Revisiting the City of Angels

21 March 2010

It was sometime during the latter part of last year that I finally got the chance to revisit Bangkok. My first time to be in that wonderful place was in 2008, that was the time when I went on a mini backpacking trip across Bangkok, Siem Reap and Vientianne with some college friends. Admittedly, our schedule (as well as budget) back then was a bit tight which was why I was really very keen on coming back even for just another short visit. An airline sale was all it took for me to revisit the City of Angels. This time, I would want it to be a more relaxed trip.

Just for a start, Bangkok is the capital of Thailand as well as its largest city. It has a population of more than 11 million people which is almost triple that of the Republic of Singapore. This place is certainly very well know around the world for being the mecca of backpackers (more on that later!) and its delicious food.

We left Singapore just before sunset taking a Jetstar flight that took just a little over 2 hours. Despite the fact that it was raining so hard when we landed in Bangkok, it was a fairly quiet flight and I just sat still on my seat for the whole time while reading a copy of the inflight magazine and Alex Garland’s The Beach.

Suvarnabhumi Airport is as stunning as how it was when I first visited. We passed by a lot of shops along the way since the docking bay for our flight was at the extreme end of the airport complex. It took more than five minutes of walking before reaching the immigration gate. As per previous experience, Bangkok immigration officials are not so quick in processing immigration formalities and true enough, it was still the same this time around.

Suvarnabhumi Airport = modern, clean and HUGE!!!

Immediately after clearing Bangkok immigration, we headed to the nearest money changer inside the airport to get our SGDs converted to THBs. It is very important to know the current fx conversion so as to have an idea whether the exchange rates are favorable or not. I was correct in assuming that the rates were not good so I just exchanged enough THBs to cover the taxi fare going to the hostel.

In Bangkok (and maybe all over Thailand), one of the things I really don’t like is the language barrier. Most applicable especially on the taxi drivers, as they have a hard time in understanding or in speaking the English language. A good way of getting around this “Lost in Translation” scenario is to have the name and address of your destination printed out beforehand. Doing it this way should greatly reduce the chances of you being brought to another destination far from where you intent to go. Getting a taxi was not much of a problem, we just headed to the designated counter and paid the “booking fee” and immediately got ourselves a ride going to the city.

Bangkok Expressway at night

The ride going to Decho Road took more than 20 minutes, a very fast one that is since we were using the expressway. The taxi driver dopped us off at the lobby of Lub d Bangkok Hostel. This was also the same accommodation which I used back in 2008. We did a quick check-in (thanks to HostelWorld, we were able to book in advance and was able to avail of a stay 2 night and get the 3rd night free in their private double room) then immediately headed out to find something to eat as we were already starving at past ten in the everning. The initial plan to stay just within the Silom Road area for dinner did not materialize because we did not find any place interesting to eat. It was a weekday then, so I surmise the establishments around the area closed much earlier than their weekend schedule.

I hailed a cab and asked the driver to take up to a place with good food. No such luck as we were “Lost in Translation” – I then decided that we visit visit Khao San Road. There was no problem upon hearing the word Khao San Road, we got there in less than 15 minutes – the infamous traffic of Bangkok was practically none existent that night as it was quiet late already.

mandatory touristy shot in Khao San Road

This short street in Central Bangkok is world famous and is considered as the gateway to Southeast Asia. It used to be a rice market; the past 20 years however saw it transformed to become a backpacker’s ghetto. Cheap accommodations, travel agencies, pubs, souvenir items, fake Lonely Planet books, cheap food – you name it and definitely you can see it in Khao San Road.

A Pad Thai Noodle stall in the street was too tempting for us and we each got ourselves one serving – at a ridiculously inexpensive price of just 25 Baht. It was prepared right before our very eye; preparation time was less than 2 minutes. Apart from being very cheap, it was simply the best Pad Thai Noodle that I have ever tasted. One thing that is really nice when you visit Bangkok is the plethora of affordable and delicious streetfood that can be found all over the city.

a snap taken with the Pad Thai lady

After finishing our food, we continued our stroll along Khao San Road. People from all walks of life were there; some were eating, some were drinking, and some were shopping. Yep, this is also a night market where you can get anything you want that can help you out in your travels – including fake identification cards. 😉

Khao San Road in full glory

An hour was enough for us to walk and feel the atmosphere of Khao San Road; not the cleanest place in Bangkok but definitely this place has its own charm which can keep you coming back for more. The reason perhaps is because I know for a fact that whenever I am in this area of the world, I am with kindred spirits – a lot of them!

Seeking donations for him to get a ticket for the World Cup

We stopped by a 7-11 store to get some water and noodles (as breakfast is not included in our accommodation) before flagging a pink Toyota taxi that took us back to our hostel.

12 Responses to “Revisiting the City of Angels”

  1. i love bangkok! been there few times but i can’t seem to get over its charm. the Suvarnabhumi Airport is nice, too. i remember how the old airport looked like way back in 2004 when i first visited bangkok. it was far far inferior to the airport now.

    hope to visit this city again this year or next year.

    thanks for sharing 🙂

    • I love Bangkok as well… 🙂 The food is great and the people are very friendly (if only they can speak better English though). Plus the city is very clean; gf and I agreed that next to homebase, Singapore, this is the cleanest city we have ever set foot on. I want to go back there again soon!!

  2. Dea Says:

    Hi Marvin!

    Abet and I will be in Bangkok for a week this June, I read good reviews of a hostel called Lub.d in Silom, is this the same hostel you went to? How do you find it? We’ll be staying at Siam City Hotel for the most part for Abet’s guitar festival, but before and after the festival proper we’d want to stay somewhere much, much cheaper.

    Is the hostel room quiet enough inside for Abet to practice? I like the rates of this hostel, hehe.

    By the way, I changed my domain, it’s now, kindly update your link.

    I’m looking forward to your Bangkok posts! I haven’t planned anything yet, I’ll be wandering alone.

    • Hello Dea!! 🙂

      I think we are referring to the same hostel; Lub D Bangkok is located just off Silom Road. Location is marvelous and the private room is quiet and very clean.

      Trust me on this, this is one of the best hostel I have ever stayed on. Be on the lookout for their regular promo; email their manager (name is Piyawee) if you have any questions at contactus(at) – they are very efficient with respect with customer queries.

      Noted your new address, ibog ko that you have a .COM already!! Ehehehe…

  3. I’m planning to go back to Bangkok! I’ve met new friends from my last visit there, and they’re willing to accommodate me on my next one.

    Probably by September or October this year, we’ll see. 🙂

  4. gio Says:

    hi marvin.
    i’ve been to bangkok and sorry to say but i disagree with you saying that the city is clean. and, there’s this significant smell which i detected along the streets or food stalls which is a major turnoff. i can’t possibly describe the smell, but seriously, it stinks. haha, and btw, what’s with the dude balancing the football? so desperate for a FIFA ticket? LOL!
    P/S I do enjoy the shopping belt at bangkok.

    • Hi Gio,

      Thanks for dropping by… 🙂 Okey, I take back the VERY clean but yeah I maintain my stance on clean. It is definitely cleaner than Phuket, Hanoi, Saigon, Kuala Lumpur, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Yogyakarta, Malacca, Cameron Highlands, Jakarta etc… 🙂

      But seriously, I was amazed on how clean I perceived it to be considering it is a bustling metropolis. Then again, perhaps when I made that cleanliness judgement, it was very early in the morning and there was no rubbish in sight! 🙂

      That guy? Yeah, seriously he was looking for donation for him to buy tickets to the World Cup!!

      Shopping wise? Hmmm, one of the cheapest!!

  5. i agree, too. bangkok is not that clean. it actually reminds me of manila. but one thing i like about it is its rich culture. one minute you’re in a city, another minute you’re visiting history through temples, museums, etc.

    and i love how i felt so free when i was there. sad to admnit, i felt even safer there than when i was in manila.

  6. oh how i miss street pad thai! we should go back to bangkok again. for 3 days we were just sauntering along KSR.

  7. prakashseo123 Says:

    Yeap..Thailand is becoming one of tourist destination among Asian countries. Traveling Thailand is affordable so people who desire to travel he/she can go there for short or long time.

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