Old Bangkok Inn or Rat’s new BnB?

Jul 6th, 2009, 01:25 AM
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Old Bangkok Inn or Rat’s new BnB?

So cool to be on the Asia forum again after our Beijing adventures in Sept 2007.

This time I’m travelling solo.

Have a three night stop-over in Bangkok on my way to Europe in August, and as we’ve ‘done’ Bangkok over the past 20 years as both as a family of five, a group of four, and as a couple (Shangri La) at the various riverside ‘western’ style hotels, I really would love to experience Thai ‘traditional’ accommodation.

I recall filmwill stayed at the Old Bangkok Inn – think it was 2006? – and checking their rates at this time of tourist downturn, they’re offering 3 nights for the price of 2, about B7,200 – and rhkkmk mentioned in a previous thread that Rat’s BnB rates are about B1,200 p/n but there’s not much info on Rat’s website link to her BnB.

Have a 2 night stop-over in Bangkok in early November on the return flight to Sydney, so I could do both.! Having experienced the ‘major’ sights in previous visits, I’m really looking for a laid-back and relaxing immersion into Thai culture and tradition.

Any thoughts?
FurryTiles is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 01:06 AM
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Gosh, nary a response, am I png?

Perhaps to clarify - it’s the first time since Sept 2007 that I’ve started a ‘new thread’ – I’ve posted on various queries where I felt I could help on the Asia board since then; in fact, to my astonishment, Katie informs me I’ve been quoted in the ‘Word of Mouth’ section in the new 2009 Japan guide! Waddisay??

So, just an update on my researches – the Old Bangkok Inn does indeed look charming, but pictures of the steep staircase up to the bedroom area didn’t look very safe or sciatica-friendly, and reviews on TA seemed to reflect this.

Ratt’s B&B has two mentions on TA (in the Bangkok forum), all very positive – clean, friendly, better than the pics show - the only negative comments being about its location.

Think I have found what I’m looking for – a 9 room boutique ‘hostel’ in a UN Heritage-listed traditional teak Thai colonial house, beautifully renovated – on an alley off Dinso Road close to the Democracy Monument, and within walking distance of several wats and at the end of Dinso, the giant swing.

Check it out at http://www.baandinso.com/?name=home.php

The reviews are all enthusiastically positive – heck, I may do a boof report!
FurryTiles is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 01:32 AM
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IMO non of them are in a good location unless you have a car.
Hanuman is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 02:12 AM
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'...a laid-back and relaxing immersion into Thai culture and tradition...'

What on earth will be cultural and traditional about your share-a-bathroom youth hostel for backpackers?

What is Thai culture? To you?
dogster is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 03:27 AM
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Hi Hanuman, thanks for that – yes, I’m aware the locations are off the beaten tourist track (Google Earth is my friend), that’s what I was looking for.

G’day Dogster, you awld rogue – guess hind-leg agonies have made you belligerent and confronting; as a patron of the RSPCA I forgive you.

If you click the link, you’ll see that Baan Dinso is not a “share-a-bathroom youth hostel for backpackers” but a Thai family-run boutique guesthouse with its own unique history.

I won’t presume that my pitiful attempt at immersion into Thai culture and tradition will in any way compare to the journals of The Mongrel - so please, some pearls from the maestro, what is Thai culture to you?
FurryTiles is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 04:11 AM
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Nah, I'm not being belligerent. I saw the link. Lol, your reply is making me laugh. I'll have to stop and compose myself.
dogster is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 04:37 AM
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It's such a juicy topic, isn't it? What is Thai culture? lol lol lol. Impossible.

Are we talking about Thai culture NOW?
Or Thai culture - historically?

Are we talking about what the tourist industry determines is Thai Culture? Or the real deal?

So - what is the real deal?

Is it lovely Thailand full of wats and sweet monks and wai's and lotus and merit and welcoming smiles?
Is it contemporary, hip DESIGNER Thai culture?
Is it the unique FUSION culture of Thailand?
Is it a thousand screaming schoolkids outside Central World, squealing for the latest Thai-popster?
Is it the CONSUMER Thai culture?
Is it rush hour at Siam BTS station?

or is it tickle-klung Hanuman and the monkey god? Pretty dancers and golden crowns?

Is it Thai boxing? Patpong? The Bladerunner neon of Bangkok streets? Lady-boys in an alley, a three hundred baht massage, good food good food, god, good food...?

Is it Central World on Saturday night? Mos Burgers and Muji?

Or docile, wai-ing sweetness, impeccable service and limp grovel?

Is it a street-full of yellow - or red? Is it riot-police and politics? Is it the delirium of day-time T.V.?

How long is a piece of string?

Thai culture? Dunno, really. But it's not what I think it is.
dogster is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 04:55 AM
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Your attempts at immersion are not pitiful AT ALL. Ptoooey.
You win the Dogster Seal of Approval. That hostel looks perfectly fine - but it will tell you no more about Thailand than anywhere else. It might show you the Thailand you want to see...

Which is my point. In Bangkok, Thai culture is city culture, media culture, here and now and don't miss a second culture. It's youth culture and bright lights and bizarre promotions, brand names and shopping. That may not be what you want to see - but it's what is there. Like everywhere, 'traditional' culture has been turned into a show for tourists. S'O.K. - that's normal.

So what I do when I go to Bangkok, is stay in a hippy, zippy designah-h-h hotel OR live in a shopping centre. I have a particular penchant for Centara Grand at Central World. lol lol lol.

I immerse myself in Thai culture.
dogster is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 05:03 AM
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Now, if you want to immerse yourself in the spiritual beliefs that underline Thai culture, if you want to understand the importance of His Majesty and the royal family, Thai politics, past and present, address your concepts of morality against pragmatic realities of daily life, begin an aesthetic appreciation of Thai culture in a historical sense and attempt the journey from 'Anna and the King of Siam' to Thailand 2010...

probably you'll need a bit longer than three days.

So: I don't think it matters where you stay. The only thing that matters is whether you have eyes to see. Clearly, Furry - you do.
dogster is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 05:04 AM
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Fuzza - I'll have to stop. I could go on for another 5,000 words. lol. That's enough.
dogster is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 09:32 AM
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I stayed an Ratt's B&B in March. It is spotless, all new furnishings and very well run. The only down side is that is is in the middle of no where. It's difficult to walk to and from as it is in a residential area full of twisting streets far from a main road. There are not really any shops or restaurants close by. If you are OK with that then go for it. Ratt and her famiy are wonderful! I was so tired after our day tour of Bangkok, she went out to the market and bougt fish; and made me a fantastic meal "at home". It was like having my own mother in Bangkok. Ratt and her son do everything to make you feel comfortable.
vikinggirl18 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 12:15 PM
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LeighTravelClub is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 05:32 PM
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the location on the map does not show it to be that out of the way really....its not far from the taskim bridge...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 07:33 PM
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Hi vikinggirl, thanks so much for your review of Ratt’s B&B, which confirms the very positive mentions on other websites. It was the ‘no shops or restaurants close by’ that was the negative for me, as this trip I just want to stroll/eat/explore the area around my accommodation.
FurryTiles is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 07:39 PM
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Hi rhkkmk, agree the map pinpointing Baan Dinso area shows it has several wats and monastaries nearby, plus it’s walkable to the river, the Grand Palace, and even Khao San Road – according to this walking tour which includes Dinso Road, the Palace and the river http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123794879266933981.html

Not that I'll be hiking 4.5kms in one hit, lol!
FurryTiles is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 07:57 PM
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A juicy topic indeed, Dogster, and many thanks for your take on the diverse sub-categories of Thai culture.

... and agree, it would take multiples of 5000 word posts to even scratch the surface, and then it’s the individual’s perception juxtaposed with their own country’s culture, innit? It’s equally difficult to define the meaning of the word ‘culture’ as it is to pinpoint its actual properties.

“ ... probably you'll need a bit longer than three days” Dog offers, tongue not firmly in cheek but noisily lapping the water bowl. My guess is even three decades would not be enough, as a falang, to ever understand it fully.

Actually, I’ve just done a tally and this will be my eighth visit to Bangkok over the past 20 years, and this time I’ll just hang out and stroll the area around Dinso, enjoy the local eateries, shops and local areas of interest within walking distance. One of which is the Bangkok Town Hall (Administrative Offices) just down the road – where I’m sure I’ll find some officially-sanctioned culture on offer,

Just browsing an excerpt from the walking tour link posted above, I think I’ll find an abundance of ‘culture and tradition’ in this small slice of Bangkok life for a 3-day immersion at a leisurely, laid-back pace:

“With the Democracy Monument on your right, walk down Ratchadamnoen Klang. Turn left onto Thanon Dinso ("Pencil Road") or Dinso Road (sometimes Dinsaw or Din So), named after the pencil and notebook makers who once lived along the street.
... along Dinso Road you will see Mont Nom, a popular cafe on your right (160/1-3 Dinso. This nearly 50-year-old institution offers a special Thai treat: toast, topped with everything from plain sugar and butter (13 baht or 36 U.S. cents) to coconut custard (18 baht or 50 U.S. cents), as well as steamed bread with a coconut custard dip (45 baht to 55 baht or $1.27 to $1.55).
After the cafe, turn right and continue down Dinso Road until you reach a temple, Devasathan, also known as the Brahmin Temple, on your right.
... then cross Dinso Road to stand in front of City Hall, marked by a plaza and giant marble sign. Opposite the hall is a gigantic red picture-frame-like structure in front of a temple.

[At the end of Dinso] is Sao Ching-Cha (Giant Swing). The swing was once used to celebrate the 10 days of the second lunar month when Shiva comes down to earth; it's an old Brahmin tradition that died out after the 1932 revolution. Traditionally, participants would attempt to "swing" toward bags of gold attached to the pole tops, grabbing them with their teeth. But some fell to their deaths, forcing officials to stop holding the ritual. It stands in front of Wat Suthat, which is also associated with Brahmin priests.”

Gosh, who was it said "all life is suffering" wink.
FurryTiles is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 10:14 PM
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Sounds go-o-o-o-od, Fuzza. Where are you based? Oz or U.K.?

I had a big enthusiasm about the 'Shanghai Inn' in Chinatown for a few trips - try that next time. Location location location. Like you, I'm in and out of BKK endlessly: twelve trips in the last two years - like you, I choose an area each time and just explore within that. I find things like Jim Thompson excruciating. lol. But I'm Robinson Crusoe in here on that topic.

I never get hassled as a tourist in BKK - ever. But then, I don't dress like one. My tip for BKK is a crisp starched shirt, a tiny digital camera and a pair of trousers - that way everybody thinks you are a falang businessman. Disguise.

You will need to set aside an hour to go to Siam Paragon for a Mos Burger. Do you need the name of a massoozie? lol. Probably not. Behave yourself.

And make sure you get a deluxe room in your groovy designer backpacker hostel. 'Cos if you don't you WILL be sharing a bathroom. Report back with every filthy detail. I do - so can you.
dogster is offline  
Jul 20th, 2009, 04:25 AM
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Based in Oz, Dog. Perhaps you had some furrytiles read to you as a pup?

Thanks for the dress-code disguise tip – I’ll be respectfully clad with arms and legs appropriately covered and closed, comfortable walking shoes so I can stroll into any temple or monastery grounds without causing offence.

Oh rofl, trust the Dog – our resident cultural rogue - to recommend a Japanese burger chain as a not-to-be-missed eating experience in Bangkok

Name of a massorski from Dog? – after the bingo/bongo clam chowder with slug accessories and dicktoggling account? – I’d have to say not on your nellie, no thanks, ta mate but I’ll pass.

And yes, double room with ensuite most definitely.

Checking out the Shanghai Inn on Google now as a possibility for the 2-night sojourn in November. Thanks for the rec.
FurryTiles is offline  
Jul 20th, 2009, 05:05 AM
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My disguise isn't about being culturally appropriate in temples. lol. I'm talking about everywhere else.

Now Shanghai Inn has become popular since I stayed and, I think, put up their prices. It is/was truly bizarre. Scurrulous staff. lol. perfect. Try and get a room with windows. It's designa-h-h-h heaven. Chinatown is always a buzz and there's a bucket load of oddities to explore. Eat grilled jumbo prawns while sitting on plastic box in the street. Very cool. This is the place to add to your collection of Mao pop art.

You are right. I wouldn't accept a recco from me about anything. Except Mos, Muji's and Shanghai Inn.
dogster is offline  
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