My trip to Bangkok, Thailand
Updated: Mar 5, 2019
My husband and I arrived in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday, February 11 after a long flight from San Francisco. This is our first trip to Southeast Asia.
We usually plan a month-long trip once a year including at least few weeks in a foreign country. This year, we decided to come to Thailand and Laos for 17 days. Our first stop is Bangkok, Thailand.
After 2 layovers and 21.30 hours of flying time, we finally arrived in Bangkok. We took a taxi to where we'll be staying for 3 nights ($8 for 40 minute ride). It was a Thai style guesthouse we chose through Airbnb located about 30 minutes from central Bangkok. It's a gated community with beautiful homes (I should say mansions because they're huge). I think this is where millionaires in Thailand live. So much for mingling with the locals. Our Airbnb cost $231.45 (including tax and cleaning fee) for 3 nights. This is the most expensive place we'll staying at. It's a nice place with a pool surrounded by tropical trees. It's a one bedroom guesthouse with a comfortable bed and a small kitchen downstairs.
Upon checking in at our Airbnb around 3:30 pm on Monday, we were both exhausted and ended up sleeping for about 17 hours.
We got up and went down to a local market to get some groceries for breakfast. We bought some mangos, lychees, a bunch of bananas, some bread and soymilk all for under $5.
After breakfast, we set out to explore the city of Bangkok. We left on foot trying to find a bus stop. After walking around for about an hour, we got lost and decided to catch a taxi. Most people here do not speak English including the taxi drivers so communication was a bit of a challenge. There are many taxis here including Tuk Tuks (3 wheeled rickshaw with a small engine fitted in). With taxis, we didn't have to negotiate on the price since they all had meters. The meters start at 35 baht but the Tuk Tuks don't have meters so we had to do some negotiating. First Tuk Tuk ride we took, the guy asked for 250 baht ($8) for half an hour ride. We negotiated down to 150 baht ($4.80). The traffic is horrible here, and sometimes it's faster if you walk. By taxi, It takes about 1 1/2 hours to about 2 hours to go about 7 miles because of the traffic. They do have skytrains and subways as an option but unfortunately, our Airbnb was quite a ways from the stations so we didn't have much choice but to walk or to take a taxi.
After finally arriving in central Bangkok around 12:30 (we left our Airbnb around 9:30 am), we walked through Chinatown and local markets. It reminded me a lot of Korea where I was born. There are a lot of street vendors selling pretty much everything and anything you can think of including a lot of street food.
Aside from the huge local markets, there are many temples here. We saw the Sukhothai Traimit Golden Buddha which is the largest Golden Buddha in the world. It's made of solid gold, has a height of 15' 9" and weighs approximately 5.5 tons. Out of respect, when entering these temples, everyone must wear a shirt that covers the shoulders and pants that cover below the knees, no tank tops or shorts allowed.
In the evening, we signed up for a night bike tour around Bangkok. We met up at 5:30 pm and had a guided tour of several temples including Wat Arun Ratchawararam, Temple of the Dawn. It was pretty interesting to see all the magnificent temples. Our bike tour was about 3 1/2 hours long including 3 different stops to see the temples and a short stop at a flower market to have some snacks, pork barbeque for the group and some pineapples for me. Their pineapples are extremely small like the size of an apple but still delicious. Our tour ended around 9:30 and we took a taxi back to our place. I highly recommend doing the tour even though it was a bit scary riding our bikes through the crazy traffic.
We got up late and decided to have an easy day. We had late breakfast and I sat around to write this blog while my husband went swimming. In the mid-afternoon, we decided to go find a vegan restaurant about 3 miles from our Airbnb called Barefood Bangkok Vegan restaurant. The food and the nutcheese were outstanding but the price was a little more than what we expected. We ended up spending about $50 for a sample of nutcheese platter, a chickpeas spicy salad, Barefood Smoky and spicy burger (for my husband), and Barefood rice meal with nutcheese topping for me, a small vegan ice cream and 2 bottles of beer for my husband. Yes, it was a lot of food, and we were stuffed. So much for eating on a budget. Well, we still stuck to our food budget of $50/day since we skipped lunch and had a leftover breakfast.
It's Thursday morning, our fourth day in Bangkok. We're off to our next destination, Chiang Mai, Thailand. We're catching an early flight to Chiang Mai which is only about an hour away. You can also catch a train or a bus, but it was going to take about 14 hours and would have been more expensive so we decided to fly instead.
My overview of the city
People are super nice here. The weather is hot and humid. As soon as you walk outside, you start sweating. The temples are magnificent and the local markets are interesting to see. The city itself is overcrowded. The streets are pretty dirty with trash everywhere. I especially found the power and cable lines pretty interesting. Bangkok was too hectic for me with too many people and too much traffic. It was fun being here but one visit to Bangkok was enough for me. Looking forward to discovering what's waiting for us in Chiang Mai.