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Bangkok hotel by river--location help please

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Jan 7th, 2016, 09:34 AM
  #1
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Bangkok hotel by river--location help please

I'm back again with more questions about Bangkok and where to stay. I had another thread (asking if we'd like Bangkok) where I got lots of advice so now think I made some decisions. We have finalized our flights (into Siem Reap and out of Bangkok) and our only time in the city will be flying home from Bangkok. After listening to all of you, I am thinking perhaps 3 nights since that would give us two full days and part of another. And, I know we will want to be on the river, preferably with a river view. Or, is that stupid to pay extra for the view for a short stay?

First question: Our flight back to the US leaves at 07:00. In light of that do you think I should split my hotel stay and do two nights by the river and one in an airport hotel?

Second question: I've just started to look at hotels on the river but am not sure which would be considered good locations. I also have to decide how much I am willing to pay for a night as these choices vary from around $75 a night to close to $200 a night for a river view room. We know for sure we'd want to take some of the boat trips up and down the river. We'd probably do the main tourist sights too and would want access to the skytrain if that is how one gets to these sites. Chinatown would probably interest us. In the 30 minutes I've spent on a hotel search so far for our dates in the end of February I've come up with these as maybes.

A. The Riverside Ibis (one of cheapest of all options) recommended by Kathy--west side of the river by Krung Thonburi Road bridge

B. Bangkok Riverside (the other cheapest option) recommended by Lancaster Lad--further north and up by the Somdet Phira Pin Kloao bridge

C. Ramada Menan also recommended by Kathie--east side of river and further south of Krung Thonburi bridge

D. Sala Rattanakosin Bangkok--just south of the Grand Palace and National Museum on the east side of the river. A more expensive option, but it looks at though we could at least walk to these two main tourist sites.

E. Riva Surya Bangkok--on the east side of the river, just north of the Grand Palace and National Museum. Another expensive option, but once again I am thinking we could walk to these two sites. And, it has a balcony/terrace overlooking the river. Or will it be too hot in the end of February to take advantage of this?

F. Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok--fairly close to the Ramada Menan on east side of river, south of Krung Thonburi bridge . Priced kind of in the middle between my high and low priced choices.

I am sure there are some other options too, but I have not yet done an extensive search.

What are your thoughts on question #1?

Thoughts on question #2?

Once again, thanks all.
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Jan 7th, 2016, 09:57 AM
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If your flight leaves that early, you can easily stay in town. Traffic will be very sparse at that time of the day, so from a riverside hotel it should take not more than 30 minutes to get from your hotel to the airport. The exceptions might be those hotels farther away, like the Riva Surya Bangkok and Sala Rattanakosin Bangkok (ask LL about how long it takes to get to the airport).

In terms of hotel choices. I think it makes sense to have a riverview room. The river traffic is endlessly fascinating. When we are jet-lagged so awakening at 5 am, we sit with a cup of tea and watch the river.

Here are my thoughts: If the wats are mostly what you want o see, you can get to (or very close to) most of the major wats via the public water taxis. There are some other interesting places like the Jim Thompson House, Suan Pakkard Palace, etc, that you can get close to via skytrain.

The place I stayed for 30+ years was the Sheraton Royal Orchid. The regular rooms are rather nondescript, but all of the rooms are riverview. IMO, it has the best location of any of the river hotels (there will be plenty of people who will disagree). You can easily walk to Chinatown, or walk the other direction to the Oriental and its shopping arcades. There are a number of well-loved hole-in-the wall restaurants closely. You can often get rooms (including breakfast) for under US$100. We stayed in the city in November, but will be back to the river again next trip. Staying on the river I never worried about traffic.

Of the other places you list, the Chatrium would likely be my #2 choice.

It sounds like your planning is coming along well.
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Jan 7th, 2016, 09:59 AM
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We stayed at the airport hotel due to a very early flight and wished we had stayed in the city.
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Jan 7th, 2016, 12:02 PM
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Thanks for telling me that we'd be better off just driving out to the airport from the city. I assume Kathie suggests the more southerly location in part because it is closer to the airport.

Kathie--Thanks for the hotel suggestion. It is definitely in the mid range of the prices I was looking for. Right now their rooms are $114 to $156 at the prepaid rate for the standard riverview room to the suite with a panoramic view. Don't know if the view is that different between the regular and the more pricey panoramic.

I am going to start doing some serious hotel looking now that I know I should be looking for all 3 nights in town. And, for ease of getting to the airport, I should probably be looking more southerly. Correct?

One more quick question: Is it worth paying more for a hotel with breakfast, or are there usually interesting and inexpensive cafes all around anyway? We don't need American breakfasts and often prefer the local breakfast anyway.
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Jan 7th, 2016, 01:27 PM
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If you can get a suite for that price - take it. The suites are really lovely. If it is just a regular room with a better view, I wouldn't pay that much extra for it.

The hotel breakfasts in Thailand generally are excellent, and we typically don't eat again until dinner. The breakfasts have typical Thai, Chinese, Japanese foods, including freshly made options. In some places there are closeby breakfast options, but often not. Bangkok is not an early morning city, and most places around your hotel will still be closed when you want to get going.
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Jan 7th, 2016, 01:49 PM
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We stayed at the Chatrium in 2014 and it was nice, I would say a basic moderate place. We had a one bedroom that we paid ~$110 a night. We used their shuttle boat to get back and forth to the skytrain stop or to the other boats. We booked on one of the many websites (Agoda, Sawadee etc) offering rates. Also on our return to BKK in 2014 visit we got a fantastic deal at the Penisula. It was the year of the Operation Shutdown & curfews, so perhaps that's why the deal, but check it out just in case. Watching the river is fascinating, so definitely get a balcony & view. The buffet breakfasts are incredibly huge. As said, you eat breakfast and it takes you thru the day.
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Jan 9th, 2016, 08:17 AM
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We dound a terrific deal at the ShangriLa and really enjoyed our stay.
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Jan 9th, 2016, 09:44 AM
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Well, I didn't listen to advice and booked on the "wrong" side of the river. However, I think this 3 room place (just under $100 per night) is really us rather than a large anonymous hotel.

We have great hopes for our 4 night stay, and I included the links in case anyone else with a similar style and taste is looking or something a bit different on the river. I'll report back after our trip.

https://www.i-escape.com/ibrik-resort-by-the-river

http://www.ibrikresort.com/index.html

Thanks for all of the advice.
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Jan 9th, 2016, 10:17 AM
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Julies, I'm so glad you found a place that appeals to you. I thought of Chakrabongse Villas, but the prices there have gone up dramatically since they first opened. The "wrong" side of the river will be the least of your worries, but you are a long way from the skytrain. Perhaps you can focus this trip on the dozens of remarkable wats in the area - most are across the river from you, but there are plenty of tiny foot-ferries. There are a number of very interesting wats on "your" side of the river that are rarely visited by tourists. If you need recommendations for wats to visit, do let me know.
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Jan 9th, 2016, 11:10 AM
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Kathie--

I'll admit I have no idea at all where the skytrain runs or if it is possible to take a boat on the river and then connect with it that way. Is it?

I bought a small book--"Explore Bangkok"--that has routes and suggestions for walks with sightseeing. According to the book, it looks at though there may be enough to keep us busy close to where we are once we take one of those small ferries across the river, or take a boat up or down the river. It has routes for Rattanakosin, Wat Arun & Wat Pho, Thonburi (right where we are on our side of the river and includes Wat Sisudaram and Wat Suwannaram), the Old City, and Dusit. These are all half day to full day routes. In fact, this is why I added an additional night to the three we had originally planned on spending. I am guessing we wouldn't use the skytrain anyway for these places. Maybe I am wrong.

Since we really aren't shoppers, aren't looking for nightlife, and aren't looking to go all around the city trying out fancy restaurants I am thinking perhaps we'll be fine just limiting ourselves to the places we can access by foot or river boat. Maybe I am wrong.

I'd love the wat suggestions. Thanks.

Julie
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Jan 9th, 2016, 11:46 AM
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Glad you found something you think you will like. I really enjoyed staying on the "wrong side of the river." We explored various areas and had no trouble with the crossings to the other side. Taking ferries is one of the enjoyable ways of travel around BKK. We took the public ferry down the river at sunset one evening and it was lovely to watch the lights come on and light up the temples.

One site we loved is the Jim Thompson House. http://www.jimthompsonhouse.com You would need to take the skytrain to get to it, but it's easy. Did you get a Nancy Chandler map? We found that helpful for getting an idea where things were are how to get around.

Not sure if I already mentioned this or it was on another thread, but the Bangkok Food Tours are a great way to sample some good food and do a little sightseeing along the way. http://bangkokfoodtours.com
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Jan 9th, 2016, 06:18 PM
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This guesthouse sounded familiar...I had friends who booked here for a week, but left after 1 night... the rooms are right ON the river, so they found the noise and smells of the river to be a bit too much. It might not be quite as bad on the upper floor.

Also, the building itself is wood, so they said noise traveled between the rooms. Be sure to have a good set of directions and the phone number to give your taxi driver from the airport.

The neighborhood is interesting. Lots of little streets and alleys with markets and food stalls. There was a great paratha stall about a block away at the ferry stop, but it seems to have been replaced with a policee booth. The Siriraj hospital near there has an interesting pathology museum, if you are interested in weird stuff.

Closest skytrain station is Takshin Saphan. You take a river ferry to get there.
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Jan 10th, 2016, 01:36 AM
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<<>>

A recent edition of Lonely Planet or Rough Guide to Thailand is essential. All the maps you'll probably need will be in the guides.

I've posted links to public transport options, together with maps a few times in recent months. But here you go...

http://www.transitbangkok.com/

It's simple and easy to use. You'll also pick up public transport maps all over the place.
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Jan 10th, 2016, 03:39 AM
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julies-
I second the recommendation for Bangkok food tours that yestravel suggests - it was one of our favorite activities, not just for the food, but because it took us to places that we would not have visited on our own.

The Jim Thompson house is also a lovely place to visit - a tranquil respite from the cacophony of Bangkok!

You mentioned rereading my trip report on another thread, so I'm posting it here. You might find some of our experiences in Bangkok helpful, as we were there for 4 nights, too:
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-siem-reap.cfm

And, do read yestravel's report! I found it extremely helpful when planning my own trip, using it regularly to help make my own choices:
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...ia-odyssey.cfm
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Jan 10th, 2016, 06:02 AM
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lcuy-- At nearly every hotel I looked at with rooms right on the river there were some people who mentioned the noise from the river, so we'll see. Smells I don't know about. All of the TA reviews from the last 5 years or so were favorable (some negative one prior to that). Hope we have a better experience than your friends did, and we do have the river level room.

LL--I've got both guidebooks but since this is the very end of a long trip with last minute planning I haven't done much else as far as planning other than booking a room.

yes & Paule--Thanks for the food tour suggestion. I will definitely look into it. Do you remember which of the several they offer that you took? In addition to the Jim Thompson house, I also saw recommendations for another place that looks good and is less visited so not so crowded--Susan Pakkad Museum. Now that my plans are a bit firmer I am going to go back and re-read those trip reports.

Thanks all.
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Jan 10th, 2016, 06:52 AM
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julies-- we took the Historic Bangkrak Food tasting and culture tour:

http://bangkokfoodtours.com/bang-rak...-walking-tour/

Paule
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Jan 10th, 2016, 07:01 AM
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Never experienced smells from the Chao Phraya. Noise is relative/subjective. The river is a busy working river and the heartbeat of Bangkok, so hardly likeky to be a place of complete peace and quiet.

If there is a bit of noise it'll be different noise to staying by a busy street, railway line, construction work, barking dogs etc. Always take ears plugs just in case.
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Jan 10th, 2016, 07:51 AM
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juries - we did the same tour at Paule,Historic Bangkrak Food tasting, which we loved. On our second trip to BKK we did the Chinatown tour. The second tour to Chinatown, there was just us and one woman. Our guide was not up to par and I sent an email to the company later. I didn't expect anything, but thought they should have the feedback. They refunded our money and offered a free tour if we ever return to BKK. Here's my thread on the first food tour
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...mmendation.cfm

We went to Jim Thompson house both trips and it was not crowded either time. They take you on a tour of the house in groups which are a nice size.

Have a great trip! I love that you plan these trips with such a short timeframe.
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Jan 10th, 2016, 07:52 AM
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that would be julies, sorry (ugh spellcheck!)
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Jan 10th, 2016, 09:40 AM
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I love old house museums, so both the Jim Thompson House and the Suan Pakkad Palace (home of the Laquer Pavillion) are on my must-see list. Both are accessible from the skytrain.

I also loved the Prasart Museum, located outside the city. I don't know if you will have time for it or not. You must have a reservation in advance. They allow only one party at a time and you'll have a guide to show you the place. Here are some photos: http://www.marlandc.com/Bangkok-2005/Prasart-museum

My recommendations for wats: I think the Grand Palace/Emerald Buddha complex (directly across the river from your hotel) are must-sees. The Emerald Buddha (made of jade) has a mysterious past - like many precious pieces of religious art, it has been stolen and transported elsewhere a number of times. It spent time in Luang Prabang at one point. Art historians guess that it was made in Sri Lanka. What Po (or Pho), the Reclining Buddha is also a must-see, and is located adjacent to the GP/EB. On your side of the river, do visit Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn). It is constructed of shards of Chinese porcelain which came to Bangkok as ballast in Chinese trading ships.

Less visited wats: On the Grand Palace side of the river, I love Wat Suthat with the beautiful bronze horses. A well-known landmark, the Giant Swing is directly in front of this wat. Another wat in the area Wat Ratchanadda, also known as the Iron Wat. There is an amulet market here.

Wat Benchamapophit, also known as the Marble Wat is also well worth a stop, but is farther off the path you are taking.

On your side of the river, consider a stop at Wat Kanlayanamit Woramahawihan, which has the largest seated Buddha in Thailand. There is a Khmer-style temple on that side of the river, easily walkable from the foot ferry, but I can't find the name of it.

I expect you will also want to visit Chinatown. Wat Tramit, the Golden Buddha is there.

If there is other information I can provide, do let me know.
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