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Arriving in Bangkok - Should I pre-book?

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1. Posted by elliefuller (Budding Member 18 posts) 1y

elliefuller has indicated that this thread is about Bangkok

Hey everyone,

My Thailand trip is looming and I've got a couple unanswered questions and Google is giving me mixed responses!
I'm off on November 25th, and I will be arriving in Bangkok at 6am on the 26th via Thai Airways (has anyone used this airline and got any decent feedback?)
My main query is would you recommend I book a hotel in Bangkok before I leave? I plan on staying only 2 nights and then heading down South. I fly back from Bangkok so I will spend a few more nights there when I head back in March.
Also, where would I stay in Bangkok? I understand Koh San Road is good for young travellers (I'm 20 y/o female & going solo)..
However I'm looking for an area that I can get a couple decent nights sleep to get over jet-lag, as well as maybe meet some new people, and do some CHEAP shopping to get some of the clothes the locals wear for the journey down South.

If anyone has any names of places they've stayed, and any advice on what to do when my plane lands in BBK (i'm very nervous) then it would be greatly appreciated!

THANK YOU

2. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3603 posts) 1y

I would definitely recommend booking somewhere before you leave, because the last thing you want to be doing after a long flight is looking for a hotel.

As you say, Khao San Road is a good place to meet people, and also Soi Rambuttri a few blocks away has plenty of cheap accommodation and traveller cafes.

I'm actually arriving in Bangkok the day before you and am staying at a hotel in Suhkumvit which is supposed to be a good, central area to stay in with plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. (I've stayed around Soi Rambuttri a couple of times before so fancied staying in a new area).

3. Posted by elliefuller (Budding Member 18 posts) 1y

Thank you Bex!

Yeah I thought so! I've been trying to research but I just can't really get my head around it all, but I kind of have my mind set on staying in Suhkumvit in a decent hotel before I start on the hostels. What hotel are you staying in? If you don't mind me asking? And how would you recommend I get from airport - hotel?
Thank you so much !

4. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3603 posts) 1y

No worries!

I'm staying at the City Point hotel - it looks really nice and has got good reviews. It seems to be easy to get there from the airport via train and skytrain. There is a skyrain stop right near to the hotel and a subway stop not far away. Let me know if you do book into that hotel as we could meet up if you fancy it.

5. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 814 posts) 1y

Whether or not to book in advance depends on what kind of traveler you are. Personally, in a place like Bangkok, I just show up and look for a place. It's just the way I like to travel and I don't worry about stuff like that. But, at 6am, it might save you some hassle to have a place booked. If it's your first time in Asia or anywhere really, if can save you some pre-landing nervousness knowing that you have your first few hours sorted. You might find a place with airport pickup, but it's not really necessary, as transport from the airport is really easy either by shuttle bus, or a slightly more expensive taxi. If the hotel is going to charge you anymore than 300 baht for pick-up, just do it yourself.

Around Kao San Road, there are literally hundreds of places stay, and you can almost be certain that you will find a place without too much effort. It's definitely the area to stay in, not just for the accommodations, but for the shopping, restaurants, travel agents, and just about everything you could ever possibly need on your travels. In my personal opinion, being a 20-something first time traveler, arriving on Kao San road is an essential experience of Asian travel. It's touristy for sure, not at all an authentic "thai experience", and every year seems to get more commercial and party centered (or maybe I'm getting old), but it is THE center of the travelling world in Asia.
Even better for sleeping than Kao San is Rambuttri Street. It's just around the corner from Kao San (essentially an extension), but is a little bit quieter than Kao San proper. Every year it gets a bit busier, and now there are countless places to stay on the street. One place that I keep going back to when I want to splurge a little for a pool, but that's still on the budget end, is Rambuttri Village Inn. It's nothing special, but it's clean, there's lots of travelers around, and really easy to find. They have a website where you can book in advance. Another option is the New Siam Guesthouses. There's a few different ones and I can't remember which are best, but they are all handy Kao San and Rambuttri and offer a decent enough place for pretty cheap. If you look on Agoda, you can find many many other decent options in the area.
Another bonus of Kao San area, is that it's walking distance to Bangkok's biggest tourist attractions - the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and the River.

Another point to note, is that in Thailand you probably won't be staying in "hostels". I've traveled around Thailand for years on a rock bottom budget and never stayed in a hostel like they have in Europe or Australia or most more expensive countries. In Thailand you will be staying in cheap hotels. On the cheaper end, it's pretty basic, and you have a room with a bed, plain walls, and hopefully a window. Often you have a shared bath in the hallway, which is the only way they are similar to hostels. But usually in the same hotel, some of the rooms with have en-suite bath if you prefer. Most of these cheap hotels aren't dodgy, and they are usually pretty clean, so they're not something to shy away from when you first arrive. They are also a great place to meet travelers, since they almost always have a restaurant, internet, travel agents, and sometimes a place to watch movies in the lobby.

6. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3603 posts) 1y

Quoting Degolasse

Whether or not to book in advance depends on what kind of traveler you are. Personally, in a place like Bangkok, I just show up and look for a place. It's just the way I like to travel and I don't worry about stuff like that. But, at 6am, it might save you some hassle to have a place booked. If it's your first time in Asia or anywhere really, if can save you some pre-landing nervousness knowing that you have your first few hours sorted.

I think rather than avoiding pre-landing nervousness, for me it's more a case of not wanting to have to think about looking for somewhere to stay after a 13 hour flight from the UK when I'm exhausted and most likely not thinking too clearly! For the rest of SE Asia I didn't book ahead at all - sometimes it's part of the adventure to just show up and look for a place.

7. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4418 posts) 1y

Quoting bex76

I'm staying at the City Point hotel - it looks really nice and has got good reviews. It seems to be easy to get there from the airport via train and skytrain. There is a skyrain stop right near to the hotel and a subway stop not far away.

I stayed one soi down the road from there a couple of years ago (in a YHA which isn't there anymore now, looks like). It's an okay area - not really that much of interest going on, but indeed a decent selection of food options around, and dead easy to get to the airport, or the northern bus station, and decent for getting into town. I tended to take the metro to Hua Lamphong train station, walk the 5-10 minutes to the river, and then take a boat to the grand palace, etc. (*looks at map* Wow, and did they really finally finish the skytrain all the way to the airport?!)

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Oct-2013, at 09:55 by Sander ]

8. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3603 posts) 1y

Quoting Sander

(*looks at map* Wow, and did they really finally finish the skytrain all the way to the airport?!)

Yes, I was impressed too!

9. Posted by bazo24 (Budding Member 5 posts) 1y

I arrive in Bangkok on the 29th of November I think I'm gonna book in somewhere before I go just to b on the safe side as I'm travelling solo and it's my 1st time!! It can be quite scary wen u think into to much so if anyone's still in Bangkok at that time I'm definitely up for getting to know sum people!! Barry

10. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1944 posts) 1y

Baan Tepa was great - 20 min from KSR, and just off the river (travel by Chao Phraya Express Boats)