Bangkok, city of 12 million inhabitants and a city that we both hate and love. The city can be overwhelming because it feels like everybody wants something of of you. Tuktuk drivers telling you the palace is closed but take you anywhere for a small price and bring you to several stores. But its also home to many friendly and honest people that do want to help and want tourists to love their city as much as they do. To us its a city of contrasts that has everything for everyone. You haven't really been to Thailand if you haven't been to Bangkok honestly.
We visited Bangkok several times and it is easy accessible by all kinds of vehicles. We came from the airport by taxi the first time, but the next times we took the train. It takes longer but is much cheaper. After that, you can either take a tuktuk, taxi of metro to wherever you want to go.
The first time we came to Bangkok, we wanted to do it backpackers style and stay at Koh San Road: probably the most famous street in Bangkok. We just walked around, asked at several places for their prices and got ourselves a room. No idea what the name of the place was, but don't worry, there is plenty of room at Koh San Road.
The Well Hotel is all about you feeling well. We loved this place. The rooms are spacious, it has a little living room, big comfy bed and a great bathroom including a bathtub. Funny feature is that there is a cardio bike in the room for those who don't want to use the gym in the hotel, but do want to get some exercise. You can also enjoy their salt water rooftop pool which is really nice after a day strolling though the streets of Bangkok.
** You can find them on booking.com
Shama Sukhumvit offers stylish serviced apartments that have all you need. It was our home away from home. Traveling for a longer time, we miss that. Our temporary home had a big living room, fully equipped kitchen, huge bed which was difficult to get out off in the morning, good strong shower and we had acces to the gym. Shama has it all, and more.
It's situated in the modern neighborhood Sukhumvit, famous for many fashionable restaurants, bars, malls, luxury hotels and hip clubs. We spent our days here, like we would do when we would be at home for a long weekend without having anything planned: we chilled! We did some catching up on our websites which was easy thanks to the great wifi, we worked out, went swimming in the rooftop pool, did our laundry since we had our own washing machine, went out for some street food but mostly enjoyed our temporary home here by preparing some nice meals ourselves. Great choice for people who don't want to stay in hotels and enjoy their own private space.
** You can find them on booking.com
What to do in Bangkok? It is impossible to see this city in a few days, but we did our best. Here is a list of the things we liked!
KOH SAN ROAD
Koh San Road is maybe a place that should be avoided, but because of that worth a visit. There are stalls everywhere selling clothing, souvenirs, you can get fried insects, 'normal' food, there are lots of bars with loud music, backpackers, drunk people, ladyboys, you name it, it's there! Fun place to spent an hour or 2 at night. During the day, it's almost abandoned. Funny contrast.
Not really sure if we recommend going here, but we did. Soi Cowboy is a street filled with gogo-bars. There are dozens of ladies and ladyboys and you pay almost Western prices for a beer. You will mostly see (old) men hanging around here, drinking their beers while being surrounded by the girls. And some of them are young..
TOUR DE BANGKOK BY TUKTUK
Get into a tuktuk and drive around the city. Don't get fooled by the soft prices the tuktuk-drivers offer because that means lots and lots of short shops where they expect you to go into stores and get pressured to buy stuff that you don't even want. Just pay the tuktuk driver a bit extra and let him stop at the great places Bangkok has to offer such as the Palace, Chinatown, Golden Mountain and many more. The tuktuk drivers all know where to take you.
TOUR DE BANGKOK BY WATERTAXI
It's really nice to see Bangkok from the Chao Phra Ya River. We got out at Wat Pho (reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun which unfortunately was under construction. There are many more stops but we got on quite late and only had enough time for these two.
The real Railway Market doesn't exist anymore, or least not when we wanted to go, but luckily the Thai are good in copying and created a mini Railway Market. This is a small market with (fresh) vegetables and fruits on the railways. So everytime the train comes, people need to grab their goods to make sure the train doesn't overrun them. Interesting place to visit.
CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET
If you want to do some serious (souvenir) shopping, go to the Chatuchak Weekend Market. This enormous market has 27 sections and contains more than 15.000 booths selling goods from every part of Thailand. And it's not only popular amongst tourist, lots of locals come here as well. It's only open in the weekends (what's in a name) and it is best to go early in the morning because it gets really hot and crowded during the day.
OCTAVE ROOFTOP BAR
Every traveler wants to visit a rooftop bar in Bangkok, but most of them have a dress code. Since we are traveling with our backpacks, and don't have any fancy clothes and shoes with us, we could not go to every skybar. Lucky for us, and lots of other travelers, Octave Rooftop Bar isn't that strict. It opens daily at 5 pm and make sure you come in time because this bar is popular!