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    Bangkok Travel - What To See - Where To Eat


    BTS - Sky Train - Bangkok

    The absolute best way to get around Bangkok is on the BTS "Sky Train", because it is fast and because it is cheap. You are traveling on public transportation, but you know that you are going to get to a certain place in a short period of time. That is not something that you can always do in Bangkok, a journey that takes you five minutes one day can easily take you thirty minutes the next. That is why the traffic in Bangkok is infamous. Just recently the subway system opened in parts of the capital, and I can say that it operates well. To find out more about the BTS visit their web site at: www.bts.co.th/en/index.asp

    Tuk TukThe next best way to get around town is in a taxi, you can see a taxi in the background of the picture at left, it is the yellow and green colored car. The taxis are everywhere here in town and most will not try to gouge you, just make sure that they use the meter, it is always cheaper than negotiating a rate. Some drive like madmen, but such is life here. Everyone when they come to Thailand wants to go for a ride in a Tuk Tuk, and if you want to go for a ride - go for it, but be careful to go just for a short ride, and make sure you negotiate a price before you get in. Tuk Tuk drivers are known to prey on tourists by overcharging them for a ride and by taking them to shops where they get paid a hefty commission for bringing you there. The Tuk Tuk is featured prominently in the photo on the left.

    The least recommended way to get around is on a motorcycle taxi. You will see them on street corners wearing their orange vests. Getting on these can be a pretty hair raising experience, since they are not safe and a lot of times cars and trucks don't see them. I am thinking of putting a segment in adventure travel for those who want to ride these!

    What To See

    They are so many tremendous places to visit in and around Bangkok, in no particular order I will list them and give you a brief insight.

    Grand PalaceWat Pra Gaew & Grand Palace - This is a must see in Bangkok, a very beautiful site that houses the Emerald Buddha and the home of the king. It is Best to visit here with a Tour Guide so that you can hear all the history around this wonderful site. The Grand Palace is pictured here on the left. Remember to dress appropriately (no shorts) at this location.

    Jim Thompson's House - I have not yet visited it, but this is a beautiful authentic "Thai Style" house of the former American OSS officer who rebuilt the Thai silk industry after WWII and disappeared mysteriously on a vacation. It is located across from the MBK Shopping Center and very near to Siam Center, so it is easily accessible by the Sky Train.

    Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) - Thai boxing is now famous around the world. You can go to Pattaya or Phuket and see a rigged match, or you can go to Lumpini Park and see the real thing. The fighting starts about 5 or 6 PM on both Friday and Saturday nights.

    Wat ArunSnake Farm & Wat Arun Canal Trip - A nice little trip that not many people know about is renting a long boat and taking a 2 hour trip through the canals of Bangkok. You can rent a boat and driver and he will take you to the Snake Farm, Orchid Farm and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). A picture of Wat Arun is shown on the left. You can rent the boat with driver down at the River City complex on the Chao Praya River. Depending on time the driver may also take you to feed these giant catfish that they have near one of the Wats along the canal. Taking a long boat gets you to the "other" side of Bangkok, the far side of the Chao Praya River is not the same as the tourist side where you pick up your boat. Going through the canals definitely lets you see how the other side lives. If you want to get some great photos of kids jumping into the canal for a swim and smiling and waving at you, this is the trip for you. I still can't figure out how these kids stay healthy after swimming in that stuff.

    Wat Po - Is another famous Wat in Bangkok, it is the home for the teaching of Thai Massage. It is not located to far from the Grand Palace.

    Floating MarketThe Floating Market - The floating market is about 80 Kilometers south of Bangkok. It is an interesting place where you can buy things from the vendors that show up on a daily basis.

    Chao Praya River Cruise - Another nice thing to do is to take a cruise along the Chao Praya River. If you go to Ayyudhya with a Travel Agent, you will probably get a package that includes: Bang Pa In; Ayyudhya; and a trip back to Bangkok on he Chao Praya River (River of Kings). There are also trips available where you can go on a cruise boat and have dinner as it tours the Chao Praya River.

    AyuddhyaBang Pa In Palace & Ayyudhya - About 1 hour North of Bangkok is Bang Pa In Palace which was the summer palace of the king. This site was made famous in the west when the king went there with "Anna" from the movie "Anna And The King". Thais hate that story because they don't believe that their king would be in love with a farang woman. Ayyudhya is the former capital of the Thai government, they were burned out in 1782 when the Burmese invaded and moved to the the new capital of Bangkok. Ayyudhya is a fantastic collection of old ruins and it is truly a breath taking place (at least for me).

    Bridge On The River Kwai - This is a one or two day trip outside of Bangkok. I have never gone there, most people that go there are WWII vets since the whole thing has been re-built, but if you are a student of history and want to go to an area that not many people visit, then go for it.

    The EmporiumShopping Centers - Of course if you want to go shopping Bangkok is the place for you. There is shopping at some of the nicest malls that you have ever scene. The most famous malls are The Emporium on Sukhumvit Soi 24 and also at Siam Center Both of the shopping centers are accessible by the BTS system and you will find some of the best (and most expensive) brand names in the world there. The photo on the left is from The Emporium as you exit the Sky Train. A walk through the park in the distance of the photo is the Queen's Park Imperial Hotel.

    Chatuchak MarketChatuchak Weekend Market - Is another place that not many people know about. It is only open on Saturdays and Sundays and it is a favorite shopping place for Thais, and even some exporters come here to buy in bulk and ship product back home to sell. You will find much of the same products that are offered on the streets of Silom and Sukhumvit, but at a much cheaper price. A lot of the Thai vendors who sell products on the streets come to Chatuchak to buy their products! It can get a little hot there, since the stores are all down long rows and there is definitely a lack of a breeze in there. Chatuchak is reachable by both the BTS (Mo Chit Station) and the new subway system.

    Where To Eat

    Cabbages & Condoms - This is a unique restaurant started by a foreign doctor who passed out condoms to help the Thais with their reproductive health. It has a unique gift shop full of items made of condoms, and the Thai Food is pretty good. It is located on Sukhumvit Soi 12 and their number is (02) 229-4610.

    The Dubliner Irish Restaurant & Pub - This is a great place to go and soak up what the expat life in Bangkok is like. It is filled with local expats, a helpful staff, and the food is great. On Sunday afternoons they sometimes have a local band singing Irish music. The Dubliner is located in Washington Square on Sukhumvit in between Soi 22 and The Emporium. The phone number there is (02) 204-1841. Their web site is http://www.dublinerasia.com/800/bangkok/inside_01.html

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