Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bangkok 2013

My trip to Bangkok was planned and booked earlier this year. I was very excited about returning to the Land of Smiles, the City of Angels. I had visited this place many years ago when I was a cabin crew for Singapore Airlines. I missed my flying days so much, so to go on any overseas trip is a pleasure. I am easily pleased. This place was going to be a walk down memory lane for me. “Gun powder galore! The Land of Chillies was on my mind, it is a foodie paradise, next to Malaysia.”
I couldn't be happier!

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Just a few photos via Instagram of what I ate during the course of my stay in Bangkok. More photos on my Flickr account.

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Dinner

Except that a lot has changed. The malls are bigger, the highways are wider, there's a new airport now. It used to be Don Muang Airport in the old days; I believed they still used it. My flight from Sydney took 9 hours 40 minutes and we got in at around 6pm by the time we cleared immigration and customs. This is not including our flight from Wagga up to Sydney.

My son and I went straight to the taxi line and got in the cab to our hotel. I could see that that the traffic is as mad as ever and I was so happy that to see the tuk-tuks zigzagging along on the road in the city. We got to our hotel and checked in; I love the escort service to our room. We were tired after a long day of travelling, we ordered a quick room service dinner and pretty much, was dead to world after our dinner and shower.

The next morning, we started the day with the buffet breakfast. I was refreshed from my sleep and in my element. I sampled all the food. I worked the buffet by the grid. Bit by bit, I managed to eat everything on sight till I was unable to move. Lucky for me, I get a little rest before the mall opens.

MBK

The shops over here opened late in the morning, like in most Asian countries and trades until late evening around ten. We were not in a hurry that day. It was just going to be a relaxing day in the malls around MBK, Central World, and Siam Square. The heat was starting to get to me and by late afternoon, I was defeated. This old gal needed her nanna nap, but I soldiered on. The agenda on the first day was to get souvenirs and presents for friends so that we don't forget about them with all the tours, I had in mind and was planning to do.

On our second day, we took the nearest sky train closest to our hotel, from National Stadium to Saphan Taksin and from there we took a ferry to Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple. The BTS sky train was very efficient and quick way to get around Bangkok. I was apprehensive at first, but the Thais are very friendly and hospitable. It is really easy to take the sky train. I told them where I want to get to, the hotel concierge had given me a map and directions earlier, and the Info desk gave me some tokens in exchange for 30 Thai baht each for our train ride. That’s like $2 Australian dollars for both. It’s the best way to see Bangkok.

Map of BTS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bangkok-transit-map.svg

The ferry ride was even better. It’s fun and exciting with disco music blasting loudly with tourists and locals riding along. It the scenic route as you can see a number of Wats aka temples along the Chao Phraya River including Wat Arun.

Ferry ride Sathorn Pier

I love the Emerald Buddha Temple. You’re not allowed to take photos of the Emerald Buddha. However, if you click on this link, you will be able to see the Emerald Buddha; it certainly is beautiful with its fine gold clothing. The Emerald Buddha is actually made of Jade, not the Emerald gem. I was told that Emerald was just the term Thais used to describe the colour green.

Emerald Buddha http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerald_buddha

Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple

The Grand Palace is certainly very grand and majestic. It is made of several buildings on site with gardens, public building, museum and temple. The Royal family does not reside there any more but I am told that many official functions are still held there. It remains one of the most popular tourist attractions.

Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple

The line to the ticket booth was already long despite being early in the morning. If we had come later, the heat would have been unbearable. Thailand is extremely hot and we rested under the shades of trees several times to escape the heat and crowds.

Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple

On the third day of our trip, I woke up with sore throat and decided to have an easy day; so we went to Jim Thompson’s house and did a tour there. His house is more like a museum, no one lives there any more. The house was built in an old Thai structure, we were told, there were no nails used to build the house. We were not allowed to take any photos once inside the house but were allowed to take photos of the exterior and gardens.

Jim Thompson's House

I was transfixed and mesmerised by its gardens. I think that this is now my favourite place in Bangkok. It’s green, it’s cooling and I love the Koi fishes in the garden pond. Despite the coming and goings of tourists in the place, it was still very serene and calming in gardens. I love the garden and wished the place was mine. I am happiest in a garden!

Jim Thompson's House

Jim Thompson's House

Jim Thompson's House

Jim Thompson's House

It was nice to sit in the bar after the tour, watching the Kois swimming freely in the man-made pond. The drinks were cold and refreshing. My sore throat was starting to annoy me.

Jim Thompson's House

We took a tuk tuk to Central World and had lunch there. Then we went to the Aquarium in Siam Paragon for the boy. He loves aquariums and it was a nice relaxing afternoon for me. It was cool in the mall and there were not too many crowds there. It wasn't school holidays and the place was not busy. It was nice to escape the heat, to sit down and just stare at sharks and rays all day. I do love the malls in Bangkok, so clean and spacious with beautiful designs.

Central World

Siam Paragon

Central World

Siam Ocean World

It all went downhill after the third day, I had gotten sick and came down with some big gal blouse flu, which was much worse than the man flu! I was in tears! We hadn't gone to the Crocodile Farm yet, or the Floating Market or the weekend markets. I was cursing the Gods by then. Why oh why? I had to stay in bed for the rest of my holiday. I called the Hotel's on-call doctor and I was miserable as anything. No chillies, no cold drinks, no fried foods. It was terrible. I was heartbroken!

I promised that I will return to Bangkok again in future when the airfare are on specials again. Until then...

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