Honestly speaking, I was over excited as it was my first time going outside my country. Thailand was the country I always wanted to go since it is our neighboring and modernized country.
The trip was thought for quite a long time, and decision was made finally just this year. To some extent, we were also reluctant later near the day of departure due to political crisis in Thailand, especially large protest in Bangkok which brought us concern about safety there. But we made it, and it went well without any problem 😀
As known, Thailand is a developed country in Southeast Asia. In Bangkok there are lots of high buildings, skyscrapers, highways, BTS Skytrain (Bangkok Mass Transit System), MRT Metro (Mass Rapid Transit) to ease traveling and reduce traffic jam, especially during rush hour (yet, Bangkok is famous for traffic jam 😀 ). More importantly, to those who love shopping, Bangkok is just the right place for you since there are plenty of shopping malls. Just a few days will not be enough for you to visit all shopping centers there 😛 In December, there are big sales/discounts in almost every shopping malls 😉
So… Let me browse through my time in Thailand from the first day to the last 😉
Day 1 (07/12/13)
Actually, our first day was not much since the flight departed at around 5pm from Phnom Penh International Airport and arrived in Don Muang International Airport, Bangkok, at around 6pm. We immediately took a taxi (a taxi meter which can load up to 4 passengers in maximum) and headed to the booked hotel, Royal Express Inn, at Sukhumvit Soi 8 near Nana BTS station. Since Terminal 21 shopping center is nearby, we took a short walk there and had dinner with some Thai dishes.
Day 2 (08/12/13)
Our second day, yet it seemed more like the first full day of the trip, we decided to go shopping 😀 We tried BTS Skytrain for the first time, and it was faster than going by taxi, however, it is available only inside Bangkok (MRT as well). Personally, I like traveling by BTS and MRT 😀
In the above picture, you can see people walking pass the machines to go upstairs to wait for skytrain. You need to exchange some amounts of coins at the station (amount is based on the direction you want to go) with a card used to pass this machine. You can see the map of BTS line with fare of each location at the place.
And our first shopping place is Siam Paragon, but ’cause we lacked of info, did not know that shopping centers open at 10am daily, so we wandered around to find a place for breakfast. We went to a food area nearby called Food Plus, and then back waiting at Siam Paragon >_< But not only us, other tourists seemed not know too, so many people were waiting in front of the door 😀
At Siam Paragon, there are not just shopping malls for clothes, food, book and other ordinary stuffs but also cars, creative architect designs and there is sea world at underground floor; it is Siam Ocean World. Admission ticket (only into the ocean world museum) costs 900 bahts per person, but there are other promotions if you want to see some more else, which costs more 😀 In it, there are many kinds of sea fishes and marine living things. We spent almost like 2 hours, especially on taking photos of fishes 😀
Here are some photos of Siam Ocean World:
Then we had lunch at Food Hall in Siam Paragon. It was so crowded that we could hardly find free table, and I guess busy people in this busy Bangkok usually eat out during their lunch break and back to work, rather than going home for lunch or bringing own lunch box. There are local dishes and seafood, but first you need to exchange some amount of money into an ATM-like card and use the card to buy food.
What I wanted to try the most is Thai iced tea. People might think it is just tea, nothing is special about it. But the feeling that you want something, and you get it; that feeling 😀 Yeah, finally I could drink real Thai iced tea at Siam Paragon, and it was yummy ^^
After lunch at Siam Paragon, we decided to head to Chatuchak Weekend Market (or JJ Market) since that day was Sunday, and the market opens only at weekend as its name. It is the biggest local market in Bangkok I might say, and you can almost find every simple stuffs there from second-hand, new, to man-made products, except luxurious things. It was quite crowded during afternoon time though under hot sunlight. You might spend a whole day if you want to go through the whole market. However, it is a tourist market that looks like a local one, so bear in mind that product’s price is somehow more than ones in local markets.
Our second dinner was kind of special ’cause we met our friend’s Thai friend and he brought us to a local restaurant served with local Thai food and Leo beer, Thai alcohol drink 😀 My first time eating Thai food, drinking Thai beer surrounded by Thai people… Everything was Thai taste 😀 And it was also my first time drinking more than any other day; luckily, we were not drunk, haha 😛 Anyway, I forgot the location, just remember we took MRT metro to the place, and I did not know where 😀
Day 3 (09/12/13)
It was on Monday, and we had planned to visit Grand Palace and places nearby such as Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Chao Phraya River, so we called a taxi, but the driver told us that there would be a large protest in Bangkok and the area we wanted to go seemed not safe, so we were told to go outside the city, and he suggested us to visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Taxi from our place, Sukhumvit Soi 8 to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market cost 600 bahts for round trip (the driver told us it was his birthday, so he charged us cheaper than usual, and we were not sure about that, but just agreed to go 😀 ). It took around 1 hour to reach there. To see the floating market, you need to rent a boat (it can load up to around 6-7 passengers I guess) as you need to go through canals that you can reach the market, and we were charged 1,000 bahts per person for the boat traveling including temple visit in the area (I think it is expensive, but since we want to visit the place, let’s be the rich tourists for the first time and poor later, haha). Inside the floating market, there are stalls of souvenirs sold, and if you go further, you can see sellers selling food, flower, fruit and others on their own boats. I tried boat soup noodle cost 50 bahts, and it was yummy 😀 (Well, during boat traveling, I could see every food and fruit looked yummy, haha). Lastly, we headed to the temple (I did not know its name). There are plenty of fish near the temple, and the temple itself looks nice. As suggested, you should spend around 2 hours for visiting floating market, and we did spend around that 😀
Surprisingly, everything is speedy in Thailand; taxi, skytrain, metro, motorbike and even boat 😀 (refer to the above picture)
When we arrived at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, it was around 10:30am, then we had late breakfast (brunch I might say) on the boat. The taste was so yummy, or we were too hungry?! haha..
Going through the canals, I could see livelihood there, and when I showed my mum the photos, she said “Oh, that is the house we saw in Thai lakorn, Buntoem something is the name of a character” hehe.. Probably it is just alike or was it filmed there?!
(So after floating market, we moved to our next location, the temple)
Finally, we returned to Bangkok and had late lunch near our hotel. At that time, we decided to go to Terminal 21 (near Asok BTS Station) again since last time we went there late at night and did not visit the place much. Terminal 21, as its name, has such a cool decoration. I was just amazed with its design! Each floor is in different environment, and each shop is just lovely and well-decorated. We spent more time walking through many clothes shop and bought some Tshirts with discount promotion 😀 And we again had dinner there at Fuji Japanese Restaurant.
Since we missed our attempt in trying street food, we found some in Terminal 21 underground floor?! (We bought and took them to eat at Fuji, haha)
And we also went to Big C shopping center by going from Terminal by BTS at Asok station to BTS Siam station, then walked on the skywalk to avoid traffic directly to Central World shopping center, and Big C is near there.
(Unfortunately, no photos of Big C taken 😀 )
Day 4 (10/12/13)
It was another of our special days in Thailand for our Thai friend promised to take us to visit Ayutthaya city outside Bangkok. But since our Thai friend stays and works at Thammasat University (TU) along the way to Ayutthaya, we traveled from our hotel to his place and had the chance to visit the university. Amazingly, the university is huge. Students and workers there need transport to go from one place to another inside the university campus. There are free buses of course, and there are also charged taxis, motor taxis and vans for people to travel from the university to other places outside the university and vice versa. We had chance to experience free bus inside the school too 😀
At around 9:30am, we left the university to Ayutthaya by our Thai friend’s own car. “Quite excited” as I only heard and saw this old city in Thai lakorn (drama), but this time I could have a chance to see it with my own eyes. It took around 30 minutes from TU to Ayutthaya (but if you leave from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, it might take about 1 hour). There is a floating market in that area as well, but since we already visited one in Damnoen Saduak, we skipped this place.
Finally, we arrived the ancient city, Ayutthaya. There are many temples locally called “Wat” that we could not manage to visit all. First wat we visited was Wat Mongkhon Bophit. There is a big Buddha statue inside 🙂
Not far from Wat Mongkhon Bophit, just a few steps I might say 😀 you can reach an ancient place called Wat Phra Si Sanphet. Ticket price to enter the place is 10 bahts for local people, and 50 bahts for foreign tourists; the price is same for other temples required tickets.
After spending some time around Wat Phra Si Sanphet, we walked to an ancient Thai house sample that local Thai people lived. I had only seen it in Thai lakorn, but now I could even enter into the house, and I thought “Oh, it is like this 😀 “
After a short visit at a Thai house sample, we moved on to the next location which is called Wat Na Phramen. Literally the name of this temple means : the temple in front of the royal pyre. Wat Na Phramen was built during the later Ayutthaya period. Inside the temple, you will see the main Buddha image that looks a bit different as he wears Royal Attire, typical for the late period of Ayutthaya.
The next location is quite famous for Buddha Head in the tree trunk, that is Wat Mahathat (Temple of the Great Relics) located almost right in the center of Ayutthaya. This temple also requires ticket for tourist to enter. The temple is believed to be built during the 14th century A.D. (the early Ayutthaya period). The size of the temple compound is quite large, and there are many prangs inside the area. If you happen to visit this place, do not forget to take some photos with Buddha Head in the tree trunk. That is unique 😉
Our last location in Ayutthaya (there are other temples we could not visit due to time limit) is Wat Chai Wattanaram. It was build in 1630 by King Prasat Thong during the later period of Ayutthaya. It was built to commemorate his mother’s hometown and to celebrate his coronation.
Wat Chai Wattanaram was a royal monastery. The King and its descendants would perform religious rites here. It was also a cremation site for members of the Royal family.
During the war with Burma in 1767 A.D. the Wat was used as an army camp. After the defeat in the war, Wat Chai Wattanaram was abondoned. Conservation of the compound was started finally in 1987 by the Thai Fine Arts Department. Nowadays it looks like the most impressive wat in Ayutthaya.
Our Ayutthaya mission finished, and at around 2pm we went to have our late lunch at a place along the way back to Bangkok. We also stopped by at a shopping mall along the way, which is called Premium Outlet. Its design is different from other shopping centers as it is like a village/city of shopping malls. There are lots of discount products especially clothes and shoes with brand name as well.
On the same day at night, we decided to go to see Chinatown. It was quite crowded as there are so many food stalls and other things sold along the road. However, it is along the main road with vehicles traveling through, so be careful while crossing the road 😀 If you want to feel yourself somehow walking on the road in China, tasting Chinese food, there it is.
Day 5 (11/12/13)
It was our last day in Thailand, and we had only a morning left as the flight would leave at 3pm from Don Muang International Airport, so we decided to go shopping for the final round at Pratunam market 😀 Inside Pratunam market, though it is just a local market, there is special design as I notice. When you walk in the market, it keeps going up and up, and without notice, you will reach the top floor of the market without using stair 😉
Unlike other shopping centers I visited, Pratunam is a busy and crowded local market in Bangkok. The market is for those who seek for products with reasonable price (though not luxurious or brand name ones), and I could see sellers from Cambodia going there to buy whole sale as well. If you buy a single item, you might get higher price, but if you buy 3 pieces up (counted as whole sale) of the same item/product, you will get discount; this applies to almost every store in the market. I guess this is the most reasonable market in Bangkok in terms of price.
Finally, our time in Thailand ran out, we had to leave Bangkok to Don Muang International Airport to depart to our homeland. I felt like “Umm.. I have not visited other target places yet, do not want to leave Bangkok yet 😦 ” hehe… So after lunch, we left our hotel at around 1:15pm and arrived at the airport at around 2:15pm and rushed to check in for boarding pass and luggages checked.
Last but not least, our friendly helpful and gentle Thai friend came to see us for the last time before we departed. Each of us got a souvenir from him, and I do like it.
Seeing the overview of Bangkok from the plane, I thought “What a nice city! I hope to come here again another day”
P.S I think I love traveling and exploring at the same time. So far, I have experienced doing so during Kep & Kampot trip in my country, Cambodia, and also this trip to Thailand. We actually did not know location much, so we just asked local people here and there, and that made us know more; and it was memorable 😉