True Melting Pot – Thailand

We have smoothly blended in a place with a diverse culture, belief and way of life that is weaved into a beautiful masterpiece that is Thailand.

It’s the first international flight for some of the guys on our group while others have past experiences travelling abroad but there’s one thing in common – this time, we’re travelling to a country that has a different time zone(GMT +7). It’s like we traveled back in time (even if it’s just an hour :)). Travelling in a country that has a different language and writings we could not understand was a big challenge.

On our first night, the big quest was to find our way to our hotel. We only followed the directions stated in the receipt we got from our booking. It was stated that we had to commute by train, so we did.

In commuting by train we had to use something we haven’t tried ever since – the train ticket vending machine. But Thai’s have been very helpful. The police officer near the vending machine saw us and maybe realized that we were having a hard time, so he helped us, and the rest is history.

We have gone through a lot on our very first day. We have to drag our luggage all the way from the airport transferring from one train to the other, stopping and checking the map, reading some signs we could understand, arguing whether we are on the right direction or not, asking any strangers we could pass by and taking the wrong turn. Yet we survived!

This trip wouldn’t be a success without the help of these things…

  1. Our Personal ITI – The framework of our whole adventure. We did not strictly follow it especially for wakeup calls, going to the train station and so on. Some ideas popped up and without a second thought it was added to our itinerary.

  2. Thai Translator App – Making the most out of our smart phones. We downloaded a Thai app translator we could find in the app store a day before this trip. Some Thais could not speak/understand English so this helped us a lot especially in asking for directions. We did learn some basic Thai words in the process.

  3. Happy Tourist sim by DTAC – It is sold at the airport. It costs 299 THB and you can already have 100 THB free calls and an unlimited internet good for 7 days. The connection was pretty fast. It was very helpful especially when we have to locate places in Google maps and in case we get separated from the group it would be easy to contact each other (lesson learned from our Macau trip).

  1. Thailand Map – Yes, we have to channel our inner Dora the Explorer. We used it most of the time especially when we ask for directions from the locals and taxi drivers who sometimes could not understand us.

Our first day in Thailand was dedicated in touring around Bangkok: temples, Siam Square, the Siam Discovery and Khaosan Road are on the top of the list.

Temples in Bangkok are located right next to each another. I suggest you bring a hat or umbrella because you’ll be taking long walks under the scorching heat of the sun. Temples are near ferry ports so if you want to get there fast, better  riding the ferry boat.

NOTE: Bring a sarong or any cloth you could use as cover-up in case you’ll be wearing a sleeveless shirt or shorts. Some type of clothing is prohibited at the temples.

Grand Palace

The entrance fee costs 500 THB. Our group find it expensive so we settled at just admiring the view from the outside.

Wat Pho

The entrance fee costs only 100 THB with free bottled water. I thought I would only be seeing the reclining Buddha but when we went inside, we saw something more than that.

Wat Arun

Entrance fee is 30 THB. Climbing up could be exciting but going down was the most exhilarating part. I do encourage you to take the climb. You’ll surely enjoy the view of Bangkok from way up there.

Siam Square

We have known this place because of the movie Love of Siam. A scene in the movie was shot here. It’s a place surrounded with lots of shops.

Siam Discovery

Where we almost get to see Mario Maurer – only we were 4 hours late. 😦 You could find Madame Tussauds wax museum inside where we were able to get a photo op with Tom Cruise for free! 🙂

Khaosan Road

Popularly known as the backpacker’s ghetto. A lot of foreigners visit this place especially at nighttime and a lot of cool stuff are sold here too though those items that I love are sold at a very expensive price.

Commuting is fun. We were able to try almost all types of transportation in Bangkok. That was an achievement!

Ferry boat

I find this the most exciting and fastest way of getting around Bangkok for short trips. The fare was also cheap. A local told us not to buy the ticket at the ticket counter because it would cost much and it is mostly sold to tourists. A ticket inspector will be collecting the fare inside the ferry boat. Ferry from Chao Phraya Express Boat Service port to Grand Palace only costs us 15 THB. Crossing the river from Grand Palace to Wat Arun costs us 3 THB only.

BTS Skytrain

This is the fastest and most convenient means of transportation but an expensive one. Well if you don’t want to get caught in the traffic this would be the best option. You will find ticket vending machines at every train station.

Tuk-tuk

I find this costly. They charged us 180 THB for a one way trip from Grand Palace to Siam Square.  We were only forced to ride on this one because it took us forever waiting for Bus# 47. All 6 of us had to squeezed inside this 4seater vehicle. Almost everyone we passed by and could see our situation would give a short giggle.

Taxi

If you are in a group, this would be a good option. We did not expect it to be cheap. But this one is only good if you don’t get caught in the traffic.

Bus

A very affordable public transport in Bangkok if you opted for the non-air conditioned ones. There are also high-end buses where air-condition is available and seats are very comfortable. If you know where you’re heading to and what stops you’ll alight, then it’s cheaper to go by bus. Bus drivers drive fast but traffic would sometimes cause delays as it already has some successive stops exactly at the bus stop. The bus conductor will get your fare right after you get on board. The ticket from Grand Palace to somewhere downtown Bangkok via Bus #1 costs 8 THB and from there to Hua Lamphong station via an air-conditioned Bus is 14 THB.

The streets of Bangkok…

It’s a mixture of almost everything. From the different kinds of street food to the beautiful handmade stuff, pendants of some sort, monks, and shops that sells souvenir items or fashionable Thai clothing.

To sum it up, this whole day trip was incredible! I didn’t expect to see and experience this much in one day. I truly enjoyed Bangkok!

The best thing about traveling on your own is that you get to experience a lot. Meet different people and learn a lot. Then your brain just remembers it all and it stays there. Every single detail becomes a wonderful story to tell.

#Bangkok #temples #Thailand #DIY #Travel

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