A week prior to the trip I started the checklist for my travels only to stumble on the main item at the top of the list.... Passport was no where to be found, the house turned upside down and the trip less than a week away panic started to set in and thought of whether I was going to make that plane from Heathrow to Bangkok were running through my head. A trip to Durham passport office and 120 pounds later I had a new passport in my hand within 3 hours....not a good start to the trip!
First stop Bangkok, a usual starting point for many travellers in SE Asia. Quantas flight with endless food and drinks and a good selection of movies on demand made a comfortable flight over to bangkok. Arrived at the airport with lonely planet book (South East Asia on a shoestring) firmly in our hands and an over whelming amount of touts trying to get us in to a taxi for extortionate prices. We eventually settled for a local taxi for 600 baht to the famous backpacker area Khao San road. 2nd time round more traveller knowledge we took the sky train into the centre and caught a local bus to Khao San costing us less than 60 baht.
Khao San is backpacker central, flashing neon lights, tuk tuk drivers, people trying to sell suits and many bars and restaurants to get those thai baht flowing. Having visited Bangkok 3 times during my visit around Asia I can clearly say this city grows on you the more time you spend there. Khao San on the first visit didn't impress us and came a bit of a culture shock you could say, maybe it was the fact we hadn't seen as dirty place as this before but having travelled to many of the cities around asia, the 3rd visit to Bangkok it seemed rather clean. No matter what people say about Khao San road its a must visit in Bangkok, you can sometimes forget that your in a city that boasts a population of 12 million. A quieter more chilled out option is soi rambuttri just off Khao San and also some of the surrounding soi's (small streets) offer an escape from the pumping music where you can watch live music shows that play nightly.
New joes guesthouse was our first accommodation in bangkok for 165 baht - very basic private room
Feel at home backpackers 250 baht on second visit close to Khao San road - dorm room nice place
A visit to Soi cowboy was an eye opener, a small street full of strip clubs and working women where the sex tourists come in volume, quite an experience! Also on our first visit was a trip to the thai boxing stadium where we watched the thai champion fight for 1800baht which was quite expensive even for some front row seats, worth a visit although it can be found cheaper else where in places such as Chiang Mai. The biggest sky bar in Bangkok was a must do and it did not disappoint 250baht to get up and a rotating platform that gives you a 360 panorama around the skyscraper filled skies. On 2nd visit having seen Hangover 2 we ventured to the sirocco sky bar where it was filmed which was another highlight although the drink prices aren't quite on a backpackers budget, 320baht for a beer, we made it last... The quickest way of getting around Bangkok is the sky train, fast and inexpensive. Try to avoid the tuk tuk scam where you pay a small fee for the ride but they will take you to all the places you don't want to go such as tailors and travel agents, we fell victim to this first time, seems a scam that happens a lot speaking to other travellers.
As bangkok was my first and last stop i took the opportunity to get a tailored suit at the highly rated Crown Tailors, although more expensive than the cowboys on Khao San they did a brilliant job. 220 pounds for a suit and 4 shirts. You get what you pay for....
Bangkok grows on you as you discover more and is my favourite city in SE Asia