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Welcome to Bangkok!

Welcome to Bangkok!Bangkok, I’ve always thought, just isn’t a city to arrive to at night – from the relative safety of the airport taxi it comes across as dark, dirty-looking and a city of grime. In many ways, it tallies with many people’s perceptions of Bangkok and I can easily understand why some simply wouldn’t want to leave their hostel or hotel for the duration – but that really would be a terrible mistake.


The Sukhumvit SuitesMy hotel for the two nights, the Sukhumvit Suites, was what you could call adequate – actually, I’ll be honest, I already penned a lengthy diatribe on the place on TripAdvisor (Click to Read). It was a bit of a shame as the arrival and the room itself was more or less exactly as expected, but the welcome mocktail that consisted of hideous cherry juice served in a shot glass reminded me of more summers than I’d care to remember spent in Donegal in Irish college eating and drinking the cheapest food and drink they could find; while the shower oscillating constantly between burning hot and ice-cold also served to encourage quicker-than-usual shower times. Finally, the restaurant (again, read the full review to see what I’m talking about) was truly dreadful – I was being nice on TripAdvisor as it was.


The BTS to Siam!The next morning we were up bright and early and after meeting some friends in one of Bangkok’s very high-class new shopping centre development – which by the way, for anyone who hasn’t visited in a few years, is really something to stand in awe at; the shopping centres, not unlike KL, just get glitzier and glitzier – for a quick breakfast, we set about following their suggestions of heading out away from our area near Asok, and making instead for the river boats two train rides away at a stop called Sathorn (Taksin) – don’t ask which name you use to ask for directions!


In spite of the relative age of the river ferries, I enjoyed previously and certainly enjoyed this time too, the passage up to Tha Tien – even with the river frequently lapping up and over onto my lap.

From the ferry, we took another boat across to Wat Arun to explore this ancient wonder. While the steps and sheer height as you ascend might be too much for some (there were a few near-nervous-breakdowns spotted along the way), it really is a spectacular sight and all the more incredible when you start to consider how old it is. There are so many nooks and crannies in addition off the main area that you can probably spend a half a day just wandering around there as it is. With time of the essence though, we headed back to the boat via a café nearby, where the ice-cream was claimed to be home-made (whether it was or wasn’t, I didn’t care, it was delicious either way and the Bangkok heat was seriously beating down).

Wat Arun!

Back onto the ferry and back across to the Tha Tien side of the river, it was time to move on and see Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha (as if they couldn’t look any more relaxed) and eventually and inevitably, getting lost in Bangkok’s ‘trophy district’ – all of which I’ll cover next time.

Reformed backpacker & former ultra-cheap traveller, Andy now atones for his past by overspending on premium travel experiences and failing at making the most of the miles & points game. Former expat now returned to Ireland, he is a product manager by day, and travel aficionado by evening and weekend.


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