Thursday, July 16, 2015

One Night In Bangkok

Travelling from a third world country like the Philippines can be expensive.  I personally look out for the opportunity when the local Airlines launches promo fares on certain times of the year.  Last November, I chanced upon a sale and booked my Manila-Bangkok for June 2015 for only 48$.  Since this is an opportunity of a lifetime, I booked my return flight from Siam Reap instead, with a 5 day interval for only 66$.  That way, I can visit 2 countries in one trip.

When I booked my plane tickets, I have no idea if I would have the money to spend for my vacation. I just said to myself, at least I have 6 months to save.

Time went by so fast, that finally, June arrived, and in a few weeks, I would embark on my first trip to Thailand.  As a gay man, I researched on the best place to stay and the places I must visit.

My flight leaves Manila at 9:35 PM arriving in Bangkok at 11:50 in the evening.  I am left with a little more than 24 hours to explore the city.  I booked myself a cheaper room night.  I will only use it to sleep.  My regret, is that I could have just stayed on one of the dorm rooms near the night markets which is actually cheaper.  Some for even less than 20$.

9:00 AM Secured a Bus Ticket to Siam Reap

When I got up the next morning, I took a cab to the MoChit North Bus Station to secure myself of a bus ride to Siam Reap.  I already booked my hotel the next night in Cambodia and I wouldn't want it to go to waste.  The ticket counter located on the ground level is not hard to miss, with Bangkok - Siam Reap written in bold letters above the counter.  The ticket seller speaks fairly good english, and the service fast.  There are 2 trips daily, departing at 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM.  I took the 9:00 AM schedule.

10:00 AM Temple Tour

Without breakfast, I went to start with my temple exploration and proceeded to visit the Marble Temple.  Taxi is the best way to get around the city faster.  My mistake is that I should have asked the driver to just wait, since the tour would only take a few minutes.

It was a bit challenging to get a cab ride from here.  The entrance is located on a busy intersection, and forcing a Taxi to stop would cause traffic.  I walked 500 meters away from the corner before finally finding a waiting shed and catch a ride.

I asked the driver to bring me to the Grand Palace.  I arrived a few hours before noon, and the Sun was unforgiving.  I was soaked in sweat. It's best to dress comfortably. I was wearing a tank top, but brought along a Jacket in case of strict dress codes.

11:00 AM Tour of the Grand Palace

It's the most popular tourist attraction in the city, and could get crowded on some occasions.  My cab driver was kind enough to let me get off near the entrance gate even though I think its not allowed.

Tourists needs to pay 500 Baht for the tour.  They don't allow re-entry, so please follow the arrows and the map provided.

This is definitely a must visit, especially for tourist like me who has very limited time to stay in Bangkok.  Its a complex of Temples, Palaces, and Museums showcasing the rich history and culture of Thailand.

It took me 2 hours to explore every nook and cranny of the Palace Complex.  I would have stayed longer, but all that walking under the scorching sun made me hungry and dehydrated.

1:00 PM Lunch

You don't have to look far for a place to eat.  Just outside the Palace grounds are food establishments offering local and international food.  I really wanted to try the street food, but the lure of an air conditioned restaurant was hard to resist.  I went to eat at Nai Phun just across the entrance gate.

My first authentic Thai Chicken Curry
2:00 PM Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho Temple is walking distance from the Grand Palace entrance.  After my lunch, I went on my way, passing by street sellers of souvenir items, food and interesting stuffs.  Tourists need to pay 100 baht to enter.

Shoes are not allowed inside, but there's a bag we you can place them, and bring along with you, as you walk around the imposing 150 feet long Reclining Buddha.

The adjacent grounds and corridors houses Buddha statues collected from different parts of the country.  The place is also popular for their signature Thai Massage.

It was close to 3PM when I finished my tour.  At the exit, there are Taxi's waiting, but be sure to have the driver use the meter, or agree on the price for your destination.  The first one I approached was asking for 400 Baht to take me to Babylon Bed and Breakfast.  I managed to get one that actually uses the meter.

I was using a mobile data the entire trip.  Luckily, my network provider in the Philippines has a tie up in Thailand that only charges 499 pesos for unlimited data for 24 hours.  I was able to show the taxi driver my destination from my phones map using Foursquare.

I arrived in what would be my home for the night just before 4PM.

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