The following information comes from the New York Times

Visitor Information

I spent $37 a day during seven days and nights in Bangkok, including hotel, meals, local transportation and a daily two-hour massage. Rates are converted at 44 Thai baht to the dollar.

I traveled to Bangkok from Hong Kong. The round-trip ticket on Thai Airways cost $348.

Places to Stay

The most comfortable place to stay in the area remains the Phra Athit Mansion (22 Phra Athit Road, (66-2) 280-0744 or fax (66-2) 280-0742). The standard motel-issue rooms are reasonably clean, spacious and quiet, with air-conditioning and hot water, a king-size bed, a large refrigerator and private bathroom with tub and shower. The rate is $20 a night for a single or double.

Wandering the back streets that lead from Phra Athit, I found the Villa (230 Samsen Soi 1, (66-2) 281-7009), a family-run guest house in an old Thai house with a lush courtyard. It's dripping with charm but lacking in amenities (the rooms I saw were small and stuffy, with ancient-looking metal fans instead of air-conditioning). But I was put off by the sign at the door-gate: "No Thais Allowed." The price quoted was $10 a night for a small room, which seemed somewhat negotiable.

Places to Eat

Most restaurants have live jazz or folk music in the evenings, and put tables on the street. All serve Thai food, have menus in both English and Thai, and seem to have similar prices; entrees run around $3.50, and a large bottle of Singha beer is $1.75.

At 56 Phra Athit, Hemlock, (66-2) 282 7507, the pioneer restaurant on this strip, continues to serve reliably good food (the stir-fried broad noodles with basil is excellent) in an elegant, almost modernist setting of glass, earth tones and original art.

The food and the atmosphere were a bit better at Bar Bali next door at 58 Phra Athit, (66-2) 629-0318. It's smaller and friendlier; and the d้cor, as you'd expect from the name, leans toward straw and bamboo. The laab nua, spicy ground beef, was especially good.

Coffee and More, at 102/1 Phra Athit Road, in the ground floor of the Baan Phra Athit, (66-2) 280-7878, is a wonderful oasis of couches, comfy chairs and high ceilings. It serves cold and hot drinks, cakes and pastries, and you can get a light lunch (curry and rice). Drinks are about $1.25, lunches around $4.

Roti Mataba, a tiny storefront at 136 Phra Athit (no telephone) is one of my favorites, serving thick, flavorful curries with flaky wheat breads called roti. For 75 cents, you get a breakfast of one roti and a small cup of curry; a large curry plate with two breads is around $2.

On Phra Athit between Coffee and More and Roti Mataba, a handful of vendors serve noodle soups made to order from an array of meats and vegetables and spices. Tables are available. A meal costs 50 cents to a dollar.

Activities

The Bangkok National Museum has a vast, if not very well displayed or cataloged, collection of Thai crafts, ancient Thai art and royal antiques. It is a short stroll from Phra Athit Road, at Na Phrathat Road opposite the Grand Park (66-2) 224-1370, open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Mondays and Tuesdays and national holidays. Admission is about $1.

At Tip Massage, 106/12 Samsen Soi 2, (66-1) 809-2418, a two-hour Thai massage costs around $6.

Shopping

A few doors up from Roti Mataba, Passport Books, 142 Phra Athit, (66-2) 629-0694 has a nice selection of books on Thailand in English, and beautiful hand-printed postcards. You can also get coffee or tea.