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Difference between revisions of "Bangkok/Rattanakosin"

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===Other===
 
===Other===
  
* '''National Gallery'''. Th Chao Fa (''north of Sanam Luang'') [http://www.thailandmuseum.com/thaimuseum_eng/artgallery/main.htm]. Fairly small and compact, the permanent displays here are quite unimpressive, but the ever-changing modern art exhibitions can be considerably more interesting. Entry 30B, open 9:00am to 4:00pm Wed-Sun, closed national holidays.
+
* '''National Gallery'''. Th Chao Fa (''north of Sanam Luang'') [http://www.thailandmuseum.com/thaimuseum_eng/artgallery/main.htm]. Fairly small and compact, the permanent displays here are quite unimpressive, but the ever-changing modern art exhibitions can be considerably more interesting. Entry 30B, open W-Su 9AM-4PM, closed national holidays.
  
* '''National Museum''' Naphra That (''between Thammasart University and the National Theatre, opp. Sanam Luang'') [http://www.bangkoksite.com/NationalMuseum/index.htm]. The grounds are attractive in parts, but a bit sprawling and difficult to navigate without a guide. The permanent exhibits are a mixed bag - there are some terrific new displays and dioramas on Thai history, but many other buildings are dusty collections of artifacts without much by way of explanation. Entry 40B, open 9:00am to 4:00pm Wed-Sun, closed national holidays.
+
* '''National Museum''' Naphra That (''between Thammasart University and the National Theatre, opp. Sanam Luang'') [http://www.bangkoksite.com/NationalMuseum/index.htm]. The grounds are attractive in parts, but a bit sprawling and difficult to navigate without a guide. The permanent exhibits are a mixed bag - there are some terrific new displays and dioramas on Thai history, but many other buildings are dusty collections of artifacts without much by way of explanation. Entry 40B, open W-Su 9AM-4PM, closed national holidays.
  
 
* '''Yaowarat''' (also ''Yaowaraj'').  Bangkok's '''Chinatown''', centered on Th Yaowarat and Th Charoenkrung, is an easy walk from [[Bangkok#Hualamphong_Train_Station|Hualamphong Station]]. By day it doesn't look much different from any other part of Bangkok, but at night the neon signs blazing with Chinese characters are turned on and crowds from the restaurants spill out onto the streets, turning the area into a miniature Hong Kong (minus the skyscrapers).
 
* '''Yaowarat''' (also ''Yaowaraj'').  Bangkok's '''Chinatown''', centered on Th Yaowarat and Th Charoenkrung, is an easy walk from [[Bangkok#Hualamphong_Train_Station|Hualamphong Station]]. By day it doesn't look much different from any other part of Bangkok, but at night the neon signs blazing with Chinese characters are turned on and crowds from the restaurants spill out onto the streets, turning the area into a miniature Hong Kong (minus the skyscrapers).
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==Learn==
 
==Learn==
* '''Silpakorn University''', 31 Na Phralan Road (across the street from ''Wat Phra Kaew'' and the ''Grand Palace''). As Thailand's foremost institution in the fine arts, there are many buildings and small museums dedicated to showcasing artworks by students. [http://www.su.ac.th/ official site]
+
* '''Silpakorn University''', 31 Na Phralan Road (across the street from ''Wat Phra Kaew'' and the ''Grand Palace''), [http://www.su.ac.th/]. As Thailand's foremost institution in the fine arts, there are many buildings and small museums dedicated to showcasing artworks by students.
* '''Thammasat University''', 2 Phrachan Road (next to the ''National Museum''). The main campus of one of Thailand's most prestigious universities, alma matter of many of the nation's politicians and businessmen. It is noticeably more modern than neighboring Silpakorn University and is worth a walk around campus, particularly on a school day. [http://www.tu.ac.th/default.tu/default.thai.html official site]
+
* '''Thammasat University''', 2 Phrachan Road (next to the ''National Museum''), [http://www.tu.ac.th/default.tu/default.thai.html]. The main campus of one of Thailand's most prestigious universities, alma matter of many of the nation's politicians and businessmen. It is noticeably more modern than neighboring Silpakorn University and is worth a walk around campus, particularly on a school day.  
  
* '''Thai Massage at Wat Pho'''. To register for Wat Pho's famous Thai massage course, you'll need 2 x 2" passport photos and a photocopy of your passport. These photos are bigger than UK passport photos (which are not accepted). The Kodak shop on the corner of the Thai Massage Registration Office, Soi Penphat 1, Maharaj Rd, can supply the photos and has a photocopier, but the photos can take a few hours, so go the day before. Tell the Kodak man that the photos are for the Thai massage certificate - he has a jacket you can wear to look smart. The Thai massage school will reject photos if you are wearing a skimpy top or do not look tidy. The basic course (8,700 baht) is pretty comprehensive and lasts 5 days. They'll put you in a separate English speaking classroom where the instructors have a fair grasp of English. They know their stuff and justify their reputation of being the home of Thai massage. Prepare for an Asian style of teaching - they teach you what to do without often explaining the reasons ''why'', however if you question them, they will tell you. It is best to study 5 days consecutively, but there is scope for having a break in the middle - you do not need to book months in advance. You can start the day you register. Lunch is provided for 30BHT and is of good quality, but can be low on quantity if there are lots of students. All you need to bring for the course is comfortable clothing - be prepared to remove body jewellery. The Thai massages are conducted with you wearing all your clothes. At 8am in NE corner of Wat Pho, the massage school teach Thai Yoga. This is free to attend, you do not need to pay an entrance fee to get into the Wat Pho courtyard if you are a massage student.
+
* '''Thai Massage at Wat Pho'''. To register for Wat Pho's famous Thai massage course, you'll need 2 x 2" passport photos and a photocopy of your passport. These photos are bigger than UK passport photos (which are not accepted). The Kodak shop on the corner of the Thai Massage Registration Office, Soi Penphat 1, Maharaj Rd, can supply the photos and has a photocopier, but the photos can take a few hours, so go the day before. Tell the Kodak man that the photos are for the Thai massage certificate - he has a jacket you can wear to look smart. The Thai massage school will reject photos if you are wearing a skimpy top or do not look tidy. The basic course (8,700 baht) is pretty comprehensive and lasts 5 days. They'll put you in a separate English speaking classroom where the instructors have a fair grasp of English. They know their stuff and justify their reputation of being the home of Thai massage. Prepare for an Asian style of teaching - they teach you what to do without often explaining the reasons ''why'', however if you question them, they will tell you. It is best to study 5 days consecutively, but there is scope for having a break in the middle - you do not need to book months in advance. You can start the day you register. Lunch is provided for 30BHT and is of good quality, but can be low on quantity if there are lots of students. All you need to bring for the course is comfortable clothing - be prepared to remove body jewellery. The Thai massages are conducted with you wearing all your clothes. At 8AM in NE corner of Wat Pho, the massage school teach Thai Yoga. This is free to attend, you do not need to pay an entrance fee to get into the Wat Pho courtyard if you are a massage student.
  
 
==Buy==
 
==Buy==
* '''River City''', 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng (''pier N3 Si Phaya'') [http://www.rivercity.co.th/]. Easily accessible from its own pier for the River Express boat, this center has Bangkok's best collection of antique shops — but these are (for most part) the real thing and priced to match.  Note that real antiques and any religious images will require export licenses, although the shops can arrange this for you (for a fee).
+
* '''River City''', 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng (''pier N3 Si Phaya''), [http://www.rivercity.co.th/]. Easily accessible from its own pier for the River Express boat, this center has Bangkok's best collection of antique shops — but these are (for most part) the real thing and priced to match.  Note that real antiques and any religious images will require export licenses, although the shops can arrange this for you (for a fee).
* '''Old Maps & Prints'''. Shop 412, 4F.  Has a fascinating collection of old maps with an emphasis on Thailand and South-East Asia, but anything over a century old will set you back several thousand baht.
+
* '''Old Maps & Prints''', Shop 412, 4F.  Has a fascinating collection of old maps with an emphasis on Thailand and South-East Asia, but anything over a century old will set you back several thousand baht.
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==
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==Drink==
 
==Drink==
* '''Bamboo Bar'''48 Th Oriental (''Oriental Hotel'').  Jazz lovers will want to stop by the Oriental's famous bar, which is surprisingly small and intimate, for classy colonial surroundings, live music and a Cuban cigar.  Needless to say, at B250 a Singha here will be the most expensive beer you'll find in Bangkok.
+
* '''Bamboo Bar''', 48 Th Oriental (''Oriental Hotel'').  Jazz lovers will want to stop by the Oriental's famous bar, which is surprisingly small and intimate, for classy colonial surroundings, live music and a Cuban cigar.  Needless to say, at B250 a Singha here will be the most expensive beer you'll find in Bangkok.
 
*'''Ta Chang''',  a one minute walk to the left (when looking at the building) of the tourist office under Pinklao Bridge. Great place for a good coffee with a relaxing view over a small garden - alcohol is also served.
 
*'''Ta Chang''',  a one minute walk to the left (when looking at the building) of the tourist office under Pinklao Bridge. Great place for a good coffee with a relaxing view over a small garden - alcohol is also served.
*'''Coffee and More'''. 102/1 Phra-Arthit Road, Chanasongkram (between Khaosan Road and river). Tel: 280-7887. A pleasant cafe overlooking garden - modern, but cosy decor. Wide selection of coffees and teas and great cakes. Breakfast options limited. Popular with young up-and-coming Thais. Open: 10AM-9:30PM (11PM at weekends).
+
*'''Coffee and More''', 102/1 Phra-Arthit Road, Chanasongkram (between Khaosan Road and river), Tel: 280-7887. Open: 10AM-9:30PM (11PM at weekends). A pleasant cafe overlooking garden - modern, but cosy decor. Wide selection of coffees and teas and great cakes. Breakfast options limited. Popular with young up-and-coming Thais.  
  
 
==Sleep==
 
==Sleep==
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* <sleep name="Boonsiri Place" address="" phone="" email="" fax="" checkin="" checkout="" price="1000 baht" url="http://www.boonsiriplace.com/">Located about 5 minutes walk south of Khaosan Road, this hotel is hidden in the back alleys of the area. The rooms are very clean, as are the bathrooms. Breakfast selection is very poor, but adequate. Conveniently has a 711 on the ground floor.</sleep>
 
* <sleep name="Boonsiri Place" address="" phone="" email="" fax="" checkin="" checkout="" price="1000 baht" url="http://www.boonsiriplace.com/">Located about 5 minutes walk south of Khaosan Road, this hotel is hidden in the back alleys of the area. The rooms are very clean, as are the bathrooms. Breakfast selection is very poor, but adequate. Conveniently has a 711 on the ground floor.</sleep>
  
* <sleep name="Unico Grande Sukhumvit" address="27 Sukhumvit Soi1, Sukhumvit Rd., Wattana, Bangkok 10110" phone="+66 2 6553993" email="crs@unicoproperty.co.th" fax="+66 2 6553992" checkin="1400" checkout="12  " price="2,200-5000 baht" url="http://www.unicograndesukhumvit.com/">Located closed to Bumrungrad International Hospital about 3 minutes walk to Nana and 8 minutes to Skytrain Ploenchit Station, this hotel is boutique style. The rooms are very clean, as are the bathrooms. Breakfast is good. Staff are pleasant to help. Conveniently has a pharmarcy, massage and 7-11 around the place.</sleep>
+
* <sleep name="Unico Grande Sukhumvit" address="27 Sukhumvit Soi1, Sukhumvit Rd., Wattana" phone="+66 2 6553993" email="crs@unicoproperty.co.th" fax="+66 2 6553992" checkin="1400" checkout="12  " price="2,200-5000 baht" url="http://www.unicograndesukhumvit.com/">Located closed to Bumrungrad International Hospital about 3 minutes walk to Nana and 8 minutes to Skytrain Ploenchit Station, this hotel is boutique style. The rooms are very clean, as are the bathrooms. Breakfast is good. Staff are pleasant to help. Conveniently has a pharmarcy, massage and 7-11 around the place.</sleep>
  
* <sleep name="Shanghai Inn Bangkok" address="Chinatown Bangkok phone="+66 2 221 2121" email="contact@shanghai-inn.com" url="http://www.shanghai-inn.com/">Chinese Chic hotel<sleep>
+
* <sleep name="Shanghai Inn Bangkok" address="Chinatown Bangkok" phone="+66 2 221 2121" email="contact@shanghai-inn.com" url="http://www.shanghai-inn.com/">Chinese Chic hotel<sleep>
  
 
===Splurge===
 
===Splurge===
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{{usable}}
+
{{usablecity}}
  
 
[[de:Bangkok/Rattanakosin]]
 
[[de:Bangkok/Rattanakosin]]

Revision as of 22:40, 5 October 2008

Statues in Wat Rajanadda

Rattanakosin Island is the core of historical Bangkok.

Contents

Understand

Rattanakosin is where King Rama I built his new capital in 1782. The seat of power to this day, this is where most of Bangkok's "must see" sights can be found. The district borders the Chao Phraya River on the west, but land reclamation has long since joined the eastern bank to the mainland. The focal point of the area is the wide open field of the Royal Ground (Sanam Luang), the site of many ceremonies and festivals associated with the royalty.

There is an excellent Government tourist information office near the river under Pinklao Bridge.

Get in

Get around

By boat

The best way to access most of the sights in Rattanakosin is to take the Chao Phraya River Express, which run from the BTS Saphan Taksin station up and down the river. The most important pier is Tha Tien, from where you can walk to Wat Pho or the Grand Palace, or take a 2-baht shuttle ferry across the river to Wat Arun. Alternatively, you can take the Saen Saep canal boat to its western terminus near the Golden Mount (Wat Saket), from where the big temples are a brisk stroll or short tuk-tuk hop away.

On foot

The Grand Palace and Wat Pho are a 20 minute walk from Khao San Road, but a confusing and hot one if you aren't familiar with the area.

See

Rattanakosin has a lot to see and the top three attractions are conveniently clustered right next to each other. For all temples, bear in mind that you must be dressed appropriately (no shorts, no flipflops, no sleeveless shirts) or risk being denied entry, although some places will offer rental parachute pants for a small (refundable) deposit.

Whether you walk or take a tuk-tuk, don't listen to anyone telling you the temples are closed for a 'Buddhist holiday', that they're only open in the afternoon because the monks are praying, or anything else along those lines. The Grand Palace and Wat Pho are open every day, pretty much all day (dawn till dusk). It's worth giving both the Grand Palace and Wat Pho each a full day since the heat and glare are very wearing and there is a lot to take in.

Temples

The Grand Palace
Palace Grounds
  • Grand Palace. The former residence of the King is built adjacent to and more or less integrated with the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). Combined entry is a steep 300 baht; Thais get in for free. This also includes entry into the Vimanmek Mansion and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall (outside the compound), the Coin Museum, and a 'free' guidebook of limited use. The palace is open daily from 8:30am to 3:30pm.

The temple houses a diminutive jade statue, the Emerald Buddha, of uncertain but long provenance and revered as the symbol of the Thai state. It originally surfaced in northern Thailand, was taken to Vientiane for a while, and was returned to Bangkok after the Thais sacked the city in 1828. Visitors line up around the building for a chance to walk by the Emerald Buddha with offerings of lilies and incense. The wat is actually series of courtyards full of chedi towers in gold and broken porcelain and smaller wats containing Buddhas of various poise and size. Also check out the enormous mural of the Ramayana decorating the exterior wall of the Wat Phra Kaew (part of the Grand Palace compound).

The Grand Palace is built in a European style, but with Thai roofs somewhat incongruously plopped on top. Only small parts are open to the public; the reception room of the Grand Palace Hall (Chakri Maha Prasat) is probably the highlight. There is also a lacklustre but free museum of ancient to merely old weaponry on the ground floor.

  • Wat Pho, 02-225-9595, [1]. One (long) block to the south of the Grand Palace, the largest reclining Buddha in Asia is a mind blowing sight. There's plenty of other stuff to see inside the large temple complex; above all, try a massage or sign up for a course in the massage school at the back (see Do). Entry is now 50 baht and it is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
  • Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun). Across the river from Wat Po on the Thonburi side, this is a distinctive single spike of white intricately inlaid with broken porcelain. At 88 meters it was also the tallest structure in Bangkok until the advent of the modern skyscraper. Take the 3.5-baht ferry from Tha Tien, right next to the River Express dock. The entrance fee is 50 Baht.
  • Wat Suthat. The most prominent feature of this wat is the Giant Swing, a huge red frame located in a plaza opposite the main entrance to the wat. It was once used in a dangerous ceremony, which has been cancelled since 1932 due to the injuries and deaths that resulted. The swing can be viewed for free; entrance to the wat itself is 20 baht. The wat is beautiful, adorned in the front with Chinese pagodas. Under the presiding Buddha statue in the main temple are the ashes of King Rama VIII.
  • The Golden Mount[2]. A distinctive and prominent feature on the Rattanakosin landscape located in the compound of Wat Srakes. The original structure was built in the reign of King Rama III during the early 19th century, but was enhanced at the end of that century in order to accommodate relics of the Buddha presented to the King of Thailand by the British Viceroy in India. A spiral staircase of 318 steps leads from the ground to a terrace and shrine-room - the Buddha's relics are housed in a gold-leaf covered shrine at the center of this area. Note that while the shrine itself is an ancient structure that creates an atmosphere worthy of respect, the area just below is more akin to a tacky fair ground than one that leads to one of the nation's most sacred sites. Also, the harsh way of requesting the entrance fee does little to inspire the worthy pilgrim or traveler. In short, the shrine is definitely worth including in a travel itinerary, but do not expect a quiet and respectful environment. There is a 10 baht admission fee.

The following wats charge no entry fee.

  • Wat Rajanadda. Somewhat off the beaten track but well worth a visit, very close to the Saen Saep canal boat terminus and the Golden Mount, and easily spotted since its spires are of black iron, not the usual glittery gold. The wat itself is a 5-storied gleaming white structure with rows of Buddhas and nice views from up top, very elegant, calm and relaxing after the crowds at the big temples. A good view of Bangkok is afforded from the top tier. Entrance is free; also check out the Buddhist amulet market nearby.
  • Wat Ratchabophit. This one is off the beaten path, and entrance is free. A major feature of this wat is the Royal Cemetery on the west side, which contains numerous monuments, including four impressive white ones in which the ashes of the four Queens of King Chulalongkorn are interred. The one for Queen Savang Vadhana, grandmother of the current King, is the first on the left as you walk in eastward from the road.
  • Wat Ratchapradit. This modest wat is opposite the canal from Wat Ratchabophit. But it is notable because here, in the small [i]ubosot[/i], or main chapel, is a Buddha under which the ashes of King Mongkut are interred. No admission is charged.
  • Wat Intharawihan. North of Banglamphu and east of the Marble Temple, this one is known for the so-called Standing Buddha, a 32-meter-tall golden Buddha image. Entrance is free. This temple is worth a visit for the sake of photographing the Buddha. However, it's worth mentioning that this temple is a regular site on the "gem scam" circuit, so ignore anyone approaching you and bringing up the topic of purchasing gems or taking a tuk tuk tour.

Other

  • National Gallery. Th Chao Fa (north of Sanam Luang) [3]. Fairly small and compact, the permanent displays here are quite unimpressive, but the ever-changing modern art exhibitions can be considerably more interesting. Entry 30B, open W-Su 9AM-4PM, closed national holidays.
  • National Museum Naphra That (between Thammasart University and the National Theatre, opp. Sanam Luang) [4]. The grounds are attractive in parts, but a bit sprawling and difficult to navigate without a guide. The permanent exhibits are a mixed bag - there are some terrific new displays and dioramas on Thai history, but many other buildings are dusty collections of artifacts without much by way of explanation. Entry 40B, open W-Su 9AM-4PM, closed national holidays.
  • Yaowarat (also Yaowaraj). Bangkok's Chinatown, centered on Th Yaowarat and Th Charoenkrung, is an easy walk from Hualamphong Station. By day it doesn't look much different from any other part of Bangkok, but at night the neon signs blazing with Chinese characters are turned on and crowds from the restaurants spill out onto the streets, turning the area into a miniature Hong Kong (minus the skyscrapers).

Parks

Saranrom Park, Sanam Chai Road (across from the Grand Palace). A lush garden created around a lake and home to glasshouses, ancient trees and wooden pagodas. A great place to relax and escape the heat.

Learn

  • Silpakorn University, 31 Na Phralan Road (across the street from Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace), [5]. As Thailand's foremost institution in the fine arts, there are many buildings and small museums dedicated to showcasing artworks by students.
  • Thammasat University, 2 Phrachan Road (next to the National Museum), [6]. The main campus of one of Thailand's most prestigious universities, alma matter of many of the nation's politicians and businessmen. It is noticeably more modern than neighboring Silpakorn University and is worth a walk around campus, particularly on a school day.
  • Thai Massage at Wat Pho. To register for Wat Pho's famous Thai massage course, you'll need 2 x 2" passport photos and a photocopy of your passport. These photos are bigger than UK passport photos (which are not accepted). The Kodak shop on the corner of the Thai Massage Registration Office, Soi Penphat 1, Maharaj Rd, can supply the photos and has a photocopier, but the photos can take a few hours, so go the day before. Tell the Kodak man that the photos are for the Thai massage certificate - he has a jacket you can wear to look smart. The Thai massage school will reject photos if you are wearing a skimpy top or do not look tidy. The basic course (8,700 baht) is pretty comprehensive and lasts 5 days. They'll put you in a separate English speaking classroom where the instructors have a fair grasp of English. They know their stuff and justify their reputation of being the home of Thai massage. Prepare for an Asian style of teaching - they teach you what to do without often explaining the reasons why, however if you question them, they will tell you. It is best to study 5 days consecutively, but there is scope for having a break in the middle - you do not need to book months in advance. You can start the day you register. Lunch is provided for 30BHT and is of good quality, but can be low on quantity if there are lots of students. All you need to bring for the course is comfortable clothing - be prepared to remove body jewellery. The Thai massages are conducted with you wearing all your clothes. At 8AM in NE corner of Wat Pho, the massage school teach Thai Yoga. This is free to attend, you do not need to pay an entrance fee to get into the Wat Pho courtyard if you are a massage student.

Buy

  • River City, 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng (pier N3 Si Phaya), [7]. Easily accessible from its own pier for the River Express boat, this center has Bangkok's best collection of antique shops — but these are (for most part) the real thing and priced to match. Note that real antiques and any religious images will require export licenses, although the shops can arrange this for you (for a fee).
  • Old Maps & Prints, Shop 412, 4F. Has a fascinating collection of old maps with an emphasis on Thailand and South-East Asia, but anything over a century old will set you back several thousand baht.

Eat

File:BambooBar Style.JPG
Bamboo Bar, Oriental Hotel

Compared to the profusion elsewhere in the city, places to eat in the Old City are a little limited.

Mid-range

Yaowarat (Chinatown) has the city's best selection of Chinese restaurants, many of which specialize in expensive delicacies like shark fin, bird nest or fresh seafood (often still swimming in tanks near the entrance). Gather the biggest group you can, preferably with a Chinese speaker or two, and head down for some ren'ao ("hot and noisy") banqueting.

  • Nam Sing, 39-47 Soi Texas, Th Phadung Dao (off Yaowarat Rd). A large and functional restaurant, best known for its bird nest but there's plenty of other fare on offer. Try the chilli crab and pork neck. English menu with pictures available, most (large) dishes B200-300. Unfortunately they only accept Visa, Mastercard or Cash.

Splurge

The riverside hotels (see Sleep) have the usual monopoly of restaurants but at rather steep prices, although the Oriental's dinner buffet (B1000+) is acclaimed.

Dinner cruises on the Chao Phraya are a touristy but fun way of spotting temples while getting full with seafood. There are many competing operators, but mostly, all cruises depart from the River City Pier, next to pier N3 Si Phaya of the River Express.

  • Wan Fah, +66-2222-8679 [8]. 2-hour dinner cruises including a set meal of farang-friendly Thai food and seafood, live music and Thai classical dancing. Departs at 7 PM from River City, B1000 per head (not including drinks).

Drink

  • Bamboo Bar, 48 Th Oriental (Oriental Hotel). Jazz lovers will want to stop by the Oriental's famous bar, which is surprisingly small and intimate, for classy colonial surroundings, live music and a Cuban cigar. Needless to say, at B250 a Singha here will be the most expensive beer you'll find in Bangkok.
  • Ta Chang, a one minute walk to the left (when looking at the building) of the tourist office under Pinklao Bridge. Great place for a good coffee with a relaxing view over a small garden - alcohol is also served.
  • Coffee and More, 102/1 Phra-Arthit Road, Chanasongkram (between Khaosan Road and river), Tel: 280-7887. Open: 10AM-9:30PM (11PM at weekends). A pleasant cafe overlooking garden - modern, but cosy decor. Wide selection of coffees and teas and great cakes. Breakfast options limited. Popular with young up-and-coming Thais.

Sleep

Budget

Budget guesthouses and such are clustered on Khao San Road, covered on a separate page.

Mid-range

  • Bhiman Inn, [9]. Sister hotel of the Viengtai and is a bit cheaper. About a 5 minute walk North of Khaosan Road. Staff friendly, good swimming pool, but poor breakfast offering very little choice.
  • Viengtai Hotel, [10]. The breakfast is superb, offering most choices in cuisine and they have a swimming pool. Large room with air conditioning. This hotel is a popular destination for Thais visiting Bangkok. Staff are superbly efficient and friendly as they are in most hotels. 1300 baht.
  • Boonsiri Place, [11]. Located about 5 minutes walk south of Khaosan Road, this hotel is hidden in the back alleys of the area. The rooms are very clean, as are the bathrooms. Breakfast selection is very poor, but adequate. Conveniently has a 711 on the ground floor. 1000 baht.
  • Unico Grande Sukhumvit, 27 Sukhumvit Soi1, Sukhumvit Rd., Wattana, +66 2 6553993 (, fax: +66 2 6553992), [12]. checkin: 1400; checkout: 12. Located closed to Bumrungrad International Hospital about 3 minutes walk to Nana and 8 minutes to Skytrain Ploenchit Station, this hotel is boutique style. The rooms are very clean, as are the bathrooms. Breakfast is good. Staff are pleasant to help. Conveniently has a pharmarcy, massage and 7-11 around the place. 2,200-5000 baht.
  • Shanghai Inn Bangkok, Chinatown Bangkok, +66 2 221 2121 (), [13]. Chinese Chic hotel ===Splurge=== The southern part of the river near the Sathorn Bridge has two of the world's best hotels, and not a few lesser lights. * Oriental Bangkok, 48 Th Oriental, tel. +66 2659 9000, [14]. Ranked highly amongst the finest hotels in the world, it is known particularly for its superlative service. Prices are consequently on the steep side; even the cheapest online rates are rarely below $300 a night. Sumptuously decorated in old-school Colonial style. The hotel is on the east side of the river with its own River Express stop (Tha Oriental). * Peninsula Bangkok, 333 Th Charoennakorn, tel. +66 2861 2888, [15]. Just across the river from the Oriental, this newer competitor has nudged the Oriental out of its top spot a few times. Prices are a little more sensible but still usually above $200. Free shuttle service to the BTS Saphan Taksin stop. * Shangri-La Bangkok, 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, tel. +66 2236 7777, [16]. Definitely also a 5 star hotel but not quite as superlative as the Oriental or the Pen, the Shangri-La makes up for it partly with an excellent location next to both Skytrain and river boat. Prices start from $120. ===Contact===
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!
   

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