Back to Bangkok
I got one last Thai motorbike ride in as my friend kindly dropped me off at the airport and then I took the short hour-long flight back to Bangkok. From there, I took a taxi through rush hour traffic (pretty much all day every day in Bangkok) to my hotel in the Sathorn area, a bustling Downtown-ish neighborhood with tons of huge skyscrapers and (as I later found out) very expensive food.
Simple, Decent Lodging
I had elected for a $17/night private room at Cordia Residence Sathorn, located close to many points of interest. The room wasn’t quite as fancy as my $10 Chiang Mai room, but it had everything I needed and nothing I didn’t want (no cockroaches, mold, etc.). It was steps away from the Chong Nonsi SkyTrain stop and walking distance to the Silom and Bang Rak neighborhoods so it was very convenient.
Lunch & Struggles
I walked over to the Bang Rak area from my hotel for lunch. It was the first cloudy, gloomy day of my trip, but I still enjoyed the walk down a busy street past schools, churches, and all kinds of people. I had chosen Muslim Restaurant for the meal and upon arriving realized that my friend and I had walked right by it on a previous day when we were struggling to find food. Oh, well, now it was time to enjoy their Thai take on Chicken Biryani, a hearty South Asian fried rice and chicken dish seasoned with tons of (seasonings?). The dish came with lentils and a couple sauces and was quite delicious and distinct from anything else I’d eaten in Thailand or at an American Indian restaurant.
After lunch, I walked over to catch a bus on a major street to head over to visit a famous temple across town. My map app told me exactly where to stand but once I got there and asked others where the stop for the 194 bus was, they told me I needed to walk further up the road. This proceeded into the most frustrating experience of my trip – I kept walking up the road and asking people where the stop for the bus I was looking for was and no one seemed to know and there were no signs to indicate its location. I admitted defeat and walked back to my hotel lol.
What a Chinatown!
I was initially hesitant to visit Bangkok’s Chinatown since I A) was in Thailand and trying to experience Thai culture and B) had been to many Chinatowns in the U.S. But I had some time to kill and had heard good things so I hopped on the SkyTrain and took it to the closest stop which was supposed to be about a 20-minute walk to Chinatown. I got a little turned around and ended up on a street filled with auto mechanics and very grungy-looking apartment buildings – needless to say, there were no other tourists around 🙂 I was going the right direction though so I eventually ended up on one of Chinatown’s major streets and walked through a blocks-long row of vendors set up in front of shops.
I bought the cheapest macaroon of my life (milk tea flavor) and found the cheapest coconut ice cream ever – 10 baht (less than 30 cents). I then began hunting for a soup that was supposed to be the best eat in Chinatown – bamee, a yellow noodle dish with pork and without soup stock. After inquiring from several vendors, I eventually found an alley with dozens of food carts and a woman who indeed had bamee. She had one two-seat table of customers eating in front of her stand and I was surprised when she set up a table for me in front of another woman’s stand and asked me to sit there – I guess they like to help each other out 🙂 The soup had three distinct types of pork and much more subtle broth than most noodle soups I’ve had – good stuff.
I began to walk back toward the SkyTrain stop (this time on a much more direct path down a major street) and was blown away by the large colorful red and gold signs, the bright red jewelry shops selling only gold products on every corner, and the immense size and spread of it all. It was by far the largest, most lively, and most unique Chinatown I’d been to and I’m so happy I went.
Unicorns & Drag Queens
I relaxed at my hotel for a bit until my friend arrived to begin an evening of fun. First, we stepped into a fun spot that was right next to my hotel – Unicorn Cafe. As the name suggests, this themed cafe was covered in unicorn murals, stuffed animals, and unicorn-shaped food. Sadly, they were closing but they kindly let us snap several fun photos.
We then walked to over to Silom Soi 4, the most prominent gay block in Bangkok and went to DJ Station, one of the largest gay clubs in the city. For about an $8 cover, we got two drink coupons so I decided to actually drink. (I had been avoiding alcohol due to being a solo traveler in a foreign country and a desire to avoid hangovers at all costs.) When we walked in, there was a drag queen performing a song from the Disney movie Moana on stage. We walked upstairs, got drinks, and promptly found a couple cages to dance in together – fun! The drinks were quite strong so we had to stop for some food on the way home, obviously at 7-11. (7-11s in Thailand are everywhere and have tons of good food for very cheap.) I got a taro toast which they kindly toasted for me. When I got back to the hotel, I plopped down and slept like a baby.
Click here to go on to my Bangkok Day 4 blog as I go to a cat cafe where all the cats are high on catnip and watch a sunset at an epic 360° rooftop bar.
Click here for a travel guide to Bangkok outlining cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to see, eat, and drink.