Bangkok’s vibrant feel and sprawling metropolis is a melting pot of exotic aromas, interesting sights, and visual delights!
It is no wonder that this city is a magnet for anyone eager to experience Bangkok’s spirited reputation.
In this Part 1 of Bangkok, I share where to stay, a little on travel, and where to stay while in Bangkok. Part 2 shares a few sights and reminisces about Bangkok city after visiting this city four times over decades.
If you’re travelling from Ranong in southern Thailand, take the Ranong Express Transportation Organization’s bus (B466) from Ranong to Bangkok.
Typically, the journey takes around eight to nine hours and leaves every day at 08:30hrs and 20:00hrs.
The bus ticket includes a free sit down meal at a designated restaurant. Afternoon tea of a Sprite and a piece of cake is also provided during the journey.
What to see
Part 2 of Bangkok shares a few areas of Bangkok to explore. Travelling along Thailand’s major river the Chao Phraya River by ferry is a fantastic way to see much of the city but also to get off Bangkok’s crazy roads!
If you had six months in Bangkok, you would not see everything as there really is so much to see, but also to taste in this culinary city. The locals are lovely and helpful but beware as this city is a magnet for foreigners.
For the shopaholic, Bangkok is the city to empty your pockets in as you can shop until you drop!
Countless markets, stalls, and shops sell rip-off designer okay copies of everything imaginable, especially DVDs, watches, leather goods, and clothes, just to mention a few. And, Chatuchak Market is the largest market in the world boasting 15,000 stalls.
Fall in love with Bangkok’s China Town (Yaowarat Road in Samphanthawong district) as apart from the excellent cheap local food available throughout this district (expensive restaurants if you want to pay any price), this is a wonderfully colourful bustling place to experience.
Graced with many alleyways and bursting with tiny shops selling everything imaginable, loads of street stalls selling food treats and trinkets. In an area that only seems to sleep for a couple of hours each night, you are only a 10-minute walk from the river and the amazingly cheap ferry transport when you stay at the Check Inn. This area is great for taking photos and people-watching.
Where to sleep
Bangkok offers so much accommodation with tastes for everyone’s purse that it’s exhausting trying to research and book somewhere.
Staying at the Check Inn China Town twice as very happy with this style of accommodation, albeit a little overpriced for the room’s size, but a great location in China Town. Great friendly staff that are eager to help make your stay extra special.
This time booked the self-contained room with the kitchenette, which includes a microwave, 2-burner stove, fridge, and cooking utensils. Free tea/coffee/water is supplied daily and the room is also cleaned daily. The Check Inn is an easy five-minute walk to restaurants and street hawkers’ appetising and traditional Thai food – and a ten-minute walk to the Rachawongse ferry terminal.
You can approach the Check Inn in either of two directions. One approach is from the main road (Charoenkrung Road) or the other from a tiny alley named Yaowarat 8.
Many online reviews about the Check Inn mentioned that the alley is ‘quite seedy‘. Personally, I don’t agree about the alley being seedy, but it is smelly. So, I’ve given this tiny cramped walkway bursting with day chairs the name of ‘cat alley’ as there are too many cats living in the alley and the reason for the smell.
The ferry from Central Pier (Sathorn) stops running at 9 pm so if your accommodation is in China Town, instead of the hassle and expense of a Bangkok taxi, take bus no.1 (BHT7). This bus travels parallel to the river and back up to China Town, which is just a few minutes’ walk from the Check Inn.
Where to eat
The Check Inn’s self-contained room means that we could cater for breakfasts but also a couple of nights in with cheese, bread, ham, and red wine.
When in Bangkok, you must try the local food so one local restaurant that is a huge hit is the ร้านก๋วยจั๊บนายเอ็ก (442 Yaowarat Soi Yaowarat Road) – restaurant’s name is only in Thai. This no-frills super busy and noisy restaurant graced with shiny stainless tables is a huge hit with locals, and you need to vie for a spot.
Not only are the prices cheap (especially for the distinctive duck meals), which typically are expensive in this city, but everything is very scrumptious. Continually return to this restaurant as each time the quality is excellent and the food simply exquisite to the palate – and, not to mention the price again. In 2014, a plate of duck, rice, and greens (on the side) set you bak only B60 (AUD2)! Tried another duck Chinese restaurant on the other side of the road but the quality isn’t a patch and double the price on our favourite restaurant.
If you walk along Yaowarat Road near the duck restaurant, you come across some street stalls selling delicious on-the-spot cooked Thai delights, fresh fruits, hot roasted chestnuts, Thai cakes, seafood, and much more at street prices.
Indulge in some delicious freshly cooked ‘while-you-wait’ Gyoza’s (B30 for 4) as you will not be disappointed.
Explore Bangkok’s food street stalls as not only are they offer great value and delectable sumptuous and often authentic morsels, but you are helping locals to exist as this is their livelihood.
Check out Part 2 Bangkok Reminiscing for sights and more to explore in this wonderful city.
Leaving Bangkok again
Bangkok really is an excellent base to explore more areas of Thailand but also other countries in SE Asia as you can get a flight to almost anywhere in Asia and the world!