Bangkok: Exploring the Land of Smiles
Thailand is known as the “land of smiles”. Stepping into the land of smiles can bring a smile to others. I, for one, have experienced the excitement of coming to the city of Bangkok in Thailand. There is an hour late time difference between Manila and Bangkok. It made our stay in Bangkok longer so plan ahead and make use of your time wisely. We booked for a 5-night stay (June 20-24, 2017) in Booking.com and found a room for three in Sabye Bangkok at around 6,300 PHP (110USD). It comes with complimentary breakfast. Sabye Bangkok is located at 80 Samsen Rd., which is surrounded by small food restaurants, Thai massages, and other small hotels.
You might want to look into these things when you’re going to visit Bangkok.
Upon arriving BKK, we decided to take an Uber or Grab going to our hotel but a tourist information lady told us they don’t really recommend it in their country. Note that these people lead you to their counter and offer tourists their group/private tours at a discounted price. It’s up to you if you would like to avail or not, no worries.
So we took a taxi going to our hotel, just make sure you have changed as drivers would tell you that they don’t have small bills for change.
Also, passengers need to pay additional 50 baht because you’re in an airport and the toll fees going to your place. Taxis are everywhere. You can choose to haggle and agree with taxi drivers or have the taxi meter on to your destination. If you don’t like the heavy traffic, try riding by Chao Phraya Express Boat. This was one of my favorite transportation modes in Bangkok. The nearest station from our hotel is the Phra Arthit which is about a 10-15 minute walk. There are available tourist blue boats but you have to wait for it, if not, feel free to be one of the locals. We rode an orange flag boat going to Central Pier for 14 baht/person. Riverboats are crowded during rush hours; it could start as early as 4 in the afternoon. From the Central Pier, we walked and rode the BTS Skytrain going to the city shopping center: Siam for 34 baht/person. And last but not the least is the famous, tuk-tuk. You can find it anywhere, even if you don’t, tuk-tuk drivers will surely come to you as they offer tourists a ride. There is no fixed price for tuk-tuks but make sure to haggle a friendly price. We only rode once from the Big C Supermarket to Chinatown for 150 baht.
Food and drinks
Who wouldn’t want to enjoy food when traveling? This is one of a must in the city. Thailand is known for its street food. During our first day, we decided to eat lunch at nearby food restaurant before going out to the temples around the area. I ordered Tom Yum Seafood Fried Rice. The price varies from 50-70 baht if you want your food with pork, chicken or mixed seafood. Make sure to tell whether you like spicy or not because they serve it spicy. Pad Thai and Papaya salad are everywhere. We had Pad Thai in Khaosan Road for only 50 baht; you can see food carts along that street.
For drinks, we tried the large Chang beer (100 baht) than Leo beer (80 baht) in two different restaurants. Leo tastes stronger than Chang beer but both can be considered a light drink for dinner. Green tea flavored drinks are almost all over food stores. It’s just a little too sweet for my taste. And how could I forget the dessert? Fruits, ice creams, crepes, name it. It’s a balance to have a dessert after eating spicy food. Fruit carts satisfied our cravings; we had watermelon slice and mango for 20 baht each. There are also mixed fruits in a cup ranging from 60-80 baht. I also recommend you to try the coconut ice cream (40 baht) and the iberry’s Santol ice cream location in Siam Paragon.
Temples are the primary scenery in Bangkok so you might want to start with the biggest ones along with the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace costs about 500 baht, inside stands the oldest temple in Bangkok – Wat Phra Keaw. You can only walk around the grounds of the palace and be amazed at its architectural design as people cannot go inside. There are three temples on our list – (a) Wat Pho (The Reclining Buddha) – 100 baht, (b) Standing Buddha – free admission (c) Wat Benchamabopitr (Marble Palace) – 20 baht. It is best to list down the temples you want to visit ahead of time so you can maximize the transport and time to explore the place.
If you’re not into temples, Bangkok has its wide city center for shopping. Ride a BTS Skytrain from Saphan Taksin to Siam, you can see the Siam Center, Siam Discovery, Siam Paragon and the MBK Center. You might want to check out Madama Tussauds Bangkok while exploring these places. High-end brands and products are available but you can go to MBK Center for some souvenirs and good-priced bags, clothes and other things. Head to the next block across Erawan Shrine is, near Chid Lom station for some affordable shopping spree from clothes and pants. You can bargain prices when you get wholesale pieces which I suggest you do especially in The Platinum Fashion Mall and Pratunam Market but what I love is the Krung Thong Plaza. This is the place where I can keep coming back to shop in Bangkok. They have floors of clothes for plus sizes, a building of blue jeans, bountiful styles of shirts and blouses.
We ended our stay with a foot reflexology and Thai massage at Spaya Massage. These are just a few things you can enjoy in Bangkok. Remember to hydrate yourself as it gets too hot during the day but that didn’t keep us from enjoying the wonders of this place. Plan ahead going to Bangkok and it will surely leave a smile on your face.