Monday, August 5, 2013

Do Not Stay at the Atlanta in Bangkok!

There are many options for onward destinations from Phi Phi. The backpackers, who seem to be following no particular itinerary can visit one of the many travel services and book ferries, buses, or flights to a spontaneously decided next stop but being the forty something, responsible traveller I am, I had prebooked my next travel arrangements with Air Asia which conveniently provides transport from the pier, a mini van to the airport and a flight to Bangkok for a ridiculously low sum of about fifty Canadian dollars!
I was arriving in Bangkok quite late and my research had advised that a taxi was the best method of transport. Taxis are supposed to be metered and are relatively inexpensive as long as the driver actually puts the meter on and knows the destination. I was prepared with the address and name of my hotel written in both English and Thai but despite this foresight my driver still managed to get lost and had to stop and ask directions about five times. I became a bit apprehensive as we entered a rather dirty street with some very shady looking characters and stopped in front of the Atlanta hotel.
The Lobby of the Atlanta Hotel, Bangkok at six am.

I usually rely on Trip Advisor when I choose accommodations but for this particular hotel, Trip Advisor let me down. The Atlanta, online, looks like a very quaint, once auspicious hotel which brags of having a retro 1950's feel and being the chosen destination of many world renowned individuals. In fact, it was a dreary and time worn establishment which was anything but comfortable. The many signs warning about the intolerance to sex tourism should have been a warning but I was intrigued by the website and had decided that the seemingly central location would be ideal. The only things it was central to were the hookers and drug dealers of Bangkok. As I entered the room after climbing seven flights (no elevator) I checked for bedbugs and latched the numerous locks on the door. I immediately considered checking out but decided I was being hasty and since it was already 11pm decided to just get a good sleep and things might look better in the morning. Unfortunately, morning was a long way off. The air conditioner noisily blasted away and I couldn't turn it down so I was left with the option of sub arctic or equatorial temperatures and the bed was adorned with only a sheet so I took turns being freezing or sweating uncomfortably. Rather disturbing noises emanated from the halls and at about three am I was awoken with shouts and screaming. I ventured out to the rather sloped concrete balcony to the view of garbage, four police cruisers, an ambulance and an abundance of police. I'm not sure what happened exactly but I would suspect murder or suicide. I tried to get a few more hours of sleep but gave up at about 5am and proceeded to take a very cold shower (no hot water) and then repacked all my belongings and headed down to the lobby. Luckily, I hadn't prepaid and told the unsurprised desk clerk that I would be checking out. I informed him that I require four things in my accommodations: a comfortable bed, working air conditioning, quiet, and hot water. I had none of those at the Atlanta so I was checking out!  He seemed rather unsurprised so my suspicion is that the Atlanta is quite used to guests leaving after the first night.
I had booked a tour for the day and was being picked up at seven am so I sat in the lobby wondering where I was going to find a place to stay for my final two nights!

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