A Week in Bangkok Old Town: Where to Stay & Things to Do

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Are you a woman traveling alone in Thailand? Or maybe you’re a digital nomad visiting Bangkok, and working online while you travel. Here’s some advice on staying safe, getting work done and having a great time.

Jump ahead to Where to Eat or Things to Do

Where To Stay

I found an affordable airbnb apartment in Bangkok Old Town, in the Nang Loeng area. You can book them through airbnb or directly. 

Alameda Suites Apartments

A huge, well equipped studio apartment in Bangkok

27/5 Ka Om Rd, Wat Sommanat, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok 10100, Thailand

Their website bills these as luxury apartments, but they’re not. What they are, though, are huge, clean, well equipped studio apartments for short or extended stays and perfect for the solo female traveler or digital nomad visiting Bangkok. 

Here are some of the amenities I particularly appreciated: 

  • Fast, reliable internet
  • Good air conditioning, plus a fan
  • Decent kitchen, with stovetop and microwave
  • Private balcony with large, screened sliding glass door
  • Mahogany wood floor
  • Elevator
  • Coin op laundry 
  • Rooftop area overlooking the city
  • Responsive host
  • Lots of towels and pillows
  • Ample hot water

My apartment was on the 7th floor, so yes…I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the elevator!  My flat faced away from the street, and I was really surprised at how absolutely silent it was. I didn’t hear any street noise, traffic sounds, nor even any noise from other tenants. I was even able to record a guided meditation track from my apartment, which I did not expect from the middle of Bangkok.

Not that you’ll need it, but I did note and appreciate that there is a police station at the end of the block, so I imagine this location would be less desirable for criminals to ply their trade.

There are signs and instructions that explain everything you need to know about the apartment, in English. It means you won’t have to waste your time fumbling about trying to figure out simple things. There are clear, visual and written instructions on how to operate the laundry, how to login to the internet, which key gives access to the elevator, etc. If you’re a digital nomad, having to figure out how things work in every new place can be frustrating and time consuming. Not so here. 

In terms of work, my time here was very productive. Here’s what I got up to on my free time…

Where to Eat in Old Town Bangkok

Massage

A Thai massage is something you need time to recover from. They are awesome, and therapeutic, but if you get the super gentle kind that puts you to sleep, you may have landed in a tourist trap. The first time I had a massage in Bangkok, a zillion years ago, it was excruciating. Every minute. They used something that looked like a bamboo chopstick on every pressure point in my entire body and I thought I was going to die. And then I was walking on air for the next couple of days.

Ideally, I’d like something in between. No bamboo sticks, please. But I also don’t want to be petted and stretched a little, either. I went to Spaya and it was the middle ground I was looking for.

River Taxi

A boat is hands down the most pleasant way to get around and explore Bangkok. You can always take the tourist hop on/off boat, but I also really like the river taxi.

Here are my favorite piers to explore around: 

  • Royal Barge Museum 
  • Wat Pho and Wat Arun 
  • Asiatique 

Or if  you prefer the hop on/off tourist boat, go here.

GRAB

Getting around is cheap and easy with the GRAB app, which is SE Asia’s Uber. You download the app, setup your payment info and you can start ordering motorbike or car rides. There is no haggling, no exchange of cash and no language barrier to overcome. For women traveling alone, there is also the safety of having a record of your driver, route and destination. 

Remember that traffic is nuts, absolutely crazy, in Bangkok. You can be sat at an intersection for over fifteen minutes. So if you’re okay with being a passenger on a scooter in a seemingly anything-goes riding environment, I’d stick to GRAB motorcycle taxis for short rides. They can and do maneuver around cars and get to the head of the lane in ways you’d never think of (or dare). 

I always travel with riding goggles, and if you’re going to be on a motorbike, you should too. The crap that gets kicked up and airborn on the streets is disgusting, and frankly dangerous. Sunglasses are at least something, but really…do you think debris can’t go around the sides? Let’s protect our precious corneas. 

I bought these on Amazon for very little. Sure, you can get expensive ones, but I’ve travelled all over with these and they work just fine. They even come with interchangeable lenses for different times of day. 

Dentist

Not fun, exactly, but if you’re a nomad, Thailand is a great place to get a checkup and cleaning. I had a checkup and cleaning, which was the only time I ventured into the dreaded Khao San area. Instead of having a single set price for cleaning (a service they call tooth scaling), they have a range. The dentist takes a look in your mouth and then tells you how much it will cost. Is this the start of a negotiation? Perhaps. 

The dentist who scaled my teeth was lacking any chairside charm. She never took her mask off to greet me, so I never actually saw her face…just her fake blue eyes as she hovered above me. The cleaning was good, but not as good as what I get from my dentist in California. They use an ultra sound cleaner rather than scraping your teeth manually. 

I phoned them in the morning to make an appointment, thinking it might be days (I have to make my checkup appointments months in advance back home), but they got me in that afternoon. I showed up at my appointed time, but they were running around 45 minutes late with another patient. Always leave time in your schedule. Appointments are often more approximate than exact.

A week later I woke up with a hole in the side of a molar. Just like that. I was in Vietnam and sought the opinion of two different dentists. They both agreed that someone had drilled a hole in the side of my tooth and most likely applied a temporary filling, which popped out…resulting in me suddenly noticing there was a hole. I had to have it filled, but worse than this, the first dentist drilled a hole in the side of my tooth for no reason and then covered her tracks. Teeth are forever, and now I have a forever hole on one of them to remind me never — never — select a medical care provider based on Google reviews alone. Even for something as low risk and commonplace as getting your teeth cleaned. 

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