Bangkok Looks Better in the Dark

We’re not going to beat around the bush about our sub-par experience in Bangkok.  From the moment we de-planed and entered into one of the dank terminals of DMK, we knew we were not in Kansas anymore (and by Kansas, I mean Singapore).

Once we were through customs and had retrieved our luggage, we “hailed” an Uber & made our way to the Eastin Grand Hotel. From DMK it was about a 45 minute ride.  The drive went by quickly as we stared out our respective windows in awe at the juxtaposition of Bangkok’s sky line; modern high rises casting shade on countless dilapidated apartment buildings.  Once we arrived at our hotel we were able to check in and head up to our room.

The Eastin Grand Hotel was in a good location and a major selling point was the accessibility to the sky train.  The hotel had a sky bridge connection to the metro station, so by just exiting through the proper floor, you were basically in the train station across the street.  The hotel was also a neighbor to the Blue Elephant Cooking School & was only one metro stop away from the Chao Praya River (where you can catch a boat down the river to the Grand Palace & other stops in between).  The hotel also had a rooftop pool, but we didn’t have enough time to make use of it.

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We knew from the minute we landed in Bangkok it would not be our favorite place, but we had to make the most of our limited time there.  We changed our clothes & headed out with the intent to check out Chinatown before catching the sunset from one of the many acclaimed sky bars.  In theory, this plan sounded great until we found ourselves in the midst of Bangkok’s Chinatown. Gaaaahhhhhhh. The smell, the smog, the crowds, the puddles, the flies.  It was a perfect storm of awful.

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where’s waldo? Bangkok edition

We stumbled upon a Starbucks and decided to sit down and collect our thoughts/plan of attack for the rest of the evening.  Thank G, they served beer.
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We indulged in a few libations before we decided to move the cocktail party to a rooftop bar.  Our hotel concierge advised us that we should insist our cab driver use the meter to calculate our fare, instead of bartering for a flat rate.  Well, good luck finding a driver willing to run their meter for you!  After climbing in and out of the back of three different cabs, we finally succumbed to a negotiated  fare so as not to waste anymore of the evening.

Some quick googling revealed we weren’t dressed accordingly to go to the bar from the Hangover movie , so we asked our cab to bring us to a different sky bar to catch the sun setting over Bangkok.  The sun set & moon rose an EON before our cab made it’s way through gridlock traffic at rush hour.  We were in this cab so long we thought we’d be able to watch sunrise from the sky bar.

Once we arrived at Octave Rooftop Lounge we ordered some overpriced, microwaved edamame & two glasses of wine, which we downed quicker than normal.  From this rooftop perch we both agreed that Bangkok looks better in the dark (and from 45 floors up).

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We called it a night after one glass & headed back down to street level to hail another cab.  Some kind soul advised us that it would take 1/10th the time to get back to our hotel via the metro, so we took their advise and boarded the sky train that was LITERALLY like a massive group hug.  As I burrowed my face into the armpit of a strange man, I observed his wife having a full on claustrophobic panic attack.  I could empathize as I was on the verge of a similar episode.  Per usual, Brigette talked me off the ledge and we were back in the luxurious confines of our hotel room in no time at all.

Before resting our heads for the night we took turns trying to rinse Bangkok’s stench from our hair and exfoliate it’s grit from our bodies.  Catch ya on the flip side, Bangkok.

 

8 Comments

  1. Lena Drevermann

    August 11, 2016 at 6:42 am

    I have mixed feelings about Bangkok. On one side I am totally hyped about the busy and hot atmosphere, the LIFE that is happening everywhere and I love it. On the other side I feel I am getting pushed through the sticky smelly hot air like in slow motion; like you can FEEL the air and the smog and it´s slowing you down. But then you have a cold beer and it’s great again. I am totally borderline about Bangkok 😀

    I never have been on a roof top bar there though; next time! Looks amazing!

    1. sarah.mamis@gmail.com

      August 12, 2016 at 2:25 am

      Lena! LOL. I know what you mean! It’s a mesmerizing place, but ultimately my lungs & stomach just can’t get on board!

  2. Thais

    September 25, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    I’m sorry, I laughed. I’ve never been to Bangkok, and now I’m not so sure I want to, but your post was funny. Well, we all have that kind of days, don’t we?

  3. neha

    September 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Quiet a narrative..love the details of your post. Bangkok is of course a mix of a destination!

  4. Monica

    September 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Sorry to read that Bankok wasn’t that memorable for the right reasons. I think I must be one of the few Aussies who hasn’t been to Thailand, so I can’t comment from the perspective of having been there myself. However, reading your entry, I’ll make a note of all that you mentioned when I do head there one day.

    That’s such a shame about the smog. It really does affect the enjoyability of a holiday when you’re struggling to breathe! Haha I think it’s also saying something when it’s “better in the dark”. I hope your next travel experience is a lot more fruitful!

  5. Agnes

    September 25, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    I agree, Bangkok looks better during the night. I also visited the city for a few days and would say it is not my favourite places either. I am not so attracted to the numerous huge buildings all around and prefer nature. That’s why I like the place more at night when all the buildings light up and you can enjoy the view from a rooftop bar.

  6. Úna-Minh

    September 25, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I was only in Bangkok once but like you, wasn’t overly taken with it. It felt weirdly claustrophobic and just too busy. I think next time I’m in Thailand I’ll venture away from major cities!

  7. Janine

    November 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    That is really a shame that you had a sub-par experience in Bangkok. I loved the city and was able to get a lot out of it! At least you found a familiar face in Starbucks to enjoy while you were there 🙂

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