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Bangkok, Thailand Part One...No Noodle Shop For Me

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Over the years I've heard friends talk about the "Amazing", "Exotic" and "Very Affordable" city of Bangkok, Thailand. I've also heard them talk about the night life, debauchery and "Anything Goes" mentality...Ping Pong balls and all (not explaining that). Unfortunately, I decided a long time ago that if anything debaucherisitc was taking place past 8pm...then it's simply, well...getting too close to my bedtime.

Bangkok, Thailand Temple

I am sure that I've missed out on quite a bit of excitement in my life when friends have implored me to join them for an all- nighter' of clubbin' out on Sunset Strip, but seriously, I'd rather watch it in a movie from my comfy little couch.

Bangkok Thailand Bus Stop

Now that you've realized how dull I am, then I must get to the good stuff. Actually, here's where it goes down hill. I hired a taxi for a three hour drive through the countryside of Thailand to take me and a few others to Bangkok. The taxi was not expensive at all. I think it ran about $14 per person, so actually quite cheap. Of course I had to get the cost upfront since I never trust taxi drivers...anywhere (I know, I have issues). Anyway, here I am riding along and waiting for this amazing vista of exoticness to slowly appear over the horizon in all it's Bangkokiness (that almost sounds wrong)....and all I saw was this:

Bangkok Thailand downtown (that never ends)

Forget that I'm behind a camera lens and imagine my little nose pressed up against the cab window peering out as my world has now been crushed. Okay, granted, Bangkok is a big, busy city and it's going to have buildings and cars and stuff, but I had dreamed that everyone lived in a temple lined with gold leaf and burned incense while chanting soothing sounds of meditation and cooking away at their heavenly seasoned dishes (which I planned on being invited over for later). But no. I then saw more of this:

Mall in Bangkok

So after the initial shock of a modern and thriving Bangkok, it's about time to get a hotel. Yes, it's true, I didn't pick a hotel before I got to Bangkok because I figured with the Bangkok prices being cheap and all, that I will just grab one when I got there. After all, I had seen numerous adds for $20 per night hotels on the internet before and what harm could there be in waiting? Well.... some friends in the cab had already picked a hotel for themselves...namely a company linked to the Hilton...and suggested we try there. HILTON?? Wait a minute...I was hoping and thinking about renting a nice room ran by an old married couple that could be had for, say, $10 per night and it would sit right above their Noodle shop on some side street. After all, I've done that sort of thing in Paris when I was younger.

Modern Meets Traditional in Bangkok

Finally, after what seemed to be hours of driving through city traffic, we ended up pulling into a very, very upscale business hotel area which showcased hotels that I would never book. Too many bell hops running around opening doors for Bentely's and Limo's...this doesn't look good. Here's where "Evil Billy" comes back in. "Let's check out the prices, it can't be that bad", he says to my scowling face. I noticed the name of the hotel was "The Conrad" (sniff, sniff) as the incredibly friendly front desk attendant began typing on an ultra modern computer system (flinching from the crystal chandeliers glistening off the counter) and diligently trying to find "Our best available rate".  What do you know...$200 per night...bless her heart. WHAT?? I glare at my nemesis. He looks back and me and states "I'm tired, it's not that bad". WHAT?? I bristled again. Sadly, he then pulls his "I get to make the decision at least once a year" card out and after I instinctively played defiant again for 30 seconds, I gave in. Okay, Okay, so $200 per night is not that bad, but people, when you're traveling for three months. you don't want to spend it all in one place...and $200 in Bangkok is like $700 in the states. By the way, this was our view from Le "Conrad".  Hmmm....?

View from the Conrad Hotel in Bangkok

To Be Continued...


Anonymous said...

Love your blog and your writing style, Luther. Thanks for posting the link on Cruise Critic on our Asia - February 20, 2010 - Quest thread. CAPinBoynton

Luther Bailey said...

Thank you very much! :-)

Anonymous said...

Picked up your blog from Fodors, just love it, will be able to discover a lot of new things when we go back to Bangkok in July
Thanks a lot Luther
Evelyne from Quebec

Luther Bailey said...

Hi Evelyne! Thank you so much for reading! I will try to keep adding countries each week. There's a lot of writing and photos left to add. :-)
Thanks again!

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