Ok. Bangkok. As we mentioned in our ‘announcement’ post, we did practically zero planning prior to arriving in Bangkok. We had a hostel booked. That’s it. We weren’t sure where we were staying (yeah, we had a hostel, but we had no idea where it was) or what types of things we wanted to see in our time in Bangkok.
If you couldn’t tell from the title, we have decided to post for each city/region. We are trying things out as we go, so the format could change. For the time being, we’ll be addressing the following items for each city/region:
Sleep – Where did we stay?
Eat – Where did we eat?
Do – What did we do?
Run – where did we run? (Our goal is to run in every city we visit. This might happen, it might not. If we do, you’ll hear entirely too much about it. #sorrynotsorry)
Yes, please – What would we do again?
No, thanks – What would do differently?
More – The catch-all bucket.
Saphai Pae Hostel. Nice common area, good WiFi, comfortable rooms, and the most amazing breakfast I’ve ever had at a hostel/hotel/resort/lodging of any kind. Like seriously, it was amazing. Eggs, toast, veggies, coffee, delicious fruit, and then 3 or 4 delicious Thai dishes – fried rice, rice noodle concoctions, soups and the like.
We ate all of the street food. A not at all comprehensive list as follows:
- Papaya salad
- Pad Thai
- Fried Rice
- Pho-like noodle dish
- More pho-like noodles
- Hot dog wrapped in a crepe with hot sauce. I feel like I need to explain this one…
- It was only 10 baht (30 cents).
- I didn’t know it was a hot dog until after I had paid for it.
- It was strangely delicious. As in, I immediately regretted not buying 100 baht worth of ‘pig in a french blanket’ (my name for it, which I’m copyrighting BTW).
- Walked. A lot. 10+ miles/day.
- Slept. A lot. Average bed time – 7 PM. Average wake up time – 4 AM. Jet lag FTW.
- Golden Buddha and Chinatown. Fun area to walk through. Golden Buddha was good to see. Apparently it’s the most expensive Buddha in the whole world. It is made out of solid gold and weighs around 5 tons.
- Wat Pho. This is a beautiful temple complex. It encompassed a large area that we could walk through. Great architecture. It included the reclining Buddha, which is a HUGE Buddha statue that is (surprise, surprise) reclining.
- Massages at Wat Chanyawat. 100 baht ($3) for an incredible massage. There were times when I thought my masseuse was laughing at my lack of flexibility, but it was still incredible. For context, massages in Rambuttri Alley area (a super touristy area) are 300 baht. Wat Chanyawat is one river taxi stop south of the Central Pier. There is a massage place to on the north side and south side of the pier. We went to the north side. South side would probably be solid too.
- A note for those who haven’t had a Thai massage.. they are different than a normal massage. It seemed to focus on deep pressure on certain points and holding stretches rather than the traditionally “rubbing” motion. Also, they didn’t use much oil or lotion. At one point, I had a Thai woman standing on my back. So that was awesome.
- Silom. Walked through this area.
- Chatuchak Park. Nice park. Would have been nice to run here.
- Lumphini Park. Ran here, see below. Fun park.
- Weekend market at Chatuchak. This is a huge market selling everything from food to clothes to electronics to dogs (made D not very happy). Touristy, but still glad we went. Tip – go early. We got there early and left after an hour an a half. By the time we left it was getting craaaaaaazy busy.
- Rambuttri Alley. Really touristy area just off of the river. We read ‘The Best Pad Thai place in Bangkok’ was here (nerd nomad) so we had to check it out. I’m not sure if we went to the wrong place or if the place they recommended isn’t there anymore or what. But the place we ate at was solidly mediocre. I’ve had more delicious pad Thai in Denver.
We ran to and around Lumphini Park. It was amazing. It was around 1.5 miles from our hostel to the park and the park itself was 1.3 or so miles around. I was a bit nervous to run the section from our hostel to the park since the streets aren’t exactly a running paradise, but we started on our run just after 6 AM and things were quiet. Tip – If you are going to run, run early. Running in the afternoon would be a nightmare. The park itself was CROWDED. The layout reminded me a lot of Wash Park in Denver in that there was a road meandering through the park with a clear bike lane marked on one side. No sane bicyclist would attempt to ride through the park at 6:30 am on a Sunday, however, since the entire roadway was a mass of people. Walkers on one side, runners on the other please. JK. It was mayhem. There seemed to be three sets of people:
- Fast lane = left lane. Slow lane = right lane. The ‘American’ way.
- Fast lane = right lane. Slow lane = left lane. I assumed this was the normal way of doing things in Thailand since they drive on the opposite side of the road.
- I WALK WHERE I WANT. Turns out a majority of people fell into this category.
Outside of the crowded road, there were tons of additional people on the sidewalks doing calisthenics or other workouts. At the park entrance there was a large gathering (50+ folks) doing an aerobic class of some kind with music blasting. Overall, it was a great experience.
- Stay at Saphai Pae hostel. I don’t know if I have mentioned it, but the breakfast here is un-freaking-believable. It is also close to the skytrain and the river, so getting around is a breeze….prior to dark when the river ferry stops, that is. Finally, it isn’t in a super touristy area. This could be a pro or a con, depending on your travel style.
- Run in Lumphini Park. Do it.
- Get a massage at Wat Chanyawat. SO GOOD.
- Water taxis. Just ride up and down the river or use them for transit. Either way, a great way to see the city.
- Eating in Rambuttri Alley. Go there. Definitely go there, but don’t plan on eating there unless you are a fan of expensive and mediocre food. Also, keep in mind we are talking about our sample size of one. I’m SURE there are delicious eats to be had in the area, but I’m also sure the one meal we had there was the most expensive and least delicious of our time in Bangkok. Buyer beware.
- Friendly people. Being midwesterners, Danielle and I are apt to look people in the eye and smile at them when we pass them on the street. In most countries (and most states in the US), these smiles go unanswered. Not in Thailand!
- King’s song. Everyday at 6 PM a song of tribute to the Thai King is broadcast around the city. We were in the train station when it aired and everybody stood up for the duration. Also, there are pictures of the king everywhere. I admit I am a little ignorant of what role the king plays in Thai society, so if anyone knows let me know!
- 7/11s. These are everywhere. Everywhere. We frequent them for water and snacks. Stay tuned for our 7/11 1.5 liter of water price index.
- Metro arrows. When riding public transit, it is always a pet peeve of mine when people rush on the train/bus as soon as the doors open without letting the folks inside out first. Jerks. On the Bangkok transit system there are arrows on the ground showing you where to stand while waiting for the train so this doesn’t happen (pic below).
- Smaller food portions. I’m a big fan.
Overall, Danielle and I enjoyed our 3 day stay in Bangkok. If you are considering visiting, do it. We will be back through once, maybe twice more during our trip.
And now, video (still a little rough) and pictures: