Hey guys! It’s been a long while. I almost forgot how my blog looked like. Also, I did not travel much in 2015 (sigh!), which is why I had nothing to share. Well, at last, I managed to visit Bangkok again for 2016 countdown with my friends.
It was a tiring trip, I might say; but it was worth it too.
Since flight was a bit costly, we took van (13 hours, $25/person) and took one-way flight back. Left Phnom Penh at 11:30pm and reached Bangkok (stop at Pratunam area) at 1pm, then caught a taxi to our guesthouse near Nana BTS station (old place! I mean I also stayed there last time).
FYI, all taxis put “taxi meter” sign, but not all is taxi meter! We took a pink taxi to the guesthouse, and the driver charged us 200 bahts, and we just noticed that no meter measured. We asked a receptionist at the guesthouse, and he said “it should be around 60 or 70 bahts only, krup”. Okay, take it as our experience, ka! So, remember to always ask the driver if his taxi uses meter or not if you want to take one, or you will be getting overcharged. Anyway, if you just roam around Bangkok, I suggest you take BTS and MRT, faster, cheaper and are linked to many interesting places in the city.
At countdown night, we went to Asiatique. It is a lot more fun going there at night, I suggest visit hour during 5pm to 9pm. Good place for night hangout as there are many restaurants, pubs, shops etc. all gathered along Chao Phraya river. Yes, I took boat on Chao Phraya river for the first time. The view at night with shining lights reflecting in the water; it was spectacular. I took BTS from Nana to Saphan Taksin station, got off and headed to Sathorn pier just next to the station, and you will be told where to catch the boat to Asiatique. I was informed the boat service (to Asiatique only) was free of charge until 10pm.
Since it was countdown night, OMG it was crowded. What I hate is squeezing through the crowd and cutting line. Asiatique was even more crowded. People were everywhere at every restaurant, cafe, pub; there was a concert which some Thai stars attending too. We could barely get a spot to sit, so we ended up going for foot massage, and yes we counted down there with friendly staffs saying “Happy New Year na ka” with the sound of firework. We could still see last few fireworks after we left foot massage, and it was loud, huge, clear, close and pretty.
BUT, something awaiting us after the relaxing atmosphere.
We left Asiatique at 12:30am, but the boat already stopped running, so we instinctively followed people, WALKING! Well, we tried catching a taxi along the way too, but could not get one, so we had no choice but kept walking and asking locals where the nearest BTS station was. A nice lady walking with her son told us “it’s over there, you just keep going straight”. Going straight, I guessed it was 5 to 7 km! I felt my legs were falling apart (lol). We reached Saphan Taksin BTS at 2am and could barely catch the train since there were so many passengers and it was supposed to stop running at 2am (usually BTS stops running at around 11:30pm to 12 midnight, but it ran until 2am for new year’s countdown night). I hit the bed at 3am (wew!)
Second day was a shopping day. We took BTS from one mall to another; Siam center, paragon, Central World, Big C. And we took Tuk Tuk back. We were told tuk tuk was speedy, and yes it was, but still safe. However, if you take tuk tuk, make sure you are familiar with direction and distance, so you can bargain for reasonable fare.
Third day, we visited places of interest along Chao Phraya river. Take BTS to Saphan Taksin and catch a river boat at Sathorn pier next to the station (same pier to Asiatique).
FYI, there are 2 main types of boat. One is Chao Phraya express boat, another is Chao Phraya tourist boat. Ticket costs vary depending on location you take. I was not aware and took the tourist boat to Wat Pho (stop at Tha Tien pier N8), and it cost 40 bahts per person, but when I returned by the express boat, it was only 14 bahts. I am not sure if it’s their system, or you can choose whichever boat. Besides price difference, the tourist boat has a so-called guide lady talking on microphone telling us main attractive places we can visit at each pier, but for express boat you have to stay alert where to stop by yourself.
Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
We stopped at Tha Tien pier and visited Wat Pho. The main interest in the temple is the big golden Buddha statue. Entrance fee to the temple is 100 bahts and you can get a bottle of water for one ticket.
You can also stop by at Tha Tien market where you try many kinds of street food.
Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn)
Wat Arun is at another side of the river, and it costs 3 bahts each to cross the river.
I believe visiting there in the morning, during sunset and night view would be absolutely stunning. We had no other time except afternoon, so it was a bit hot and photos do not come out well.
The main prang at Wat Arun stands out pretty well as it’s one of Bangkok’s famous landmarks, and you can also climb up the prang (over 70 meters high) if you wish, but it looks quite steep. We did not have time for that though.
I am not sure about the temples’ history, but there are Chinese sculptures like ancient sacred soldiers and animals in the temples’ areas.
And FYI, kindly dress appropriately when visiting the temples as they are sacred worship places for Buddhists, or you can rent/buy some cover-ups at the entrance of the temples.
You need to cross the river once again and return to Tha Tien pier for taking boat back to Sathorn pier connecting to BTS. The fare for crossing the river back to Tha Tien is 5 bahts for 2 persons, which is less than when coming.
Last day, we took flight at 3:30pm back to Phnom Penh. This time, a friendly staff of the guesthouse helped catch the taxi for us to make sure we got “real taxi meter”. It cost 180 bahts only from Nana BTS to Don Mueang International Airport (you need to extra pay for road tax 50 bahts, and if you want to avoid traffic jam, if any, take tollway where you need to pay another 70 bahts. Pay at each post, not to the taxi driver).
Arriving Phnom Penh at 4:30pm, everyone seemed tired, but finally we could rest at home sweet home.
No matter how tiring it is, going on self traveling is way better than by tour company, my personal opinion. And I’m planning for the next country soon. So see you in my next post for the next adventure. :]]