Disclaimer: Prices may have gone up since 2009
After a fourteen hour flight from Honolulu to Taiwan to Bangkok, we managed to find a taxi and was driven to our hotel near the airport, The Great Residence. The room was clean and we only paid B594 (Thai Bhat), around $40 USD p/ night. This was probably one of the most expensive hotels that we would stay on during that trip. We woke up the following morning around 4:00 a.m. after a deep seven hour sleep. We watched a little Thai t.v. then feel asleep for another hour.
When we finally got up and moving we caught a cab to the bus terminal and found our way to the famous backpacker ghetto, Khaosan Road. It’s a small street about .62 miles (1 kilometer) long. In the market lane you’ll find vendors selling all kinds of foods, clothing, accommodations, restaurants, and even tattoo shops. It’s a point of travel as it’s close to the train station, buses, and inexpensive travel agents who can arrange visas and transportation to the neighboring countries of Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Vietnam. During the night Khaosan Road turns into a mecca of bars, music, street vendors, and other backpackers to exchange stories.
Our first night we stayed in a low budget hostel that gave us our basic necessities of a roof over our head, clean mattresses, a hot shower, and a mounted television on the wall. When we woke up the following morning at 9:30 a.m. we hit Khaosak Road to do some exploring, and to get our train tickets to Chiang Mai. The Thai people are extremely friendly, and even more so when you try speaking a little bit of Thai, which we had done before we left for our trip. When we made it to the train station, I had one woman come up to me to compare skin color. When she noticed it was about the same color as hers, I got a wide grin and a thumbs up. Our tickets to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, traveling overnight first class on the train was around $25 USD or B841 (Thai Bhat). After getting our train tickets, we went to dinner at Mai Kaidee’s Vegetarian Restaurant. We had amazing Thai food, and a beer for B320 or $6 USD for the both of us.
Bangkok is famous for the Golden Palace, which we hit the next day. We started at 7:00 a.m. to get some breakfast then we caught the #53 to the Golden Palace. The famous Emerald Buddha is located at the palace with an interesting history. The Buddha is over two hundred years old and thought to be a mold until one day a piece chipped off reveling the emerald underneath. The Grand Palace sits on 219,000 kilometers and costs about B350 p/ person for entrance. We spent several hours photographing the architecture, murals, statues, details, it was so large that we start at 8:30 a.m. and left at 12:00 p.m. After spending four and a half hours photographing and touring the grounds, we still didn’t cover everything. After the Grand Palace we walked over to Wat Pho and saw the famous Reclining Buddha.
We caught the #53 bus back to Kaosan Road and found some pizza and beer before heading to the train station. Which was great, because the pollution in Bangkok left us with black mucus just two days of staying there. We boarded the train at 5:30 p.m. Food and beer was expensive on the train, but the sleeping accommodations where was pleasant, and we slept through the night for the most part. The toilets consisted of holes in the trains floor boards. You do your business and it falls on the tracks. I guess it’s biodegradable.