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2007/09/24

Bangkok on the Cheap

by Fred Tittle
Bangkok has always been a favorite destination for budget travelers, even today when the baht is doing so well against most currencies, especially the dollar. With Bangkok as a major Asia air travel hub, with a lot of cheap flights into the new Bangkok airport, this trend will continue into the foreseeable future. When it is time to leave Bangkok, there are lots of options for you to chose from to move towards your next destinations in Asia, with night trains running the length of Thailand heading towards Burma, Laos and Malaysia, overland buses to Laos and Cambodia, and commuter type cheap air flights being offered by Air Asia, and other regional carriers to Singapore, Vietnam & Cambodia.

Most folks that are trying to save money and have a great time in Bangkok start off at Koh Shan Rd, which gets you into one of the better neighborhoods for saving money. You can also get good information from fellow travelers on what is hot, and what the scams are to watch out for. The secret for hotels and guesthouses is staying as close to the river as you can. The budgets hotels and guesthouses off of Koh Shan Rd are around the same price as the strip, but they are much nicer usually. Off the strip expect to find larger rooms, with more amenities than you will get on the strip. An added benefit is that you get a way from all of the hustle and bustle of Koh Shan rd; however at night this is a highly recommended world class people watching location, with the nightly spectacle of thousands of backpackers and hippies milling in a kaleidoscope of fashions and colors not seen since the heyday of San Francisco's Height Asbury

When you are looking for places to eat, get off Koh Shan rd and head out into the neighborhoods. Head over towards the university, and you can find some real Thai places, that have real Thai prices, at the sidewalk restaurants. You will usually get larger portions and better quality food this way. Fresh fruit, Smoothies and Pad Thai are very cheap on the strip.

Getting around Bangkok

Getting around Bangkok from Koh Shan Rd on local buses can be a real frustrating excursion; the little bit extra to take a taxi to the sky train is worth it. Most people will tell you to steer clear of the tuk tuks, unless you want to see every scam jeweler and tailor in Bangkok. Most people love traveling down the river on boats, and there are all sorts of interesting things to see on the river, like alligator farms, floating markets and lots of Buddhist temples, and best of all it is cheap and fast. During the middle of the daily traffic jam, by taking the river taxis and the sky train, you can get to Suhkumvitt Rd or Patpong in under an hour. Another favorite thing is to go to the 5 star hotels just off the river and walk around them taking in the interior designs and exquisite artwork, some of the really luxury hotels have their own boats that travel on the river as well, a good rule of thumb the nicer the boat, the nicer the hotel.
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1 comment:

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