This is a post I wrote in March 2014 over my trip to Pattaya. I recently came across it and wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!
You take my breath away every time I visit. From your yummy Phad Thai to your insane amount of motorbikes, I absolutely adore thee!
Okay, so that is how I feel whenever I visit Thailand. With the exception of the time when none of my bank cards worked and I had to cut my holiday short, I have always had a fun time in Thailand.
I had 9 days in Thailand this trip. To get from Don Muang airport to the BTS rail line, you pay 30 Baht onboard and take the A1 bus which stops outside the airport. It drops you off at Mochit station. The first day after checking in I went straight to my salon and had my braids done. 2000 baht and 5 hours later I was out and walking around Sukhomvit. My salon is Nual Salon in Pratunam Market. It is on Soi Land Indhra. Take the Ratchetewi or Ratchaprarop metro exits and walk for about 10 minutes towards the market. The Citin hotel is on the street located behind Nual’s salon. It is like a mini Africa in this area! Her number is 660878289407. She sells braids and relaxers as well. I brought my own from home, so just used mine.
Day two I went on a Buddha hunt. There is a quarter billion dollar golden statue of Buddha that I had to see with my own two eyes (or 4 since I wear glasses). To get there, take the Hua Lomphong exit to the rail station. From there, walk SW for about 10 minutes. The Traimit Golden Buddha is on top in a special room. You can buy tickets at the kiosk downstairs around the corner, or pay 40 Baht at the entrance. Remember, no shoes inside the temple and remember to cover your knees and shoulders! I walked with a sarong and scarf and just tied that around my waist and shoulder.
Now after admiring this marvel of a statue I decided to venture over to the rowdy backpacker scene… aka, Khao San. You can catch bus 53 from Hua Lomphong to Khaosan. It is about 4km away. But be warned, the buses run late and there is always traffic! I waited for over 40 minutes before I just called a taxi! It should only be about 50 Baht from Hua Lomphong to KhaoSan in a cab, but due to the traffic, I paid 100! Anyways, once I finally arrived (and btw, I went during elections so lots of roads were barricaded due to protests), I walked around and looked for cheaper places to stay. I booked my hotel on Agoda so got a deal (Hope Land Residences, not to be confused with their suites which is in the opposite direction… I totally did!), but wanted to stay in Khao San for a bit.
You can find hostels from 300B with shared bathrooms and bunk beds or get a hotel with a private bath and room for 1100 Baht. Since I decided that I wasn’t in the mood to be sociable, I opted for the private. That is a higher price but you can find some private rooms for 800. I stayed at the Pannee Lodge which was right around the corner so I didn’t hear much noise.
Another way to get to Khao San if you don’t take the bus or taxi is via boat. From Hua Lomphong take the metro to Silom. From Silom transfer over to Saphan Taksin and take the boat from the pier. The orange flag cost 15 baht to the Phra Athit Pier. Keep your mouth closed unless you want to taste the wonderful waters of Bangkok’s canal! The boats run from 6:50am-10:00pm daily. But due to protests, they, as well as buses stopped earlier that day. So I hitched a ride in a cab with an elderly Argentine expat living there and went back to Hua Lomphong.
My third day wrapped up with me doing some dental work! Eek! I hate going to the dentist! But it is cheaper here and to me better than in Malaysia. I go to Asoke Montri Dental in Asok. Take the Sukhomovit metro and exit at gate 2. From there, stay right and walk for about 10 minutes. Asoke Montri is on the right next to Asok Place hotel. The cost for 3 fillings, 4 shots of novocaine and a cleaning =4500 Baht.. or about 115 USD! I have to return to take out my 2 wisdom teeth next visit.
Day four involved an early morning start over to Pattaya. You can take bus 53, if it ever shows up, or hire a taxi for about 55 baht to Hua Lomphong. You buy the ticket the day of travel and the train from Bangkok to Pattaya leaves at 6:55 am. It cost 31 Baht for third class travel and you sit wherever. The train stops for about 3 minutes at all stops along the way. The three and a half hour ride is quite an experience. Once you arrive in Pattaya you are greeted by either motorbike taxis or songthews (taxis in the trucks beds, also known as Baht bus). I took the songthew to Pattaya beach as it only costed me 30Baht and was dropped off in front of Central Festival Mall along the beach.
I hadn’t booked anything so I just walked around until I found somewhere that was in my price range. The third place I looked at, Pupraya on Soi 8, was only 800 Baht per night, or if you stay for more than 3 nights the price is 700 and you get refunded that extra dinero! Not a bad deal I thought. It is about a 5 minute walk to the beach and there was cable with over 6 different languages. I kept watching the Dutch station to see if my language skills were still ok (it isn’t, regrettably).
After staying in Pattaya for a couple of days I decided to venture over to Jomtien Beach. It is about 3 km away and cost 10Baht on the baht bus to get there. It isn’t as crowded as Pattaya and you can definitely see it is more family orientated. No hoochie mamas there!
Also costing 10 baht is a trip over to the bus terminal from Pattaya Beach. The cost from Pattaya back to Bangkok via bus costs 124 Baht, and the buses run daily and every 30 minutes from 4:30am-10pm. You purchase your ticket the day of travel. I hired a private taxi to don Muang Airport instead. That costed 1500 baht from the travel booth near my hotel. (Some places in Jomtien were only 1400 to DM. Also, to Suvaranbhumi airport the main airport in Bangkok, is only about 1200 Baht). Although expensive, it was convenient as they picked me up right from the hotel and took me straight to the airport, about 2 and a half hours away. The taxi stopped along the way so I could get some food.
In total I spent 900 USD between travel costs, hair and dental, hotels, and food. I didn’t even buy any souvenirs! To me that is too much, but still considerably under my 1100 USD that I originally budgeted. Next trip I will just do hostels as that will cut my total costs in half. Dining in Thailand is quite inexpensive. I would eat yogurt in the morning, or a Subway sandwich (about 50 Baht). For dinner, I would find something from one of the stalls. Only twice I went to a fancier restaurant. Most of my food costs averaged about 200 baht ( 6 usd). That would include water, Chang or Singha beer and Phad Thai. I drank a lot of water during my trip as I did loads of walking! My other major expense came in massages. I got one of those every night after my daily walk. Those also are around 200 baht.
Happy travels to you all! I hope this could be a guide for you if you have never traveled to Thailand and need step by step instructions on how to get around!