Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Tour of Bangkok

We had a trip to Bangkok late November 2007. It also doubled as a birthday celebration of my mom and Julie.

Our flight was delayed for a couple of hours and we arrived mid-afternoon at the new Bangkok International Airport (Suvarnhabumi Airport) which is back then only a little more than a year old.

The airport is a bit far from Bangkok City. It is located in Samut Prakan Province and can be 30 minutes to 1 hour away depending on the traffic. For this trip we stayed in Centrepoint Petchburi 15, a serviced apartments in Pratunam District. We chose this place because it is accessible to almost everything and it is very near Pratunam Market, a well-known clothing flea market.

Because Centrepoint only allows a maximum of 2 occupants in one apartment, I was forced to have my own. It was a good deal since rooms were only 52 USD per night and the amenities were complete - bed, sofa, tv, hi-fi audio components, microwave oven, kitchen and dining, utensils, etc.

We didn't do much things on our first night but we went to Crystal Grill in Baiyoke Sky Hotel to celebrate Julie's birthday, an experience which I'll blog about in a later post.

We booked for a city tour the next day.

First stop was in Wat Trimitr (The Golden Buddha). We were told that at first the locals thought it was just a stone Budha but after it was first covered it is made of gold inside by accident, the locals started to chip it off.

Just outside the temple are fortune tellers, well electronic ones at least. You drop coins in a machine and it will generate a combination of where you'll pick up your fortune paper below. The paper will tell what your future holds.

During our visit in the area, there was worship service going on.

On the way to another temple, we passed by a very busy flower market. We were told that night will be Loy Krathong Festival, an experience I will blog later.

Out of curiousity, we bought 3 of these krathongs for floating somewhere, maybe in the tub.

In, Wat Pho (The Temple of Reclining Buddha) it was astonishing to see an enormous golden statue of Buddha as if it was lying down.

In the temple, there was also a ritual of putting coins in a long series of pots which according to locals bring good luck.

Around the area of Wat Pho are stupas, structures that look like towers that contains relics of a dead inside.

As with every major temple, we were told there is a minor temple nearby like this one.

We rode a boat to cross the river going to another temple.

Across the river from Wat Pho is Wat Arun (The Temple of the Dawn).

Going up Wat Arun was a very steep and long climb, but it was worth the experience.

I may be smiling here but deep inside I know I was afraid to go down because it was steep and high.

From here you can see how steep and hard it really is to climb down from the top. Not for people with fear in heights like me!

Near Wat Arun is a minor temple which we also visited.

After Wat Arun, we had lunch at Wan Fah Restaurant and proceeded to The Grand Palace & the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Pra Kaew) which is very near Wat Pho.

The Grand Palace is a complex with beautiful structures and buildings that serves the royal family, friends and guests in Thailand.

The upper terrace contains beautiful buildings that are of different purposes and was built during the eras of different kings.

A model of Angkor Wat which can be found in Angkor, Cambodia. This inspiredme to visit Cambodia and a month after.

Chakri Maha Prasat Hall was a palace resided by King Rama V.

The grounds of The Grand Palace is majestic. There were buildings that weren't open to public or areas visitors are not allowed to go but just going around may take you a whole day to really appreciate the place.

Going around the city, you will see a lot of tuk-tuk, which is a motorcycle extended with a cabin to accomodate more people. It is one of the most common mode of transportation in the city aside from the taxi cabs and is becoming more of a tourist attraction rather than a necessary ride.

Outside The Grand Palace is a park where there were hoards of pigeons. I can't help but give them feeds (for a price of course).

On the way to a temple, we passed by the Democracy Monument.

On the streets of Bangkok, you won't fail but notice to find pictures or items related to King Bhumibol. We were told he is loved so much by his people.

Parliament House

The last attraction of the tour was a visit to Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram (The Marble Temple). By this time we've already seen a number of temples and Buddhas and may not be able to tell the difference.

We went back to the hotel at the end of the tour to get rest. Upon arrival, we were invited by a hotel staff to join the Loy Krathong Festival celebration in a sister hotel of the same chain so we joined the pack and we went off to Silom.

At the end of the day, I was too tired and would like to get to bed but just before that, this is the view from my room looking towards Baiyoke Sky Hotel, the tallest building in the country.

Our 3rd day was a Sunday so we heard mass in Holy Redeemer Church.

The rest of the day was spent in going around and shopping in Pratunam area. We've been into a number of malls and in the flea bargains on the sidewalks and insides of Pratunam Market.

That day was also my mom's birthday so we booked ourselves for a Wan Fah Dinner Cruise which I'll cover in a separate post.

Most of our 4th day in Bangkok was spent outside in Dreamworld, something that I'll also write about later. We also watched the Calypso Cabaret Show in Asia Hotel Bangkok.

After the show, which is actually our last night in Bangkok, we went to Patpong for the night market. It was surprising to see a "localized" store of Starbucks Coffee.

Patpong Road is a night flea market famous among locals and tourists. It is also infamous as an "entertainment" district. One club that caught my attention was Super Pussy.

Our 5th and last day was spent most for clothes shopping. I separated myself from mom and Julie to look for Durian chips.

It also gave me time to try the local street food. Very similar to what we have in Manila (fishballs, squidballs, green mangoes, hotdogs, grilled intestines, etc.)

After a series of mall hopping and waiting for shops to open, I ended up in Pratunam Center and was relieved to see Durian chips being sold. If you'll ever drop by the city, try these out.

Before lunch we hurriedly packed our things up and went to the airport. In here you can see how beautiful the architecture and the planning that was done in the airport. It was spacious and comfortable unlike ours in Manila.

There are a lot of places you can explore and things to do in Bangkok and nearby cities. While you're in the city, be sure to get a treatement of the infamous Thai Massage and try out Durian Chips!

More pictures are available in multiply. Just add me as a friend to view them.


Justin M. Flemons said...

Cool BKK trip. Your pictures look quite similar to mine when I went two months ago. Many were taken from the same spot too. I want to go back to TH.

Allen Bates said...

I'm sure that you had a good time in Bangkok. Thanks.
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thom.r said...

Traveling is a good way to feel relaxed and have some time for yourself, thank you for sharing your journey.
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