Here’s what we did in Bangkok, Thailand!
Travel Dates: 23-26 November, 2013
We did a joint trip around Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. It saved a lot of money on airfare too! 2 days in Bangkok was plenty for us. We’re pretty efficient at seeing big cities. We arrived the day that the riots began. It didn’t affect our travel much, although the hotel recommended to avoid the central city area, so we took a water taxi to get to the Palace. Weather was very nice during this time of year.
Airline: We flew in on China Eastern Airlines for $297 per person, one-way. Layover in Shanghai on the way there was fine, but on the way back it was horrible. We picked China Eastern Airlines simply because it was the cheapest (booked through Expedia). We flew out at 1740 and landed at 1255.
We did not book a hotel that night. We got to the airport at about 330, slept in the lobby until 6, and headed to a bike tour that started at 8.
We flew out on Air Asia (booked through Expedia) for $48 per person, one-way to Chiang Mai.
Visa: Not required
Exchanging Money: We exchanged money at the airport.
Hotel: Pullman Bangkok King Power, 5 star, $197.50 for 2 nights (We bid on Priceline).
Great hotel, great location. A few blocks from the subway. Small night market on the streets nearby. EXCELLENT buffet dinner option (they’ll give you a coupon so it’s $20/person).
Transportation: Taxi to/from the airport. We had a bad experience with the cab upon arrival. We had read a lot about the scams and were well prepared. The hotel told us how much to expect to pay. We negotiated a flat rate before entering the cab. After arriving at the hotel, she said that was per person. We said no. Long story short, she was yelling at us calling us cheap Americans. The hotel staff didn’t step in and help because they don’t want to get involved with their own people, but after she left, they told us we actually paid a few bucks more than normal. (So, we were not cheap, she was scamming us.)
The taxi going back to the airport we insisted upon being metered. We asked the hotel 3x to make sure the taxi driver knew to use the meter. Upon entering the cab, he wouldn’t turn it on. We said we want to get out. He kept trying to negotiate a lower flat rate price. We insisted on the meter. Finally he turned it on, upset, and sure enough, it was less than half the flat rate he wanted.
*Be Aware of Scams. Do research before you go*
We used the metro to get throughout the city, and the water taxis. It was hard to find the water taxi station, but we happened to be lucky it and guess which street it was on on our 1st try!
Day 1: Follow Me Bike Tour with lunch (1,100 THB per person) It was a decent tour of the main sites and a nice way to get a feel for the city. We met nice people, the owner was pleasant, and lunch was included.
Soi 11 Market – Dirty, rats, and not very appetizing…
Day 2: The Grand Palace for a a free English tour. Very pretty palace. You’ll be able to take many beautiful pictures!
Be aware of the scammers! Do research ahead of time. There is a dress code, but you can borrow clothes for FREE INSIDE the palace. Even at the entrance people will be telling you it’s your last chance. They’re lying! They will lie to you from the second you get off the water taxi/taxi/bus. They will tell you it’s closed, or you need closed-toed shoes, both lies. Females – cover your shoulders. Males – need pants. Check online before you go for dress code, hours of operation, and free English tour times.
Foot massage – For about $6 per person we enjoyed a wonderful hour long foot massage near our hotel.
Hotel buffet for dinner – DELICIOUS. After having bad luck with the food on the streets, and seeing large rats, we opted for something safer. Well worth the $20/person.
Research, read, and watch documentaries before arriving! We were prepared, but met others who had been scammed. It seemed like no one was being honest, and the employees don’t step in to help. Not even the guards outside of the Palace while someone was haggling us.