TheLoneRider
a nomad in search of...
Traveling Bangkok

Bangkok Revisited 3 Oct 6-20, 2014

Bangkok Revisited 3

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

3 Visits and Counting
Bangkok is one place you'll never tire to visit. This is my third and it won't be my last. This time though, given the 14 days I got on my Thai visa, I can explore the place on my own - no girlfriend, no production crew. The first visit was a treat from a girlfriend...thank you! I was practically tagging along just grateful to be given the treat. The 2nd time, I was a castaway in the tv production of Survivor Philippines, the Philippine version of the popular Survivor show franchise. That time, I was kept in strict quarters due to show confidentiality. I didn't get to roam at all. Now, I have my chance, finally.

Khaosan Road
Getting off at Khaosan Road, the infamous backpacker haven of Bangkok, I didn't waste time looking for a place to stay - it was getting dark. With my heavy and bulky pack, I didn't have the luxury of pounding the pavement for the cheapest deal. I went for the $10/day room at Sawasdee Guesthouse, right along the Rambuttri Road, just parallel to Khaosan. I would be at ground zero for the renowned night life. After 2 days, I found a cheaper $5/day a/c dorm lodging at Baan Chanachongkram. I would stay there for a few more days until I move to a luxurious hotel that would see value in my internet service - Riva Surya Bangkok.

No English
Thais generally don't speak and don't understand English - very little at best. And with English as a global language currency, and Thailand as a global destination, it means increased challenge and difficulty for the traveller/tourist. I got lost so many times because I couldn't even ask the locals what bus to take to a particular city destination. If the restaurant menu has no pictures, I'm lost if everything is written in Thai. If I want to go to a bar across town requiring several bus transfers, it's a game of Russian roulette if I get to that place and still come back home without cabbing it. Somehow, I manage...and seeing the glass as half full, I take it as part of the Thai experience (but it can really be much better).

Raising the Ceiling
In my very humble opinion, Bangkok is a global city with a low ceiling. Global because it's an international destination whose sights, sounds, food, beaches, dive spots, temples are worth going half-way around the world for. Low ceiling because there is this apparent language barrier serving as a bottleneck. I'm not sure if it is nationalism that keeps the Thais from adopting English as a second language. But I could just imagine how Thailand can exponentially grow as an international player without the language issue. If English is introduced in the school curriculum at day one, in only one generation, Thailand becomes English-friendly. This opens up the floodgates of tourism and more global opportunities. Again, just my humble opinion. Apologies if I sounded like a wise-ass know-it-all.

Peoplescape
As my mantra goes, at the end of the day, in any place, it's not so much about the waterfall or the cave or the coral reef. It all boils down to people and the connections you forge. I had been fortunate to cross paths with people who shared their time, assistance, friendship and goodwill - my cousin Sheila and Moe who took me to Chinatown for a sumptuous dinner treat, Paola Galan who introduced me to her friends who in turn, introduced me to their friends, Edith who gave me tips and info about various places, Ellen and Jovain who offered me their place to crash-in, Kansuda who took the time to tour me around the shopping malls along the Sukhumvit area, etc. The locals I've had conversations with, my fellow travellers who share their experience and insight, etc. Indeed, without these wonderful people, Bangkok would not be as magical.

people I met

Riva Surya Bangkok Hotel Riva Surya Bangkok Hotel
I was impressed by this hotel on the banks of the scenic Chao Praya River - Riva Surya Bangkok. It's a stylish boutique hotel complete with a swimming pool, a gym, resto-bar and outdoor garden-dining alongside the river. At over US$100/day, it was not cheap. But this is the type of hotel I'd like to showcase for Bangkok. I was able to meet with the forward-thinking marketing director and showed her what I could do for the hotel to enhance their internet profile. Our handshake gave me a luxurious roof over my head and a wonderful project to work on. I would like to see how far I can push the boundaries in ensuring increased bookings for them. I see this not simply as a web undertaking but perhaps a start of a beautiful business relationship that may grow in time. Already, Bangkok and its abundance is drizzling on me.

Muay Thai LiveMuay Thai Live (the stage play)
Abundance continued to rain on me. While at Asiatique, I wanted to see the Muay Thai Live stage play, but at B1500, it was too rich for me. Instead, I wrote the organizers with a barter offer - good looks on the internet (through my web machinery) in exchange for 2 tickets. These guys appreciate the internet and wisely said, "yes". Woohoo! It's a good thing Ellen was available to see the play with me. The stage alone was impressive - open concept viewable in 3 quadrants. Instead of props, they used background photography and video to make a realistic set. Synchronized with powerful sound scoring, the play came alive with all the muay thai action you could ask for. But beyond the action scenes, the play gave an insight about Thai history, culture, devotion and its people. I would recommend it.

Chatuchak Weekend Market
Despite becoming more touristy than a local cultural immersion, Chatuchak Weekend Market remains a must-do in Bangkok. For sheer animation and size, comprehensive wares for sale, a wide array of food to choose from, you have to set aside a weekend for this. Notwithstanding walking around it for the best part of the day, I was left exhausted without even covering half of it. This place is huge!

Adhere 13th Street Blues Bar
Having abruptly left the blues scene in the Philippines, I was beginning to hurt for this fix. After Googling, "blues, Bangkok", just walking distance from my hotel, I came upon a blues bar - Adhere 13th Street Blues Bar. How cool is that? It was a small nondescript hole in the wall, a kind of neighborhood secret only the local denizens frequent (thank God for Google!). When the band played, I was kid with KitKat on the left hand and Reese cups on the other! Yes, there is a God.

Ending Thoughts
After 20 days in Cambodia, it felt like leaving behind a mini-life, only to start a new one in Thailand. That's how it felt when my minivan reached Bangkok and I could see the skyline, knowing well, it would be another mini-life for the next 2 weeks. As a traveller, life is always on fast-forward. I initially thought about exploring the whole of Thailand - Bangkok, Chiangmai, the beaches, etc. But 14 days were hardly enough to scratch the surface of Bangkok. I decided to spend the entire 14 days in Bangkok instead - no extended road trips to the monk-tamed tigers, no beaches, no temple visits. That way I got to immerse myself more into the rhythm of things, getting the city a little more and getting my bearing - the mall, the street food, the popular markets, a stage play and meeting new friends.

Unlike most travellers who need to cram as many tours, sights and activities as they can squeeze into their limited time before heading back to their country, I in turn, have no plan to return 'home' as I don't have any. Any place I end up essentially becomes home where I try to settle down until I feel the restlessness to move on again, or when my visa expires, whichever comes first. Bangkok remains an unfinished business...as it will always be.

--- TheLoneRider



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Bangkok Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Opening a Donation Bank Oct 14, 2018
  2. Feelin' Da Blues at Adhere the 13th Blues Bar Oct 12, 2018
  3. Visiting the Grand Palace of Thailand Oct 12, 2018
  4. A Web Mandate in Bangkok Oct 8, 2018
  5. 29 Days in Bangkok: Thank You and Goodbye Aug 27 - Sep 24, 2018
  6. Calling the Bangkok Police Sep 23, 2018
  7. Movie Review: Mindfulness and Murder (2011) Sep 22, 2018
  8. Yoga Inversions at Now's Fitness Gym Sep 19, 2018
  9. Flow Yoga with Teacher Kea at Now's Fitness Sep 18, 2018
  10. Movie Review: Under Construction (2015) Sep 15, 2018
  11. Walking Tour of Little India Sep 15, 2018
  12. Vinyasa Yoga with Teacher That at Now's Fitness Sep 14, 2018
  13. Abs Workout with Teacher San at Now's Fitness Sep 13, 2018
  14. Vinyasa Yoga with Teacher That at Now's Fitness Sep 14, 2018
  15. Abs Workout with Teacher San at Now's Fitness Sep 13, 2018
  16. Exercise Ball Workout with Teacher Bie at Now's Fitness Sep 11, 2018
  17. Exploring the Amphawa Floating Market Sep 9, 2018
  18. Exploring the Tree-Engulfed Wat Bang Kung Temple Sep 9, 2018
  19. Parting of the Maeklong Railway Market with a Passing Train Sep 9, 2018
  20. Exploring Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Sep 9, 2018
  21. Horse Racing at the The Royal Bangkok Sports Club Sep 8, 2018
  22. Fight Class with Teacher San at Now's Fitness Sep 7, 2018
  23. Exploring the Bangkok Art Book Fair 2018 Sep 6, 2018
  24. Circuit Training with Mild at Now's Fitness Sep 5, 2018
  25. Gentle Flow Yoga with Nuch at Now's Fitness, Bangkok Sep 4, 2018
  26. A Yogi Lost in a Modern Gym - Now's Fitness Sep 3, 2018
  27. Abundance at On Nut, Bangkok Aug 30-Sep 1, 2018
  28. Outside Looking In Aug 29, 2018
  29. Back in Bangkok After 5 Weeks Aug 27, 2018
  30. 15 Days in Bangkok July 10-24, 2018
  31. Peoplescape: Bangkok July 10-24, 2018
  32. Hatha and Yantra Yoga Fusion July 10-24, 2018
  33. Revisiting Terminal 21 Mall, Bangkok July 23, 2018
  34. Rope Skipping, 4mins Full-on July 22, 2018
  35. Sunday Visit to Chatuchak Weekend Market July 17, 2018
  36. Fork on the Road: Abundance or Poverty by Choice? July 16, 2018
  37. Loving Bangkok All Over Again Feb 22-26, 2016
  38. Hotel Review: Adventure Hostel Bangkok July 11, 2018
  39. Hotel Review: Riva Surya Bangkok Oct 20, 2014
  40. Exploring the Shopping Malls of Bangkok Oct 6-20, 2014
  41. Bangkok's Street Food Delight Oct 6-20, 2014
  42. Bangkok Revisited 3 Oct 6-20, 2014
  43. A First Timer in Bangkok December 31, 2005 - January 3, 2006

Google Map

Bangkok, Thailand

hotels in Bangkok HOTEL

Adventure Hostel Bangkok - N7 BTS train stop, dorm rooms, great for solo travelers, laundry, roof deck, entertainment center, kitchen, all-day tea-coffee, fridge, clean
1541 Phahonyothin Rd. Payathai

restaurant in Bangkok RESTAURANT

Dalad Vietnamese Restaurant Dalad Vietnamese Restaurant - N7 BTS train stop, authentic Vietnamese cuisine, clean & hygienic, fresh green leafy vegetables
195 Soi Pradipat 19, Pradipat Road, Phayathai

gyms on On Nut, Bangkok GYM| gyms on On Nut, Bangkok YOGA

Now's Fitness Bangkok - gym equipment, yoga, Muay Thai, boxing, fitness trainer, cafe, healthy food
726 Soi On Nut 14 Rd, Khwaeng Suan Luang, Khet Suan Luang, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10250

Useful Information

Bangkok Cost Index

as of Sep 4, 2018: US$1 = Baht 32 = Php 53

  • Bht 60 sm, 90 big one mug draft beer
  • Bht 13 1.5 liter drinking water
  • Bht 220 one hour massage
  • Bht 60-80 muesli breakfast
  • Bht 60-80 tom yum soup in modest eatery
  • Bht 25-30 coffee
  • Bht 30-50 pad thai
  • Bht 350 Adventure Hostel lodging
  • Bht 20-30/load laundry, coin operated machine
  • Bht 7 bus ride
Transport Maps of Bangkok
  1. Chao Phraya Express, MRT, BTS, Khlong boats, Airport Link
  2. Bus Routes: 1-14
  3. Bus Routes: 15-30
  4. Bus Routes: 32-49
  5. Bus Routes: 50-70
  6. Bus Routes: 71-88
  7. Bus Routes: 501-516
  8. individual bus routes
Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Night Train from Bang Sue Train Station
  1. take the MRT train to Bang Sue Station. Take the #2 Exit to the provincial trains
  2. Proceed to Counter 2. You will see an information booth, a train schedule chart and the ticket counter. Choose the train and pay at the ticket counter.
  3. daily train schedule:
    • 8:48am - #7 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 7:30pm, not sleeper, B638
    • 2:06pm - #109 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 4:05am, sleeper
    • 6:31pm - #9 Premium Train, arrive Chiang Mai 7:15am, sleeper, B938 upper deck, B1038 lower deck
    • 7:56pm - #13 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 8:40am, sleeper, B768 upper deck, B838 lower deck
    • 10:22pm - #51 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 12:10pm, sleeper, 3rd class B270 (non sleeper), 2nd class B438, B728 upper deck, B798 lower deck
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