Mr ae.i and me recently spent some time in France and Germany, visiting our friends and family for the first time ever since we packed our stuff and moved to lil ol’ EnZed two years ago. After a little offline and online research we soon figured out that Thai Airways offered the best price for the round trip. Only drawback: 13 hours transit time in Bangkok. While 50% of us were willing to pay a few more bucks for a faster connection, the other 50% only screamed “I want to go to there!”. That’s how we ended up in Bangkok on a Saturday morning at 5am connecting not earlier than 6pm; perfect for a whirlwind trip through Thailand’s quirky capital.
At first we considered to make use of a travel agency located at Bangkok Airport offering us a Bangkok round trip to several locations of our choice for 5,000 Baht (200 NZ Dollar). While the usual 50% of us already screamed once more “I want to go to there!”, the other 50% seemed to have become a penny pincher – in retrospect a good decision. We finally decided to use public transportation and go on exploring that city with 8 million inhabitants on our own. Sounds scary but was easier than you think. Here is what we did for a total amount of 1,500 Baht (60 NZ Dollar).
Till 7am: “Getting sorted”. Going through immigration to be allowed to leave the airport. Checking all unessential luggage at the airport’s left luggage counter. Finding a Bangkok map and getting an overview of the inner city and the places to visit.
Till 7:30am: “Getting out” (or in). Taking the Airport Rail Link till Phaya Thai (A in the map at the end of this post).
Till 8:30am: “Getting around”. Walking South West towards our first stop, the Temple of Wat Traimit, home of the world’s largest solid gold statue (B in the map; photo1).
Till 11am: “Getting shipped”. Leaving Wat Traimit towards Chao Phraya River and taking the ferry for two stations. Arriving at Wat Pho, also known as Temple of the Reclining Buddha (C in the map; photos 2 – 5).
Till 2pm: “Getting a cultural taste”. Visiting Wat Pho, its temples and buddhas. Walking towards the Grand Palace (D in the map; photo 6) just beside Wat Pho.
Till 3pm: “Getting a culinary taste”. The lack of sleep is kicking in – eating black mulberry ice cream and relaxing at the Phimanchaisri Gate, the main entrance of the Grand Palace, rather than visiting the complex site (probably a day visit).
Till 4pm: “Getting back”. Taking a traditional Tuk Tuk to get back to Phaya Thai (A). Taking the Airport Rail Link back to Suvarnabhumi Airport. Passing immigration. Picking up our left luggage and checking in to our connection flight.
I hope this gives a good overview of what is actually manageable to get a taste of Bangkok. Don’t spend your transit time at Suvarnabhumi if you got more than 12 hours but head into town. It’s worth it!