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Practical Tips for 12- hour layover in Bangkok (BKK)

Practical Tips for 12- hour layover in Bangkok (BKK)

Old Nov 26, 2017, 8:53 am
  #1  
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Practical Tips for 12- hour layover in Bangkok (BKK)

My TG flight arrives BKK 5.05 AM on a Sunday morning in January. My next TG flight departs 17.40 PM same day giving me over 12 hours there.

I want to use public transportation to see most/all of the following places if possible:
1. Grand palace
2. Cruise Chao Phraya river, maybe on water taxi
3. Visit Khao San road. Or Soi Rambuttri.
4. One of the floating markets
5. Chatuchak weekend market
6. Lumpini park
In the midst of visiting these sites I am keen on observing Thai street life and sampling the street food. Hope I am not being too ambitious. Mainly i am looking for information on navigating public transportation to get to these places.

questions:
(a) where can i find a good map of bkk, is there a tourist office at the airport?
(b) in what order should i hit these spots to be efficient?
(c) is there a 1- day travel pass for the public transportation?

Any tips appreciated!
PilgrimsProgress is offline  
Old Nov 27, 2017, 10:53 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Originally Posted by PilgrimsProgress
My TG flight arrives BKK 5.05 AM on a Sunday morning in January. My next TG flight departs 17.40 PM same day giving me over 12 hours there.

I want to use public transportation to see most/all of the following places if possible:
1. Grand palace
2. Cruise Chao Phraya river, maybe on water taxi
3. Visit Khao San road. Or Soi Rambuttri.
4. One of the floating markets
5. Chatuchak weekend market
6. Lumpini park
In the midst of visiting these sites I am keen on observing Thai street life and sampling the street food. Hope I am not being too ambitious. Mainly i am looking for information on navigating public transportation to get to these places.

questions:
(a) where can i find a good map of bkk, is there a tourist office at the airport?
(b) in what order should i hit these spots to be efficient?
(c) is there a 1- day travel pass for the public transportation?

Any tips appreciated!
It's too ambitious. Have you been to Bangkok before?
Grand Palace. Okay, understandable. It's pretty expensive, FYI. There's a few other temples around there that you will probably want to visit as well.
Cruise Chao Phraya river or water taxi. IMO, a river cruise and a water taxi are quite different things. If you just want to see what it looks like along the river, then just go with a water taxi. Make sure you're standing on either side of the boat so you can see out.
Floating market and Chatuchak weekend market. I'm not a Bangkok expert, so I don't know if there are any floating markets in central Bangkok. I would skip the floating market and just do the weekend market.
Lumpini park. Any specific reason you want to visit the park?
Visit Khao San road or Soi Rambuttri. Skip Khao San. Not sure what you want to see there. You can walk up the street in 10 mins and look at all the hippies. I've never been to Soi Rambuttri, looks interesting. Is it only an evening destination?

I'm trying to think of the best routing...
What time does Chatuchak open? If it's early, maybe do this:
Train to Phaya Thai. BTS up to Chatuchak. Walk quick, spend 1 hour maximum.
Back to BTS, go to Siam then transfer trains and go to Taksin pier.
Water taxi up to the Royal Palace. Spend 1hr30min maximum.
I'd skip this whole step : Walk or taxi (lol, probably get ripped off) over to Khao San road. Soi Rambuttri if there's morning activity.
Taxi to Hua Lamphong (will the traffic suck on Sunday?) and take the MRT to Lumpini. Go to the park. Maximum 1 hour.
Eat lunch.
MRT to Petchaburi and walk to airport train. Take train back to airport.

I'm not going to plan your trip for you, but those are some rough guesses from my head. Chatuchak is somewhat out of the way compared to the other things on your list. You will want to research what time places open/close or when they get lively. That's a somewhat extreme itinerary, but do-able. Make sure you drink some water along the way. You will be wanting to check your watch at all times to make sure you keep moving.

I'm sure you will get other responses from people that know Bangkok better than me. But this reply should get you started.
CrazyInteg is offline  
Old Nov 27, 2017, 2:42 pm
  #3  
 
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Agree that this is too ambitious. You will wind up experiencing nothing as you run from place to place. You mention the Chao Phraya boat. Take a look at the tourist boat, which will allow you to see many of the sites you list. Skip the weekend market. It is hot and crowded. Getting on a plane after being there without having time for a shower is not something I'd do. Instead, the last stop on the tourist boat is an easy walk to Khaoson Rd, where you'll get to see Thai street life and the world's center of backpacker's life. You can also easily get to Chinatown from the boat for similar shops and street life. Skip the floating market for logistical reasons and you can take the train past Lumpini Park and the Victory Monument, seeing a panoramic view of each. You really don't have time to explore those.

A BTS day pass is 140 TBH or 4.30 USD. Go to the booth for that, not the machine. You may be better off paying for individual trips, but the convenience is worth a buck or two.
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Old Nov 28, 2017, 3:48 am
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Originally Posted by PilgrimsProgress
My TG flight arrives BKK 5.05 AM on a Sunday morning in January. My next TG flight departs 17.40 PM same day giving me over 12 hours there.

I want to use public transportation to see most/all of the following places if possible:
1. Grand palace
2. Cruise Chao Phraya river, maybe on water taxi
3. Visit Khao San road. Or Soi Rambuttri.
4. One of the floating markets
5. Chatuchak weekend market
6. Lumpini park
In the midst of visiting these sites I am keen on observing Thai street life and sampling the street food. Hope I am not being too ambitious. Mainly i am looking for information on navigating public transportation to get to these places.

questions:
(a) where can i find a good map of bkk, is there a tourist office at the airport?
(b) in what order should i hit these spots to be efficient?
(c) is there a 1- day travel pass for the public transportation?

Any tips appreciated!
Good advice from others.

I just returned from about 10 days in Thailand, my first time there. I agree with the comments that this is too ambitious. While I had some idea what to expect, I was still surprised by how BIG the city is, and how far away all the sights are from each other...not to mention how long it takes to get to each one. If you go by car, you'll have bad traffic. If you take the various train lines, you'll have transfers and they still won't get you to the river locations, without transferring to a water taxi. Just getting to and from the airport can be over an hour each way, so factor that in too. The other thing that matters is the weather. The first half of my time there, the humidity was awful. I could only fit in about a half day of outdoor activity. The second half of my stay, it was still 90F every day, but low humidity and it was quite pleasant.

So, advice...skip #3 and #6 on your list completely. No point in them for what you're trying to do. Pick between #4 or #5 (the weekend market is easily accessed by BTS, so that's not a bad choice, and you can check off your "street food" item there too). If it were me, I'd go straight to the tourist boat. I believe it's 180 baht for unlimited stops, but you'd have to check. This allows you to go up and down the river and get out to see the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and any other stops you like. I believe you can take the BTS straight to the weekend market from the southern point of the tourist boat stops.

If you do this, you probably don't need a BTS pass as you'd probably only do a couple one-way trips, which would likely be about 100 baht.

Whether or not you can fit all this into what is realistically 7 hours of sightseeing is going to be up to you.
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Old Nov 29, 2017, 5:02 am
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Very unrealistic.
You could just head straight for Chatuchak. You'll be exhausted after an hour and head back to the airport !
I would suggest the Grand Palace, but I am not sure of what access is like since the funeral. 2 weeks ago it was wall to wall people even half a mile away.
Khao San Road ? Why ? Seriously.
Lumpini Park ? Nothing to see there. Wouldn't rate a mention in any other city.
Avoid public transport. You can get everywhere in a taxi relatively cheaply, and most have some AC.

Maybe I'm getting jaded.

I would find a lunch cruise on the river on a boat with air conditioning. You'll get to see quite a lot, eat decent Thai food, in relative comfort.
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Old Nov 29, 2017, 6:54 am
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Originally Posted by timster
Maybe I'm getting jaded.
I don't know, your suggestions are really pretty good. Very reasonable.
CrazyInteg is offline  
Old Dec 2, 2017, 12:49 am
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OP. As others have indicated, your proposed itinerary is over ambitious to say the least.

Youve not indicated in your original post if your in/outbound flights are domestic or international as this will have a bearing on the amount of time that you actually have. Taking the worst case scenario (International arrival and departure) I would allow at least 1 hour from time your plane arrives at gate to clear immigration. You then need to be back at the airport 3 hours before departure for check-in, clear security, immigration and be at the departure gate before it closes. At best that will mean you will only have 8 hours actually available to see some of Bangkok.If it was me, I would drop visiting:

a. Kao San Road Over rated and nothing much too really see their.
b. Floating Markets Not really practical as the markets are outside Bangkok and will involve at least 2 hours bus ride in each direction.
c. Lumpini Park A big park with a lake in the middle of it. Only thing worth seeing are the monitor lizards which roam freely in the park.
d. River Cruise these tend to take place in the evening.
So that leaves the Grand Palace and Chatuchak Market, plus some 'street food'.


OK a suggested plan:

Get the Airport Rail Link to Phaya Thai station. The ARL is located on the lowest level of the airport. Opens at 06:00am. Fare = 45 Baht. Travel time = 30 minutes.


At Phya Thai station walk to the BTS (Skytrain) station via overhead walkway. Get ticket to Saphan Takin (44 Baht). Get on the train heading to Samron. 2 stations later get off the train at Siam and cross over to the other side of the platform to catch the train heading to Ban Wa. FYI As the train leaves the 2nd station (Ratchadamri) look out on the left of the train and you will see Lumpini Park. Get off the train at Saphan Taksin (5 stations after leaving Saim).

At Saphan Taksin BTS station follow the signs to the river where you will see the river taxis. There are 2 basic types on Saturdays: The tourist boat which flies a blue flag and charges 40 Baht per trip or 100 Baht for a day pass, and the commuter boat which flies an orange flag and charges 15 Baht per trip. I would go for the commuter boats great fun/experience. This boat will take you to the Grand Palace jetty. From there its a 10 minute walk to the entrance of the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace opens at 08:30am, so if you get there about then you should just about miss the morning rush of Chinese tours. Admission fee = 500 Baht. You need to be aware that there is a dress code which needs to be observed (google it). A slow walk through the Grand Palace will kill a couple of hours.

If you are in Bangkok before the end of the year, you can walk across the road to Sanam Luang and visit the Royal Cremation site for the late King (see photos https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/thailand/1856374-oct-25-29-royal-cremation-ceremony-his-majesty-king-bhumibol-adulyadej-5.html Entrance is free and well worth a visit.

Alternatively, right next door to the Grand Palace is Wat Pho the home of the reclining Buddha and the famous Thai massage school. Fee to get into the Temple = 100 Baht. Again there is a dress code that must be observed. By now you will have killed off at least half of your time. Near that Grand Palace and Wat Pho there are a number of food stalls that will give you a limited flavour of street food.

Backtrack to the river and get the water taxis back to Saphan Taksin. Get to the BTS station and this time get a ticket to Mo Chit. Fare = 44 Baht. Get on the train going to National Stadium. This will take you to Saim again where you get off and cross over to the opposite track and get the train going to Mo Chit (the end of the line). At Mo Chit just follow the crowds who will all be heading to Chatuchak Weekend Market.

You will need to keep an eye on the time as it will be easy to forget once you have entered the maze of Chatuchak. I think that you should allow at least 1 hour to get back to the airport plus time to check-in/clear security/immigration etc.

Getting back to the airport is again backtracking to Mo Chit BTS station and getting a ticket to Phaya Thai (Fare = 44 Baht), then walking to the Airport Rail Link via the overhead walkway and getting the train back to BKK. Unfortunately there is no single ticket that covers all transport in Bangkok. If you adopt the above itinerary it would be best to get a one day pass for the BTS (Skytrain) journeys at 140 Baht this saves having to find the money each time you make a trip.

A useful source of info is http://www.bangkok.com/information/ Good basic info and maps etc.

I hope this helps and that you have an enjoyable visit.
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Old Dec 2, 2017, 7:55 pm
  #8  
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I wish I had NOT visited these temples during my first dozen visits to Thailand (and Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Etc) and waited until I'd been here a few times.

Unique to Bangkok are Chatujak and river travel though they're hardly in the same area. The Grand Palace, is adjacent to the river, the crematorium, and the neighborhoods next to it are easily walkable (Pra Athit, Rambutree, Khao San).

I do agree that it's best to be less ambitious and follow a more relaxed itinerary.
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Old Dec 3, 2017, 12:35 am
  #9  
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Sincerely appreciate the great suggestions and detailed information everyone provided. Special shout out to Oldtiger whose response was exactly what i was dreaming about.

i did not realize i was being too ambitious. Maybe i was thinking BKK is in Europe After considering all the great info i think my best course of action is to see the grand palace, and chatuchak market. Hopefully i will have time to shower at the lounge before my onward flight.

PS: both are international flights, final destination LAX.

Heartfelt thanks all!!
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