Over a year ago we were looking for a destination for our February holiday. After some surfing we found and interesting deal for Bangkok. We are used to travel from one location to another during our holidays, but this time we chose to stay in one hotel. Chakrabongse Villas seemed the perfect place to spend a week.
Bangkok: General info
Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand, and is located along the Chao Phraya river, which flows into the Gulf of Thailand. The river is one of the most important traffic routes through the city. If you combine the 7 million citizens with the fact that it is the most visited city in the world, you can just imagine it is always extremely busy here.
Rama I founded the city in 1782, and it is now one of the most visited cities in the world. The bustling city has a very popular nightlife scene, lots of museums, temples and palaces. There are lots of parks and it is a foodies’ paradise.
The city is divide into a number of districts:
- Thonburi: This district used to be the capital of Thailand and was called Ban Kok at the time. When Rama I moved to the other side of the river, he took the name with him. It was only as recent as 1932 when the first bridge was built between the two parts, and Thonburi only became part of Bangkok in 1971. The most important attraction is the temple Wat Arun.
- Old City: This is the historic centre of the city with a lot of temples. You will find beautiful examples of Thai architecture, with the Royal Palace and What Po as the main attractions.
- Chinatown: The Chinese used to live in the area that is now the Old Town. When Rama I moved, they moved too. The hustle and bustle never ends here. There is always a traffic jam in Yaowarat and Charoen Krung, the main roads, and traders are side by side in the small alleyways. Nearly every street has a Chinese temple. Cycling through this area is highly recommended.
- Dusit: This is the quiet part of the town. Wide streets, parks and historical buildings form the streetscape. This part of the city has been designed after a European model, and is still the royal district with Dusit Park, the current royal palace, the royal museum and Wat Benchamabophit (the marble temple) as the main attractions.
- Modern City:The trade centre of the city was established in the 19th century. There are a lot of shopping malls here and you can find many traces of colonial times in the old Farang quarter.
Travel to Bangkok
My husband managed to book us affordable business class tickets. Once again, we flew with British Airways from Amsterdam, via Heathrow, to Bangkok. The second flight takes nearly 12 hours, so it is a great thing that your chair can recline back fully. If you can sleep 8 hours during your flight, you will arrive fairly well-rested. And it is great that you get to use the “fast lane” everywhere, which means delays at passport control and security checks are kept to a minimum.
Downtown Bangkok we prefered the TucTuc over a taxi. Ofcourse a TucTuc is bit more expensive, but it's more authentic and goes much faster because they zigzag through traffic jams. Although they are more expensive, they are still rather cheap. Negotiate about the price because drivers cheat you with a smile.
Hotels in Bangkok
Nowhere else has as many hotels as Bangkok, ranging from the super cheap hostels to the extreme high-end hotels. We fell for the charms of the small boutique hotel Chakrabongse Villas. This royal residence lies on the banks of the Chao Phraya and has a fantastic view of Wat Arun. Wat Pho and the royal palace are only a few minutes’ walk away. It really is a top location.
Food in Bangkok
Thailand is worth a visit, if only because of the food. And it is super cheap. We ate street food every day, and you have a beautiful meal and a drink for less than 5 euro per person per day.
.Most Thai houses don’t have a kitchen because you can find food stalls on every corner of the street (and everywhere in between). It is not fancy at all, you sit at a wobbly table on a plastic chair, but it is safe (read hygienic). I have personally tested this. I have very sensitive digestive system, but I ate this lovely food twice a day, and guess what, no problems at all.
Streetfood as a culinary delight
There are two places the real foodies should not miss.
- Jay Fai: The owner, Fai, is also called the Queen of Thai Street Food. Her crab omelette is so special that she received a Michelin star for it in December 2017. So if you want to have Michelin-starred food on a budget, this is where you go.
- Thipsamai: 50 meters down the road they serve the best Pad Thai in Bangkok. Especially the version with the large shrimp and egg is delicious. And don’t let the price of the food keep you away, a meal for 2 people cost us 18 euro.
Tip: Join the others outside half an hour before opening, so you are assured of a seat. Do not be discouraged by the long queue, as they wok at high speed.
Another collection of stalls can be found on the corner of the street, they sell lovely satays and other treats.
You will find food stalls at the entrance of the Erawan shopping centre in the modern part of the city. They sell, among other things, Pad Thai, noodles with prawns, satay and heavenly smoothies.
Try besides the famous dish Pad Thai a Thai Omelet and taste sticky rice with mango as a desert. My youngest is addicted to both dishes.
There is obviously a lot more to do in Bangkok besides eating. You will read more about thisin my 4 day itinerary.
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