I really love to travel.. ever since backpacking nearly 2 decades ago. I love the adventure, the exploring, the new experiences, embracing places and cultures.
So even when on a standard 2 week package holiday, I always try to make it as authentic as possible, with my recent 2 week escape to Thailand being no exception.
Whilst making a beautiful hotel in Naithon, Phuket my base (The Pullman Arcadia), I tried to get out as much as possible, away from the usual package holiday guests. I shall be posting a blog about the overall stay, with this one focussing purely on the 1 night trip to Bangkok.
The flight from Phuket to Bangkok is around 1hr 20mins with prices available from less than £50 return. We flew AirAsia, and despite short delays the flights were hassle free, especially using the AirAsia App for self check in and boarding cards, with no baggage to check in, we were through the airport and security within 5 mins. The Pullman in Naithon was ideal as it’s only a 10 min taxi ride from the airport.
We flew into DMK airport, it is closer to the city than BKK, however the SkyTrain which was due to open a year ago, is still not complete, so we had to take a taxi, which only cost around 250Bht (plus 170 Bht tolls) – so overall less than £10 for a 45 min journey.
Our base in Bangkok was the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside – a beautiful riverside hotel with stunning views – but a fair way out, still it gave us more of the city to explore and as well as night time city views, also have a beautiful setting alongside the Chao Phraya river fir breakfast.
On this occasion we decided to try something completely different and so we booked a bicycle tour from Co Van Kessel – set up by a Dutchman as the first bicycle tour in Bangkok. The chosen trip cost 950Bht per person (Approx £22).
Suzie our tour leader took us through 3 hours of cycling along rivers, back alleys and markets, taking us to previously unseen parts of the city – from local Chinese and Thai Temples, to local flower and vegetable markets.
From where we finished the cycle tour, we strolled through China town up through parks where locals practised Tai Chi and jogged on mass, finally reaching the infamous Khao San Road.
My first experience of this area of Bangkok was back in my backpacking days, and thankfully it hasn’t changed too much. Street-food stalls – tourists trying a Scorpion on a stick or braving a deep fried tarantula or Cockroach, restaurants with tables out in the street, and bars with cold beer and live music.
It was good to see that this area, although now catering for more mainstream tourists, still attracts the backpacker crowd with its low cost hostels style accommodation.
After a few beers, some food and a foot/leg massage, it was time to head back. A little bartering and we arranged a Tuk Tuk on a thrilling 30 min ride back to the hotel.
One great tip when using local taxis, is to download the grab app – similar to Uber it hails local taxis and tell you what the fair should be – I used it more to base my haggling and ensured I wasn’t overcharged.
The following morning we took a boat along the river to take in the sites, before catching a BTS (Sky Train) to Lumpini Park.
Similar to Central Park in NYC, the Park is used by locals in the busy metropolis for keeping fit, strolling or relaxing. However the Park is mainly know for its other inhabitants, the monitor lizards, who stroll the park in there 100’s. Whilst huge, these prehistoric looking creatures are harmless.
As is my luck, we stumble across a food festival, allowing me to grab a tasty Bao –
being handed a plastic glove to eat it with just emphasised how messy it was!
Finishing up the stay, we headed 56 floors up the convention centre to the Red Sky Bar and Mumm Champagne Bar – happy hour 4-6pm got you 2 drinks for the price of one and stunning views over the city.
A taxi ride back to the airport, short flight back to Phuket and the 30 hours in Bangkok were complete.
With holidays in Thailand becoming so muck more accessible through package companies like TUI that fly direct, enhancing the trip with a little trip like this is a must!