Bangkok for Backpackers

bangkok_map

Bangkok is a big and impressive city with a lot of things to do and see! Most Backpackers stay in the area “Banglamphu” where you’ll find the famous Khao San Road

Hooting here, flashing lights there, a funny language over there, loud laughter, people selling buckets filled with cocktails, roasted cockroaches on a stick, techno music, so many people and naked skin, grilled chicken, the smell of sweat, jugglers, cheap clothes, cracking wooden frogs, flying toys, ladyboys, loud beats, TVs on the walls of the bars, dancing backpackers, drunken backpackers, pad thai and so much more… 

Khao San Road is crazy and everyone who gets there the first time has a strong reaction. Either it is absolute excitement and fascination or refusal and disgust.

Just around the corner of Khao San is the “Ram Buttri Area”. I like it more to stay in Ram Buttri than directly on Khao San Road since Ram Buttri is a bit more calm. But that really depends on you. Ram Buttri has nice places to stay and good restaurants.

My favourite place to stay though is neither at Khao San nor at Ram Buttri. It is in Tewet, which is about 15 minutes away from Khao San road. (by tuk tuk only about 5 mins) There you will find a beautiful Thai market with almost no tourists and traditional Thai groceries. (that unfortunately also includes turtles, snails, different types of fish and more) For a nice accommodation option check the list below.

„The Club“ on Khao San Road is a loud and crazy indoor nightclub for going out and dancing. Watch your steps since you might step into someones vomit or trip over a person who has passed out.

My advice, although you might be curious: don’t go to Ping Pong Shows. Women there are forced to do awful things and it is not worth supporting this. It is not a fun show, it is really sad. Think about it twice.

The Chatuchak-Market (weekends only) is the biggest market in Thailand and receives about 200.000 visitors a day! You need hours to see everything but you’ll probably get lost anyway and give up. Bring enough drinking water – it can get really hot during the day, especially when you’re walking around non-stop. It is really exhausting.

If you need any electronics, go to „MBK“, a big shopping mall (not far away from Chatuchak-Market). Hundreds of little and big shops, selling anything that has something to do with cameras, phones, etc. They also repair stuff. You can go there by taxi or by train which is quite fun. 

There are different types of taxi boats going along Chao Phraya River and canals (Khlongs). It is not expensive, boats stop at many stations and it’s an adventure.

CAREFUL with offerings by Tuk Tuk drivers. They will tell you that they charge you only 20 Baht (and you think “yaaay good deal!”) and then take you to expensive travel agents or a tailor shops. (Those shops pay them lots of money for doing this so the drivers don’t have to ask you for much). It´s very annoying and you end up at places where you really don’t want to be. When you get a tuk tuk it´s the best when you tell them right away to go to your destination without stopping anywhere. They will beg you to stop at least once but just say no. 
Short distances by Tuk Tuk should not be more than 40 – max. 100 Baht. 100 is quite a lot already. For longer distances take a taxi. Not only because it’s cheaper but then you don’t have to breath in all the smog when you’re stuck in traffic.

If you ever get into any trouble: there is a police station on Khao San Road. You won’t believe how unfriendly people are there. No one is interested in your story and you might have to wait for a long while until someone listens to you. 
If you ever have a problem with Thai people or if you ever are a victim of a scam OR even if you get into trouble with the Thailand Police:
contact the TOURIST POLICE. The phone number is 1155 – nationwide. 

There are some really weird and questionable laws in Thailand such as that police officers are allowed to check your bags on drugs and also check your BODY on drugs (also internally)… they are even allowed to do that on the open street – by LAW! 
If you ever get into a bad situation and you need help call the tourist police (or just threaten them to do so)… 
The tourist police has translators that speak English. 

Temples (Wat): 

Wat Phra Kaeo & Grand Palace: very nice to see – it is a very big compound with lots of things to see. Unfortunately you will also see a million parasols and tourists. It is almost impossible to get a photo with no tourists on it.

Wat Pho (big golden sleeping buddha): is beautiful and not as crowded as the Wat Phra Kaeo & Grand Palace. It is a big, wonderful temple complex.

Wat Saket / Golden Mount: It’s a very nice walk up the mountain (very easy to get up there – not a real “mountain”), there are gongs, bells and statues on the way and when you get to the top you have a beautiful view over Bangkok.

 

WHERE TO STAY?

Four Sons Inn

(Rambuttri Area – 1min from Khao San Road)
Absolutely fine! Room with A/C and TV, private bathroom. Wifi in the room. Clean and affordable. About: single 400/double 550 Baht.

New Merry V Guest House

(Rambuttri Area – 1min from Khao San Road)
Good for when you’re on a very low budget and don’t want to stay in a dorm. Rooms have NOTHING in it – only a fold-up bed. Not even sockets. I think not even blankets or sheets are there. Really tiny room. Fan. No wifi. Shared Bathroom! About 180 Baht (= about 4.50 Euros)

Sabaidee Guest House

(Rambuttri Area – 1min from Khao San Road)
Room with A/C, much more comfortable, table, TV,cupboard, private bathroom, very rude staff, restaurant with shisha downstairs. Shishas come from another shop and are really good. The food is not the best and overpriced. Hotel has wifi (need code from reception) Rooms are about 750 Baht. It’s not the cheapest but really comfortable! Sometimes I like to stay there the night before I leave the country or have a long journey ahead of me to get some good sleep.

They say they have a swimming pool but they don’t… but you can use the pool of their partner-hotel (Cha Cha Villa) near by.

Rambuttri Village

(Rambuttri Area – 1min from Khao San Road)
Have not stayed there but friends have. Ok rooms with aircon and a swimming pool on the roof, nice view. About 800 Baht.

(!) Shanti Lodge

(Ayutthaya Road, Tewet, near Tewet market (must go!), about 4 mins from Khao San Road with Tuktuk (40Baht))
www.shantilodge.com

My favorite place. Beautiful rooms, either shared or private bathrooms, very unique style, restaurant. Wifi. Shared Bathrooms are also pretty. Rooms with shared bathroom rooms are about 400 I think. Otherwise with private bathroom 650 Baht or more. Ask if you can get a room with balcony – they are so beautiful!
There is also a “honeymoon” option on the roof with garden. Very luxury and beautiful! 

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