(c) copyright 2001, K.T. Guest House, Bangkok, Thailand
DISCLAIMER: All information provided here is provided
on an "as is" basis and is subject to change without further notice.
Location of K.T. Guest House
K.T. Guest House is located about 12 km South of Don
Muang Airport (see map below), and, 5 km North of
Sukhumvit Road, or, 6 km of Siam Square. It is also only 3 km away from
the Jatujak Weekend market.
Click to enlarge...
This general map (above) shows these eight (8)
interesting places in Bangkok:
(1) the Grand Palace or "Wat Pra Keo", which is also near to Wat Po. Every
guidebook describes this great attraction, so we will only tell you how
to get there from KT guest house.
(2) the exchange station Siam of the BTS Skytrain. This station is conveniently
located near several shopping centers and movie theaters: Siam
Center, Siam Discovery, Siam Square, and, the quaint Maboongkrong shopping
center. Other good shopping places, like the World Trade Center and the
Central Chitlom store are at the next station, Chitlom - we will see those
(3) from KT guest house, the closest Skytrain station is Ari (Aree). We
will explain you how to reach it.
(4) near the Mochit station, there is the Jatujak
weekend market and the Northeastern bus terminal.
(5) there is a large Robinson department
store on Thanon Ratchadapisek (Road) less than 2 km from KT.
(6) the Samsen train station is a conveniently located alternative to the
bigger Hualomphong central train station.
(7) the main train station, Hualomphong, might still be the best place
to obtain information and tickets in person. But, you can also look at
the SRT web site http://www.srt.motc.go.th (??)
(8) the Chao Phaya river Express Boat stops at the Kiak Kai pier (8). This
is a fun and convenient way to go to the Grand Palace. See our explanations
about this further below.
There is a lot more interesting places in Bangkok. Further below,
we talk about some of those places which are less than 6 km around KT guest
Transport Modes in Bangkok
Generally, you can go anywhere in Bangkok by just hailing a taxi while
you are on the sidewalk (hold or slowly wave your right arm in front of
you, at the height of your waist). Taxi cabs are abundant at just about
any hour of the day or night, and, the cost is very low when compared to
the cost of taxi in the USA, Canada, Europe or Japan.
Taxis have different colors: yellow and green, red and blue, or, white
and blue, but, they always have a yellow plate. All cars have a meter,
and, the fare starts at 35 bahts and this allows for about 2 km before
the counter goes up. If the car stops for a long time, the counter is incremented
after every few minutes. An alternative type of transport that does not
stop at those amazing 10 minutes traffic light during rush hours is the
Many taxi drivers speak some English. Ask the staff at the front desk
to help you with telling the destination to the driver: they will write
in down in Thai script for you.
The BTS "Skytrain" system opened in December 1999. There are two lines
now (see our Bangkok map). The Sukhumvit
line goes over Sukhumvit Road from the Onnut station (east terminal) to
Siam station, which is the exchange station between both lines, then turns
up North, up to Mochit station, which is close to the Jatujak "Weekend
market". The Silom line starts one station West of Siam station, at National
Stadium, which connects to the Maboongkrong shopping mall, after Siam station,
it bends southward along Ratchadamri Road, which changes its name to Silom
Road after crossing Rama 4 Road (with Lumphini park at this intersection),
After a short run over the busy Silom Road, it does two 90 degrees turn,
and, then follows Sathorn Road, up to Saphan Taksin station, its terminus,
not far from the Chao Phraya river.
How to use the BTS ticket
First you look on the big map near the vending machines to see which "zone"
(1 to 7) is the station where you want to go to. Then, look up the table
that matches "zones" and fares (10 to 40 bahts).
If you do not have enough 5 and 10 bahts coins on you, you can get some
at the teller beside the gates (turnstiles).
The instructions on the vending machine are in English and Thai, and
they are rather simple. 1) Press the zone number. 2) insert enough coins.
3) get the card that comes out.
To go through the gate, you need to insert the card (in the front, to
your right) AND take it as it comes out (on the top), at this moment, move
through while the doors are open.
The card does not come out of the gate machine when you exit at your destination,
unless you have bought a multi-fares card... These are available at the
teller. If you expect to use the BTS Skytrain often, one of those prepaid
card options could be interesting. You can also get a card with a stored
value of a few hundred bahts.
KEEP the card, you will need it to exit.
The best thing about the Skytrain is that it is fast. This is the best
way to avoid traffic jams, which are not rare at rush hours in the area
covered by the Skytrain. But, if you travel in group, or even with only
one more person, using a taxi can be cheaper. The lowest SkyTrain fare
is 10 bahts, the highest is 40 bahts. You can go around the downtown area
in this train, stop at every other station without going out of the gates,
backtrack, change line and exit at the next station from the one where
you initially entered for only 10 bahts. You cannot exit from that the
same station where got in. Actually, you can... it is 40 bahts!
The Bangkok buses are not the most "user-friendly" in the world, but, they
are inexpensive. There are various types of buses in Bangkok. There are
ordinary buses, without air con, these are red (or green for the old small
ones), 3.50 bahts (flat rate), and, with air con. The air con buses come
in three colors, from the oldest to the newest models (cheapest to slightly
more expensive ones): old blue (higher frame), new blue, and, orange. The
fare in an air con bus goes according to the distance: the collector will
come to you, you state your destination, then, the collector tell you how
much is the fare for this distance, it starts at 8 bahts, or, at 10 bahts
The buses lines are numerous and not so easy to figure out, but, you
can buy some maps to find out which line you should take. One good one
in the "Bangkok City Bus Guide" for 50 bahts. It is available in the AsiaBooks
bookstores, and, other big bookstores. The map in this Bus Guide is bilingual
(English & Thai). Some other maps also show the bus lines.
NOTE: Be careful to board or get off a bus quickly, without
hesitating (board or don't -- don't board if the steps are not clear).
The driver is generally unable to clearly see the people going through
the doors (the doors are located in the middle of most buses)... the bus
often leaves or stops while the doors are open, or, sometime, the driver
closes the doors rather abruptly. You probably have never seen this in
America or Europe, but, travelers say that Bangkok buses are better than
those in Nepal, India, Egypt, ... On the new orange air con bus, the driver
can see the passenger boarding through the front door. Only some lines
have these new buses.
By Express Boat
Another way to avoid busy roads is the Chao Phraya river Express Boat service.
It is inexpensive (6 or 8 bahts for your most likely destinations), fast,
and has a quite refreshing breeze!
We will explain below how to use the Express
Boat to go to the Grand Palace and Wat Po or Wat Arun.
How to Go to Famous Places
Your tourist guide book, Lonely Planet or Rough Guide, or, another one,
tells you about many different interesting things to see in Bangkok. There
are many of them. Here are tips about how to go the some of those when
you start from K.T. Guest House.
Getting to the nearest Skytrain station:
Take a taxi and ask to go to the "Skytrain Ari", or, in correct Thai, "satanee
rot fay fa Aree". This will bring you to the station Ari. (Saphan Kwai
station is geographically closer, but, unless there is an extraordinary
jam on Panhonyothin Road, Ari is more convenient as it is easier to turn
left than right at the big intersection). This ride costs about 50 bahts.
To go by bus, walk from KT to the bus stop (see map of bus stops) on
Prachasuk street, on the side to go North, it's only about 20 meters (see
area map). You can take any of the following bus: 54, 74 (ordinary),
or, 204 (sometimes air con, sometimes ordinary). If you take the air con
204, tell the collector that you will get off at "satanee Aree". The fare
for this ride in air con is 8 bahts. You can ask our front desk staff
to write "satanee rot fay fa Aree" for you in Thai on a piece of paper,
it can be useful in case of confusion: you can show it to the collector
or other passengers if you need directions.
No matter which bus you take, you will have to know where to get off.
Here is how to know where to get off.
Here is the itinerary of these buses between KT and Ari station. (See
map). First, the bus goes North on Prachasuk, then, it turn left on
Suttisarn Road. Then, it crosses the large Wiphawadee Road (the highway
that goes to the airport), and, continues straight
West on Suttisarn. Suttisarn ends at Phanonyothin Road. The bus turns left
there. The Aree Station is at the third stop from this left turn. Notice
that Phanonyothin street is under the Skytrain line. If you can see outside
the bus, you will see the station well before reaching the third stop.
If you are in an ordinary bus, you can decide to stay onboard the bus
longer, until it get stuck at a momentous stop for a light or jam. This
usually occurs around Sanam Pao station or Victory Monument. You can probably
get off the bus in the middle of the jam. You will see other people doing
that. Always mind about the motorcycles coming from the left (or right!).
The semicircle walk around the Victory Monument is a colorful small thrill
by itself. The number of bus lines converging there is astounding, and,
at night, there is a lively row of small fashion shops set up on the sidewalks
below and around. Young Thais come there to buy inexpensive cool clothes
Grand Palace (also named Wat Phra Kheo):
the simple and lazy way is to hail a taxi and utter the sentence "what
pra ke-oh". On a Sunday morning, this ride should cost around 120 bahts.
During week days, it will be more, as the traffic in the Rattanakosin area
(around the Grand Palace) is usually heavy from 6 AM to 8 PM from Monday
to Friday. (Note that the Grand Palace closes at 4 PM).
A more enjoyable way is to go to the
Chao Phaya river, at the Kiak Kai pier ("ta reua kiak kai"), and, board
an Express Boat. The boats come every 20 minutes, or, more frequently during
the rush hours.
You can go to the (8) Kiak Kai pier by taxi (65 bahts) or by ordinary
bus #117 (see general area map). The bus #117
that goes toward Kiak Kai pier is the one going north on the Prachasuk
street (see map below). The nearest bus stop is just beside the 7-Eleven
convenience store at the corner of the soi 44, about 30 meters on the left
when you exit KT.
If you speak Thai, ask the collector to tell you when you reach the
Kiak Kai pier stop, if not, ask our front desk staff to write "ta reua
kiak kai" for you in Thai on a piece of paper, and, show it to the collector!
Anyway, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on a map and outside...
in case the collector is distracted by a sudden rush of passengers... Here
is the itinerary of this bus when it goes there. First it goes North on
Prachasuk, then, it turn left on Suttisarn Road. Then, it crosses the large
Wiphawadee Road (the highway that goes to the airport), and, continues
straight West. It does a little "Z-shape" double turn when it changes to
the Pradipat street just before the Saphan Kwai intersection. There are
bridges overhead to allow pedestrians to cross both Phahonyothin and Pradipat
Roads. After that point, the bus still continues West. At some point you
will notice Army bases and residences on both side of the street. At that
point, the street has changed its name to Thahan Road ("army road"). You
should get off at the bus stop before the next intersection that has a
pedestrian overbridge. There is a large crooked tree right after this stop.
If you miss this stop, you can get off at the next one, after the bus has
turned left at the intersection.
After getting off the bus, walk to the intersection, cross the road,
and, walk in the same West direction (along Thahan Road), toward the river.
This section of the street is a dead end. The pier is at the end.
Board the Express Boat (that's the really large one with plenty of people
and the shipmate who whistles loudly to give cues to the skipper for landing
at the pier). You can tell the collector that you will get off at "Tha
Chang" or "Grand Palace" or "Wat Pra Keo", she (he) will understand any
of these. You do not absolutely need to look at a map to know where to
get off. It takes about 15-20 minutes, you have enough time to find a seat
and relax. The boat will goes under two (2) bridges before it gets close
to your destination. After the second bridge, the "Tha Chang" pier is the
third one on the left side of the river (tons of foreigners get off there).
When you arrive there, you can walk to the Grand Palace in about 5 minutes.
Or take a "tuk tuk" (3 wheeled taxi) to bring you there. You have to negotiate
the fare with the tuk tuk driver: 20 would be cheap, 30 bahts is OK.
(Do NOT accept if a tuk tuk or taxi driver wants to be your "guide"
for one day for 100 or 200 bahts. Such people collect commission each time
they bring you to a boring shop with overpriced items. Avoid also all deals
about specially priced gems, card games, etc. Tourist guide books give
the same advice).
The entrance fee to the Grand Palace is 200 bahts per person. This price
includes two other entrance tickets: the Money Pavilion, near the Palace
itself, and, the Vimanhek Throne, located elsewhere.
NOTE-1: Dress code. You really must wear polite clothes if
you want to be allowed to enter the Grand Palace. This means: long dress,
long skirt, or, pants for ladies; long trousers for gentlemen. Jeans are
tolerated if clean and not torn off. No tank tops, no bare shoulders. Short
sleeved T-shirts are OK. Long sleeves also, but, not required. This is
the most prestigious residence of the King and you don't want to commit
the crime of "lèse-majesté"!
NOTE-2: Film and Water! The Grand Palace compound is well
exposed to the sun. It is clever to bring a large bottle of water, sun
cream, and, a large hat (if this helps you stand the heat of the sun).
Refreshments are available in the Palace compound, but, not near the main
attractions. Camera films at good price (a lot of competition) are available
on the street, before reaching the entrance of the Grand Palace.
The Wat Po is a 5 minutes walks from the Grand
Palace, or, another 20 or 30 bahts for a short tuk-tuk ride. Or, if you
are coming directly on the Express Boat, get off at the next pier, Tha
Mahathat (Wat Po). This is the area to get real traditional Thai massage,
whether inside the temple compound, or, in an official school just around
The Wat Arun or "Temple of Dawn" is
across the Chao Phraya, in front of the That Mahathat pier. The ferry
that goes across the river every 10 or 15 minutes cost 2 bahts, yes, two
How to come back? The two easy
way are: follow the same path in the opposite direction, or, hail a taxi
to go back to the guest house. (Keep the KT Guest House business card at
hand for this purpose). For those who are not too tired yet (or jet lagged),
there is another option... see here below.
To continue to the Siam Square, Maboonkrong
and World Trade Center, board the Express Boat again, in the same direction,
downstream, and, this time, get off at tha River City pier. From the pier,
follow the small aisle until it reaches the street, turn left, walk in
front of the big Royal Orchid hotel, and in front of the River City boutiques
Mall (antiques and art), turn right. At this point, you should already
see the #36 air con bus (orange). One bus waits there until the next one
comes. This bus lines goes back to "Talat Huaykwang" (Huaykwang Market),
which is not far from KT guest house (35 bahts by taxi from there, see
map). But, you can get off at the Maboonkrong if you want to
get to the Skytrain Siam station, or, do some shopping in this area.
To come back from the Siam station,
take the Skytrain to station
Ari (Sukhumvit line, direction Mochit),
then, take bus 54,74, or 204, in the North direction (under exit #3 of
Ari station), or, take a taxi from Ari Station (also under exit#3).
Banks and ATM:
In Thailand, the Bangkok Bank, Thai Farmers Bank, Siam Commercial Bank,
Krung Thai, Thai Military Bank, and, various other ones participate to
the System Plus (Master Card) and Cirrus (VISA) ATM networks. Withdrawing
money from your bank with your ATM card or credit card should not be difficult.
When you insert a foreign card in a Thai ATM machine, the machine recognize
it and offer a choice of English and Thai languages. NOTE: some machines
only allow for 4 digits PIN. You might want to change your PIN to a 4 digits
before coming here: it will be easier than hunting for an ATM that would
accept 5 or 6 digits.
Bangkok Bank and ATM on Suttisan Street:
The closest bank and ATM is near the corner of Prachasuk
street, on Suttisarn street (see map below). This is a branch of the Bangkok
Bank. Travelers cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged on the second
Click on map to enlarge:
Robinson Store on Ratchadapisek Road:
On the far left and far right sides of the (front) basement entrance of
the Robinson store on Rachadapisek Road, see (5) on the map, there are
many ATM machines from various banks.
At the Robinson, near the ATM in front of the Watson store, there is a
Currency Exchange boot. It is open until 23:00 each day.
There is a Siam Commercial Bank contiguous to the right side of the Robinson
building (beside the Pizza Hut).
The easiest way to go to the "Robinson Ratchada" is by taxi. Going there
should cost less than 50 bahts and coming back is about 40 bahts.
Other places of interest
Huaykwang night market, Robinson
Ratchada, IT Mall and Fortune shopping mall
Huaykwang. There is a lively night
market on Huaykwang street between the Prachasongkro
intersection and Ratchadapisek road. This is at a walkable distance from
KT guest house if you don't mind walking under tropical conditions: just
south on Prachasuk street until you see a 7/11 convenience store. At
this point, you have reach Huaywang street. Turn left on it, after a few
sidewalk restaurants, you will reach the evening shops set on the sidewalk.
There is also a fresh market (fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood) on
Huaykwang street during the daytime.
Robinson Ratchada store.
We have talked about this place and how to go there when we described the
of ATM and banks. This is a nice, big, department store. It is usually
less expensive than the chain of Central Department stores (see those at
Prao and Chitlom), but, it is still more expensive
than some bargains found in the small alleys around Siam Square, or, in
This is a great place to buy those last souvenirs if you don't want to
go too far away from the guest house to buy those. There are nice handicraft
and colorful Thai items in the middle of the 3rd floor.
IT Mall and Fortune shopping mall. On Rachadapisek,
at the intersection of Din Deng (see of the map),
there is the big Fortune building. Inside there is a large Lotus Supercentre
department store, many shops and just about every chain of fast food you
can think of. It also has a section called "IT Mall" on the 2nd, 3rd and
4th floors, near the Lotus store. IT Mall is a concentration is small and
large stores selling computers, technology gadgets, and, mobile phones
(mostly on 2nd floor).
NOTE: Because of the current quasi-monopolies over the mobile telecoms
in Thailand, mobiles from abroad don't work here (except multiband phones
if you sign-up for the expensive "roaming" option before leaving home),
and, mobile phones bought here cannot work elsewhere in the world (they
are more expensive here anyway).
IT Mall offers a large selection of softwares and hardware. It can be a
convenient place to shop for special items, especially if you are headed
for less developed places like Laos, or, Vietnam.
Jatujak Weekend Market and Central
Lad Prao store
Jatujak Market. This market is open on weekends
and it is located at a walking distance south of the Mochit Skytrain station,
map, point (4). The best way to get there is probably by taxi (about
70 or 80 bahts). This place is very hot: there are hundred of small shops
under tent roofs, and, a lot of asphalt and not trees. Bring a lot of water.
The choice of goods is amazing. You need to haggle the prices of the goods...
look around, compare prices, be patient, smile, joke... enjoy the experience!
Central Lat Prao. This Central store
is located North of the Mochit Skytrain station (4), see
map, point (10). This is not the easiest to reach Central store, the
one at Chitlom (12) is easier, but, it has interesting small shops, outside,
in front, with young people fashion clothes priced at 199 bahts per item.
At this price, there is no room for haggling.
WTC (Narai Phand), MBK, Siam Center, Siam Square,
WTC: The "World Trade Center" built in Bangkok was a very ambitious
project. Since 1994-95, it still has many shop emplacements left empty
inside. Nonetheless, it is a very lively place, and, now, since December
2000, it has the newest movie theaters in Bangkok on its 7th floor, over
the Isetan department store (which ends on the 6th floor).
One of the best things about the WTC, is that, every evening, there is
one or many outdoor restaurants with excellent Thai and Chinese food, on
the terrace in front of it. You can hear live bands playing the Top 40
hits (from now and before!), and, Thai pop songs.
To reach the WTC, walk East from the Siam Skytrain station, see
map, point (2), or, walk West from the Chitlom station, see
map, point (12).
Narai Phand. The full spelling is "narayana phand", but, all Thais
pronounce it "Narai Pan". This building is located in front of the WTC,
and, you can cross the very busy Ratchadamri Road with the pedestrian bridge
that connects to the Gaysorn plaza building. Narai Phand houses two floors
of government sponsored shop with handicraft (the goods have a price tag
labeled "Naray Phand"). Other shops in the same building (especially in
the basement, and, front of ground floor) are privately owned: you should
negotiate the price. It is not fixed. The government section is
a good reference to know a "fair price" for stuff that you could also buy
at other places, like Jatujak.
Central Chitlom. This is the "flag store" of Central Department
Store, see map, point (12). It is connected
by a bridge to the Chitlom Skytrain station. The "Terrace" restaurant on
the second floor is a nice place to sample a large variety of Thai food.
The service is good. The setting is slightly luxurious. Suggestion "somtam
khao man keng gai" (if you can eat a bit spicy) and fresh guava juice.
On the ground floor, there is a Starbucks coffee shop. You can see the
upper-middleclass breed of Thai people shopping there.
Siam Center is connected to the Skytrain
Siam station, see map, point (2). This 14 (?)
years old shopping mall is still a very successful place for shops, even
though it is now dwarfed by the larger Siam Discovery Center, to
which it is connected (from 4th floor). Siam Discovery has some of the
most expensive and luxurious stores you can think of: Bang and Olufsen,
Nakamichi, Loft, ... There is also a very new movie Theater on the top
Siam Square is on the other side of the Siam station, see
map, point (2), on the other side of Ploenchit-Sukhumvit street. Behind
the old fashioned Lido and Siam Multiplex movie theaters, there is a large
network of small and minuscule alleys with hundreds of clothes shops and
hair salons. That's the place where young hip Thai teenagers go to get
their party-goers looks.
MBK or Maboonkrong (that's how Thais call it), is a old (22
years?), constricted, but, inwardly sprawling shopping mall. People who
feel claustrophobic, or, who are Fire department safety inspectors will
not like it. Yet, there are tons of shops there and it is kind of fun,
especially if you like dense crowds.
NOTE: put your wallet in the front pocket of your trousers,
or, your purse or bag in front of you, because the pickpockets are famous
in those dense crowds.
The MBK is across the large intersection in front of the Siam Discovery
Center. There are several pedestrian bridges to cross, so, it is easy to
MBK also connects to the National Stadium station through its Tokyu Department
store (2nd floor), see map, left of point (2).
There is also an older pedestrian bridge that connects MBK (2nd floor)
to Siam Square. The stairs on that side are even narrower than the aisles
of MBK. The Scala shopping center on that end of the bridge should probably
avoided by everyone: this is a very old and creepy place. It is narrower
than the MBK itself.
Last update: 10 March 2001 by webmaster.
Silom and Patpong. To go to the famous "Soi
Patpong", off Silom Road, take the Skytrain,
change for Silom line at the Siam station see map,
point (2), and, get off at Saladeng station. If you are on Ratchadapisek
Road, the #15 orange air con bus that goes in the South direction can take
you there: tell the collector that you will get off at "Silom". Silom is
the first stop after crossing Rama 4 road, which is just after you see
the large Lumphini park to your left (you are under the Skytrain line at
that point). The #15 bus does not run late at night. The Skytrain stops
at midnight. Please, do not bring back bar girls to the guest house.
There are short-term hotels right in that area.
AsiaBooks stores. There are more than
20 branches of AsiaBook in Bangkok. Two convenient locations are at Siam
Discovery Center (4th floor, near the inner bridge that connect to
Siam Center) and WTC (3rd floor, near the large
round atrium on the back of the building).