A November 2002 trip
to Bangkok by Jim Rosenberg
Quote: Apart from being reasonably priced, the people we met in Thailand were friendly, the accommodations were outstanding, November weather is warm and pleasant and we were very pleased with our short introduction to Asia.
The food was outstanding. An elegant white-linen dinner buffet on the terrace featured chefs busily grilling small lobsters; fabulous arrays of fruit and flavorful Thai cuisine. A full meal with a couple of delicious Singah beers ran only around $12 per person and this was probably considered high-priced in those parts.
The rooms are very nice, with a full bath and a separate, granite shower that is wonderful. The only knock one might have is that the immediate neighborhood is not particularly interesting -- but taxis are so cheap it doesn''t matter.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 27, 2002
Royal River Hotel
670 Charansanitwog Road
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 9, 2006
Century Park Hotel
9 Ratchaprarop Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10400
+66 (2) 246 7800
Attraction | "Floating Market"
We ended up in a floating marketplace that was very active. Like many stops in the tours, there are people there to sell you things from trinkets on up through tailor-made clothing and high-end furnishings. Prices are negotiable; something that some people find to be interesting and fun, while others find unsettling. The floating market features everything from fresh fruits to clothing. There is a land-based portion of the market where you can work your way through many different types of merchandise.
We felt the best deals to be had involved pewter and certain art/craft type objects. I would not buy "jade" or "gold" in such an environment, since the chances of it being authentic would seem quite slim to me and there are reputable downtown establishments for those who want higher-end jewelry items. There are also a lot of "name-brand" knock-offs for sale in floating markets or from street vendors in Bangkok, too, for that matter.
One quick tip: be careful about the things that you eat or drink. We drank only bottled water or canned soda and never ate food from vendors (no matter how tempting) and we never had a problem. This is something to keep in mind when you are off the beaten path at a floating market!
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Bang Phae-Damnoen Saduak Road
Damnoen Saduak, Thailand 70120
+66 2 694 1222 (Tour
Attraction | "Rose Garden, Thai Cultural Shows"
The auditorium is airy and shaded. The very best seats for photos would be up front, but if that is not your concern, I think the best seat in the house would be near the center rear entrance where the ventilation will keep you very comfortable if it happens to be a very warm day.
There is a very nice buffet lunch, but keep in mind that those ornate drinks you will be offered are NOT included in your package price (not a big deal, but something you should know.)
The elephants are a big hit and if you've always wanted your picture taken with one -- or a thick boa constrictor around your neck, for that matter -- it's easily and cheaply accomplished. Really, this is a fun day tour for people of any age, including kids.
Km 32 Pet Kasem Road
Sampran, Nakorn Pathom, Thailand 73110
+66 34 322 544
Attraction | "Chatuchak Market"
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Attraction | "Grand Palace (The)"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 10, 2006
Na Phra Lan Road Ko Rattanakosin District
Bangkok, Thailand 10500
+66 (2) 694 1222
One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster –The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free –You'll find a god in every golden cloister –And if you're lucky then the god’s a she –I can feel an angel sliding up to me.
When we found that for around $775 per person we could get round-trip air from a smaller midwestern airport and stay five nights at the Royal River Hotel in Bangkok with breakfast every morning, airport transfers and a half-day tour, it was a rather compelling case. When our $1,000 in bump money brought it down to less than $450 per person and tens of thousands of frequent flyer miles per person were factored in, it was a done deal because it was a wash on the money side for a travel junkie like me.
Bangkok is a very long trip. We flew to Minneapolis and then boarded a 747 for the flight to Tokyo, which takes more than 11 hours in the air in decent flying conditions. In Tokyo, we boarded a second 747 for the flight to Bangkok, which was another 6.5 hours of flight. All told, it takes more than 24 hours to reach Bangkok from here, with connection time thrown in. With a 12-hour time difference, it is the maximum jet lag possible. On the bright side, we arrived late at night and we were ready to sleep anyway after our long flights, even though it was around high noon of a different day back in Wausau. The Northwest World Vacations representative was waiting at the airport, a wonderfully engaging Thai woman named Pet.
Temples are generally very ornate, but a very simple one ironically houses a golden Buddha weighing an incredible five-and-one half tons. A Thai Buddha is rather trim compared to the more rotund versions found in other parts of Asia and we were able to learn the meanings of various postures and hand gestures that the figures show. In Thailand, young men are expected to spend two years in the military service by the government. They are also expected to spend some amount of time as a Buddhist monk – an obligation that can be carried out at any time in a person’s life and for a period of time that is undetermined. Shaven monks in their saffron-colored robes can be seen everywhere.
Something else that can be found easily in Bangkok are places to shop for bargains. Tailor-made clothing is popular and there are tons of other possibilities for people who want to bring things back from their trip. In general, prices are very reasonable and in many situations, they are also negotiable. Street vendors swarm every time a tour bus stops and that aspect can be a little bothersome until you learn how to say "no" with your posture and bearing.
Much is made of the "Sin City" aspect of Bangkok, but like other destinations we've visited where that reputation exists, Bangkok is what you make of it. There is no need to even come in contact with the prostitution trade, etc., for a casual tourist and we never encountered it during our visit.
All told, we give Bangkok high marks as a very easy, non-intimidating place to visit that is much less costly to experience than many domestic destinations when you time it correctly. You get a lot for your money in Thailand!