Bangkok was nothing new to us. It was my 5th visit to the city and Katy’s 3rd. It was simply our entry point to Thailand.
I wanted to do some sightseeing though, as it’s something I’ve always neglected on previous visits, usually just passing through to somewhere else.
For various reasons, this didn’t quite go to plan.
Firstly, we arrived just after the prime minister had been removed from power, but before the coup. So protests were still in full swing. Staying around Khao San Road, where the only way to get anywhere is taxi or bus, we ended up being a bit blocked off.
For example we’d never been to Chinatown in Bangkok and set out one night to do so, but it proved impossible – every road the taxi tried to turn down there was a roadblock. In the end he gave up, asked us to get out and didn’t charge us.
We tried to walk, but ended up walking through the protest camp and decided to turn back. It was a weird atmosphere, not scary but everywhere was quite quiet.
Luckily we did manage to see 2 places I’d not seen before – Wat Pho and Wat Arun, as luckily they are easy to get to by riverboat.
Both were beautiful but we preferred Wat Arun, though it was quite a climb!
The other reason we struggled to do much was because I got ill.
The day before we left Manila I got very bad food poisoning, which kept me up all night. Luckily I was able to fly and did actually feel a bit better when we got to Bangkok, but it didn’t last.
As soon as I ate something I felt incredible abdominal pain for hours, and it would get worse all through the night. Eventually the pain started to centre around my appendix, and I was scared I would have to have it removed, at great cost, in a foreign country.
I was all ready to visit a hospital but read online about a free clinic, which was helpfully located in Thanon Rambuttri, 2 minutes walk from where we were staying.
It was only open 5pm-9pm so I got in there as soon as it opened and waited for a while. Despite the touristy area, I was the only non Thai person in there.
To my relief the doctor did not think it was appendicitis, more just the lingering symptoms of a bacterial infection. I was given some tablets to calm my stomach down and also some pain relief. As they are a free clinic, they rely on donations, so I gave 300 baht as it was more than worth it to get a professional diagnosis.
Luckily after a day the tablets did do their job and I was feeling much better. It had meant an extra day in Bangkok but it was worth it. By this point we’d had more than enough of the city, and were ready to head south.
A note on Khao San Road
The premier backpacking mecca of Asia, KSR is the first place I saw when I first went travelling on my own. It was a great place to meet people, and a place for bargains. Not any more (in my opinion)
It seemed really unfriendly this time. Everyone sits around in groups of 2 or 3, and ignore everyone else. No-one talks to each other.
And the prices. Wow. The bars on the street are a total rip off, you can get a beer for half the price one road across. The clothes vendors refuse to haggle now, and laugh in your face if you counter their obscene prices. Why? Because someone else will pay it. I was looking for a pair of swimming shorts, and was continually quoted prices of 400-550 baht. The same pair were on sale in Krabi for 180 baht.
However we’ll still probably end up staying there again at some point, simply because I know the area and the rooms are cheap. Would be open to trying somewhere else but Bangkok is such a massive city. Any ideas?
Where We Stayed
For 2 nights we stayed at Rikka Inn, on KSR itself. It’s a good place if you get a deal online, like we did, but the walk in rates are a little high. The rooms and clean and decent enough, and the main plus is it has a rooftop swimming pool!
The second 2 nights we stayed at Lamphu House, on Soi Rambuttri. I’ve stayed here about 5 times over 5 years now and it hasn’t changed a bit, which is a good thing. Very clean rooms at reasonable prices. 670 baht for a AC room, 800 for one with a balcony. It’s usually always full but because of the protests, hardly anyone was around this time!