Bangkok was neither as crowded or as gritty as I thought it might be. And I don't know what Khao San Road used to be like but I wouldn't call it dead.

Day 1: Chiang Mai to Bangkok

Our flight was delayed ½ hour but travel went smoothly otherwise. We saw some storks on the drive from the airport. Our taxi to the hotel was more than the estimate the hotel gave us but while 200 baht sounds like a like lot it was … $6. Our driver had to ask someone on the street where the hotel was. And like Chiang Mai, we landed in the midst of a walking street. It was again fun weaving through the crowds with luggage. I’d heard someone say Khao San Road was dead. It’s probably not like it used to be — I wouldn’t know — but to me it had a kind of Spring Break atmosphere. 


We had time to see a little of the city that day so we walked over to Wat Saket (The Golden Mount). The route took us along a broad boulevard, past the Democracy Monument, and down to a river or canals. 

temple on hill

We got to see the sunset on the way back to the hotel. We ate at Buddy Beer down the Khao San Road, past a lot of bars and pot joints. Buddy Beer was a bit calmer, with live music. That we sang along to. With lots of others. 

Day 2: The Grand Palace & Wat Pho

Our first stop today was the Grand Palace. The temple there was the most elaborate we’ve seen yet. And the most crowded, though it was less crowded away from the Emerald Buddha itself. 

temple building

Leaving the Grand Palace we followed signs and the river to Wat Pho. There were persistent tuk tuk drivers everywhere. We got hit with the “temple is closed for two hours scam.” It was very hot and sunny; we ended up buying two bottles of ice cold water from a street vendor. That was a relief.  

temple buildings

Walking back to the hotel was saw our first lizard, a water monitor on a bamboo log in a canal. The motorcycles and old car are downstairs at the Buddy Lodge. 

lizard in trash

We had dinner at Buddy Beer again because we liked it and were too tired to seek out anywhere else. There is surprisingly little coffee around here and not many restaurants that sound that good. We also got water, beer, and cake for breakfast from 7-11. 

swimming pool at night

Day 3: Chinatown

We walked over to the river and caught the tourist boat to Chinatown. We got some nice views from the boat including the Grand Palace from the water and Wat Arun, which we never made it to yesterday since we were hot, tired, and thirsty.

Chinatown didn’t look that different from the rest of Bangkok. There were some uncomfortably crowded alleys. Steve got three pair of swim trunks for 100 baht and we bought a Christmas ornament. 

We took the regular boat back to our neighborhood. It was more crowded than the tourist boat. 

We stopped at the Gastro Kafe one street over from Khao San to have a beer and it was so pleasant we stayed for three. Good people watching. Even Donald does the wai in Thailand. We also checked out where we need to catch our bus at 6:00AM tomorrow. 

There isn’t much of a view from our balcony but we did enjoy watching the birds and bats. And the odd cat on the roof. The bird bottom right — we never got a good look at it — sat in that same spot every night. 

moon over Bangkok
The moon over Bangkok.


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We had planned to stay along the river but switched to the Buddy Lodge to be closer to where we caught the bus out. It was also convenient to the river and Grand Palace, and Wat Pho. We had a good size room and bath. It was only a token balcony but we sat inside with the a/c and looked out the door. There were lots of dining options nearby but none seemed that great. There was a 7-11 across the road where we got breakfast and snacks. 


We ate at Buddy Beer all three nights. The food we had, both Thai and pizza, was pretty good, the beer was cold and reasonably priced, and the service was good. They also had live music, some better than others. 


We took a taxi from the airport and a river boat to Chinatown. Other than that we walked everywhere.