Surviving Bangkok

Backpacking in Bangkok

Backpacking in Bangkok can be rather chaotic, with a population over 6 million people and over 400 Buddhist temples, the city can sometimes seem overwhelming to even the seasoned traveler. Here is a list of activities and tips to make your stay in Bangkok that much easier and exciting.

Where to Stay when Backpacking in Bangkok

A backpacker’s delight is Khao San road near Wat Prakaew and the Grand Palace where you will find cheap drinks, great food, Thai souvenirs/ counterfeit goods and a slew of budget accommodations in Bangkok .

2 great options that are owned by the same company are:

1. Lucky house- a clean and comfortable backpacker option where singles are 390 Baht ($13); double rooms range from 450- 500 B ($15) and triples rooms are 750 B ($25). Amenities include, air conditioning (which is essential in the smog and heat of Bangkok); wake up call, t.v., hot/ cold water and private bathroom.

Call in advance, this place fills up pretty fast

2. D and D Inn- For a bit more luxury on Khoa San there is D & D inn which offers high end comforts at a reasonable price.  Facilities include: restaurant, a boutique shopping center, a swimming pool with a state-of-art bar on top of the hotel, a beauty salon, a 24-hour Internet cafe,  and a Thai message place which offers great foot massages. A single in a standard room 550 ($18) or the deluxe option is 750 ($25); a double range between 750- 850 ($25-28) for a standard room and a deluxe room is 1,100 ($37) a triple standard room 1,100 ($37) and a deluxe triple room is 1,400 (47).

I have never stayed in the standard room but the deluxe room is definitely worth the money.

Book ahead, similar to Lucky house this place fills up fast

3. KhaoSan Park Resort- this 5 story guesthouse directly on Khao San resort is great for those looking to be in the midst of the action while still having some peace and quiet. The beds are rock hard but the rooms are spotless and the water is hot. Amenities include satellite t.v., free breakfast, air conditioning and bag storage facilities. Generally speaking you can get even better deals on Agoda than you can get by directly calling the hotel.


Best Pad Thai

Less than a 10 minute walk from Khoa San road you can find the best Pad Thai in Bangkok. Thip Samai is a Bangkok institution serving Pad Thai to its customers since 1966. While the restaurant charges almost 5 times as much compares to the basic street fare the place is busy from the moment it opens until is closes its doors.

313 Mahachai Road
Phra Nakorn, Thailand

Backpacking in Bangkok: Best Deals on Khoa San for: flights, buses, trip packages, internet and bag storage

Just at the end of Khoa San on Chakrapong Road you will find the Israeli Connection or aka the Kesher. This place is a great resource for any traveler. Not only do they provide the best prices for any bus fares ( i have been on many buses down to the Islands where people bought tickets from different agencies and paid almost double) but they offer great Israeli food (if you want a change from the typical Thai fare), flat rate Internet prices, cheap rates for phone calls abroad and a 2 day packages to Kanchanaburi (where you can visit Erawan falls, 9 layers of waterfalls and while it is only 2 hours bus ride from Bangkok, this beautiful site is often mistakenly bypassed by backpackers).

Nightlife

1. Bed Supperclub

Styled after the NYC hotspot and offers a fusion of an upscale restaurant, club and art gallery. Set in a futuristic, white background this supperclub offers a mix of music and has housed some of the worlds best djs.

26 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Sukhumvit Road
Klongtoey Nua, Wattana,
Bangkok 10110

2. Q bar

Just down the road from Bed Supperclub is Q bar with a mix of upper class Thai and expats, this club with some of the strongest drinks in Bangkok is a great place to dance to house beats. Entrance price: Mon-Thurs. 500 B ($17); Fri- Sat. 700 B ($23). Entrance price includes 2 drinks.

34 Sukhumvit Soi 11
Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110

3. Escudo

For one of Bangkok’s hottest nightclubs, head to Escudo. This 2 floor club hosts an stylish mix of wooden floors, white sofas, and leather chair. The first floor has a DJ spinning host beats and the second floors has a more chilled out vibe playing  mellow house beats.

289/1 Dutchess Plaza 4th floor,
Sukhumvit Soi 55, Bangkok

4. RCA (Royal City Avenue) Clubs

RCA is a strip of discos in Bangkok which caters to a younger Thai crowd. Probably the most popular club along the strip is Route 66 the recently renovated Bangkok institution has been serving Thai party goers for over 10 years. This complex is divided into East and West sides- one playing Hip Hop and R&B the other playing electronic and house music. The drinks are cheap (120-140 B) and entry is free. Flix and Slim nightclub, is one of the first clubs on the right hand side of RCA if coming from Rama 9 is a great place for Hip hop music and cheap drinks. Another popular club is Astra, playing house/ electronic, hosting some of the top djs in the world. On these special nights admission can cost anywhere from 500- 800 B ($17- 27).

5. Route 66

Block B 29/33-48 RCA Road, Bangkok

Rama 9 Road

Huai Khwang

6. Flix and Slim Club

RCA Block C, Rama 9 Road

7. Club Astra

29/53-64 Soi Soonviijai (Block C RCA),
Rama 9 Road,
Bang-kapi, Huaykwang, Bangkok

8. Bangkok Lady Boy show

Thailand’s lady boy shows are world famous. An eclectic mix of Hollywood glamor, diva attitudes and jaw dropping disbelief that this woman is in fact a man, this show promises not to disappoint.

Check out Calypso lady boy show is approximately 600 Baht at the The Asia Hotel Bangkok.

9. Suan Lum Night Bazzar

For a change from the busy bar scene in Bangkok, visit the Suan Lum Night Bazaar with over 3000 stalls with everything from souvenirs to antiques, food stalls to German restaurants and beer gardens to street side bars. This bazaar hosts a clean and friendly environment but beware, the prices may be a bit more expensive than what you are used to so be prepared to put your bargaining skills to the test.

Getting there: Take the Skytrain to S2 Sala Daeng, Station (Silom Line). Walk about 100m and you will see Si Lom MRT station. Take the train to Lumpini and you will see Suan Lum Night Bazaar.

Located beside Lumphini Stadium (where you can indulge in some Thai boxing)

10. Gullivers, Khao San road

If you don’t feel like venturing off the Khao San strip try Gullivers for a a more Westernized party.

2/2 Khaosan Rd. Taladyod Phranakorn Bangkok 10200

Backpacking in Bangkok: Shopping

The shopping in Bangkok, like the city itself can be very overwhelming. Everywhere you look someone is trying to sell you something, its hard to tell what’s a good fake/ bad fake, high quality/ low quality and the possibilities for goods are endless. Here are a few of the best shopping options in Bangkok.

Shopping Tip: save your shopping for your last day in Bangkok, that way you don’t need to carry your purchases around with you as hop from city to city. If you decide to buy something and need a place to store it the airport offers storage facilities for 150 b ($5) a day, at the kesher for about 30 b ($1.70) a day or you can ask your hotel is they have storage facilities.

1. Siam Square

Siam Square is a popular shopping area for both Thais and foreigners and has a little bit of everything for everyone. The area houses some high end boutiques (Lacoste, Prada, Louis Vuitton), cool shops that display goods of local Thai designers and a small night market set up on the street which has an array of local souvenirs and counterfeit goods.

While most prices in the shops are fixed, shopkeepers may give you a small 10-20% discount off the tagged price.

Getting there: Siam (Central) Skytrain station.

2. Weekend market

The outdoor Chatuchak weekend market hosts over 15,00o stalls and is divided into colour coded sections grouping together categories of goods; for instance, : clothing and fashion, household good, crafts, art and collectibles, plants, wholesale items, food and pretty much anything else you can imagine.The market can be confusing, crowded and hot, so i would only advise checking it out if you are up or an adventure and want to put your bargaining skills to the test.

Tip: This place can get very hot, very fast, so go early before it gets too crowded and starts to sizzle.

Getting there: Take the skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station and exit down the right-hand stairs, follow the crowd for a five-minute walk, and you’re there. Another option is to take the subway (MRT) to Chatuchak Park station, and follow the signs to the market.

3. MBK

This Multi- level air conditioned shopping centre is probably Bangkok’s most popular mall. This 7 story mall hosts over 2,000 shops selling everything from handbags, men’s and women’s clothing, cosmetics, winter coats (I bought one there over 4 years ago and it still keeps me warm), leather goods, furniture, every possible electronic gadget (tvs, cameras, cell phones, ipods, etc.), luggage and so much more. For some of the best fakes- head to MBK!

Shopping Tip: Foreigners can apply for a special MBK Tourist Discount Card at the information kiosks on the first and second levels (make sure to bring your passport along). Armed with this card you will be entitled to discounts between 5 and 30% on selected merchandise and at some restaurants.

Getting there: Bangkok Skytrain (BTS) – National Stadium station; also within walking distance of  the BTS Siam station. Located on Phayathai Road, Pathumwan

Open: 11:00 am- 10:00 pm

There are so many options when backpacking in Bangkok, you can’t really go wrong in the city but hopefully this list will narrow your choices.

Backpacking Bex