Bangkok in 5 words
Place – Chatrium Residence
Cost – $65 per night
Facilities – Pool, gym, sauna, spa, steam room, in-room kitchenette
Review – A bit far out of town, but very close to the Metropolitan Rapid Transit buses (MRT) which linked to the Mass Transit System Skytrain (MTS or Skytrain), the pool area made you forget you were in the middle of Bangkok City and was a good place to escape to a tropical paradise. Don’t get the buffet breakfast – HIGHLY overpriced – we paid 420 Baht each (under the impression it was 420 Baht for the both of us) and is still the most expensive meal we have eaten.
Website – http://www.chatriumresidence.com/sathon/
Weekend Chatuchak Market –This market is HUGE with tens of thousands of stalls (!!!) and has everything you could ever want in a market – food and drinks, ornaments, clothes, jewellery, furniture and so much more! The highlights for me were: 1. a beautiful shop with gold mosaic woodworks and furniture (so much inspiration for my future house!). 2. All the stalls of food – fruit, sweets, drinks, fried food, grilled food, ice blocks, etc. etc.!!! P.S. First lesson of Thailand – don’t add chilli to your meal unless you have tasted if first. I made this rookie mistake and ended up burning my taste buds off, and was crying and burning for hours after.
We organised the rest of our trip via the Tourist Information Centre- this place is highly recommended for those travellers looking for a packaged trip which includes accommodation, transfers and even tours! Our consultant ‘Joke’ (pronounced Joker) had heaps of information and suited our package to our needs. We had not intended to pre plan the trip, but a lovely man approached us while we were walking around Siam Square and told us about the centre, advising us to go there because we might have trouble booking some accommodation in Phuket due to it being peak season. Lucky we went to the centre, because after talking to Joke, he gave us heaps of advice and ended up recommending Krabi instead of Phuket because we wanted to stay away from the huge tourist centres, and also wanted to do some rock climbing – and Krabi is known for its amazing rock climbing. Another great thing is they will hold your bags for you when waiting for trains/buses, and have a shower and free cold water. Contact details for the Tourist Information Centre Internal Booking Office (Porntara Travel) 849/59-61 Soi Chula 6, Bantadthong Rd., Wangmai, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330 Tel. (662) 612-6800-2 Fax. (662) 612-6803 E-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org How to get there – Get off at National Stadium train station; it is a 1 minute walk from the stadium itself.
We were very lucky to be the only farang when we stumbled upon a local soccer match at National Stadium. We had 4 hours to kill before we had to pick up our bags to go to the train station on our last day in Bangkok, and we walked down the street to hear chanting and screaming. We decided to risk it and buy 2 tickets off a dodgy looking street vendor and were pretty surprised and excited when we were let in with no questions asked! The crowd was wild! They did not stop chanting and jumping throughout the whole game, even when their team was losing. The Prince was even a spectator at the match! We walked out of there with huge smiles on our faces: we got to experience something that is truly local; something that the guidebooks don’t mention; something that the tour offices don’t offer.
Loved – Tokyo vibe: the public transport systems were easy to use with English Translations. The advertising around the city was very “Tokyo” as was the advertising inside the trains and buses. Tesco Lotus supermarket also reminded me of Tokyo underground supermarkets, with its pre packaged ready to go meals and fresh fruit.
Hated – too big for me to get my bearings: the maps hardly helped – there was never a scale, or enough detail for me to truly understand where I was and where I was going (except for the public transport system)
Food – ranges from upmarket restaurants to street food, there is always food available, however from what I experienced in two days there weren’t many budget restaurants – if you wanted to eat cheap you had to eat on the street or in family run eateries.
Tips for next time – Buy a decent map, and stay long enough to explore the inner city and also the outskirts of the town. Bangkok is such a huge city, and we only got to see a really small part of it.