Sunday, February 15, 2015

Twenty Something Travel to [Bangkok]

Good day readers!

I was in Bangkok during my semester break in December 2014. I have heard stories from my friends on how awesome Bangkok is and I was honoured to be able to test the validity of their statement myself! As the capital of Thailand, Bangkok is one of the tourist-must-go places. I once thought Thailand would be hot and humid but I was wrong! During my trip to Bangkok, the temperature was around 24 degrees Celcius. It could be quite cool at times and hot as well. That was my first time visiting Bangkok and I must say I love the city, food and people! You can get things at very affordable prices and people are generally friendly!
Market near the pier while on our way to the Royal Grand Palace

Transportation

There are various options to navigate Bangkok such as taking a taxi, tuk-tuk, skytrain, ferry or by foot. I recommend taking a taxi if you destination is far away from you because you can get a ride to anywhere at very affordable prices! But the catch is you must have GPS or any kind of navigation system with you just in case the taxi driver doesn't get where you want to go or simply do not know how to get there. What happened to us was when we were trying to get to our hotel after we landed, we hopped onto a taxi and told him the name of our hotel. He said okay but after driving for a few minutes, he turned to us and kind of indicated that he did not know how to go to the hotel in Thai. Thanks to the SIM card we bought at the airport and Google map, we managed to reach our hotel on time! You can just get a SIM card with unlimited data for 7 days at THB 299, which is around SGD 12. I guess the biggest barrier we faced was communicating with the taxi driver on where we wanted to go, but everything went fine with Google map.
Our tuk-tuk driver
One thing that I think is inevitable while travelling in a place where you are not familiar with is you will get scammed somehow. But you are smarter after each scam. So, why not? My mum was kind of tired after walking for some time and we decided to give tuk-tuk a try. That ride took us around 10 minutes but it costed THB 100! The tip is to bargain the price with the tuk-tuk driver first before getting onto one and make sure what you are paying is less than that of a taxi fare. 
At one of the skytrain stations
The ticket for skytrain (also known as BTS) in Bangkok is pretty costly. Surprisingly taxi fares are much cheaper as compared to skytrain. But as long as your destinations are near the skytrain stations, travelling by this mode is pretty convenient. 
The free shuttle boat from Asiatique to Tha Sathorn
As you know the Chao Phraya River is the major river in Bangkok, there are ferry stops along the river which leads you to tourist attractions like Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Asiatique etc. Some require a fare of THB 30 whereas some are free shuttle ferry. I would say navigating by foot is not impossible in Bangkok but it's really time consuming given there are so many other alternatives which are cheap and fast as well. So do judge yourself on which mode of transport is the best!

Accommodation

Tha Sathorn Ferry Station
There are plenty of options available ranging from backpackers lodges to 5-star hotel. That really depends on your budget and personal preference as well. As it was a family trip, we stayed in a descent hotel. But I would say staying near the Saphan Taksin BTS station will ease travelling to quite a lot of tourist attractions because besides travelling by skytrain, the Tha Sathorn ferry station is also located near enough for you to hop on anytime. 

Food

We didn't have a must-eat food list with us when we visited Bangkok. However, here are some of the food we tried during our trip with the ratings in the caption. 
Spicy Cellophane Noodle Salad with Seafood at 9E Asiatique - 5.5/10
Milk Shakes + Coffee + Hello Kitty Cake at Hello Kitty Cafe - 6.5/10
Extremely nice Ice Blended Green Tea and Latte Macchiato at a random coffee shop at Chatuchak - 10/10
Location: Zone 2B, 139-148 at Chatuchak Weekend Market

Pad Thai at Black Canyon Coffee at JJ Mall - 7/10

Places

As it was my first time travelling to Thailand, Bangkok in particular, I managed to cover some of the main tourists-must-go places such as the Royal Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Shooting Range, Pak Klong Talad, Asiatique, Platinum Fashion Mall, MBK, Siam Paragon, Hello Kitty Cafe, Centralworld and Zen, Lebua State Tower, Chatuchak Weekend Market and Lumpini Park. Definitely going to go back again to visit more.

What I like about Bangkok is things sold are at very affordable prices. I also love how grand and magnificent their temples and palace look! However, the entrance to their temples used to be free decades ago but not anymore. To visit the Royal Grand Palace, be prepared to pay THB 500 per person whereas for Wat Pho, the entrance ticket was THB 100. For the former, the entrance fee includes entrance to the Grand Palace, the temple of Emerald Buddha, Vimanmek Mansion Museum, Support Museum Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall, Sanam Chandra Palace and Arts of the Kingdom Exhibition at Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. Just by the Grand Palace itself already took us few hours to finish touring. Quite pricey but worth paying! 

An important thing to take note: there is a dress code for entry to temples. Do not wear sleeveless shirt, shorts or slippers. If not, your entrance will be denied. 

Golden rule: try to cover as much skin as possible. When in doubt, wear a proper t-shirt, long pants and covered shoes. That is for temple visits only. 
Royal Grand Palace
Wat Pho
At the Territorial Defense Shooting Range 

If you are a flower lover like me, do visit Pak Khlong Talad!
Pak Khlong Talad is Bangkok's famous flower market where they sell fresh flowers at wholesale prices! A bouquet of 10 roses with fillers costed only THB 250, which is around SGD 10! I bet you can't get the a bouquet like this for that price in Singapore.
A bouquet of roses for mum!
Amazing view of the Chao Phraya River from Lebua State Tower!
Spot the Sky Bar behind us where Hangover II was filmed!
Girl's shopping heaven - The Platinum Fashion Mall
Hello Kitty Cafe!
At Lumpini Park
A 30 minutes ride on a duckling paddle boat is only THB 40! We paddled around the lake and were so scared because we thought we saw a crocodile! Later, we found out from the locals that they were actually Asian Water Monitors (a type of lizard that looks like crocodile). 

A stall at Chatuchak Weekend Market
One of the busiest and largest scale market in Bangkok that sells stuffs from furnitures to puppies. 
Asiatique - The River Front 
Cute keychains sold in Asiatique
There are actually a lot of stalls in Asiatique selling things ranging from ukelele to clothes. Do visit them if you are looking for local snacks, keychains, bags or clothes!

We also went for a lady boy show at Calypso Theatre!
And that concludes my post to Bangkok with my family.

Do drop your comments or questions regarding my trip to Bangkok in the comment box below if you have any! 

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