Rama III Luxury Condo
Our place was located in Rama III. Located on a freeway with two amazing suspension bridges either side. There was a BRT stop directly out front, which is a low-cost public transport bus network and also a taxi rank out front. Across the highway (accessible on foot by a bridge), a small complex with about 5 restaurants and a Buddha relics museum that had a constant flow of tourists on buses.
The complex had security guards at the front and a boom gate. The lobby had several staff on duty all day and a wonderful sofa and elegant water features. You need a swipe card to get through the doors and up the elevator. We collected our keys from the lobby and rode our way to the 11th floor. Tucked in a quiet corridor was our room. And inside, a large 3 bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment with the most amazing views of the bridges and river.
The place was more expensive then most other places, but still cheaper than our shoebox in Hong Kong. At $90 a night we had indulged with a little more space to enjoy. There was a super large, so comfy lounge, a fully equipped kitchen and 3 bedrooms. Our room had a large king bed and the kids were happy to have their own room again.
The complex also had a pool, gym and several rooftop gardens. The apartment included excellent WIFI, cleaning twice a week, plenty of towels and linens. The Owner called us the first day and made sure we were okay and everything was working well. He was lovely, letting us know where we can find food and several nearby places of interest.
There was a 7-11 convenience store a short 3-minute walk down the road and a shopping centre nearby. We never used the public transport available, since having two children we prefer to get where we are going quickly and without wearing our kids out before we get there. Taxis were always available and very helpful. They always use the meter and we always gave them tips, generally rounding up to the nearest 50/100.
A 10-minute $2 taxi ride away was the Central Plaza with restaurants, groceries and movies. There’s also a huge Tesco. Located nearby, a street called Soi Wat Pho Maen. On this street were several daycares and kids centres, like Daddy Nursery, Gymbaroo and our eventual choice, Kido. This daycare centre had several activities for kids throughout the week – gymnastics, art & craft and music & dance. After these morning classes they also offer daycare facilities.
The kids loved our trial visit and cried when we left. So we enrolled them for 3 days a week. These days were great for them and my son was so happy when I picked him up, talking a million miles an hour. When they are not at school my 3 year old repeated, “why can’t I go to school today?” They must be doing something right!
It’s the most expensive school they have been to on our trips so far. The non-member daily drop off price is $22/day each child. This includes food, activities and care. They also bathed the children, which we are still uncomfortable with and Mia actually refused. Both kids learned Thai nursery rhymes and picked up a few Thai words.
Mia did not enjoy it as much as her last schools since the children only spoke Thai and were quite young. Caius was very happy. Every time we picked him up he would talk a million miles a minute telling us every little detail (mostly in toddler gibberish).
Siam Paragon Imax Cinema
Our first movie in Bangkok was The Dark Knight at Siam Paragon. It was only showing at the Imax theatre, which is more expensive at $12 a head. Including a choice of popcorn (BBQ, Salmon, Cheese, Original & Caramel) plus two drinks, the whole thing cost $30. The screen was humongous and the seats reclined slightly, very comfortably. The movie was great and was the first date I’d had with my husband since our time in KL, over a month ago.
Before you get too comfy though be prepared to stand for the Royal National Anthem. All the Thai ads gave us a good giggle when all of a sudden everyone was standing and a song started. I am not sure what it was saying, but I guess from the images the general gist was in honour of the King. Very nice.
It took us less than half an hour to get to Siam Paragon, but when we left the movie that day at 4:30pm, it took us an hour & a half to get home. We witnessed Bangkok’s finest peak hour traffic! I do not recommend trying to leave a shopping centre anywhere between 4pm – 7pm or on weekends 4pm – 10pm. We have found the skytrain to Chong Nonsi and then a tuk tuk or taxi worked much better during this peak hour/s. Skytrain from Siam to Chong Nonsi is about 35baht ($1), a tuk tuk home was 100baht (just over $3).
Taxis are a lot cheaper than tuk tuks, and the older drivers use their meters and have no intention of bartering a fare to rip you off, compared to younger drivers. However tuk tuks are so much fun, whether it’s in the sweltering heat or pouring rain, a tuk tuk is an adventure. The tuk tuk goes where most cars won’t (and can’t) and we saw a lot of back streets and markets from our little seat on the back of the 3 wheeled motorbike. On my last night in Bangkok I had made my way to Chong Nonsi and decided to take a tuk tuk home. Loaded with my banana roti and pad thai, I sat back for the first time all alone in a tuk tuk. They can get squishy with 4 people, luckily 2 of the people in ours are so small, but having it all to myself was wonderful. I drank in the sights and sounds and had one of those pure moments where you are existing just ‘to be’.
Bangkok has been given a bad rap by a lot of people. I was very nervous about coming here with my kids and having a tiny place with nothing to do. Bangkok so far has exceeded our expectations. Our place was spacious and magnificent, outside the city with views of the twinkling Bangkok nightscape. Traffic was much more manageable than Manila and the malls and movies are large and good-looking.
Welcome to Bangkok!