Exchange rate at the time of writing: £1 = 42.71 Baht
We started our exciting journey to Bangkok on the 12/09/18 from the sprawling Dublin airport. Checking in our huge backpacks, the long queues through security and the slow boarding process all seemed to fly by as our anticipation and nerves seemed to build. The realisation that we would be leaving didn’t quite seem to sink in, and still hasn’t.
Anyway, after a very pleasant flight with Turkish Airlines (look them up!) and a brief stop over in Istanbul, we arrived in Suvarnabhumi Airport, and from there took a quick train and taxi to our hostel (Samsen 360 Hostel) just a short walk from Khao San Road. Our lodgings were clean, if rather old and uninspired compared to the other accommodation in the area, but for 170 Baht per night, we really couldn’t complain! We immediately begin to explore the surrounding area, sampling some Massaman curry, spring rolls, pork Tom Yum soup, and Singh beer, all of which cost us around 390 Baht.
Having had a heavy day of travelling, we decided to head back early and get some sleep – a rookie error as we woke up at 2am and remained awake until 6am. We eventually got out and about at 11am, but didn’t really have much time for exploring as we needed to purchase visas from the Vietnamese embassy. This took the best past of the day, most of which we spent wondering around Bangkok’s concrete metropolis (I honestly don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much) waiting for our visas to be approved.
Once this was done, we took off for the famous Khao San Road which is known for its bars, restaurants, and otherworldly street food stalls (scorpions, fried bananas, chicken heads, etc.). Needless to say, we had a great time. Beer was cheap, and food even cheaper so it was perfect for the budget traveller.
The next day was spent visiting the enormous Grand Palace and its temples, all of which were stunning, though we felt suffocated by the heat and humidity and were unable to properly enjoy it. I spent most of the time trying not to focus the amount of sweat pouring of me, so would definitely recommend seeing that particular attraction earlier in the day.
That night, we caught a VIP night bus (with AC, dinner, reclining and massaging seats!) to Chiang Mai. Overall, we weren’t really fond of Bangkok. I had wanted to write an entire blog post dedicated to the city but it is definitely one of those “love it or hate it” places and I find myself struggling for things to write about. It was too stuffy, dirty, and busy for us, so we were really looking forward to Chiang Mai which is apparently far cleaner and traveller friendly.
- Download maps.me from the app or android stores. It is a really great source of relief that I have this app since neither myself or Maria bothered to get an Asian sim card on arrival. The app allows you to download the up to date maps of the area onto your phone and then use the map offline with no problems. It really is a must.
- Don’t get into stationary taxis or taxis without meters. They will wait for tourists to pass by and likely try to rip them off by covering their meter and saying they don’t have one. ALL taxis in Bangkok have a meter – don’t fall for this.
- When people in the street start random conversations with you, they will usually want something. It is much easier to be firm and say “I’m okay, thanks” or “No, thank you” as otherwise they will follow you or continue to pester you.
- There are many scams running around the Grand Palace. Again, if someone strikes up conversation with you and tells you that the Palace doesn’t open till later in the day, don’t believe them. These scammers will be very friendly and offer to take you on tours else where and ultimately rip you off. FYI the Palace opens at 8am EVERYDAY!