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One day in Bangkok

6 bytes added, 13:27, 29 August 2011
AmE > BrE
There are two parts to this itinerary: a morning of canal cruises and tramping through temples, and two choices for an evening of entertainment, fine food and drinks. As you will be criss-crossing through the city the whole day, get familiar with Bangkok's public transit system. The '''BTS Skytrain''' and '''MRT Metro''' are the easiest ways to move around [[Bangkok/Sukhumvit|Sukhumvit]] and [[Bangkok/Silom|Silom]]. Getting to [[Bangkok/Rattanakosin|Rattanakosin]] can best be done over water, with the '''Chao Phraya Express Boat''' and the '''Saen Saep Express Boat'''. You can also pullover a metered taxi.
If you keep an eye on your budget, the day won't cost more than 1000 1,000 baht, unless you visit '''Siam Ocean World''', which by itself is already a whopping 900 baht. Entry of temples and short taxi rides are not more than 50 baht, while mid-range lunch and dinner are around 250 baht each. If you are really on a budget, you might want to eat at street restaurants for not more than 50 baht a meal.
[[Image:Recliningbuddha.jpg|thumb|350px|Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho]]
If your accommodation is around [[Bangkok/Sukhumvit|Sukhumvit]] or [[Bangkok/Silom|Silom]], your starting point will be '''Ratchathewi''' station (N1), easily reached from the Skytrain Sukhumvit line. Take exit 1 and head a few hundred meters metres south (after walking down the stairs, turn 180 degrees and walk down the street) and walk over the bridge across the '''Saen Saeb canal'''. To your right, you will see the small, rickety pier called '''Saphan Hua Chang'''. Board the next '''canal boat''' that comes barreling down towards the west (make sure the boat is heading left as you stand on the pier, from under the bridge) — but move quickly, because these boats don't wait for lingerers! Pay your fare (10 baht) and enjoy a view into the backyards of Bangkok. Some points of minor interest that you will pass along the way include:
* '''Jim Thompson House''', an attraction in itself and worth a visit if you have some spare energy later;
Disembark at the '''Phan Fa Lilat''' terminus near the '''Golden Mount'''. If your accommodation is around Khao San Road, you can just get here on foot. To your left, you'll see a small bridge with oncoming traffic, and a large bridge with multi-lane traffic. Cross the large bridge, pass the white '''Mahakan Fort''' and cross the street for '''Wat Ratchanaddaram''', one of Bangkok's unappreciated temples. Entry is free, just take your shoes off and climb into the tower for a bird's-eye view of Rattanakosin.
Once finished, head back to the main street and hail a metered taxi (not a tuk-tuk) for a quick trip to '''Wat Pho'''; if you insist on the metermetre, this won't cost you more than 50 baht. Entry into '''Wat Pho''' will set you back another 50 baht. The world's largest '''Reclining Buddha''' is in the perennially busy building to your right as you enter from the northern entrance. For good luck, you can do as the Thais do and buy a bag of 25-satang coins to plink, plink, plink into the pots behind the Buddha. Explore the rest of the large complex, and if you feel like taking a break, pop into the famous '''massage school''' at the eastern side of the temple grounds.
When done, exit through the west gates (behind the Reclining Buddha) and look for signs pointing towards the pier of '''Tha Tien''', which you will find half-hidden past a market alley full of stalls selling dried squid and such. You will see the white spires of '''Wat Arun''' (''Temple of Dawn'') across the Chao Phraya river. Hop aboard the angular little ferry and pay 3 baht (each way) for the trip. Seeing Wat Arun closer from the gardens around it is free, although quite frankly, it looks better from a distance. You will be charged 50 baht if you want to climb up. Note how the decorations of the spires are in fact all made from millions of bits of smashed white porcelain painted with patterns!
Take a breather from the sweltering heat at the hotel swimming pool... or, if you still have energy to burn, go shop in any of the air-conditioned shopping meccas in [[Bangkok/Siam Square|Siam Square]]. Teens will love '''MBK Center''' and women will love '''Siam Paragon''' and '''Emporium''', at least as long as their credit limits allow. Families may like to visit the '''Siam Ocean World''' in Siam Paragon, which sets back a whopping 900 baht for adults and 700 baht for children. All attractions can be found at the '''Siam''' Skytrain station, except Emporium, which is headed at the '''Phrom Phong''' Skytrain station in [[Bangkok/Sukhumvit|Sukhumvit]].
If you're up for more cultural sights, you might want to visit '''Jim Thompson's House''', which you've seen earlier when boating your way through the canal. The former residence of the American expat Jim Thompson is a kind of ideal-house in Thai-style, and a nice escape from the traffic chaos elsewhere in downtown. Entry is 100 baht and it is easily accessed by the '''National Stadium''' Skytrain station. From there, walk 200 meters metres north into Soi Kasemsan 2.
Dine at '''Baan Khanitha''', a fair hike down Sukhumvit Soi 23 from Skytrain '''Asok''' (E5). Excellent Thai food, although the amount of chili is toned down for tourists (just ask, and they'll spice it up if you're brave enough to try!). Particular favorites favourites here are the pomelo salad (ยำส้มโอ ''tam som om'') and roast duck in red curry (แกงแดงเป็ด ''kaeng daeng phet''). Mains mostly range around 200 baht.
Hop on the Skytrain and change trains at Siam for '''Sala Daeng''' station (S2). Follow the crowds a few hundred meters metres down Silom Road and through the street market until you spot the signs of '''Patpong''' to your right. Pick a go-go bar of your liking, perhaps '''King's Castle III''' if you're adventurous and want to see transvestites strutting their stuff. Beers around 70 baht a pop.
[[Image:Statetower.jpg|thumb|350px|Nighttime view from State Tower]]
Dine at '''Bed Supperclub''', a fair hike down Sukhumvit Soi 11 from Skytrain '''Nana''' (E3). A super cool space of pure white where you will lie on futons and dine on a multi-course meal of international fare, complete with a weekly changing floor show. Very ''expensive'' by Bangkok standards though, so expect to pay around 1500 1,500 baht per head with drinks. Reservations are obligatory as there is only one setting daily at 21:00. Feel free to stick around for an active nightlife most days of the week (Wednesday is model night).
Take a taxi to the '''State Tower''' at the western edge of Silom Road, easily spotted thanks to its golden dome, and then ride the elevator to the 63rd floor for the '''Sirocco and Sky Bar''', the world's tallest rooftop bar/restaurant with mind-boggling nighttime views of Bangkok below. Drinks are 400 baht and up, with a live jazz band for free. Take note that there is a dress code: no shorts or sandals.
==Stay safe==
'''Touts''' can be a hassle at many of the better-known tourist sights. Don't trust a single word of unsolicited advice, especially if it involves temples closed for Buddhist holidays, 20-baht tuk-tuk rides and/or their cousin's jewelry jewellery shop. Don't let strangers steer you away from your intended destination.
When taking a taxi, be sure to '''insist on the meter'''. If the driver refuses, or quotes silly prices, just walk out and get a different one, as usually there are plenty of them available. If multiple taxis refuse to take you, or you just want to ride it once, you can take a tuk-tuk, but always '''agree on a price in advance'''.
In the go-go bar zones, beware of touts who try to drag you into the '''upstairs bars''' with offers of ping-pong shows and 100-baht beer. The beer may well be 100 baht, but the "show" you'll be treated to will be 1000 1,000 baht or more. Rule of thumb is, if you can't see inside from street level, the establishment is best avoided.
{{related|Yaowarat and Phahurat Tour}}

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