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Basic Bootstrapping Guide to Backpacking in Bangkok

01.24.08 | admin | In Thai

Same same but different? You’ll see people wearing these T-shirts.  What does it mean?  “Same same” is Thai English for “similar” and “same same but different” means “similar but different”.  Well, you get the idea.

Anyways, this is all you need to know to land in Bangkok as a backpacker.

1.  If you are flying into the international airport you can take a bus into town by taking a free shuttle to a public transit center but if you’d rather take a taxi (recommended for first-time visitors and those arriving later) then find the official taxis which have “taxi meter” on them and get them to use the meter or negotiate a price of 350 to 400 baht which includes any other fees.  If you go to the wrong place you will be hounded by drivers and touts who will jack up the price.  They are currently extending the skytrain out to the airport as well so by the time you read this and go there it may be finished.

2.  Tell the driver to take you to Khao San Road (”Cow Sun”).  Don’t let him take you to any hotel in particular and beware that he will try to tell you that places are full and that he can take you to a good hotel.  Just get to Khao San Road.  Here you can walk around and find a cheap room no problem.

3.  You will see people selling travel books.  This means you don’t have to buy a book on Thailand before you come.  All you need are the directions I’m giving you now.  You should be able to get it pretty cheap.  Just know that they buy the books back for about three dollars.

Here are some of the places I have experience with:
Khaosan Travelers Lodge: they have dorms with A/C for 150 baht.  It’s very popular with Japanese.  It’s in the alley just north of Khao San on Chakraphong.  Even with AC it’s pretty hot.

Nat Guest House: it’s right in the middle of Khao San.  For 180 baht you get a really run down big old fan room.

Kawin Place: 86 Khao San.  For about $10 you’ll get air-conditioning and a desk in a pretty big hotel.  Free WiFi in the lobby that works on the second floor as well.

There is a place in the last alley of Khao San Rd before Th Tanao that has a small boutique guesthouse that is quite zen-like.  If you can find it you will be rewarded.  The fan room has only a few inches of space around the bed but there is WiFi for a fee.

One other place I can recommend is Soi 1 Guesthouse at 220/7 Sukhumvit Soi 1 by the Phloen Chit skytrain station.  This is far from Khao San but much more central to the city.  Very popular with Australians.

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