Upon arrival at Phuket Airport I noticed that during the next two hours there were 12 flights departing to Bangkok. It’s clearly a seriously busy route. Naturally I managed to pick the only delayed flight. Eventually I made it to Bangkok, about two hours later than expected.
After the relative luxury of the last few flights being on Cathay Pacific, I was back on budget airlines. Nok Air is a perfectly adequate company to fly with. Onboard you receive a large box that slightly disappointingly contained just a 200ml bottle of water and a tiny muffin rattling around. Nok Air seems to market itself as being a happy airline, which is appropriate with Thailand known as the land of smiles. The front of the plane is decorated as a smiley face that looks slightly sinister. Obviously Nok Air doesn’t serve the new, modern airport in Bangkok. Instead they go to the old airport which isn’t actually too bad compared to some of the ones I’ve been in recently. A bus and BTS Skytrain ride will get you into the city centre.
Being slightly lost I needed some WiFi to check Google Maps. McDonald’s appear to be wise to people standing outside while accessing their internet so a receipt code is required to log in. As I’d only eaten the Nok muffin since breakfast, I purchased a couple of the local options. For less than £3 you can get fish and chips (on a plate and with a metal knife and fork) and a chicken curry with rice. Both of these meals combined cost less than a Cheese Burger Extra Value meal, with western McDonald’s menu items usually expensive in Asia. The curry especially, is certainly a lot tastier too.
I’ve been to Bangkok before and it’s possibly my favourite Asian city. It has plenty of modern amenities comparable to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. The infrastructure is decent with good transport, fast WiFi as well as fancy bars and restaurants, most of which are at a fraction of the cost compared to the aforementioned places. At the same time Bangkok still retains a bit of grittiness, has lots of energy and charm, and isn’t too sterile.
Bangkok also has plenty of great architecture. There are some interesting buildings visible from my hotel. My personal favourite is the MahaNakthon Building and its pixelated facade.