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el2995 Bangkok - A travel report by USC
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Bangkok,  Thailand - flag Thailand
4296 readers

el2995's travel reports

Passage To Bangkok

  13 votes
Page: 1 2 3

Bangkok travelogue picture
Bangkok is an interesting city with a lot to offer to the first-time tourist, though the hustle and bustle, heavy traffic, crowds and tuk-tuk exhaust all tend to wear on you after a while. The traffic may have been a bit heavier than usual while I was there due to the APEC summit, and there were some road closures and traffic stops for delegate convoys. I'd say that Bangkok is good for three or four days of sightseeing. It's best to plan your sightseeing agenda such that you hit all the sights in a particular area on a given day and minimize cross-town excursions. Thankfully, day trips (Ayudhya, River Kwai, floating market) can easily be arranged to break up the monotony and give you some breathing room. October in Bangkok is hot and humid, with not quite enough rain to clear out the smog.


Favourite spots:
Bangkok travelogue picture
The Grand Palace is one of the key attractions, containing the famous Emerald Buddha and numerous temples and gilded statues; it is a functional palace so you can witness the changing of the guards...and the loaded Browning M2 fifty-caliber machine gun (linked belt alternating between six rounds of ball and one tracer round) trained at the entrance. Wat Arun is also a must-see, and is most picturesque when photographed from a longboat on the Chao Phaya River. Wat Po offers visitors traditional Thai massages. The Golden Mount provides some very nice panoramic views of Bangkok. Of course, many are drawn to Bangkok for the shopping; you might try Paradise At The Mall, on the outskirts of Bangkok near Bang Bon. Erawan Shrine features traditional dancers that perform for donors. For something offbeat, try the Bangkok Snake Farm, not far from the Patpong District.



What's really great:
Bangkok travelogue picture
Wat Arun and Grand Palace were my favorite attractions from a visual uniqueness standpoint. The Patpong Night Bazaar was very interesting, with a myriad of stalls selling a wide variety of goods, including fake Big-Name/Big-Ticket watches which, given their illegality, were sold in hidden back aisle in a very shady manner which makes it all the more fun. Perhaps more interesting was the Patpong Night 'Bizarre', referring to the seedy 'Gynecology On Parade' stage shows which featured such inanimate objects as ping-pong balls, strings of plastic flowers, cigarettes, sparklers, bananas and long strips of fluorescent tape, and a talented girl who writes "Welcome To Patpong" with a magic marker...without using her hands.


Sights:
Bangkok travelogue picture
Bangkok has a lot of interesting back alleys that I enjoyed exploring, especially around Chinatown. One in particular was a maze of narrow criss-crossing aisles that was a self-contained Little India, with an intriguing mix of sights, sounds and smells that was quite memorable. Be sure to take a ride on a longtail boat along the Chao Phaya River for some alternate views of the city, especially along the khlongs (canals) that fan out from the river and meander through the city (some have referred to Bangkok as the 'Venice of the East'.) I was surprised to see so many Ahka hilltribe girls in semi-traditional dress selling jewelry and trinkets along Khaosan Road.


Accommodations:
Bangkok travelogue picture
I stayed a few nights at the Marco Polo Guest House on Khaosan Road (a.k.a. Farang Central). 250 Baht a night gets you a bed, an air conditioner, and a combination shower/toilet (no sink, phone, garbage can or bath towel). The disco next door kept the windows and walls rattling from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. every night. A bit seedy but adequate for the budget traveler.

Nightlife:
Bangkok travelogue picture
The disco next to Marco Polo Guest House (Khaosan Road) was way too loud and way too crowded. The Patpong club chosen for the evening was called Connection, which was propbably as good and eye-opening as any of the other clubs, with attractive bar girls quickly latching on to you as you enter and hounding you for drinks and offering you this, that and the other upstairs for 1000 Baht. Some of the girls were a bit aggressive, immediately placing their hand on your crotch and giving you a healthy squeeze when really a simply handshake would have sufficed.



Hangouts:
Bangkok travelogue picture
There were numerous pubs along Khaosan Road, some offering massages and the like. The street behind Khaosan Road (take the alley past the Marco Polo and turn left) had a couple of pubs that featured live music; the second pub has a very talent house musician that sings and plays electrified acoustic guitar.

Other recommendations:
Bangkok travelogue picture
Check out the Songserm travel office on Khaosan Road to arrange plane and ferry tickets and a variety of package tours lasting from one-half to several days (ask for Pinky, who was both helpful and quite attractive; tel: 02-2808074). My five-day touring of the Chiang Mai area was set up by Pinky through Top North Tours. A one-day tour of Ayudhya is probably a must, especially if you won't have time to travel up North to Chiang Mai and want to sample some rural Thailand and old temple ruins. Hint: My trip to Chiang Mai was via the night train (leaves 10 p.m., arrives 12:30 p.m. the next day) out of the Bangkok Chinatown station; if I were to do it again, I probably would opt for the bus, as I would have gotten better sleep without the jerking of the train during the numerous station stops. I also enjoyed the day trip to the bridge on the river Kwai, though I did that with friends instead of through the agency.





Published on Wednesday October 29th, 2003


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Thu, Oct 30 2003 - 06:20 AM rating by marianne

I liked this information, it is really good and gives me an impression what to do and where to go as a first time traveller to Bangkok. Unfortunately or fortunately I have already booked my next three holidays. But Bangkok is high on my wishlist

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