Getting into any big city for the first time is always a bit confusing. The map above is not intended to be comprehensive it is merely intended to show you approxiamately where things are in relation to each other. For example, Nana to Cowboy is aboout a fifteen minute walk and you could stop off at Thermae on the way. So based on that knowledge you can see that Nana to MBK is a bloody long way.
Most of the major international hotels are either along the river between the Grand Palace and the end of the Skytrain at Saphan Thaksin (Taksin Bridge), along Silom or along Ploenchit/Sukhumvit. As far as I know only the Oriental and the Dusit Thani hotels strictly forbid guests. Though I have been told that if you tip the bellboy at the Dusit he’ll sneak your friend in through the staff entrance. I’ve never put it to the test because both hotels, whislt no doubt very nice, cost more than I am willing to pay. Besides I have an apartment, heh.
The Malaysia Hotel, The Privacy across the road from there, and the Boston Inn are all old R&R hotels from the Vietnam war era. I’ve heard that the Malaysia now has a thriving gay scene but I haven’t been over there in a while to check it out . All three are reasonably priced. Clean and well kept but don’t expect five star luxury. If you DON’T take a guest back the staff will think you’re a bit wierd.
Budget backpacker land is over at Kao San Road. This is the road that co-starred along side Leo in The Beach … except it didn’t. Hollywood didn’t like the real thing so they built a fake one in Phuket.
A lot of the smaller guest houses around here are family run. If you get yourself a “steady” girlfriend no one will be bothered but if you stagger back it two am with a couple of bar girls in tow one night, and then with a brassy ladyboy the following night, you’re not going to earn many brownie points … and you’re not going to like the quizzical looks the family’s kids give you either.
Bangkok is a big city but it is comparatively safe. If you are used to big city US or Europe, Bangkok is a breeze. There is really no need to tape you money to your abdomen just know which pocket you wallet is in and don’t take out more than you plan to spend on any given evening.
The Thais are a friendly bunch and sometimes they will stop and talk to you. This is most common around the Grand Palace area. Unfortunately this is also where you are most likely to find the scammers and touts. Watch out for the tuk tuk driver who wants to take you on a tour of the city for 40 baht or the one that says “Oh the Grand Palace is closed today but there is a sale on at the government gem store“. They get a free litre of gas for every customer they deliver, you get a hard sell on jewelry that isn’t worth a fraction of what they are trying to sell it for. Not dangerous just a waste of half a day.