Just came back last week from an extended solo trip to Bangkok, and I’m excited to write it down!
For this trip, it was pretty unplanned (I only had the idea to go, just a few weeks before the trip). I’d wondered if I’ll be able to do Bangkok solo, because it isn’t exactly the kind of cities you’ll enjoy being solo at, somehow? However, I’m skipping all the touristy activities (you’ll read below why). Finally, I decided on 10 days of me-time in Bangkok, and thoroughly enjoyed my trip! Here’s how I’ll summarize it:
Bangkok Travelogue in Numbers
• 8 nights at an AirBNB, 2 nights at a boutique hotel
AirBNB (condo in Asoke)
This time, I chose to stay 8 nights at an AirBNB condo in Asoke, and then 2 nights at a boutique hotel near Victory Monument BTS. Very glad with my arrangement, because the AirBNB turned out to be a wonderful choice! I loved the space and the option to live like it’s really my home in Bangkok. The location was perfect for my solo trip too – an easy 5-7min walk to Terminal 21, the wonderful mall with a lot of food and shopping options.
K Maison Boutique Hotel
As for K Maison boutique hotel, it was VERY PRETTY and the service from the staff (thank you Tommy and the porter!) was wonderful. The room layout was very different from the conventional hotel room, especially the bathroom area. The room was relatively small compared to the amount of space I had in the AirBNB though, although an Airbnb and hotel shouldn’t be compared side by side, of course.
| Book K Maison boutique hotel on Booking.com or Agoda.com |
• 0 mornings of waking up in a rush to be productive
It was extremely lovely to wake up and the only things I needed to make decisions for the day are: what should I eat? Where should I go? What time should I practise yoga? I actually had intended the trip to be one where I’ll work on more stuff for my professional ventures, but sometimes this just can’t happen, so I also learned to let go and go with the flow.
But I finished designing my media kit for this travel blog, yay!
• 2 nights of trouble sleeping
No, it has nothing to do with the supernatural! Once, it was at my Airbnb condo. My mind was just too restless to fall asleep, even after two sessions of Headspace meditation. The other time was my first night in the hotel. The aircon unit was a little too loud for my liking (I didn’t bring earplugs!), and there were random sounds coming through the roof, or people talking too loudly further down the corridor at 3am.
• 0 sightseeing experiences
I’ve been to Bangkok quite a few times and had already done the usual touristy things: visit Grand Palace, take a tuk-tuk ride, do a river cruise down Chao Phraya to feed catfishes and check out temples, attend festivals like Loy Krathong (I did that for my 21st birthday), see floating markets, chill at night markets, etc etc.
So this trip, I did none of those, choosing to relax and only do and go where I feel like.
• 5 times of using Uber / Grab
My last trip was in 2013. At least twice in the past, we’d gotten off a taxi annoyed, because the taxi-driver went back on his promise of using the meter, demanding a higher fixed price after driving off. It wasn’t always about the price, it’s the ethics which I don’t agree with. So you can imagine how stressful it will be if I were to take a taxi alone in Bangkok.
This time, I was very relieved that Uber and Grab are both available in Bangkok! My airport transfers were done using them, as well as getting to a few places. The process was smooth. Simply use the same Uber and Grab apps in your phone. The prices were reasonable too (I compare everything with Singapore prices btw).
One tip though, traffic is a killer being Bangkok. Your driver could be nearby, but still stuck in congested traffic. Buffer more time than the app’s estimated time.
• Indulge with 2 Thai massages, 2 foot massages, 1 spa
Both full-body Thai massages were done at a massage salon at Pratunam. The first time, it was really good and I was so happy that I found an alternative to Healthland. Therefore, I went back again another day. It was done by an older lady and she seemed to be doing the massage on turbo mode, doing all the massages hard and fast. I didn’t enjoy it at all. Any other suggestions for guaranteed-good massages?
For the foot massages, once was at Healthland (Asoke), a place I used to enjoy going. Now, the complex feels very commercialized, like a factory. Everything has a system and is supposed to be efficient, but I just can’t appreciate the vibe. Another foot massage was at “King and I” spa, very near my accommodation in Asoke. It was way worse (read my TripAdvisor review). The technique just wasn’t there – she was more like repeatedly rubbing my legs with lotion -.-”
At K Maison Boutique Hotel where I stayed at for two nights, there’s a spa place (Pasithea Ultimate Relaxation) right under the hotel. Since it was newly opened, there’s a promotion for hotel guests. I got convinced to try a package of body scrub and aromatherapy oil massage. The body scrub was great! The aromatherapy oil massage was not bad.
• Thai massage (one hour) at Sabai Massage (Watergate Pavillion, Pratunam): 300baht
• Foot massage (one hour) at Healthland Asoke: 350 baht (will be 400 baht w.e.f 1 Sept 2017)
• Foot massage (one hour) at King and I Spa (extremely not recommended): 400 baht
• 2-hour Body Scrub & Aromatherapy Massage: 1950 baht (before promotion of 40% off for K Maison hotel guests, before 6pm)
• Many times of home yoga
I would have done a lot more yoga if I’d brought my thicker Khataland travel mat. For this trip, I took my YOGO travel mat along to test. The YOGO mat provides good friction (the surface feels rough), takes up little space in your suitcase, but it’s really too thin for concrete floors. It would work better on carpet or softer surfaces!
One other reason I chose my Airbnb condo was because the place looks very photogenic if I were to take yoga videos there hahaha! Here are some still shots from my home yoga sessions. Don’t mind my obsession! 😜
• 2 hours in Chatuchak
I’d actually looked forward to seeing some of my fave shops in Chatuchak. I was at the clothing sections (sections 20+), but simply could not find my usual preferred corner (I only remember there were short trees between two rows of shops). I also had difficulty trying to orientate my direction. The fashion options were not nice, to my disappointment. I left within two hours – the shortest time I’d ever spent in Chatuchak. I didn’t even take any photos!
• 2 shopping trips to Platinum Fashion Mall
I’d almost forgotten how much more comfortable it was to shop at Platinum (compared to Chatuchak). If you’re not familiar, Platinum is an air-conditioned wholesale fashion mall. Depending on shops, wholesale prices are applicable if you buy at least 2 or 3 items.
Pratunam Market (a big cluster of shops/stalls across the road from Platinum) probably offers similar clothings as Platinum, but at lower prices and without the aircon.
• 1 hair perm
Yes, I permed my hair in Bangkok! Did it at Zenred Salon which I’d researched before going to Bangkok, for English-speaking salons. I must say their SEO had been done really well to rank in first few search results on Google, because it’s located in a building that you can only reach by car ( I got there back & fro using Grab). Here’s my review on Zenred Salon.
Once you reach and sit down, they’ll immediately ask you for reference photos of your desired hairstyle, so it’s not the kind of salons where you sit and discuss with your hairstylist what will look good on you. Thankfully I’d saved some photos from Pinterest, when usually in Singapore, I prefer to discuss and decide at the salon. I showed them a short Japanese haircut vs a wavy hairstyle. The hairstylist (supposed to be senior level with 10+ years’ experience) didn’t have the confidence to achieve the Japanese haircut for my hair. I didn’t mention that I actually had that kind of haircuts done often in SG. He voted on a hair-perm, I paid the bill, and we started.
My Italian cold perm turned out quite fine actually! (I’m writing this blogpost two weeks after the hair-perm). It doesn’t look like the photo, but it gave me the volume I was looking for.
At the salon though, I was getting a headache because the perming tubes were tied very tightly close to my scalp, left to sit for some time, and my hair then washed (yes, with the tubes still there). After that, they covered it all again with clingwrap and wrapped a towel over my hair and everything. So I had all those things on my head for extended periods. The weight was causing tension to my head. I know all these are procedures, so not complaining. Totally felt the relief when finally the tubes were removed and I could leave the salon more than 3 hours later.
One salon assistant was cheerful and friendly, and she blow-dried my hair better. The hairstylist wasn’t friendly and in fact, had been pretty rough when cutting my hair. He also scooted off rather uncourteously after blow-drying the right side of my hair haphazardly without saying much. I actually meant to say thanks regardless, but from his vibe, he really couldn’t be bothered with this customer. I forgot his name but he has a Japanese-sounding name (he’s not Japanese) which I asked via the receptionist.
The receptionist was repeatedly persuading me to give them a 5-star review on their Facebook right there and then. She finally gave in when I said I’ll go back and write the review (of course I needed to see how my hair is after I wash it off myself after 48 hours).
The salon’s decor is like a heartland salon (by Singapore standards) – very basic and quite gloomy (photos on Google look wayyy nicer). Service was nowhere near what I’m used to – they’d brought me a glass of water (or choose tea or coffee) with no lid to prevent any hair or dust from going in. Errr.
The total cost was 4000 baht (S$160 / USD$121) for my hair-perm, with treatment (they put some liquid on my hair for a short while after the conditioner) and haircut, which I find pretty expensive for the length of my hair and in Bangkok. Their target market is obviously Caucasians. I will not be going back again nor will I personally recommend this salon.
• 2 times caught in rain
The weather forecast was thunderstorms every day, so it rained quite a bit, especially at night. Twice, I was out when it rained, but I was ready because I had my umbrella in my bag!
• Cafe-hop: 0 cafe visits
I know, I’m sorry! Cafe-hopping is like the must-do thing in developed cities like Bangkok and Singapore, but I just wasn’t too interested to do all the research for the best ones for good food AND a good ambience (because #Instagram). So I skipped it altogether, and didn’t regret. There’s always a next time!
• Over-indulge with 3 Swensen’s ice-cream
Swensen’s in Bangkok only serves ice-cream. The prices were great! My fave Chocolate Crunch sundae was 139 baht including taxes (less than S$6). It was easily half the price of Singapore, so I had it 3 times during my trip. Indulgence!
• 1 mookata (Thai bbq steamboat) dinner
When travelling solo in Bangkok, there’re certain food places you can’t really appreciate doing yourself, such as dining at popular (read: crowded) bbq steamboat restaurants such as Bar-B-Q Plaza / MK Restaurant, or have dinner at Somboon Seafood or Som Tam Nua. In great timing, one of my friends was in Bangkok too and we arranged to have dinner at Bar-B-Q Plaza together!
• 2 crappy Western dinner
I went inside two restaurants, and both times, my dinner was unsatisfying. The taste wasn’t great and the meat patty was also thin. Even a food-stall in a Singapore coffee-shop will do better!
I know, there’s so much good Thai food in Bangkok at better prices, why do I even bother? Simply because I’m travelling solo, hence convenience and comfort got the better of me! Learned my mistake by now.
Uncountable green curry, tom yum, and basil food
Yummy! I love Thai food! Everything is delicious to me!
So that’s it for my Bangkok recap! Bangkok now feels like a better option to me compared to Bali, so it’ll be on my list the next time I need a getaway from Singapore again!
Are you planning to go Bangkok soon?
Visited: Aug 2017
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Header photo was taken in 2013. The rest was taken on the trip.