Bangkok. Thailand, April 2016. Tomorrow, Sunday I will fly to Kuala Lumpur, night stop and fly out to the Philippines on Monday. I should arrive in Puerto Princesa, Palawan Late afternoon – hopefully 🙂
So, until Malaysia, enjoy the rest of your weekend.
The best photo award go’s to this Colourful Bird spotted in Bangkok City Park
Bangkok, Thailand, April 2016. Bangkok is always a good place to stay – vibrant, exciting and always something good to eat! A city that keeps me coming back, and back again. Here’s a rundown of the cost of a 9 day stay in Bangkok.
Being outside the tourist area the cost of living is actually petty good. Food is cheap and excellent value for money while groceries are reasonably priced – milk, tea bags similar to the UK. Breakfast, lunch and dinner always less than a pound each meal. Water was freely provided as part of the room cost as was toiletries.
- Accommodation, double bed apartment in Chatuchuk 9 nights £111
- Transport, Metro, Sky Train and buses across 9 days £6.20
- Food and drink, local eats, coffee from Seven Eleven across 9 days £30.60
- Groceries – tea bags, milk, bug spray and laundry powder £3.75
- Flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok Don Muang Airport £27.37
- TOTAL 9 Days £178.92. Minus the flight cost then actual cost of living, £151.55 over 9 days, £16.83 per day.
Balcony View from the Apartment
Bangkok. Thailand, April 2016. Not a new concept by any means but the elevated mass transit system weaving between the skyscrapers of downtown Bangkok is one that gives visitors some outstanding cityscape views as well as a good ride above the traffic jams!
So, why not buy a 1 station ticket and ride around the Bangkok Sky Train lines for a while and take-in those amazing views on the horizon, and of course a closer look at some pretty innovative architecture in the downtown. Its a pretty cool way to spend an hour or 2.
Riding the BTS around downtown an getting out at each station is a good way to grab some unique photos as seen here.
Bangkok, Thailand, April 2016. Probably the best city park anywhere in Southeast Asia. Situated in the Chatuchuk area, this park provides a true oasis in an urban jungle. I’ve visited several times and each time I see something different – plants, wild animals, insects. This is where city and nature come together without boundaries and co-exist happily, if only for a few hours under the palms.
Easily accessible via the Mo Chit BTS station, Chatuchuk Metro station or a host of buses including numbers 3, 510, 29, 134 and 503. Its quite a vast area so visitors should allow at least 3 hours to walk the entire area beginning from beside the Metro station. There are some pretty big monitor lizards here so be careful and never get too close – even if they look dead they’r not! Chatuchuk is also home to a famous weekend market, another vast area that’ll take hours to explore. I’m not going there this trip since I was there a while back, but believe me its worth exploring. Google Map.
The Bangkok Butterfly House is situated here in Chatuchuk park but don’t expect to see many exotic butterflies. On my visit here a few days ago I spotted about 10 of the insects across 2 species, so the place may disappoint some visitors. The good news though is that its a free entry attraction!
So here is how the city and nature are co-existing in Bangkok. Rather randomly there is an old steam train, clearly unloved gathering leaves right on the northern edge of the park. I don’t know the history around here but it looks like this train ran out of steam right there and then, some 50 or so years ago.
Warning: Don’t chase or touch the lizards – it’ll be a regretful decision!
Bangkok, Thailand, April 2016. The historical area of Bangkok is worth a look. Stretching from Khao San Road and the Democracy Monument towards the Chao Phraya River and extending south visitors will find a wealth of history to explore. The grandeur of the Palace, small streets lines with traditional shop houses and still used as such, many temples and religious buildings displaying splendid colours and not forgetting the centuries old riverside communities – all waiting to be explored. The place is busy, especially around the Grand Palace with Chinese, Korean and Japanese tour groups giving ticket touts a run for their money.
And when it gets too much visitors can retreat to the Thammasat University canteen and grab some lunch with the students – yes, eat cheap, drink cheap here at Thammasat, itself a historical attraction being the seat of discontent and revolution along the path to democracy. The place here has so much food choice that its quite bewildering at first. All good local food mostly with one booth taking on the western burger theme. I settled for a mild chicken curry, tasty and only 30 Baht (60p).
Easily accessible via bus 203, 503 or Chao Phraya Express Boat Tha Chang Pier. From Khao San Road its a 25 minute walk. Allow at least a few hours to see the main sights – Grand Palace, Temples etc. To explore every nook and cranny I’d set aside the whole day! On the other hand Tuk Tuk drivers will gladly take visitors on a whirlwind tour of the area – negotiate hard for at least 50% less than the original price! Google Map.
The streets outside Thammasat University, colourful and occupied with locals selling all manner of illegal items – illegal in Britain of course. Gun, animal skin and plenty of ivory products. When done with lunch in the University canteen, head underground to the library coffee shop and join students in a nice fresh coffee.
Quaint streets, art and tour groups…life in old Bangkok.
Bangkok, Thailand, April 2016. By taking a ride on the Chao Phraya Express Boat, visitors to Bangkok will not only get to see the stunning Sky Line view, but will also be able to take a peak at some historical architecture that isn’t always accessible from the land! Yes, a ride on the river will give one a fascinating look into life on the Chao Phraya in Bangkok – past, present and future!
Express boat from Sathorn Pier (Google Map) to Tha Chang (Google Map)
So here are the views a 15 Baht (30p) ticket will buy…Pretty nice!
And on the edge of the historical district where one can take a peak at some pretty old buildings with beautiful architecture including the spires of the Grand palace.
The river is a busy place…
Bangkok, Thailand, April 2016. Visitors on a tight budget likely won’t be staying on the 45th floor of the Hilton or dining in a sky-bar downtown Bangkok, where city sky-line views can come at a hefty price. Here are a couple of exciting alternatives that wont dent the budget and provide some pretty nice views of the city – for under a Dollar!
1. Boat Ride the Bangkok River. The Chao Phraya River flows north to south through the middle of Bangkok and is a hub of transportation as river buses, water taxis, ferries, tourist boats and cargo barges continuously sailing the length and breadth of the waterway – the place can look pretty hectic at times. For just 15 Baht visitors can ride a water taxi pretty much the length of the city and at the same time experience some rather nice skyline views.
Here’s how I took the local water taxi boat south to north and took in some awesome scenery. The most accessible pier is outside the Saphan Taksin Sky Train Station, Sathorn Pier. The first and most prominent ticket counter is selling tickets for the tourist boat (blue flag) at 40 Baht. Bypass this and join the queue behind it. That’s a queue for the local water taxi called the Chao Phraya Express, and soon someone will collect the 15 Baht and issue a ticket. Wait for the next boat with an orange flag and enjoy the ride along Bangkok’s famous Chao Phraya river. I’d recommend getting off in the historical district at Tha Tien or Tha Chang pier and explore the Grand Palace, Thammasat University and some quaint streets.
2. Ride the Sky Train. Riding the famous Bangkok Sky Train is an exciting way to get a more personalised view of Bangkok as the lines meander right through the hart of downtown. Buy the cheapest ticket, there appears no time limit, and ride around for a few hours getting off at various stations for that elevated view of the city. Don’t forget to end the journey at a station appropriate to the ticket price or there could be trouble! But its a fun way to grab a few photos of Bangkok – i’d recommend avoiding rush hour though! I paid 42 Baht since I needed to alight at Mo Chit. I then spent a good couple of hours riding around, taking a look at Bangkok hassle free.
More photos of the river ride and Sky Train journey are coming up on the next blog post.