Bangkok Layover

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Bangkok Layover

Post  Admin on Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:05 pm

Bangkok Layover
City Overview

Bangkok on Google Maps

Bangkok (Thai: Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) is the capital and largest city of Thailand in south-east Asia. With an official population of near to 6 million it is a major economic center of Asia.

Bangkok is the 22nd most populous city in the world. Bangkok has a recorded population of about 6 million, but the actual number is thought to be much higher, as high as 20 million according to some experts.Bangkok is a magnet for foreigners escaping turmoil in their homeland or simply for business. Bangkok has long been the gateway to Asia for foreign interests seeking new markets. The city is a major economic and financial center of Southeast Asia. Bangkok has one of the fastest rates in the world for construction of high rise buildings. The city's wealth of cultural sites makes it one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.
The Airport(s)

* Suvarnabhumi International Airport (IATA: BKK, ICAO: VTBS)
* Don Muang International Airport (IATA: DMK, ICAO: VTBD)

Layover Hotels
Sofitel Centara Grand

The Centara Grand is located in Chatuchak, between the city center and Don Muang Airport. This 4 star hotel offers the usual amenities and services of its class, staff is very friendly and its rooms are excellent. It may be a bit loud though, as its directly next to Chatuchak market and a major thoroughfare. Good hotel for discovering Bangkok as public transport will get you everywhere easily.
Airlines using this hotel: Lufthansa, Condor Flugdienst, Swiss International Airlines
Rembrandt

Very centrally located four star hotel in Sukhumvit. Service and rooms are very good, staff is friendly. Special rates available. This hotel is currently undergoing renovation so expect some inconveniences.
Airlines using ths hotel: Scandinavian Airlines System
Rama Gardens Bangkok

Directly neighbouring the convention center this four star hotel is like you expect it to be. Good rooms, good service, good staff. Currently offering massive discounts.
Airlines using this hotel: Austrian Airlines
Getting Around
Public Transport

* Subway: The Bangkok subway opened in 2004 and operates along (currently) only one route, although major expansion is envisionaged.
* Monorail: The so-called Skytrain operates on two lines, connecting the city centre to the northern and eastern suburbs.
* Bus: The bus system is still one of the major means of public transportation in and around Bangkok. Bus lines run virtually everywhere and are quite cheap, albeit a bit difficult to use for people with no knowledge of the Thai language. A large number of lines operate through the night.
* River and canal transport: The canal network as well as the Chao Praya river are major transportation arteries with quite a number of ferries operating on them.

Taxi & Co

* Taxis: You will be able to find a taxi virtually everywhere. Licensed taxis operate to a common fare structure and have taxi meters. Try to stick to these, as unlicensed taxis may be cheaper but drivers will frequently take longer routes or try to convince their passengers to visit affiliated shops.
* Motorbike Taxis: Fast, cheap, dangerous. Motorbike Taxis are not licensed and their price should be negotiated before the trip. These are quite dangerous and accidents are frequent.
* Tuktuks: These motor rikshaws are very popular among tourists. These too are unlicensed and the price has to be negotiated. Locals avoid them as drivers focus on piloting tourists to sightseeing attractions and (usually overpriced) shops.

Things to See and Do
Lumphini Park

Lumphini Park is a big park near the centre of the city. It is very beautifully landscaped and a popular getaway, particularly in the afternoon.
The Auyttaha

An old district north of the city centre. It boasts several old temples, palaces and much more to explore. Well worth a visit.
Samut Prakharn

Probably the largest crocodile farm in the world. Over 60,000 animals, along with other species found in Thailand.
The Ancient City

A wonderful place to visit if you want to learn about the culture and history of Thailand. It takes some time, though, because the area is huge.
Shopping
General Tips

Bangkok is a shopping heaven. Malls and street markets are virtually everywhere.
Prices on markets and at street traders have to be negotiated or you'll end up paying way too much. Best start asking for half the asking price and continue until you have a deal.
Khao San Road

The No1 shopping street for tourists in Bangkok. Shops and stores selling everything for every price. Very popular with backpackers, lots of second-hand stores, nice cafes and a relaxed atmosphere make it a unique experience.
MBK Shopping Mall

This mall in Mah Boon Krong near Siam Square is particularly popular with crews. One of the best places for electronic gadgets, but also very strong in fake designer fashion.
Panthip Plaza

Looking for pirated software or DVDs? You'll probably want to go here. Unbelievably cheap. Take bus lines 5, 11 or 15 to get here.
Patpong Night Market

When the sun sets this place comes to life. Very busy, very chaotic, a bit on the pricey side but persistence will give you the real bargains.
Suan Lum Night Bazaar

Another place that becomes quite crowded only after sunset. Fabulous food, clothes, handcraft and almost everything else. Best for almost unbelievable bargains.
Chatuchak Weekend Market

Held every Saturday and Sunday this market has it all. Bargains over bargains. Mochit Station on Skytrain.
The Siam Paragon

A huge mall covering the upper price ranges. Luxury stores, upscale movieplexes, an oceanarium, more food than you can possibly try in weeks... This place is massive, so plan at least the best part of a day. Near Siam Station on Skytrain.
Where to Eat
Sukhumvit Road

From Soi 1 to Soi 60 this street is literally lines with restaurants and cafes. Aimed mainly at foreigners you'll find every cuisine here, for reasonable prices.
China Town

Like it chinese? This large enclave boasts probably the best chinese food outside china.
Suan Lum

This shopping area has a huge garden surrounded by small food stalls that offer fresh and very tasty food. Whatever you'd like, you'll probably get it here.
Clubs, Bars, Nightlife
General Information

Nightlife in Bangkok has a reputation for being a bit rowdy, but if you keep away from the well-known red light districts like Soi Cowboy (which again is an attraction in its own right, if you like it rather on the "dirty side") you'll be quite fine.
Bed Supperclub

One of the best in the city. Tasty food, great music, friendly staff, tables with matresses. Music is usually house and electro. Bring airline ID to get free entry and a 15% discount on drinks. Near Nana Skytrain station.
Q Bar

A favourite among expats. This bar offers an almost unreached array of drinks and fine music. On Sukhumvit Soi 11.
Cafe Democ

Located near the democracy monument this club offers dance music every night (except Mondays). A bit on the pricey side.
Immortal

A legendary club catering for almost every music style. Frequent Happy Hours. It's a bit unglamorous but surely a lot of fun. Khao San Road.
Vertigo

Topping the Banyan Tree Hotel this bar is unique. Generally rather expensive, it offers fantastic views over the city. Gentlemen: Visit the toilet, really!
Safety Advisories

Bangkok is a very safe city. Keep your eyes open and your belongings tucked away as even Thai people know the pickpocketing business.
Beware of the following scams:

* If you want to visit a particular attraction, someone will likely tell you that it's closed because of a national holiday/a VIP visit/construction work/a national emergency/their grandmother being sick. Of course you won't trust them, as they are usually trying to get you into shops that they receive a provision from.
* Unbelievable bargains, especially with jewelery and related stuff, are just that: Unbelievable. For sure they will try to convince you that you can sell it with high profits in your home country, but you are not going to believe this, are you?
* Free or very cheap sightseeing tours will usually end you up in a number of souvenir shops.
* Be careful with anyone being overly friendly. Thai people are nice and charming, but exaggerated friendliness is a good indicator that someone is going to sell you something you don't really want to buy.
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