There was a time when Thailand felt like my second home. Every year I spent every dime I had on a plane ticket to Thailand. So I ended up there for about 12 times, if I remember correctly, but who counts?! Currently, in Europe temperatures are sinking below the freezing point, so you might want to consider a trip to Thailand to refuel your heart with sun and warmth.
I collected a few travel tips for you if you have no idea where to go and what to visit in beautiful Thailand. Let’s start off with Bangkok, as I am pretty sure most of you take a plane to the capital. A few years ago the much-anticipated Airport Rail Link started to operate between Suvarnabhumi International Airport and downtown Bangkok. Don’t make the mistake to take a cab. Believe me! The air-conditioned train is so much more comfortable, faster and safer than any cab you could find. I remember some of the wildest cab drives I had in my life were the ones driving to or from the airport in Bangkok. This might sound fun but I assure you it is not. By taking the Airport Rail Link you are safe from being ripped off and it is definitely cheaper than any cab.
Get off at Phayathai Station to interconnect with the BTS Skytrain – another very comfy way of public transport that spares you life-threatening cab drives. I am sure you heard all about the cute Tuk-Tuks of Thailand and imagined how fun it could be to ride one. Don’t miss it, I agree. But try to hail one only for a short ride, just so that you can tell your tales about a crazy Tuk-Tuk ride. After 10 minutes of inhaling Bangkok’s finest exhaust gases you will be longing for that Skytrain, mark my words.
In terms of accomodation in Bangkok I can merely suggest to avoid the whole area around the famous Khaosan Road. This was fun – or not even then – about 20 years ago. Today, Khaosan Road gathers all of Thailand’s unfriendliest hotel staff due to Thailand’s most embarrassing tourists. If you are on a budget and want to stay in Bangkok Old City try the charming River View Guest House near Chao Phraya river. As its name suggests you will enjoy a beautiful view from its rooftop restaurant or from your room if you opt for a slightly pricier one with a balcony. This is a friendly family-run guest house in Chinatown. Unfortunately I can’t assure you that you will find it – it is hidden between small streets.
One of the many benefits Thailand has to offer to travellers are the cheap prices for accommodation and food. So if you ever wanted to indulge yourself in a five star hotel, Thailand is the right place for that! Stay at The Eugenia and plunge into an old world. This vintage boutique hotel offers pure luxury with its freestanding bathtubs, antique furniture and wonderful little courtyard with swimming pool. You will forget the world outside by laying down on a deckchair and admiring the colonial style around you. You will feel like a royal while enjoying your Eggs Benedict for breakfast.
If you prefer to stay near the river, try the Royal Orchid Sheraton. The rooms are small, but the view is large – request a room on a higher floor. In the evening enjoy a drink or two on their beautifully set terrace even if you don’t stay there. The Sheraton offers a free boat transfer to the Skytrain station Saphan Taksin. Get off at Siam and start your day in shopping heaven Bangkok.
Check out the huge MBK Shopping centre, one of the tourists’ and locals’ favourite shopping temple. You will get anything from watches, shoes, clothes, electronics, cosmetics and whatnot for the cheapest prices you’ve probably ever seen. If you like to explore small Thai designer brands enter the nearby Siam Center where you will get more fashionable stuff. If you get hungry grab some food at the Food Court in the Siam Paragon next to Siam Center.
The ultimate highlight of your trip to Bangkok will be a visit to the famous Chatuchak Market, also known as the Weekend Market. Clothing, flowers, art, pottery, gadgets, shoes, homewares, jewellery and even live animals – whatever there is to buy in Thailand, you will find it here! Be aware of pickpockets and don’t forget to hydrate. The moment you enter Chatuchak Market you will be lost in its’ maze and probably won’t find or don’t want to find the way out.
This Bangkok guide surely lacks a thousand more tips due to space but if you start off with these travel tips you will find your own adventure in this exciting city.