- Narai Hotel [222 Silom Road, Bangkok 10500 /
Tel: 011-66-2-237-0100 / Fax: 011-66-2-236-7161 / Nice location between Patpong and the river with easy access to shopping. A bit more expensive than the following two hotels, but probably worth it for the location.
- First Hotel [2 Pechburi Road, Bangkok. Simple, clean and very cheap, the hotel is located a few blocks from Siam Square and the elevated subway. The area around the hotel is a bit dreary, but safe. Be sure to stay in the Tower Wing, which is much nicer than the main wing.
- Indra Regent Hotel [120/126 Rajaprarop Road / Tel: 011-66-2-080-002 (37) / Fax: 011-66-2-208-0388 (89) /
Also located near Siam Square, but a bit more plush and pricy.
Dining and Nightlife
- Ton Po (on Phra Atit Rd. / river taxis stop at the restaurant): the atmosphere here is a bit stark if you don't get a table with a river view, but the food is very good and inexpensive.
- Right next to the Patpong Night Market on Soi Tantawan (reach it by turning onto Soi 6 from Silom Road) there are two inexpensive but tasty eateries. Mango Tree (37 Soi Tantawan / Tel: 2236-2820) offers a wide variety of food from all over Thailand and has tradtional music at night. Ramentei (11/1 Soi Tantawan / Tel: 235-4326) has excellent japanese noodle dishes and gyoza at inexpensive prices.
- The Irish X-Change (1/5-6 Convent Road / off Silom) serves pints of Guinness and Irish food in an environment that seems right out of Old Dublin (except for the Thai bartenders)
- Khao San Road (just north of Grand Palace along the river) has tons of bars and cheap restaurants catering to a Western backpack crowd.
- Chinatown: At the eastern end of Charoen Krung Rd is Wat Traimitr, which contains the world's largest solid-gold Buddha. Check out the flower market and Thieves Market (for antiques / lies in the narrow streets between Yaowarat and Charoen Krung).
- The most important sites are the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
Just south of the Palace is Wat Po (Temple of the Recling Buddha). Also in this complex is the temple's famous massage school (1 hour massage for B200).
- You can cross the river for B2 and visit the Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), which is best seen at dusk.
Other sites: Just north of the Palace is the National Museum, which provides a good overview of Thai history, art and architecture. Time permitting you can take a tuk-tuk east along Ratchadamnoen Rd to Wat
- Rachanada (Temple of the Metal Castle) and walk from there to Wat Sacket (Temple of the Golden Mount).
Also worth visiting are Jim Thompson's House (a compound of 6 traditional Thai houses), Wat Benjamabophit (Marble Temple) and Vimarnmek Palace (which has exhibitions of Thai dance at 10:30am and 2 pm).
- Canal tours of the Wat Sai floating market depart at 7am from the Oriental Hotel and cost about B400.
Outside of Bangkok:
- North: 45 miles north of Bangkok is Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand, which was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. On the way back you can stop in Bang Pa-In, the 17th century summer palace of the royal family.
- West: 19 miles west of Bangkok is the Rose Garden, which contains flowering gardens and traditional Thai houses (supposedly a rip-off at B250). 34 miles west of Bangkok is Nakhon Pathom, Thailand's oldest city, which has the Phra Pathom Chedi (reputed to be the tallest Buddhist monument in the world). 87 miles west of Bangkok is Kanchanaburi, located where the Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai rivers meet, and the original location for the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai (a reproduction has been created) and the Death Railway. To get a sense of the conditions that prisoners lived in, visit the JEATH War Museum. If you have time, you can take the scenic 2 hour train ride from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok along the former Death Railway. 40 miles northwest of Kanchanaburi is the Erawan Waterfall and 46 miles west of the city is the Kao Phang Waterfall located at Sai Yok Noi.
- Antiques: River City Shopping Center (near Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel); Thieves Market (at western end of Yaowarat Rd) and Charoen Krung Rd in China Town.
- Tourist Items: Numerous stalls selling items for tourists and Western knock-offs are located along Silom Road near Patpong 1 and 2 and along the infamous Patpong 1 (the area is best avoided by those offended by the flesh trade).
- Custom Tailored Suits: The folks at Rangsit University have recommended Raja Fashions (1/6 Sukhumvit Soi Nana 4 /opposite Nana Hotel / Tel: 02-2538379 or 02-2538389 / Email: email@example.com ).
Getting around Bangkok:
- During rush hours it is best to avoid taking taxis since the traffic often moves at a crawl. Instead take one of the express boats that go up and down the river or the skytrain. For short distances traveling by tuk-tuk (three wheeled cabs) is probably your best bet, although you always have to negotiate the cost with the driver.