While in Bangkok, there are numerous tales to be narrated. However, my experience of dwelling in The Unico Express Sukhumvit, is a novel story in itself. I would like to note that even narrating, the events bream my heart with the treasures of joy. Of course, “cheap” is my first impression about the city when I landed at Suvarnabhumi airport. I took a cab at a fairly reasonable charge at 450 Baht, considering the distance between the airport and hotel was nearly 45 minutes without traffic.
I stayed at The Unico Express, situated on the extreme edge of Sukhumvit Road. The first and foremost thing that strives to develop a loveable experience is the easiness to access the place. While in exotic place, where the difference in culture and routine subtly announces the beauty of the world, it also brings forth stress in the mind if one is not able to easily reach the destined place of resting. I had far greater relive in finding that The Unico Express Sukhumvit is located at the heart of Bangkok and surrounded by up to date facilities for either business or leisure traveler, definitely value for money. Bangkok Sky Train provides very easy coverage and accesses all of business places. Nana pier Station is also very close to the hotel, which is also considered as the famous Bangkok canal. These transport systems indeed come in handy when setting on the expedition of digging into the suburbs of the city.
From the exterior, and even when inflowing the atrium, I felt like I was gazing at a truly high-quality hotel. However, this is actually a 3-star hotel with per night charge is as cheap as $17 via Agoda travel site. The entrance hall was pleasant, the elevators were in good condition, and the room wasn’t ragged to grates or anything like that. However, several modern amenities were merely absent. The TV just had 5 channels, no wardrobe, and no WIFI connection.
The hotel’s management is well-trained, adept and faciliatory in executing their services. From reservation to check out, I didn’t find any such gross discrepancy that could turn turtle the amenable experience into melancholic one. Their website remains up-to-date so it allows me garnish almost any information that would be deemed as essential. Another thing that goes well with the management is that they offer prodigious counsel that makes the intricate process of making choices quite piece of cake. From selection of room to selection of services, everything is presented in crystal clear and lucid that making decision becomes just plain sailing.
They provided traditional food, and the variations were limited, and for the person like me, I abhorred the sameness. I have even talked to manager and have wheedled him to inseminate new colors and tastes, but I have up till now got only conciliatory responses and nothing else. Though they offer various promotions in the food section, but they are short-lived and most often didn’t meet my taste.
However, the overall food in Bangkok is awesome! This city is the place where one can enjoy the different and extraordinary dishes in several different food zones. I’ve looked over some restaurants nearby the hotel and found that Bangkok restaurants has something to present for everyone, from fresh fruits to veggie plates to stir fry, and many more. Based on the guidance information I got at the arrival lounge, Suan Lum Night Bazaar operates until midnight. So, I went there and took me 65 Baht by taxi. I got amazed by the different aromas grabbed my attention coming from different restaurants. I found this place excellent for dinner. Here, I got every type of food possible, from fragrant noodles, appetizing sea food, slices fruit with sticky rice, and steamed dumplings. I spent 105 Baht for two items of dish. Later after dinner, I went for window shopping around the area, but everything was so pricy. Still, I bought a Buddha statue at a reasonable price, or so I thought.
Back to the hotel took me 115 Baht, more expensive than before because the driver had to take on a different road (well I hope it wasn’t his masterplan to screw me over). When I relaxed on hotel patio, a guy came over and offered his service to get around Bangkok. His name was Mr. Mai, a Tuk-tuk driver (traditional Thai Transportation). After long and hard negotiation, I agreed to use his service for the next couple of days.
The next morning, we met in front of the hotel. Our first trip was the Chao Phraya River, the 172 kilometers river across the east side of Bangkok. I rented a boat for 600 Baht from the initial price of 800 Baht. Unfortunately, the view wasn’t worth a dime, way below my expectation. Definitely not recommended! Next up, I visited the Grand Palace with admission fee 150 Baht per person. The place was quite extensive and impressive. After that, I visited several temples nearby; Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Phra Kaeo, and many more. I returned to hotel at 6 PM, and paid Mr. Mai 200 baht for taking me around since morning. Before calling the day off, I asked Mr. Mai to drop me off at the Erawan Shrine, a place of prayer which was located at downtown of Bangkok.
The third day was a shopping day. The Unico Express Sukhumvi in its environs has a great number of the hospitals and shopping centers. Having said that, the place ideally suits those who come to visit the dear ones who are under the weather. It is also quite apropos to those who indulge themselves in shopping. So, there is a drawback that the variety in the surroundings is not the most coveted one. I find myself in great torment when I am in mood of seeking some serenity from the hustle and bustle and thus have to travel miles to get at the desired location. I would say that the ephemeral stay in the hotel suits them most who are fond of tumultuous and clamorous life but if you are looking for travelling and site exploring, it is not for you.
However, I decided to shop based on the recommendation of my Tuk-tuk’s driver, which was Chatuchak Market or best known as Weekend Market, the largest and cheapest market in the far side of Bangkok. The size of the market probably reaches almost 14 hectares, so incredibly large. Whatever you want, you can definitely find there and will leave you with such a big smile knowing that you don’t have to spend much on your money. The market was relatively clean and very solid by visitors because it operates on weekends only.
That night, I decided to walk down the Sukhumvit Road. Most of the newcomers are middle eastern people. Even some of the merchants were also Middle easterner. I rarely find local people along the Sukhumvit Road. Suddenly, I remembered when I was in Dubai or Doha. Well, it turns out the street is indeed known as the residence to the Pakistan Embassy, and myriad businesses serving to Arab community, from Hookah bars and Halal restaurants and the whole thing in between.
On my last day, I checked out from hotel at 11AM. Since my flight was not yet until 8 PM, so I decided to go around the neighborhood. If you are a shopping lover, from this hotel you can simply reach Siam Paragon, Siam Square, and Central World Plaza, all the places are major shopping destinations in Bangkok. Additionally, you can visit Royal Grand Palace through standard klong boat, a practice that will get you back to time when Bangkok was famous with the name “Venice of the East” (which I did yesterday). I finally went to the platinum fashion mall not far from the hotel and make a quick stop at the jewelry store. Around 4PM, I got on the cab to the airport. 400 Baht with no traffic.
This trip gave me a face of Thailand that perhaps only few have seen. I met some local people and had a sight into rural life. I found that Thai people are very down to earth, kind, and actually wants to give everyone insight into real Thai culture.
Freelance Writer: Sue Ann Klosterman Becker