By Matt Preston
After our ‘Ko Sahn Road’ experience a week before we decided to steer clear of that tourist trap and found a cute little guest house just a few minutes away from the train station.
Baan huelong guesthouse. A shabby but cheap place to stay down a quiet alleyway. There’s a few guesthouses down there with ‘Your Guesthouse’ opposite. Our double room was huge and while a bed made from concrete probably would have been softer than our mattress, we did enjoy our stay.
We headed in to Chinatown for a look around. The riverside area is currently flooded with waves lapping at shop doorways and Venice style platforms that help you access entrances. We originally looked to stay in this area at the River View Guesthouse but access was almost impossible and rooms relatively expensive for backpackers.
The main drag of Chinatown is bustling with street sellers, jewelery shops and products claiming to be edible. As with most China towns in the world there’s an abundance of massive neon signs adorning every shop and hotel.
It’s easy to get a tuk tuk in Bangkok but. It’s easier, more comfortable and much MUCH cheaper get a metered taxi. Costing one third of the price without the face full of fumes. Tuk Tuks are definitely a tourist trap that, if you’re on a budget or just don’t like getting ripped off, are worth avoiding.
Wat Pho, Bangkok’s most famous landmark was next on the agenda. This collection of temples, monuments and Buddha statues is mightily impressive with every building almost blindingly sparkling I’d you’re there around midday. Most tours of tourists head straight for the famous ‘reclining Buddha’ but it’s worth taking a walk around the complex where it’s much more quiet. Rows and rows of sitting buddhas along with quirky top hat wearing statues are worth checking out.
Of course seeing the reclining Buddha is a must. This enormous statue relaxes against a pillow that stands 15 metres high with the Buddha a whopping 46 metres long. The statue was built before the temple it now resides in. It’s gold leaf makes the statue glow under the artificial lighting like a giant jewel.
Bangkok is a great place to visit but we were eager to save money and get back to the more rural life we had enjoyed so much while trekking in Chiang Mai. Bangkok is still cheap for a flying visit but when money is tight it’s time to move on.
A quick visit to the famous silk trader, Jim Thompson’s house. An American who moved to Bangkok in 1945, fell in love with the place and built up not only an impressive business but also an amazing collection of Thai artifacts and wooden houses, now perfectly preserved and well worth a visit.
I’d recommend Bangkok if you enjoy visiting cities of the world. It’s pristine MRT system doesn’t have many stops but will get you around the centre at least. Guesthouses are plentiful so you can stay relatively cheaply. The temples and golden palace are a must too but if you get the chance to get out of the city I say go for it!
Win a 15 day overland tour of Thailand for 2 people. Worth over $2000!