Bangkok hotel/food advice, 2-3 days

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Aktchi, Apr 17, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    I am doing a MR to BKK. My flight arrives May 3 at 11PM, leaves May 6 at 8AM. That is 2.5 days in BKK. I would be grateful for any help from the experts here in making the best use of this time.

    Let me begin by pointing out two aspects: (1) Technically this will be my second time in BKK. Last time was equally short, and the hotel was comped. It was fine, in Sukhumvit, but I didn't really choose the area etc. Just enough time to familiarize with the train system and decide to come back. (2) I expect to return to BKK many times in future, for short and long visits, and later explore the rest of Thailand as well. So I don't have any pressure to do it all. I just want to make a meaningful and pleasant use of my time.

    You'd ask what I "like to do". Usually I like to get a feel for the city I am in - which means taking mass transit to its neighborhoods and walking around there. With two days at my disposal, I might devote one to land, one to get-on-off water taxi. I would like to try out a lot of Thai food that BKK is famous for; lacking a spectacular not-to-be--missed opportunity, I'll skip Western or even Indian. Window shopping is fun, but not much real shopping unless I see some travel-related gem (carry-on, dual-time watch, noise-canceling headphone, etc) for less than 1/2 of the best price I can get on the net! No kickboxing, tailored suits, dental work, or sex stuff---at least not this time. :)

    Now my specific questions -

    1. My flight lands at 11PM. A little routine flight delay, immigration, customs, and I could easily be leaving the airport well past midnight. Do trains run that late? Would it even make sense to try to go to "my hotel" at that time? Should I just stay at the airport for a few hours? Or, at a hotel near the airport that night, and start my real trip next day?

    2. Which area would be good for good access to trains as well as walking/eating experience? Last time I was in Sukhumvit, and it was fine, but I have no other experience to compare against.

    3. If in addition to area, you can recommend a few specific hotels you regard as best values, that would be super. I won't be spending a lot of time in the hotel, but breakfast would be nice (I can and will even prefer to do other meals elsewhere, but morning is lazy time). Similarly a computer where I could check email would be good (won't have my own laptop). However, if Internet cafes are easily found, then this is less important.

    Price range around $30 and $50 was mentioned in another thread. Those are fine. I don't need luxury, just safe and clean in or close to good area, and above features.

    I am not big on hotel loyalty programs, but I can get Four Points Sheraton (Sukhumvit) at the rate of 1600 spg points + $30. American Airlines is offering Omni for 3900 miles/night. I can do these. However, I have other very good uses for points/miles, and certainly won't mind paying just cash for more flexibility and better bargains.

    4. Finally, food advice is most welcome. Any non-to-be-missed areas/places?

    With that, and with my gratitude in advance, please advise away!

     
  2. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Let's stick to "land" this time around and will do "get-on-off water taxi" next time. Here is a map of the BTS (sky train), BRT (the metro), and their interactions and along with the river boat.

    [​IMG]

    Food especially "Thai" is plentiful and is all over the place. See this thread for more on food: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/bangkok-dining-scene-restaurants-recommendations.3001/
    [​IMG]
    No, take the taxi immediately after clearing customs at BKK and head to town. Bangkok never sleeps and at that time you can still have a meal, a drink, and more. By heading immediately to town, at least you will wake up next day and you are already in the city center. Here is the thread about BKK airport transportation: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/bangkok-airport-transportation.2547/
    [​IMG]
    Sukhumvit is great ... see and click the above map to enlarge for other locations, such as Siam Square, Silom, Sathorn, Riverside, etc. All good and all on the main transportation artery.
    [​IMG]
    Four Points by Sheraton, Sukhumvit 15, is excellent at the rate of 1600 spg point + $30, especially if you get the in-room wifi and the breakfast. kwai is very good at savings for his accommodations (to have longer stays and better grubs ;)) and he will be more than helpful to you ...
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    I am staying at the 4P Sheraton in June on points (2 days) myself, with my third day either being at the MIllennium Hilton or Conrad Bangkok (depending on how fast a transfer from Virgin Atlantic happens, or whether I want to be a bit "away from it all" on the river) on points.
     
  4. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    Don't fret over the time you arrive. As Kalboz cogently states, BKK doesn't close (but it's not NY either). Just hop in a taxi on floor 1 outside at the 'meter taxi' stand. You'll be assessed a 50B fee payable to the driver upon arrival. At that time there really is no need to take the tollway, but that's your choice. Into town the tollway (tang duan) will run you 70B (25B + 45B). Make sure the meter is only turned on when you enter and flagfall is 35B. Get into town ASAP, after all your time is limited.

    I've never stayed in Sukhumvit and don't particularly care for the place either. I've stayed on the river down at the foot of Silom (Bang Rak), Chinatown (Yaowarat), and, usually, north of Dirty Hippie Road, otherwise known as Khao San.... But there's a canal between my typical area (Bang lam poo, Samsen Rd) and the dirty hippies which at least keeps them from wandering too far north. :D

    Chinatown was nice and there's a very good hotel for about $25 a night. However transportation in and out of there can be horrid outside of the river ferry, which only runs until about 7:30PM. There are some buses that run up and down Yaowarat Rd and Chareon Krung, but taxis can be very difficult to get.

    Internet cafes are a dime a dozen. The few times I need to use one I avoid the prepay shops. Expect to pay 25B-40B per hour. I'd say average cost is 30B/hour. Again this is based upon the areas on/around Samsen Rd.

    With my pejorative stance concerning dirty hippies you might ask why I would stay so close to them. It's a good question and I have a good answer. Inexpensive but decent lodging, food, food, food, food, scarcity of ladyboys/go go bars/scam artists/hookers (all members of these groups are plentiful on Khao San but thankfully stay down there, and, finally, good transportation. The latter is a combination of 1) river ferry stop at Phra Athit 2) the canal ferry begins at the foot of Wat Saket, aka Golden Mount 3) buses galore on Ratchadamnoen and Samsen. Any of these can take you into the center of the city or to BTS (skytrain) quickly (depending upon the time of day). The MRT satisfies few of my traveling needs so I rarely take it. When needed though it's fine. The one thing to know is MRT, unlike BTS, will have a guard cursorily look through bags. This can be a hassle if you're coming to or from the airport.

    You also can't shake a stick without hitting street food around Samsen Rd (except on Monday when there is NO street food here). During the day there's plenty and at night a whole new selection comes out.

    Last night we stayed on Samsen Soi 6, the room was 850B and this is what it looked like.
    IMG_7746sm.jpg

    Thankfully it was cleaner when we arrived. But I forgot to take a picture then in my zeal to go get food. There are many places around here and some are cheaper, some more expensive.

    This area is also quick access to the Palace/Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Po etc.

    We're about to board in BKK right now. I can give further info once at home in PNH if you should desire it. If you're thinking of staying around Silom, Sukhumvit, Sathorn I cannot help you with those areas. They are too modern for me. :D
     
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  5. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Thanks Kalboz and Kwai. I thought I had already posted this response---and was beginning to worry if gleff's more upscale quest had sucked all oxygen and nobody was responding to my cheap wishes :)--- but it seems I forgot to click the send button.

    OK it seems Kalboz felt that Kwai is the right person for my low budget query, and Kwai certainly didn't disappoint. I was quite excited about an adventure in Chinatown until I read this: "However transportation in and out of there can be horrid outside of the river ferry, which only runs until about 7:30PM. There are some buses that run up and downYaowarat Rd and Chareon Krung, but taxis can be very difficult to get."

    I still look forward to spending a couple days in that area in a future trip, but this time, with only two days, it is back to the the drawing board. (I'll need to leave for the airport by 4AM-5AM, and not by river ferry!)

    I'll tentatively target the $50 or under range, but with flexibility, ie, I won't turn down a fantastic deal just because it was $55. But, other things being at least comparable if not exactly equal, cheaper is better.

    Do you know of a hotel search engine that allows specifying at the outset that I only want rates displayed with breakfast? That will make sorting much easier.

    Similarly, if the hotel choices were displayed on a map, it is much easier to see the location relative to train lines. I am usually not able to interpret a street address in that light.

    Of course, if anybody has an outright recommendation (close to trains, breakfast, able to get taxi at 4AM!), that would be just great.
     
  6. Kalboz
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  7. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    I was referring to transportation in terms of getting around the city. The two parallel streets in chinatown, Charoen Krung and Yaowarat each have alot of taxis. However during the day many are already full (think NYC on a rainy day) or they don't want to takeyou where you want to go.

    That said, at 4AM any taxi would be happy to take you to the airport.

    You can take a look at 'Check inn Chinatown'. They don't seem to have their own website but can be purchased on many other sites. I've used Agoda.
     
  8. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the most helpful advice.

    I decided to stay in Sukhumvit. I also decided to go cheap: Royal Asia Lodge on Soi 8 Off Sukhumvit Road, $30/night including breakfast. Booked at HotelClub.com (an Orbitz operation) via HotelsCombined. Their language was clearer on breakfast than Agoda's.

    Will let you know in about 10 days how it was. :)
     
  9. Aktchi
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    Aktchi Silver Member

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    Here is a brief feedback now that I have been to BKK and back. The advice to take a cab to my hotel immediately was great. I got to RAL a little after midnight, had a decent sleep, breakfast next morning and was ready to make the best of the day.

    1. I liked the location of RAL. Perhaps some would want to be a little closer to the main street, but I liked the peace and quiet provided by the extra distance. Still walking distance, but comfortably away from road/train noise. The location also meant that no massage flyers were being distributed nor any "massage women" congregating at the door (even Sheraton and Westin don't escape that fate).

    2. This hotel must have been good at one point, but does look tired now. Perfectly adequate, but doesn't inspire loyalty. However, it cost only $30 including breakfast, and all the basics like air-conditioning and hot water etc did work. Not be an automatic repeater, but no regrets either.

    3. The breakfast was supposed to be from 7AM. I wandered in at what I thought was 8AM and they were still setting up - people started arriving only at 8:30. [​IMG] Later I discovered that the entire city of BKK was running one hour late that day. [​IMG] OK, so during my JL flight, I had messed up while setting my watch to the BKK time.

    4. Not only does RAL look a little tired, it even appears to attract similar customers. While walking towards Sukhumvit Rd, I saw other hotels full of younger crowd chatting away and exchanging tips and info but there was no evidence of such exchanges in RAL.

    5. You have to pay to use the computers in the lobby. I am not suggesting it was a ripoff or anything, just observing, because some hotels offer it for free. Moreover, I only discovered when checking out at 4AM that those and other extra charges cannot be paid with credit card, only THB, and had a mini scramble for Thai currency. :mad: As a result, I had to pay my cab partially in US$ - unlike RAL, he was happy to accept dollars.

    6. Maybe a fact of rustic life at this price point, but while I was checking out, the receptionist made a quick dash to my room to see if I had used anything from the "minibar". He was also unable to call a cab that would go to the airport on meter. The hotel seemed to have some deal with just one cabbie who was usually around and wanted to charge twice the rate. Of course one advantage of being in Sukhumvit, and traveling with a carry-on, is that there is no shortage of cabs a very short walk away.

    7. With two real days at my disposal, I basically devoted one to the river ferry ("Tourist Boat") and the other to BST skytrain. Each time I bought the "whole day" pass (great deals for under $5), and got off/on to explore areas near various stops. Did Khao San Rd, Wat Pho, Chinatown, Siam Sq malls, etc., this way. Basically, I was sightseeing 9AM - about midnight.

    8. Afternoons got uncomfortably hot and, instead of playing the heroic tourist, I went to go to a shopping mall one day and a movie theater the other, both air-conditioned of course. I didn't care which movie it was as long as the theater was cool, but the movie (Source Code) turned out to be funand based in my city Chicago!

    All in all, I had fun and would love to return with more time at my disposal. I would also like to venture into Thailand beyond BKK.

    Thanks to all for their advice and help.
     
  10. Good thread,My experience in bangkok hotel,Last month I am check in Marriot Bangkok hotel Stayed there and loved it.I would really recommend Pizza Bella Napoli in case you crave pizza or Isao for Japanese food.This wanna good food.if you drink Beer, have a cold one for me at the Beer Gardens.I like there food services.
     
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  11. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint jack123jack!
     

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