The very beginning

We had a day in Bangkok before we headed south into the islands. As this is your main hub for heading into them starting with a 8 hour overnight bus. The day that we was there we didn’t do much tourist activities as we knew we were heading back here after the islands to start our journey north.

SIM card

Similarly, it meant we were spending a lot of time in Thailand so, one of the best decisions we ever made was buying a SIM card. There are so many options about what to buy, what you need it for and can you just get by on Thailand WiFi? But, hands down for me and Luke it was not only our safety net, but a way to contact friends and family, keep up to date with our Instagram and use maps whenever we got lost – which was a lot! We opted to buy with DTAC (we researched what was best on TripAdvisor) and it cost 700baht (£15.50) for 30 days! Don’t get the tourist sim if you’re here for more than a week.

Familiar Faces

After this we met up with our friends, a great couple that we met on our travels to India (we are meeting them again soon!) and spent the afternoon with them before heading to Champaion that evening. We all had plans to see Bangkok’s culture by visiting one of their many beautiful monuments. However, the weather quickly turned into absolute down pour and we all unanimously decided to stay in Khao San Road and shop, drink and eat street food. There was that much heavy rain that whilst we were eating our Pad Thai’s our tent actually collapsed around us! One of the most funniest moments ever!

3 weeks later

We arrived back into Bangkok via our flight from Krabi at 5pm. We hopped straight onto the bus to head for Ko San Road – the backpacker street, where conveniently me and Luke were staying. We were staying in a place called Ko San Palace right in the middle of the strip. We arrived at the hotel, dumped our bags and went straight out for a bite to eat and to hit some bars. This is a great place to meet people (& believe it or not, you will see them again onwards travelling!) We met so many people that night and even indulged in the local Thai delicacy, a scorpion which weren’t even that bad!

Visa Extension

The next 2 days was nothing to write about really as this was the day that we wanted to extend our Thai visa as we would’ve overstated the restriction of 30 days should we have continued travelling north. You have 2 options a) buy an extension online prior to arriving in Thailand or b) go to the embassy and have a very long day of filling out forms and waiting, something we did as we had the days to do it. Also, the second day I had a migraine so we couldn’t do much. We ended the nights with one on Ko San Road again with a couple of drinks and another exploring China Town – not what you would expect but still, a sight to see if you have time. We did have a really nice duck noodles here actually!

Terminal 21 & Red Sky Bar

Our next day we attempted to visit the Royal Palace and the temples as this is a must do here in Bangkok! However, due to the day we were here, they were all closed due to the Thai visiting the king and paying their respects before the cremation. So, we had no choice but to turn back and pop to our hotel to come up with another plan of what to do.

We ventured to a shopping mall called Terminal 21. Despite it mainly being clothes, it was a quaint building with lots of homages to different parts of the world. We saw dedications to San Francisco, Paris, Rome and many more. It was very interesting to see how London was conveyed.

After grabbing some lunch here also, we headed to the Red Sky Bar which although cocktails were expensive at £8 each (with Happy Hour 2 for 1) it was a beautiful way to spend the evening overlooking Bangkok’s wonderful skyline.

Next, we explored the nearby district called Soi Cowboy which is walking distance from this shopping centre. After stumbling upon it we realised what this place mainly was mainly lined with GoGo bars so we quickly exited and headed to Patapong Market. This is a market outlined by GoGo bars again and Ladyboys.

For those a bit confused, a Go Go bar is basically a strip club and then some.. some a little less direct than others however, a great rule of thumb is if you’re a guy and have multiple Thai women around you, chances are you’re in a Go Go bar.

Once walked for a bit, we got some dinner and then got a tuk-tuk back to our hotel.

Floating Market & Tourist Attractions

Today was a busy day, up and out by 7am. We were on our way to the floating market. This is a must do here in Thailand, by no means is it like it used to be, packed with local produce and locals just going about their daily business. But instead, is now full of tourists and souvenirs. Although, this takes away the athsetic of how people used to live, it’s still an experience to enjoy and see a different way of life.

You get taken to what feels like the middle of nowhere about an hour and half drive away from the centre of Bangkok, where you have 2 hours to explore what the locals have to offer. You also must go on the longboat as well for roughly 150baht (£3.40) just to try it from their perspective. Rowing through the markets and people offering you their goods from nearby stalls and other long-tail boats, even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s still amazing to be part of it.

From here we headed home for about 2o’clock and seeing as some of the Thailand monuments were open today we thought we might as well explore seeing as we had the opportunity. First on the list was a UNESCO recognised site called Wat Pho for only 100baht (£2.30). An extraordinary place filled with many stunning temples, pagodas and Buddhas, all complete with their own unique stories. Located in the centre of Bangkok, it is home to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha which is 46m long!

Wat Pho Thailand

The last place we went to visit was Wat Arun, located on the other side of the Chao Phraya River. There’s a boat service that offers you to go from one side to the other for 4baht (.092p if that’s even possible!). This temple was called the Temple of Dawn and was only 100baht (£2.30) to enter. This stunning colourful masterpiece stands sublimely over the water.

From here we tried to make our way home. The reason we say tried was that we grabbed a grab (like Uber but Thailand, excuse the pun!) But managed to only move half a kilometre in an hour and half. So, we got out and walked the rest of the way home. Unknowing to me and Luke, people were rehearsing the King’s ceremony hence the traffic and lines of people sitting on the streets. So, you can imagine how awkward me and Luke felt trying to walk behind them! After this we stayed in the hotel for a bit before returning back out for dinner on Rambuttri Road adjacent to Khao San.

Our last day was a bit hard to organise due to many things not being open or accessible around this time. We decided to head to Lumpini Park. This park was a peaceful atmosphere in the centre surrounded by the chaos of Bangkok. The lake that lies in the middle is a sense of tranquility with pedlo’s and rowing boats on the waters. After some time here we headed home to relax and update our social platforms and getting ready for our welcome meeting at 6pm with Stray.

Stray Asia

Stray is a reputable company that we decided to use when we first began to talk about travelling around South East Asia. It is a tour designed for people who wish to travel around Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and even New Zealand. Many tours are available to adapt to your interests and depending on what you want it to include is the package for you. We purchased a Hop off tour around the area of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Where we had a whole year to do as we please and hop on and off as many times as we like, all provided with (amazing!) English speaking guides to tell you about the histories of the countries, where to go, what to do, where to stay, eat, etc. Tomorrow was our first day with them starting with heading north.

Ayutthaya

Our first stay before Chiang Mai was a day trip to Ayutthaya as here is where we would be getting the overnight train to. It was only 1 1/2 bus journey from Bangkok to a hostel in the centre where we were basically hanging out for the day until our train at 7pm. Even though it was raining, we all didn’t want to miss our on the beauty of the sights in Ayutthaya. All 4 of us rented a bicycle and cycled around the small city stopping off at the many sights it offered the temples and the recycling Buddha.
Side note: They also do elephant riding here, please please do not support this!
From here, we stayed at the hostel until it was time to go to the train station to get our train.

The train was actually lovely (well, it was actually luxury compared to what we were used to in India!). We stayed up chatting for a while and then slept until morning for the next long journey ahead.

Tips:

  • Bicycles are hard to rent around Bangkok unless you apply for a license – you can get one buts it’s more hassle than it’s worth if you’re only here for 3 nights.
  • Download Grab, SE Asia’s ‘uber’ it will save you a lot of money and even sometimes have deals and rewards for money off
  • Ignore Tuk Tuk deals, they’re all scams – just get a price for where you want to go and leave it at that

 

About The Author

Wanderlust Lab is a collaboration between Abbie and Luke for the sharing of travelling knowledge to help backpackers and travellers all across the globe. Live Wanderlust.

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