Glampacking in Bangkok

What is glampacking, you ask? Glampacking is backpacking… with style.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not something I am at all accustomed to. I’ve not “glampacked” once in my life. In fact, I haven’t showered in days and I haven’t slept in a proper bed in weeks. I hadn’t even heard of the term “glampacking” until we arrived at our hotel in Bangkok and Joanne used the phrase.

“Nice. Nothing like a little glampacking on a budget trip.”

Let me explain something to you. There is something to be said for parents. And there is even more to be said about parents with connections.

A word about my father: he is an amazing, helpful man. He arranged for an old friend of his to take care of us while we were in Bangkok, and take care of us he did. He has an apartment here (a very nice apartment, might I add, with high ceilings and a massive pool and soft leather couches and a bathroom twice as big as my entire apartment in Seoul).

This is how we glampacked around Bangkok, one of the world’s greatest backpacker destinations –

1. Private Driver

There is absolutely nothing in this world better than arriving in a foreign city, dirty and exhausted, after a month of extreme budget backpacking in Southeast Asia and being met by your very own Personal Driver.

That’s right. Hello Bangkok, hello person who shall take us anywhere we want, whenever we want! He brought us these beautiful Thai flower bouquets on arrival, too – and I don’t know what Heaven smells like, but I imagine it’s something like this.


Personal Driver’s first order of business was to take us from the airport to the hotel. Which brings me to #2.

2. Expensive Hotel

We pull up to the hotel, RIGHT up to the hotel – you know those big expensive hotels where they have those drive-arounds for valet service, limousines, and personal drivers? Heck yes, one of those. Personal Driver opens our doors for us (what a nice guy!).

Doormen whisk away our bags before we even have a chance to get near the trunk. We walk through the front doors (I still haven’t touched a door since we left the airport), send our purses through a security scanner (very high-security, this place!), and proceed to the concierge (is that what it’s called? I don’t speak this Language of People with Money). My Dad’s friend, who is responsible for both the Private Driver and the Expensive Hotel, gets us a wicked discount at the hotel. Such a great discount, in fact, that we’re only paying slightly more than we would for a budget backpackers on Kao San Road. And at this point in our travels, we need it.

Oh, and free breakfast was included. Big buffet, hot coffee, scrambled eggs, fresh croissants, as much bacon as you can eat… don’t mind if I do!

3. Air Conditioning & A Frog-less Shower

After weeks of sticky hot sleeping with barely a fan in our midst, this air conditioned oasis was a massive factor of appreciation. No more trying to put on makeup with a sweaty upper-lip. No more showering with cold water and frogs. No more sleeping with random cats that break into your bungalow. No more of any of this! Clean, hot showers! Free shampoo. A real toilet! Cool sleeping under soft duvets and pressed white, Egyptian cotton sheets. And best of all, air con. Heaven must have Thai flower bouquets and air conditioning.

4. A Pool, A Sauna, and A Gym

It has not been long since we ate ourselves into oblivion in Ko Phangan. It HAS been long since we did anything (other than sweating profusely in the humidity) to burn off any of that weight. And a trip to the gym is much better if you can take an elevator there and there’s a sauna and a pool involved. Just saying.

5. Private Longboating on the Chao Phraya River


There are some really cool things to see along the Chao Phraya River, once dubbed the “Venice of the East”. And although it’s polluted and smells kinda funny, it’s still worth a trip. In Bangkok, everything is cheap. And since we were saving money and getting treated like royalty already, we figured we could splurge an extra few baht on a private longboat tour of the canals that run right through the centre of Bangkok (it still cost us less than $10).

Floating markets, a bunch of wats (you know, temples), some museums, a giant golden Buddah, and a number of friendly waving locals. We definitely needed a shower after we finished the hour-long ride, but that certainly wasn’t a problem considering where we were spending the night.

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6. Whale Sashimi and Fancy Eats

So at 6pm on one of our night in Bangkok, Private Driver arrives and waits patiently for us in our hotel lobby. When we arrive, he opens the doors for us (I could get used to this!) and we slip into the fresh leather interior of the car. We have no idea where we’re going, but we assume it’s somewhere fancy. Of course it is. We step out of the car and into one of those very fancy Japanese restaurants that nobody can really afford. The waitresses are dressed in kimonos and the chefs are wearing those funny white Japanese hats that I love so much. We each get our own individual cooking “stone” where we can cook and season our slices of meat exactly as we like. We also get some sushi, some tuna and salmon, and something unfamiliar. We dig in.

“What is this one, Dave?”

“Oh, that’s whale. Raw whale sashimi.” As if it were the most normal thing in the world.

And I hate to say it, but whales are delicious.

7. Elevator Abandon

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Even glampacking doesn’t come without its own share of risks. On our way up to Dave’s apartment to pick up our laundry, the lights go out and the elevator suddenly lurches to a halt. In blackness in the middle of an elevator in the middle of Bangkok, without a phone and a “help” button that doesn’t seem to be working, Joanne and I freak out for at least 15 solid minutes while we pound ever so gracefully on the door and scream ever so eloquently for someone to please come to our immediate rescue!

In the end, we were saved. And elevator abandon aside, we were spoiled rotten in Bangkok. And we loved every second of it.

And at least one of us didn’t want to leave. ;)