Flying into Bangkok from Los Angeles in May and am (essentially) winging the entire trip other than the airfare to Trat and Krabi.
Wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to where might be a decent place to stay in Bangkok for a couple of nights. I know it's very congested, so a location possibly close to the river so we can boat it rather than use taxi's or...tat tat's/tut tut's (I'm relatively close on that...I think) would be ideal.
Will not stay longer than two nights. I figure we get in, sleep the jet lag away and then spend a solid day there should be enough. Just curious if anyone had any specific suggestions for a place to look into booking there.
Thank you very much in advance.
Try the Royal River Hotel in Nonthaburi off of Th. Charansanitwong and Th. Rajwithi. It's on the Chao Praya and if you go out to the main road and down to the river, there is a ferry stop right there. It's not even a block from the hotel. We booked it through Precision Reservations and got a fairly good deal. It was a bit further out than maybe some people would like, but we got a boat ride into the city each day, which was fun. And a good way to see Bangkok.
BTW, are you going out to Koh Chang? We stayed a night in Trat at the SA Hotel before leaving for Koh Chang the next day. Simple, but comfortable, and a couple of blocks to the market. Quiet neighborhood. Didn't go to Krabi, though; it's too far to try to fit into a three-week schedule. We were also spending a week in Cambodia in Siem Reap/Angkor. We came back by way of Khao Yai National Park, which is in the mountains to the northeast of Bangkok, and did some hiking.
Just a line or two about Koh Chang....
This is a quick overview of the state of Koh Chang, the second largest island in Thailand. Now with the sudden post-tsunami unpopularity of the west coast (i.e. Phuket) there is an ever increasing number of western tourists heading for this island...here is my polemic on why this is not so good....
I've been to Koh Chang many times over the past three years, largely because it's near to Sri Racha where I live, and every time a friend comes to stay this is the most convenient "paradise island" to take them to. My brother even got married there last March.
So why can I not recommend this slice of bounty advert?
Koh Chang is a dull, badly developed, overpriced pit of a place and it's going down hill at a rate of knots......
Why? The land for development was all bought up by bigwig friends of the "great and powerful" and now anyone who wants to set up a business there has to pay through the nose for it. All the hotels are overpriced especially when you compare with Phuket and Samui.
Almost all the west coast is now covered with these awful self-contained resorts, which are for the most part badly designed and ill finished. Frequently you can find your room is on a building site. Health and safety is simply not addressed - some of the pool designs look positively lethal.
If you're coming from Europe or the States you'll find that the cost of living and rooms is cheap but not compared to elsewhere in Thailand. You'll love the sunsets and the white sand, you won't wonder where all the sewage is going and what happened to the mangroves or the fishing industry that gets smaller catches every year, or the fishing villages being turned into a souvenir arcade-cum-hotel.
The centre of Koh Chang is a national park , but unlike all of Thailand's other National Parks, apart from the odd waterfall, no-one is allowed inside, you can get a guide who will take you in but strictly speaking that's against the law. There is virtually no effort made to set up a good system of eco-tourism in the park as you might find in Australia.
There is only one road around KC and it doesn't go all the way round, it's a horse-shoe affair. There is a motorbike track that connects the two ends but it's not for the faint of heart! The road is barely more than single track (asphalted) but cannot cope with the ever increasing load of traffic pouring onto the island.
KC is the second biggest island in Thailand and walking around it in a day is not an option, KC is also very mountainous and the roads are very windy and hilly and as the resorts are all a long way from any shops etc its essential to hire a motorbike or car. These of course are about 50 to 100 % more than on the mainland. The baht taxi service is very patchy. Any where you want to go is further than you want to walk.
The main town, if you could call it that is White Sands a long strip of hotels ,resorts and motley bars about 3 km long. If you arrive on foot a baht taxi will take you from the ferry to Whitesands and drop you there. (So long as he has a full load or he'll want you to foot the extra money) You will then have to find somewhere to stay this is impossible on foot and with luggage So book in advance at least for the first night. Then get some wheels.
There is no airport on KC itself, if you go by plane you'll land at Trat airport which is on the mainland quite near to the ferries to KC. Get a taxi to the ferry - only a few baht. There are several ferries across, the crossing takes 45 to 90 min, depending on which ferry you take. On one ferry I paid 30 e/w for me and my car, on another I paid 360 baht for my car an five people return.
Now you may think I hate the place, well I don't, I just get very disappointed in the direction the powers-that-be have taken KC, it's lack of infrastructure and any forward planning will mean that sooner rather than later this place will become a collection of overprice resorts and nothing else.
Where to stay? - Klong Prao Beach is probably as good as it gets, there are about 4 resorts there actually with beach frontage, The Paradise is all nicely built new bungalows, Coconut and Royal Coconut are next to that and Klong Prao resort has a long beach front and good pool beside the sea.
However the last time I stayed at Klong Prao Resort in August the place was a building site. They didn't tell me until the day I arrived even though I was a regular guest there. If you do book in advance you must ask about this sort of thing because you will very likely not be told by the staff. Building also precedes a hike in prices. I used to pay 1800 baht to stay there. That time I paid 1750, a discount of 50 baht (just over a dollar) because it was the wet season and there was building going on! I was told the new price is 3500 baht and that was what they would still charge whilst the building was continuing.
The problem with Koh Chang is that it is changing and changing rapidly for the worse. Hotels are constantly building and encroaching on the environment. Prices are rising and beach access is getting more and more taken over by private resorts. The days of a hut on the beach for 200 baht are virtually gone. The scuba divers are going further and further a field in search of clear water and fish, and don’t be kidded that so long as the hotel claims to be by the sea that it has a beach!
Remember that it is now high season and what with the tsunami still driving many extra visitors over from thee west coast, you may find many places fully booked.
PS – I cannot recommend the Ramayana and Boutique resorts!
If you want up to date local info on KC, try this site - IamKohChang.com -
Good site for info on Koh Chang and sounds like a good place to stay too!
You can find a place near the waterfront if you want to, but here is another suggestion. Riding a boat can kinda suck after a while, and it limits your choices.
My suggestion is to find a hotel in the Siam or Sukhumvit area of Bangkok. In this area you can take advantage of the Skytrain (overhead rapid transit service) which can take you to many areas in Bangkok. This Skytrain also connects with the subway (which connects to the main train station) and the Ekamai Bus Station. The Skytrain is real cheap and efficient.
Taxi cabs are real cheap in Bangkok providing you avoid the taxi cabs parked (lurking) near bus stations and in front of expensive hotels. (Any hotel that charges more than $30 is an expensive hotel.) Flag a moving taxi down (there's thousands) and tell the driver to use the meter. Most of the drivers will comply - then pay the meter fee. If the driver wants to bargain - get another cab. Bargaining always costs more for the tourist unless he speaks Thai. Tuk-tuks are more expensive than the AirCon taxi cabs, and often they hi-jack you to some jewelry shop.
If you arrive at the airport before midnight you can take advantage of the Airport Bus that takes you to many of the areas of Bangkok, including the Siam/Sukhumvit area. The cost of the Airport Bus is 100 baht to take you into town. After midnight you have to rely on the taxi cabs at the airport. Make sure when you change your money over that you get small bills for paying taxi cabs and vendors because they may not be able to cash big bills (1000 or 500 baht notes are big bills.)
You didn't specify any budget for a night in a hotel. You can find hotels in the range of 700 baht to 1400 baht - all with A/C, HW, private toilet/shower, security box for valuables, etc. Of course you can find the 4000 baht or $100 a night hotels too, if you want to splurge. How much you want to spend may determine which hotels are recommended for you.