If you are using Bangkok as a gateway to Asia and have a connecting flight the next day then you can do no better than staying at the Airport hotel operated by Novotel. it’s actually in the same building. You can either get a shuttle which gets you there in 2 mins or do as we do and that’s walk the basement air-conditioned corridors to reach the hotel lobby. The walk is welcome after a 12 hour flight from Heathrow.
You can stay in the hotel for a few hours or overnight, either way its a refreshing break after a long hauler. It’s a large hotel with a super pool located on the fourth floor. With a swim up bar I can tell you that the first drink is heaven…..and you really wouldn’t know you were so close or on the airport.
There are a range of eating places such as the pool bar, cocktail bar, Chinese and Japanese restaurants and an all you can eat buffet for both breakfast and dinner. You can not go wrong. If you have time a half hour £35 taxi fare will get you down to the river or downtown… taxis are located on the ground floor G8 if going straight from the airport. Most taxi drivers speak a little English and most are keen to tell you they support Manchester United or Chelsea.
If you are staying for a few days the best location is on the river and even better right by a pier as then you can link to the ferry or canal boats. Shangri La Hotel is by Sathorn Pier, a train station and of course has access to taxis and tuk tuks.
When trying to visit major sites such as the Golden Palace or Wat Pho beware the locals! they might suggest that the Palace is closed as it’s a ‘bank holiday’ or ‘festival day’ when in fact they want to guide you to somewhere else to spend your money, but tough it out!
For local short runs take a tuk tuk which is like sitting on the back of a wasp racing to sting somebody…its fun and cheap. Make sure you make it clear that you want to go straight to your destination and not via a gem or silk store. Most trips are about 2/300 baht or less. Pink taxis are relatively expensive – same trip would cost 700 baht.
On the water a private long boat can be hired for about an hour at £35, these will take you along the klongs (canals) to catch a glimpse of a quieter Bangkok life.
But if you merely need to move up the Chao Prayar river a public ferry for several stops is 20 baht….from these stops you can easily see Chinatown, the Golden Temple and Wat Arun.
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