We always tell you that international travel is quite often a lot cheaper than you think it is. Every Tuesday in March we will put our money where our mouth is and recap how much a weeklong trip for 2 to one of our previous destinations would cost you. Maybe this year you could put some of your tax return towards a vacation.
This week: A City Break in Bangkok
This is a city that never sleeps, offering amazing experiences and fantastic food around every corner. As the capital of Thailand, there is a huge amount of culture, architecture, and history to discover. The Thai people are some of the most welcoming and smiley people you will ever meet! In the course of a week you could visit some of the most sacred and important historical and religious sites of the Thai people, search for bargains in many different markets, do a bit of high end shopping at MBK or Siam Center, ride a bicycle through ancient ruins and Thai history, & dance the night away in a nightclub. Need a slurpee? There are 3,900 7-11 convenience marts here.
From all the energy & attractions of a big city to the beautiful history and architecture of the Thai culture, Bangkok has it all. Whether you want to relax and unwind or party all night, Bangkok is your town.
If you follow this blog, you know we just spent a month in Thailand, with three weeks of that spent in Bangkok. We chose to stay in a neighborhood close to Khao San road, but a bit away from the chaos. Choosing to stay a few blocks away from the action meant that we were in a quieter neighborhood (& therefore a quieter guesthouse) and also that the price was lower. But we were just a few minutes walk to the middle of the action on Khao San, 10 minutes to the ferry, the Grand Palace, the Amulet market, or Wat Pho, and a 30 minute taxi ride to the MBK center. In the same neighborhood you could spend a lot more or a lot less depending on location and what amenities you want or are willing to forgo. It pays to shop around and pay attention to what people have to say on sites like TripAdvisor.
For a trip Oct 11-19, 2013. This is the shoulder season again (hmmm, I’m sensing a theme here), after the dry season starts but before the high season pricing kicks in.
Roundtrip Airfare for 2 from LAX to BKK: $995 per person on EVA Air
Roundtrip Airport Transfer: Shuttle transfer is 150 baht ($5US) per person each way
Rates for 7 nights at Wild Orchid Villa: A standard double room will run you 700 baht ($23US) a night. Want to save a bit of money for beer, food, or fun? You could stay in an economy double for 550 baht (18.57US) a night. The cheaper price comes with a shared bath, which I realize is a dealbreaker for some. We stayed in the economy double when we were there and were very happy with it.
Sips and Bites: On average, within walking distance of Wild Orchid, you can spend anywhere from $3 for a street food meal for 2 (Pad Thai, Satay, coconut egg, other Thai specialties, Doner kebabs, American style breakfasts or baguette sandwiches, juice or coffee or soda) on up to $20 at one of the nicer sit down restaurants. A beer will run you about 70 baht for a large or 50 baht for a small. Ice coffee, ice tea, or a soda from a street vendor will be 20 baht. Fresh squeezed juices will run you anywhere from 15 baht to 50 baht. And don’t forget all the fried bugs and insects. Let’s be generous and allow you $45/day = $315 for a week for all your meals for 2 people. (We spent about $30/day when we were there.)
What to Do: Wild Orchid Villa is a 2 minute walk to Khao Sahn Road, where you can take in the sights and shop for cheap goods from clothing to sunglasses, books, CDs, jewelry, backpacks, accessories, etc. There is also quite a lot of good street food around here. This is a great place to people watch.
The Grand Palace (500 baht/$17US/person entry fee), Amulet Market, and Wat Pho (100 baht/$3.30US/person) are about a ten minute walk from the guesthouse as well. And you can easily walk to the river and take a ferry all around town.
A taxi to MBK center will run you about 90 baht ($3US) each way, and from there you can get your shop on at 5 different huge malls within walking distance of each other.
Feel like escaping the city? Take a day trip to Ayutthaya and visit the ruins of the palace and temples of this old Capital city (600 baht/$20US/person for a day tour from Bangkok).
Feel like getting your groove on? There are loads of bars, nightclubs, and cabarets in the neighborhood. Or chat up a tuk tuk driver and have him take you to a different nightlife district for even more selection.
Feeling tired after all this walking? Get a 30 minute foot massage for 120 baht ($4US) or have a fish spa pedicure for 150 baht ($5US).
Airfare for 2: $1990 on EVA Air
7 nights accommodation: $161 for a standard double room at Wild Orchid Villa.
Food & Beverages: $315
Airport Transfer: $20
Spa Treatments (2 foot massages & 2 fish spa pedicures): $18
Entrance fees to Grand Palace & Wat Pho: $40
Taxi, TukTuk, Ferry, & Skytrain Fares: $25
Day tour to Ayutthaya: $40
Grand Total for 2 people to spend One Week in Bangkok: $2609
As you can see, Bangkok offers great value once you get here. The plane tickets are by far the bulk of your expense. And once you do get here, the sky is the limit. You could spend a lot less and a whole lot more on a week here, depending on your preferences and choices. But traveling with these suggestions leaves you almost $400 for shopping if you want to stay within a $3k budget.
Here are a few photos from our time in and around Bangkok.