Train Night Market Ratchada in Bangkok

In short: There are many night markets around Bangkok but while some are borderline NSFW (Patpong) or just full of backpackers (Khao San Road). The Train Night Market Ratchada marries the old and new in a way that is uniquely Bangkok

Budget:
5-10 USD: Can get you comfortably fed on street food stalls and a drink or 2
11-20 USD: Eat to your hearts content with freshly made seafood and some beer
21-30 USD: Live like a king, maybe even hit up a bar or buy some hipster clothes

Bangkok is big, very big. At times it can be overwhelming with the sheer amount of stuff to do. But as you go around you find yourself running into a theme: this is a tourist city. Temples littered with tour guides, plazas catering to the sex tourists, touts on most corners. It makes you wonder: where do the Thai people go? And more importantly where do they go EAT!

At the Train Night Market Ratchada, you find what looks to be a more modern style of night market which caters itself to the younger, yuppie crowd. A place for folks to shop and make bargains and to eat a variety of food.

GETTING THERE

Since my hostel was close to Nana Plaza, we could easily walk to the Bangkok Metro. For about 21 THB ($0.64) you can take a train from Sukhumvit station to the Thai Cultural Centre stop.

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It’s almost half an hour but it’s half an hour in AC!

Get off and follow the signs to the Night Market. I had a small fear that this might be a tourist trap but what I found it was far from it.

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If the 9 minute walk is too much you can cut through the nearby mall

LAYOUT

Once inside you find a carnival of sights. Full scale bars with live music, shops that cater to the local hipsters: Metal Music themed Burgers, Jeans with a post apocalyptic theme, Tattoo parlors, and multi-level bars.

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rows and rows of food and clothes

The Train Market is divided into rows, the first 5 rows from the right are food while the remaining rows are for clothes, electronics, and anything else. In the back is where you will find the more permanent buildings that are boutique hair stylists or clothing stores.

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An example of some of the more permanent shops

At the time we had went the crowds wasn’t much and we were able to pass through and walk around comfortably without being “stuck in traffic”

The market opens at around 5pm and ends roughly around 1am with some flexibility depending on when businesses decide to pack up.

THE SHOPPING

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My friend I met in the hostel went around checking out the small clothes shops. I found it quite refreshing the lack of touristy stores selling the basic “I โค Bangkok” or other kitschy items. The majority of the shops around was selling women’s wear, most of which has a distinct Korean or Japanese fashion influence. Bargaining seems to be pretty well accepted so you are bound to come out on top of the savings

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Apart from clothes, you can also find electronics of various quality and legitimacy. Personally I usually try to find an electronics store before risking my phone or laptop with whatever I buy outside. There is also a handful of shops selling nuts and candy for people to take home with them.

THE FOOD

With around 5 full rows of food you will find that it’s almost impossible to leave hungry. The main attraction I found is the seafood. For roughly 11-20 USD (neighboring vendors like to compete!) you can order a large plate full of oysters, shrimps, and clams. Many of the stalls offer their own quirks such as serving food in a bag mixed with various spices and flavors. They give you all the tools you need and even include disposable gloves to grab and nosh down without getting your mitts messy.

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But I am a frugal street food guy so for me the start to any meal has to be coconut. For around 30 Baht or less you can get your hands on a delicious coconut. For me it’s a good start to the food adventure and can be pretty refreshing no matter the temperature.

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Another good option is the stuffed roti, this carb heavy dish can be either sweet or savory, mostly sweet. Pick what you want inside (for me it was egg and cheese) and it will be cooked with a mix of butter AND oil. They even offer chocolate or condensed milk on top, yes even for the savory option. This I had to share, it was very heavy with carbs and fat and can be greasy. Not my favorite but I’d turn the other cheek if I had more alcohol in me.

Grilled meats are always in supply, my favorite being the chicken and pork meatballs. Do NOT be like me and eat the ones with bits of green and orange thinking it’s just onion and carrot. Those are the colors of Thai chilies! And it is spicy but the pain is so much more pleasurable with the sour spicy sauce thrown in! Word of warning, this is served with sharp skewers that can stab through your plastic carrying bag so careful where you poke ๐Ÿ˜‰

But for me the start of the show is the Kanom Tuay. These steamed warm discs of coconut pudding and a pandan jelly bottom is a perfect ending to my food adventure. My friend and I agreed, this is something we can keep eating and never get tired of. I wanted to eat this slowly and with little bites because once it was gone I was, very reasonably, sad.

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OVERALL

The great enjoyment of this night market is balance. Somehow they managed to combine something for tourists and the local yuppie crowd. It’s a place to grab some food, shop, and just enjoy walking around like any night market. But what sets it a part for me is the sheer diversity in those categories that makes me want to come back for more and many times over.

-RR

MORE ARTICLES FROM “THAILAND THANKSGIVING”

  1. Introduction: Thailand Thanksgiving
  2. Flight Log: ORD to NRT
  3. Flight Log: NRT to BKK
  4. Short Review: Boxtel BKK
  5. 7-11 in Thailand
  6. Train Night Market Ratchada
  7. Flight Log: DMK to CNX
  8. Playing with Elephants in Chiang Mai
  9. The Saturday Night Market in Chiang Mai
  10. Seeing and Staying in Bangkok

 

So You Want to Travel in 2018? Part 1

Hi There!

It’s me, RR, and I decided that I should begin my 2018 with a guide to help those who want to start traveling in 2018. This isn’t for the seasoned frequent flyer or the master traveling business person. This short guide is for the person who has decided to start traveling for the first time.

For those that are still with me, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the reason you would like to travel in 2018?
  • What’s the furthest you’ve gone? Out of the state? Out of the country? Out of the Continent?
  • Do you wanna go with people or just go it alone?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Where do you go from here?

If you have been chewing on these questions for some time then it must mean that you are ready to start thinking about traveling this year. Keep reading and hopefully I can help you!

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My first trip solo was Hong Kong in 2015, I miss this view a lot

Quick Disclaimer

By no means am I here to provide the absolute best possible advice. Sometimes my advice doesn’t work for everyone and that is okay. My only hope is that you read this and that you will get those questions answered!

Why Travel

In my work, we have to always encourage others to lead with the “Why” and not with the “What”. Most people who start to think about traveling sometimes leads with the what as in “What do I want to do when I travel” “What can I afford” “What am I getting myself into”. Don’t get me wrong, these are all questions people have asked themselves, including me! But it helps to lead with the why, because “the why” is your main motivator and besides the plane and it’s captain, it’s the reason that you choose to “take off” on your adventure ๐Ÿ˜‰

For many the why is simply “I want to get away”, this is true for almost 90% of you out there and it’s valid but try to dig deeper as to why you want to get away? Do you want to see something that you saw on a video once on YouTube? Are you perhaps shopping around for a new city or even a country to settle in? Saw something delicious on a food blog or on Netflix and you want to go there and try it yourself (in case you haven’t noticed that is me ๐Ÿ˜€ )

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My “why” to go to Brussels? To see where my parents went on their honeymoon โค

We all have our reasons but in order to get the ball rolling I find myself encouraging me to unpack my reasons to ask why more and more as a motivator and to create a stronger, tangible reason. Do I want to go on a 14+ hour flight, in economy, to check out Singapore? Or do I want to go take a 14+ hour flight to Singapore to try some of the best food Asia has to offer, see the great diversity and clash of cultures, and to wander the quay looking at some of the best views of the city-state?

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Which of those questions do you find more motivating? Which sounds more like a plan than a dream? Which one could you find yourself doing?

Can I even go far?

For many of us, traveling can take ages, not all of us are plane people or train people just like how many are not car or bus people. Time is one of those factors that people have in the back of their minds, not so much the destination.

But here is the thing, depending on what you wanna do you might find that time can be on your side. When we work during the week and try our best to relax on the weekend we find ourselves believing that if we go on vacation that we might have to go for a long time and a we need some of that time to travel.

But to get to a place like Asia your flight is going to be 13-15 hours long. In essence that is just over half of a day. Why leave at a time that is most convenient for the airline? Why not try to leave at night to get some rest for most of the flight? Or how about leaving after work so you don’t need to take a vacation day. As an American, we get very limited vacation days compared to our European counterparts but it never has to be that way.

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Yeah sometimes you gotta take a “Hello Kitty” themed flight at 12am to squeeze an extra day in Singapore, worth.

I find myself doing my research and trying to squeeze in the most days for the fewest vacation days. Sometimes it involves me leaving after work, even bringing my luggage with me to the office. Other times I take a red-eye flight (a flight that’s either very late in the evening or very early in the morning). If I’m taking a flight to my destination, I try to search for a flight that works best for me. I try not to let an airline dictate my options, sometimes it’s worth spending a bit more to find a flight that works best for you rather than spending less and finding that you might be stuck at a connecting airport for 6 hours or you will arrive at your destination but maybe at a ridiculous time like 2am, making you miss most if not an entire day!

Are you still there?

I hope that what I have provided above is a nice primer for those that wish to start traveling. But I haven’t answered all the questions yet! So stay tuned for a part 2 where I go further in helping people try their hand at finally traveling!

-RR

Short Review: Boxtel in BKK Airport

Landing in the airport at 1am is never ideal, especially with no place to go to. I thought about crashing in the lounges but all I really wanted for just a bed to sleep on.

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And I mean…just look at this immigration line

Enter Boxtel. It’s literally a box with a bed, lamp, outlet, and nothing else. It’s located past the immigration, follow the signs to the Airport Link and then to the transit hotels, Boxtel can be found near the food court. At 1am everything was understandably closed.

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Box, sweet Box

PRICE

You pay by the hour which for me and sleeping for about 7 hours did add up. The final price was a hefty (for Thailand) $50 USD, but I was paying more for convenience than anything else. The staff at 1am seemed very checked out by that point and that made sense. Besides that they were helpful to get me situated in a box.

THE ROOM

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I mean, it’s a box

What’s in the box? Well….a bed, a light, and a place to put your stuff in and nothing much else. They had A/C Blowing through with the only option to either turn it off or turn it on. They mention that there is no shower and no bathroom. For a bathroom you will need to leave your box and use a public bathroom. They did include a giant water bottle as part of the deal which is thoughtful of them.

HOW IT WENT

I got in, stripped off the clothes I had worn for over 20 hours in a plane and went to bed. The bed is surprisingly extremely comfortable and I was able to sleep almost immediately (Tylenol PM may or may not have factored in my comfort).

Just before my 7 hours I had woken up and I felt a sense of being fully rested, Boxtel has been successful at it’s one job. So I guess I’d call that a win in my book.

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You did the trick ol’ Box

OVERALL

Boxtel provides folks flying in the most basic need: a place to sleep, which is all anyone ever needs after being on 2 international flights. The price is a lot, considering I paid significantly less in both of my hostels. But when you just need a bed, it’s better this than nothing else.

-RR

MORE ARTICLES FROM “THAILAND THANKSGIVING”

  1. Introduction: Thailand Thanksgiving
  2. Flight Log: ORD to NRT
  3. Flight Log: NRT to BKK
  4. Short Review: Boxtel BKK
  5. 7-11 in Thailand
  6. Train Night Market Ratchada
  7. Flight Log: DMK to CNX
  8. Playing with Elephants in Chiang Mai
  9. The Saturday Night Market in Chiang Mai
  10. Seeing and Staying in Bangkok

Flight Log: ANA Economy 787-8 Tokyo to Bangkok

Airline: ANA
Code: NH 805
Date: 11/21/2017
Route: NRT -> BKK


THE GOOD:
– The Food
– The Exit Aisle
– Bathrooms

THE BAD:
– Middle seat (really my fault)
– Time taken to clear the trays

THE UGLY:
– Turbulance
– Delays


ARRIVING AT THE AIRPORT

We landed early which had given me a full 2 hours to transit. I personally love transiting through NRT, just a quick security clearance done in an orderly fashion pretty much every time.

I managed to take a super quick peak at the KAL Lounge in NRT (Accessible for those with Priority Pass). I felt I didn’t have too much time so I just stopped by to grab a bite and a free drink.

 

Overall the lounge is okay, has a similar set up you would find in a lounge in America, except for of course the perfect pour machine! It was amazing to see it, if anything else. I then proceeded to down my beer and eat my onigiri and proceeded to head down to my gate and…wait

And wait.

And wait.

My flight has been delayed due to aircraft maintenance. While this is something that is routine, the crowd felt a bit annoyed that the gate agent didn’t give us an updated time or when to expect an answer until after she announced it 4 times over the intercom.

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I killed time by finding humorous signs and realizing how thoughtful this airport is

FLIGHT

Finally around the time we were supposed to take off were able to board the plane. Interestingly they actually shuttled us over to the nearby cargo area for ANA, once we got on the FAs did the customary bows and readied the flight for departure with an hour delay.

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We boarded in the cargo area of the airport

I was pretty glad to have an exit aisle as it was a first for me. Unfortunately I was in the middle seat. I loved the space and leg room but was cramped from being between 2 big and tall dudes.

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My first time in Exit row! The Middle seat still sucks though

We hit some very heavy turbulence early on which didn’t help me as I was falling fast asleep. Between my sleep deprivation, delays, and turbulence I was not feeling like I was enjoying the flight. But then the food arrived!

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Rice Crackers which I had with some standard red wine

The FAs distributed the food in a timely fashion, they explained the menu with every row which is very nice of them. My row all ended up going for the snow crab w/ rice and my goodness was it amazing.

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Economy isn’t so bad I guess ๐Ÿ˜›

It also came with a standard salad, ham and cold spaghetti noodles in a mayo based sauce (I think it’s their idea of pasta salad) and a small cake.

But the main! OH THE MAIN, it also included shredded egg, mackreal, and even some real baby scallops. The presenation allowed for every bite to include a bit of everything.

Once completed all I really wanted to do was get some shut eye, but unfortunately I had to wait for some time for the trays to clear, the FAs on ANA like to take their time with the passengers and like to offer additional coffee or tea but I guess my patience was being tested. Once done I was finally able to rest up and by the time we had landed I was awake but still needed some sleep.

I managed to sneak a peak at the bathroom inside the 787-8 cause it was rumored that even in economy the toilets have a Japanese bidet system. I can confirm that it does and overall the bathroom was pretty impressive for economy. Good lighting, spacious, and of course it has the fabled bidet toilet. It makes quite the difference ๐Ÿ˜‰

Eventually we began to land and we were finally in Bangkok, the delay brought us in around 12am instead of the original 11pm. We managed to successfully deplane and brought ourselves to the giant immigration area.

OVERALL

ANA has always been consistent in their service. The delay and the lack of reason was irksome but they managed to provide a mostly comfortable flight. The impressive food and general care for each passenger more than makes up for it.

-RR

MORE ARTICLES FROM “THAILAND THANKSGIVING”

  1. Introduction: Thailand Thanksgiving
  2. Flight Log: ORD to NRT
  3. Flight Log: NRT to BKK
  4. Short Review: Boxtel BKK
  5. 7-11 in Thailand
  6. Train Night Market Ratchada
  7. Flight Log: DMK to CNX
  8. Playing with Elephants in Chiang Mai
  9. The Saturday Night Market in Chiang Mai
  10. Seeing and Staying in Bangkok