Saturday, 30 August 2014

Bangkok, Getting to Khao San Road

The Bangkok Virgin Backpacker Quick Guide 2012/2013, for those without the time to read the full blog.

Getting In.....

Most folk will arrive by plane from Europe into Suvarnabhumi Airport, yes the place is absolutely heaving with Europeans. Bangkok is well connected to just about anywhere in the world with plenty of direct and indirect flights to choose from - just Google your way around the airlines for some discounting, especially during the European summer.

I paid around £650 January 2012 with Jet Airways of India, changing at Delhi - 9 hours to Delhi and 4 hours to Bangkok airborne time. About 1 1/2 hours on the ground is a welcome break. The route from London crossed the Afghan mountains providing some stunning scenery - this may not always be the same route every time though.Other routes via the Middle East or Turkey tend to be slightly cheaper. Most European flights seem to arrive in bulk thus there can be lengthy immigration queues - took me 1 1/2 hours first time.

Getting to your Lodgings or Digs...

Backpacking, then your probably heading for the Khao San Road area where there is an abundance of guesthouses, lodgings and the odd hotel. The train to downtown is well signed from inside the airport. Pay 90 Baht for non-stop or 45 Baht for the stops, about 8 of them, either way all trains end up at Phaya Thai station where the line ends, pretty straight forward. Change here for lines north into the suburbs or south towards downtown, but to Khoa San Road, it's a bus trip.

At Phaya Thai, head down to street level and move forward towards the busy main road. Turn right here and look for the bridge taking padestrians across that busy road and head on over to the opposite side. Moving further along, away from the station take next main road left which go's more or less in the direction of Khao San. About 5 minutes along look out for a school entrance and shortly after that is a bus stand.

These buses stop at the bottom of Khao San Road and the top of Soi Rambuttri - 3, 6, 7, 9, 15, 30, 32, 33, 43, 65, 64, 82, 524. Walk along further in the same direction as the bus after getting off and KSR is the second street on the left. Soi Rambuttri is just on the right and left after the bus stand.

These buses stop on the eight lane boulevard, just outside the Khao San Road Area - 2, 15, 35,42, 44, 47, 59, 60, 68, 70, 79, 82, 124, 157, 171, 183, 203, 503, 507, 509, 511, 556. Get off at the next stop past a huge roundabout that contains within it, 4 giant pillars. This is know as the Democracy Monument. Proceed further to the pedestrian crossing. once across the boulevard proceed left, next right then second left - congratulations, you have made it to Khao San Road. To find Soi Rambuttri, head all the way down to the end of KSR, turn right then next left, that's Soi Rambuttri where there is an abundance of cheap and quiet lodgings - you can afford to be picky. Bus fare will be around 10-15 baht depending on the type of bus, and don't worry about small change, the money collectors are prepared for tourists!

From Don Muang Airport, head down to street level and make a right turn from terminal 1. This will lead towards the main highway into Bangkok Walk left a few metres and there is the bus stand. Bus 59 will take you all the way towards Khao San Road stopping on the boulevard as described above. Cost is about 25 baht in an aircon bus, plenty of room for backpacks but the journey can be a long one!

So, for those who yearn adventure, follow the above and those with a weak disposition will ditch the above and just get a taxi - 300-400 baht from the airports.

Here is a map of the KSR area google maps link - enjoy the adventure, errors and omissions accepted.

Monday, 26 March 2012

That's it for now

I will be back, Bangkok, March 26th 2012

Bangkok can be as cheap or as expensive as taste dictates, but superficial details can not hide the fact that this place is a 'refreshing change in attitudes'... March 2012. Next... 4 Weeks exploring Malaysia and Malay Borneo

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Bangkok Life

Aspects of Bangkok, not always so nice! Bangkok, March 25th 2012

Best Taxi in town...

Shopping Mall

Church, Roman Catholic possibly..

Riverside communities

Riverside community

This house has seen better days..

Khao San Road..


Hand made...For Sale 2-300 bt

Sky Train..
Dirty Canal..
Horse Guards of Bangkok
Sleeping Rough in Bangkok..


Exhibition at the Train Station

Hua Lamphong, Bangkok, March 25th 2012

Floods, an exhibition of all places, in the railway station. Photos and objects related to the Bangkok flooding late 2011. Another aspect of life in Bangkok..albeit a bit on the soggy side. Some distressing scenes but testament to the ingenuity of the Thai people.

Wheelie Bin...was!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Google and Gaiety Downtown

Le Cabaret du Ladyboy at MBK, Bangkok, March 23rd 2012

Didn't really do the Siam and  MBK experience justice the other day, so back there today for a more comprehensive exploration. Bus 25 or 15, both heading towards the National Stadium where the MBK centre and those other high end shopping malls are located. Bus 15 rolls by, 6.50 baht for the relatively short journey, although hardy trekkers could hike the route in about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Bus stops directly opposite the National Stadium, just prior to the Sky Train station, which also serves as an overpass of the 6 lanes of highway, as well as walkways into the various malls. First significant building, is the Bangkok Art and Culture Museum. The only interest for me here is that Google have parked 2 of their Street View cars at the entrance, interesting that his should be considered artistic and cultural! A photo from the elevated walkway is enough, since arts and cultural sounds rather boring and I don't really have the time anyway. Next door is 'Siam Discovery' - a discovery of more shops by the looks of things. Yep, 7 floors of designer shops, posh eating and a display of wax dummies. Madame Tussuad's, famed for having wax models of famous people displayed, are here, close to the top floor with excited Korean tourists queueing for their opportunity to flirt with the stars. Next floor up, the very top infact, is an ice rink, busy with locals skating through puddles of water. Seems like keeping it all frozen is a struggle, 8 floors up! An interesting look around, and if their is an inclination to splurge, then eating in a top floor restaurant will be a memorable experience on 2 accounts, the amazing city view, and the price!

The next 2 along, Siam Centre and Siam Paragon. Looked over these places the other day, nice for an hour to satisfy a curiosity, but when the realisation that these places are really for the rich and super rich kicks in, it all then becomes quite a tedious affair.

Over the road to MBK via the elevated walkways. A stage is set just in front of the Tokyu entrance, chairs laid out in neat rows, on the the pavements between the MBK building and the Sky Train station, must be something going on later. MBK is where the masses, locals and tourists go to shop. It's lively, has all the trappings of a modern day mall - McDonald's, Starbucks, etc. This is where to find those designer label bargains, Reebok trainers for example, £21. No super bargains here though, no smart party shirts for £1.50 or anything like it. Posters around about the impending show outside, the only English wording being the starting time, and Cabaret (OK, I Know that's French) 18.00. Could be interesting. So, with an hour to kill, it's off to Starbucks, for what turns out to be rather substandard Americano coffee for £1.45.

Quarter to 6 and people are gathering outside. Might aswell grab a seat, seems to be a free show. People come and go, stage hands making adjustments. A VIP area is cordoned off, and we're told to move back a few rows. More running around, sound checks, quite clearly not ready for a 6 o'clock show. It's going to be a show with ladyboy participation since I can see quite a gathering of them, milling around in flamboyant dresses, head gear and of course feathers. Quite a crowd now, waiting for proceedings to begin - a few tourists, but mostly locals and a few bemused kids on the fringes.

Le Cabaret
6.30 and the show gets underway with a cancan routine. Interesting is one way of putting it, they must be getting paid well for this! Next is an all glitz and glamour affair with an Alcazar show, as they call it. Miming to well known pop tunes with an energetic dance routine to match. Intermissions with speeches and presentations, all in Thai so not a great deal of interest to the tourists, numbers of which have dwindled significantly looking around the rather large gathering of bystanders. Another routine from the Alcazar troupe, then it's a kind of talent show, with individual performances, X-factor ladyboy style. The initial opening, and 1st hour was quite good, uplifting, spirited displays, but now it's boring. I wouldn't say there is any particularly good talent in a visual sense and the lip syncing is terrible. so after number 2, that's it for me. Off to find a bus back to base.

The bus stand is right by the Stadium, which incidentally has a Thai boxing tournament In progress. This is obviously the place to be on a Friday night in Bangkok, for sports fans anyway. Bus 47 stops at KS road according to another tourist, and yes it does and since traffic is quite light for a change, the journey is only about 20 minutes, and free. The bus stops on the main boulevard, about 200 yards past the Democracy monument. Apparently, bus journeys after 7pm are free of charge. And that would explain why they are packed to the rafters every time!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

And that is The Soi Rambuttri

Rambuttri Tour Completed, Bangkok March 22nd 2012

Bank and ATMs

On the corner with the intersection. 10 b/.min landline 

Bus stop just before Rambuttri st intersection