Monday, December 8, 2014

Naked in Bangkok

I'm writing to you today from the coolness of my hotel room in Bangkok. It's time for my once-every-10-week sortie out of Myanmar for the purpose of renewing my business visa.  Two and a half months is as long as they'll let you stay before you have to do a 'step out, step in' visa run, and Bangkok is the closest, cheapest place to do that.

I do feel a bit naked.  See, this is the first time I've gone anywhere significant in years without bringing my video camera with me. The camera is kind of bulky, and I wanted room in my backpack to bring back stuff I haven't found in Yangon. I used to live in Bangkok, and although this city is HUGE with lots of interesting sights around every corner, this time, I thought to leave the camera home.

It's weird not recording everything.  It's like I'm undercover. I've gotten all the shopping I wanted to do out of the way, and since I've got some time to kill this afternoon, I can at least show you some photos.

Of my hotel...

I'm staying at the Suda Palace Hotel in the Saphan Kwai district of Bangkok.  It's on the north side of town, an area I didn't get to much when I lived here. I chose it because I could book it online, it's relatively close to the airport I was flying in and out of and it was cheap ($15/night). 

From the photos I saw on the internet, the place looked huge!  The reviews I read said it felt a bit rundown, but the service was fine, the wifi was fast and it was clean enough.  Fine by me.  I like older, large hotels. It makes you feel like there's some history to the place. 

Sure enough, the Suda Palace definitely looks like it's seen better days. Apparently, they added another wing to an existing hotel, but kept all the same intricate woodwork throughout the entire building.  I think I'm staying in the older wing.

Here's what the outside looks like close up.  Look at the cool fillagreed columns!  The place has old-school class.

What I didn't know is that the Saphan Kwai area is also well known for it's go-go bars, strip clubs and prostitution.  Never heard about this area during the whole time I lived here.  These places and this district aren't world renowned like the sex-industry zones more in the heart of Bangkok because Saphan Kwai caters to local Thai clientele.  I've barely seen any foreigners around, nor did I patron the clubs last night. 
bars, strip clubs and hookers.  Directly across the street from the Suda Palace are two of largest go-go clubs in Bangkok.

Anyway, back to the hotel.  One thing I noticed is that in my 'wing' of the hotel there are a whole bunch of unmanned counters, places where workers would sit when the place was in its heyday, but no longer.

Again, I loved the woodworking throughout the place.  Even around the elevator doors and at the door to my room.

As you can see, they put me on the 2nd floor, which is nice because I'm not a big fan of climbing stairs. The wing I'm in must be at least 8 stories tall, but I don't think anyone is staying very high up. 

Why?  Yeah.

Finally, the interior of the room.  Again, it really adds to the old-school feel of this place.  The furniture dates from a previous century when hand-carved, intricate woodworking was inexpensive in Thailand.  Definitely nicer than any other 'budget' hotel room I've ever been to...

I've also never seen anything like this.  It's some kind of ancient bedside remote control.  The radio doesn't work. The buttons to control the volume and channel on the TV are gone, but the light switches on the right side of the console still work!  State of the art 1960's technology!


  1. Bet it is nice to take a good long hot water shower!

  2. I think the place is lovely Joko. Its weird, I was just thinking about your vlogs..and wondering why you weren't taking advantage of them. Now I know. :)


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