Bangkok – Ao Nang, Krabi – Patong, Phuket
We booked our Thailand holiday with Experience Travel in June 2011. Friends recommended Experience as an excellent Agent to build a great custom Thailand holiday and we weren’t disappointed. All images included here taken during our holiday.
We wanted to see Bangkok and see friends who are currently living in the city but also the beaches of Krabi and Phuket. We eventually decided on four nights in Bangkok, six in Ao Nang, Krabi and seven nights at the busy Patong beach, Phuket. The Phuket location was the only part of our itinerary we changed from Experience Travel’s original proposal which was at the quieter Nai Yang area in northern Phuket.
We flew from London, Heathrow at 21:20pm on the 9th February 2012 during a snow storm. A short delay due to de-icing the plane prior to take-off was stressful, but luckily the weather held off and we escaped a cold and icy UK.
Itinerary summary – 9th – 27th February 2012
- Thursday 9th – Depart London Heathrow
- Friday 10th – Arrive Bangkok
- Friday 10th – Tues 14th Siam@Siam hotel, Bangkok
- Tuesday 14th flight to Krabi
- Tuesday 14th to Monday 20th Red Ginger resort Ao Nang, Krabi
- Monday 20th car to Patong, Phuket
- Monday 20th to Monday 27th Holiday Inn, Patong, Phuket
- Monday 27th flight to Bangkok and then on to London, Heathrow.
We loved Bangkok and felt quite safe exploring the city. The Siam@Siam hotel was a great location only a few hundred yards from the National Stadium Skytrain station and only one stop away from the Siam Skytrain hub.
The Skytrain is the best way to get around due to heavy traffic, noise and smog at ground level. Luckily we had Lyn on hand to show us the ropes on our first day.
A massive air-conditioned indoor shopping centre comprising several floors of shops and market stalls. MBK was walking distance from the hotel, or just one stop on the Skytrain. Go upstairs for a vast range of electronics or the east end for the smaller stalls and knock-off brand names. Remember to haggle nicely. Various restaurants and cafes, we ate at Sumo on the bottom floor, excellent food.
Further east past MBK are more upmarket shopping malls. Very nice, though for us rather too similar to UK, European and US malls. We preferred spending many happy hours exploring and getting lost in MBK.
Saphan Taksin and the Chao Phraya express boats
The National Stadium Skytrain station just outside Siam@Siam is on the “S” (green) line and a simple 20 minute journey takes you to Saphan Taksin (S6) and the Central Pier on the Chao Phraya providing river access to many Bangkok attractions. Just follow the crowds down the steps from the Skytrain to the pier. Note there are rest rooms in the park at the bottom of the steps.
Both times the pier was extremely busy, but note you can just queue and buy tickets on the boat. The ferries vary from smaller, extremely busy local services (cheaper but stop more regularly) to the larger more comfortable tourist boats stopping at only the major piers and attractions. These are more expensive, but less packed as the locals tend not use them.
An extremely busy network of markets and stalls. Chinatown was only a couple of stops from Saphan Taksin heading north (boats travelling left to right when standing on Saphan pier). We really enjoyed the markets, well worth a visit.
If you continue past Chinatown you can reach the major attractions. We didn’t go to the Wat Arun temple, this is on the west side of the river. However, there were good views from the ferry.
Further on is the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo. This is a must see. Although after leaving the ferry we got lost finding the entrance, luckily we were not accosted by any shady characters insisting the Palace was closed or the famous pushy pigeon food sellers – as many Internet sites warn. Quite disappointing really.
We engaged a guide just outside the entrance turnstiles and he gave us an excellent tour of the amazing range of buildings.
Jim Thompson house
Whilst Thai architecture isn’t our cup-of-tea, we decided to visit Jim as it was so close to the Siam@Siam. Out of the hotel, turn left towards MBK and it’s the second small Soi on the left. In all, less than 10 minutes walk.
The house turned out to be a quiet, green oasis and welcome relief from the city. Some great photo opportunities and a tour which was intriguing, showing just what an interesting character Jim Thompson was.
State Sky bar
This was our highlight of Bangkok. Thanks to Lyn, Chris and the boys for taking us to see the sunset from the skybar. Beware drinks are extremely expensive but worth it for the view.
The stunning Sky bar at Sirocco is suspended in the sky on the 63rd floor of The Dome at State Tower, the Sky bar is one of the world’s highest open air bars, overlooking a panoramic view of Bangkok and the Chao Phraya river. The State Tower is located just north of Saphan Taksin, though we went by car so not sure of the best route.
Due to limited time in Bangkok, we didn’t have time to explore the huge number of Soi’s off Sukhumvit or the nightlife the city is famous for. Sukhumvit shows the seedier side of Bangkok. We stumbled across Soi Cowboy by accident having made a wrong turn leaving the Cabbage & Condoms restaurant (highly recommended).
Three full days to explore Bangkok was just about right for us. We would have liked more time to see Wat Pho (the reclining Buda) and the numerous other attractions, but the beach was calling.
We had a great time in an excellent hotel. Our enduring memory of this busy city was despite the heavy traffic and frequent jams how patient and relaxed drivers were. None of the stress, aggression, tempers or cut-throat manoeuvres normally seen in London.
We never did get to ride a tuk-tuk, with the heavily traffic, the Skytrain always seemed the more relaxing option.
Maybe next time.
Next – On to Ao Nang and Krabi province
I hope you enjoyed this diary. If you did please let me know.