How to get from Bangkok Airport to Khao San Road

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Trip Advisor, Reddit comment threads, and travel blogs list countless posts from travellers advising the best way to get from A to B when you land in a foreign country like Thailand. Both times I have landed in the bustling city of Bangkok via Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), Bangkok’s huge international airport, I have been swept up into a whirlwind of hand written signs and broken English offers.

I set aside a decent chunk of an hour to research ‘How to get from BKK to Khao San Road’ before we left as I was still unsure of how to navigate the Arrivals chaos. Now after my second trip to Bangkok I feel I have a grasp on how much certain trips should cost, and when to remain confident in bartering to make it an economical and smooth experience.

 

1. Shuttle Bus
After going through the cues of Customs Arrivals you are standing on Level 2. On your left and right there will be elevators and lifts to take you down to Level 1, Gate 8 where you will find the desks of shuttle buses and locations. Make sure you know the suburb (or road name) to pick the right shuttle bus as there are 5-6 to choose from including Khao San Road.

This will cost between 100 to 150 BAHT (4 AUD!) per person to arrive on your hotel doorstep depending on your destination. You just have to visit the other passengers’ doorstep too. If you’re not the first to get dropped off enjoy the crazy traffic! The shuttle bus departs when the bus is full or every hour. Khao San Road is a very popular shuttle departing around 20 past the hour, charging 100 BAHT per person for a 30-45minute drive.

2. SkyTrain
If you’re up for an adventure and want to dive into local life in Bangkok this is the option for you. There is a fantastic train line that will get you into the Bangkok CBD with 3 lines going North, South and West accessible from the airport and usually involving a transfer. Take the elevators from Level 2 down to Level 1 and follow the signs down further to the train. Purchase a ticket from the information desk by the station entrance or the machines. I generally go to the desk because it is easy and the lovely people can help confirm you are getting off at the right stop.

The train line doesn’t go all the way to Khao San Road because of all the old temples and palaces, so you need to catch a taxi or TukTuk depending on your luggage. Catch the train to Phaya Thai station for 45 BAHT keeping your ticket so you can get out at the other end. Follow the signs downstairs to a taxi rank. For between 10 and 45 BAHT you can get to Bangkok CBD and then either walk, catch a Tuk Tuk, or hale a taxi.

3. Taxi
Ahh yes, the illusive Thailand taxi. Well, there is not really one price I can give you to expect. On Level 1, Gate 7 outside there are 4 standing computers where you select a people-mover, van, or sedan taxi. It will give you the number of your taxi driver’s lane where he will be waiting.

The staff on site will tell you it is around 350 BAHT plus the 50 BAHT surcharge for being picked up at the airport – and when going by the meter this is correct. On top of this 350 BAHT are tolls for the highway – the fastest and preferable means to get to your hotel. The first toll is 50 BAHt, and the second heading towards Khao San Road is 25 BAHT.

This makes it a total of 475 BAHT (19 AUD) but you may still pay more. We were asked to pay 600 BAHT (24 AUD) with no meter even though it is illegal to have the meter off. You will experience this if you are heading back to BKK airport so don’t fret too much. You can counter-offer 500 BAHT listing the meter fair, tolls, and let him know you are aware you are giving extra already, but it is up to you whether you go get another taxi that will run by the meter or go with the flow and give the driver a couple of extra BAHT.

Final thoughts:

Next time I fly to Suvarnabhumi Airport BKK I will head down to Gate 8 and check what time the shuttle buses leave for Khao San Road. If I have just missed one and need to wait longer than 20 minutes my next option is to take a taxi. I have taken my suitcases on the train to save money, but in future will catch a taxi for 500 BAHT to Khao San Road.

However, if I am staying in Bangkok CBD I will catch the train because it is cheaper and quicker because you avoid the traffic.

I am all for being cheap, but sometimes a girl just wants to get to the hotel and start enjoying the 3 C’s of Bangkok – culture, cuisine and cocktails!

A green invitation to travel

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There are many different words one can choose from to try and describe how it feels to travel and the experiences people take away from their escapades. It can feed the soul to the point of exhaustion one moment and the next see you soaring on top of a mountain. Pick a continent – any continent really now as even aeroplanes and ships find a common destination in Antarctica – and you will find cheap flights going on the red eye descending into a whole new world.

Travel is so easy today sometimes it is a little hard to imagine the Smith brothers were awarded for the first flight from England to reach Australia in 30 days or less. In 1919 they opened the biggest door for civil aviation in Australia on a global platform after the industrial boom from World War One.

Today we see an average of 93,000 daily flights originating from almost 9,000 airports in the world. You can fly between England and Australia in 24 hours with one stopover to refuel and stay in a  $457 billion hotel industry.

With such staggering numbers and billions of priceless dollars spent on experiences each year, it begs the question what eco friendly practices are available in the travel industry to help reduce our global footprints?

I can’t deny in my adventures I feel guilty for losing track of time in hot showers or running the aircon overnight, especially in the more humid tropical climates. So to my delight I was surprised at a small footprint I became a part of on a recent trip to Thailandand will look forward to experiencing more of for future adventures.

I spent my first two nights on Khaosan Road in Bangkok near the Grand Palace and fell asleep every night with the aircon on listening to all of the Tuk Tuks drive by and loud doof doof music. The people were eclectic, the food was cheap and everyday I would struggle to find a bin to put my rubbish in. I loved the hustle and bustle of the capital city with streets lit up and awake until dawn, but I was extremely excited for my Phuket leg of the trip.

I stayed at Thavron Beach Village Resort and Spa just ten minutes drive from Patong Beach with a view any office junkie – like myself – was dreaming of. Their slogan was “Where Thai tradition meets nature” and was founded by Tilok Thavronwongwongse whose mantra was, “He that conserves nature loves others besides himself”.
brianna2Waiting for me on the bed was my invitation. It was asking me to “conserve and make a difference” with the hotel. Rather than have the staff take the golf carts to every room each day up the side of the hill, guests could hang this little sign and receive a voucher for the restaurants in exchange for being a part of their small footprint. 150 Thai Baht converts to roughly $6 Australian dollars.

Out of the five night stay I participated three nights and made do by hanging towels out on the balcony and folding my sheets up a little with my laundry basket empty and some clothes hand washed hanging on the towel rack. It’s not that there weren’t beautiful facilities to use with environmentally friendly soaps. And we’ve all heard the stories – some funny and some down right scary – of hand washing clothes when travelling around and how it can smell, wreak, make flowers wilt turn out after weeks. The sheets were still crisp and the bathroom was iridescent in marble. I was happy and content in amongst the trees and away from the sensory overload looking forward to falling asleep to the strange sounds of the Asian jungle.

My contribution may have only been three nights, but if one of the 40-odd rooms at the hotel, for each of the Thavron Hotels and Resorts, or every hotel in the $457 billion dollar industry saved one night’s laundry bill in their stay how much do you think it would add up to? My guess is a lot, and this is just one chain’s values I have interacted with committing to sustainability.

Thailand is a small and dense country with culture inextricably intertwined with the earth and sea. I would encourage any person who longs for the buzz of a jungle or ocean mist on their face to holiday there and escape city madness.

Make sure to keep an eye out for your own green invitations when you travel and let us know what you find! I think we can all look forward to future ideas the travel industry will offer to help preserve the natural environment around us, one small footprint at a time.

This post originally appeared in HART Magazine, writing content for the soul. 

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What is Wanderlust?

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Wanderlust is the strong, innate desire to rove or travel about. It is also more commonly known as the travel bug that bites.

The noun originates from 1850s in Germany, where wandern means to wander and lust is most translates to desire. It can be an impulse, a burning distraction, or even just an idea. And even if you think you’ve never felt it before, the moment you do you’ll know it.

When I was little my family used to go on annual trips when school finished. They were the kind of trips you remember in photos though – my sister and I were too little really to soak in every beach or horse ride we went on.

Wanderlust bit me on my first trip to New York. I was 15 years old, my sister 14, and we went with our step family for a whole month to explore the United States! Coming back to Brisbane I was never the same.

If you get the chance to travel I would recommend doing it. For me I’ve found a few things that really drive my wanderlust which you will read throughout my articles, and I’ve got a couple of tips to nudge you a little on your way. Don’t forget to comment with your own tips and tricks for travel below!

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1. Subscribe to everything!
Having the cheapest fairs delivered to your inbox can be very handy, especially if you look at them each week to compare. You’ll begin to develop a keen eye for what’s a good special and what’s just a tantalising option.

Start small by following domestic flights. When you’re feeling confident – or just want to jump in head first! – select the countries or continents that interest you most for a start then work your way down your list.

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2. Budget
So of course while you are looking at all of these amazing deals, the next order of business is budgeting. One of the biggest things that can stop someone from travelling is money. Money money money, it seems like the world revolves around it. But when you start travelling you realise it doesn’t. At the centre of every universe is a culture, a language to learn, or interesting food to devour.

I’ve tried putting cash away in a secret box and only transferring 10% of every pay… that didn’t really work for me. I have a ‘liquid’ emergency account that I can access should I need anything. I recommend transferring as much of your pay over as possible into this liquid account, and only take out $50 at a time to use as spending money. This way every time you transfer extra money out you can wager it against buying an extra drink out in your local OR! buying an extra drink in a city half way round the world…

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3. Have a really good suitcase on standby
But don’t make it too good. You’ve all heard the stories of suitcases being battered in transit – it won’t happen every time but you want to make sure you have a hard case so nothing gets damaged inside. If you book that last minute trip you want a great go-to bag to full up and roll on into the airport.

I recommend having a carry on too with a change of clothes, toiletries, and roll-on deodorant with plenty of tissues, moisturiser, and charge. This can be as pretty as you like! The more unique and special it is the less likely you are to forget it rushing to the connecting flight after a 20hr leg.

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4. Travel by yourself
Don’t let the fear of the unknown, money, or lack of preparation stop you from booking your trip of a lifetime. And most importantly – try not to let the fears of others stop you.

When you have a support network around you that cares for your safety you know they’re looking out for you. But one of the most amazing journeys I’ve had so far was the one I booked by myself 2 months before I was set to take off. I had my Mum, Sister, Aunt and Nan tell me I was crazy – “How could you! Didn’t you ask anyone else? Are you going to have a mobile? What if you get taken – Liam Neeson is not going to be there and I am no where near qualified Brianna!”

Looking back a year later I think I kind of was crazy! But hey – it’s the wanderlust. It’s impulsive and it’s strong and it burns at the core of your existence. Sometimes when you’ve been bit you just have to ride it out and wait until the next wave hits. And then book another flight… and ride it out… then book another…

Well, you get the idea ~