live (ie not the corporate relocation types). Very handy to the skytrain so you can easily get about.

Look up Bangkok Segway tours. Also Bai Pai Cooking School (if interested) for a reasonably priced and well recommended option. I like Jim Thompson's House for a wander and a quick bite. Le Lys restaurant is nice (they have a website). Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant is very pretty at night (lots of fairy lights) and the food is pretty good too, unless you want it super spicy. Go to the Moon Bar on top of the Banyan Tree hotel for a cocktail. None of these are really off the beaten track things, though having lived in Bangkok for a year, I could give you some. However, I find people tend not to track down the more obscure restaurants etc as they tend to go to whatever is close by. Another of my favourites is called River Bar Cafe (also have a website, print off the details for the taxi driver). Great seafood restaurant right on the river, good prices, lovely in the evening, usually only a few/no foreigners.
posted by AnnaRat at 12:34 AM on July 27, 2007


Here's the map for River Bar Cafe (bit hard to find on their site which is a mix of Thai/English). Taxis are an easy and cheap way to get around in Bangkok, just make sure they put the meter on (rather than negotiating a price). Aside from going to the airport, around town shouldn't cost more than 100 baht a shot.
posted by AnnaRat at 12:42 AM on July 27, 2007


There is a great temple on the "Other" side of the river - Wat Prayoon - you can feed the turtles.
posted by jannw at 5:07 AM on July 27, 2007


Get your suit on! No, really, go get some clothes made for cheap!
posted by Pollomacho at 5:21 AM on July 27, 2007


Yes, the tailors in Thailand are very good and super cheap. Bring your favorite dress shirt and they'll reproduce it in some really awesome silks. And don't forget to haggle!
posted by phatkitten at 6:36 AM on July 27, 2007


Tai Pan was fine. Here's my blog from my trip there in 2001: blog
posted by thilmony at 7:29 AM on July 27, 2007


Upon reliving it reading my own old blog, the Ambassador was nicer for better money.

If you go to Koh Samui, stay near the other beach I was not near. Chawang Beach, not Lamai. Not that it's bad, Chaweng just seemed like a better spot.
posted by thilmony at 7:31 AM on July 27, 2007


I stayed at the Atlanta Hotel while I was there. The lower floors are original, I think the upper floors (with considerably less charm) were added on in later years. Very funky older hotel with excellent food, nightly movies and occasional in house entertainment.
posted by ikahime at 8:02 AM on July 27, 2007


The best night markets are in Nah Thamburi, which is accessible by the riverboat. Just head north. You won't see another farang face, and the food and shopping is as real Thai as it gets.

I ate a wonderful, ridiculously great Royal Thai meal at Bussaracum. It's more expensive (still relatively cheap...something like $60 for a multi-course meal for two with wine), but the presentation is gorgeous and you may not have the chance to eat the "Royal" style anywhere else.

Get a massage at Wat Po. As soon as possible after arriving if you've been traveling for a long time.

Also, try Thai nightlife outside of the silly and gross Patpong. There's a great scene that doesn't involve hookers, counterfeit goods, swindlers and menacing drunken foreigners.
posted by kosem at 8:35 AM on July 27, 2007


I really liked the Hotel Atlanta too, though I would suggest you spend the least amount of time possible in Bangkok.

Too much traffic, pollution, and people hassling you. Out of the city is SO much nicer.
posted by exceptinsects at 11:28 AM on July 27, 2007


When you're in Chaing Mai, try to take a cooking class— I got to learn all about Northern Thai food and enjoyed the hell out of the class.

I happened to find the business card while I was cleaning out my wallet:

The Master
Permpoon & Suriyan Nabnian
5 Ratchamanka Road
053.277823
snabnian@hotmail.com
posted by klangklangston at 11:45 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


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