I never did get around to finish documenting my round-the-world expedition from last August. Now that I am on a leave of absence and have some more spare time, I thought now would be a good time to share with readers some pictures from Bangkok, Thailand.
Originally, I was planning on staying in Bangkok for about a week… Since I had so much fun in Tokyo, at the last minute, I switched my flight and extended my stay in Tokyo. So, I didn’t fly into Thailand until August 22… Since my flight to Rome was scheduled for late-night August 23, I really only had a day or so to sightsee Bangkok.
I’m very much a “go with the flow” kind of guy, so when itineraries change or get adjusted, I don’t mind so much. The key was to relax and have fun! I guess I was fortunate to have been traveling alone since I didn’t have to answer to anyone but myself. 🙂
I arrived in Bangkok around noon and the first order of business I had was to check into the hotel. Like always, I rely on my Starwood points to pay for my hotel accommodations whenever possible.
In Bangkok, I stayed at this Westin hotel:
This was a pretty nice and modern hotel… Much nicer than the SPG properties I usually stay at when traveling domestically. But in general, Western-brand hotels overseas are typically newer and more modern than they are back home. I don’t remember exactly, but I think the retail price for a room here is about $100-$150/night. Not too bad!
Here is the inside of my room:
Bangkok, and Thailand in general, are known to be extremely affordable, and that is true if you stick to local cuisine. I was warned not to try street food, as I’ve heard horror stories about people getting sick… What I did, instead, was ask the locals for recommendations to some good food stands. I wanted to find some place reputable and safe.
They steered me over here:
This is what I ended up ordering for 20 baht (~$0.62). It was hearty sized portion of noodles with meat. Probably not the healthiest dish, but it was pretty tasty!
So, if you stick to the local cuisine, your dollar will go very, very, very far! However, if you want to indulge on food from back home, be prepared to pay a steep price.
Starbucks is popular basically everywhere in the world. Bangkok is no exception, and I must have passed by at least two of these within a 5 minute walk.
It was hot and humid, so I wanted a refreshing beverage to wash down my lunch. Just out of curiosity, I stepped inside Starbucks and to my amazement I saw this:
180 baht for a grande special. Yikes! That’s about $5.54… even more expensive than what you would pay back home in the states for a Starbucks drink!
Not surprisingly, I said “No thanks” to Starbucks. Instead, I went upstairs and found a thai tea shop for some good ol’ thai iced tea!
I ordered a large drink for another 20 baht, or $0.62. Not only was the drink delicious, they even gave me this cool container to go with it.
Can you believe a Starbucks beverage will cost you about 9x more than a thai iced tea?!?
Since I didn’t have too much time, I just walked around the strip nearby the hotel. I found Times Square in the process:
Then I had some more food! Although this particular pad thai I ordered wasn’t so great… I do hear that the world’s best pad thai restaurant is located in Bangkok! Unfortunately, I was pressed for time and didn’t get a chance to try it out… I will have to return in the future.
Here’s the so-so pad thai I ended up ordering at a nearby restaurant:
Bangkok is pretty modern. You’ll be able to find many of the brand names you’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the states:
I even found Korea Town… Although the food here was again too pricey! Even though I was on vacation, I still stuck to my guns and avoided overspending too lavishly. Some habits are difficult to break! 😉
Up to this point, the local food was serving me well. So, I decide to try some more of it.
The drinks menu:
I ordered some shrimp fried rice for 50 baht ($1.54) and a mango smoothie for 30 baht ($0.92).
For less than $3.00, I had a pretty satisfying meal! The thai iced tea turned out to be the better choice of beverage, so when I re-visit Thailand, I’m having some more of that.
All-in-all, I didn’t get to see much of Bangkok since I was only really there for a day. Still, it was a good preview and left me really excited about the prospects of returning back here in the future.
I’m a really frugal guy and don’t need to spend much to find happiness. Because Bangkok and Thailand are so cheap, I’m pretty stoked with the idea of living overseas soon! Early FI would be pretty tough to attempt in the Bay Area, but from my own experience in Bangkok, I don’t see why it couldn’t work out there… I was spending less than $3 per meal! The best meal I had was probably the $0.62 fried noodles! 🙂
In the future, I’ll probably want to visit some more beachy areas first, so I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to return to Bangkok… Since I still have the world’s “best pad thai” to try at Thip Samai’s, I definitely do have a reason to come back.
The highlight of my trip to Thailand? Well, it’s gotta be the free massage and flying FIRST CLASS on Thai Airways to Rome! 🙂