If you find low-level Baldur's Gate basically unbearable as I do, here's a quick way to level up in the first game. It's relatively safe and can be done right at the start of Chapter 1.
Just head south once, then east three times to the area east of the Temple. Talk to Korax the Ghoul, then venture around the map murdering Basilisks. Between them and the mad mage in this area you should earn an easy 16,000 experience, which should push you up to roughly level 5 immediately.
Then go whack Drizzt for another 12K and some swag gear!