Postcard from the Southeast : a travel journal (Part 1 - Thailand)
As you may know, (or what people in my office do not know) that I was traveling around Southeast Asia for ending 2013. It takes me days before finally sit on the chair and begin to write whatever fresh that remains in my mind from the trip. I do not want to let the memory sit too long, I do not want to have a hard time to recall them. However, I feel like I won't need to worry about recalling them, because the trip has been memorable, and it has been given me a positive energy. Quite a way to start a new year. Just like what I wanted.
After taking the MRT to Sukhumvit station, I took the sky train, and it was more crowded than before. I guess the sky train is equivalent to KL's monorail, which connect every district to another in city's busiest areas. I think I stopped at Phra Kanong, and went down to take taxi to Soi Ram... something.... I could not remembered. I had miscommunication with the driver as I expected when I arrived in Thailand, however, I reached the hotel safely.
The hotel was Sabai Sabai @ Sukhumvit hotel and the amenities of the hotel were beyond my expectation. The decorations were eye-catching, creative and the staffs were friendly and helpful. The rate was quite low. For two nights I was spending 600++ baht for a room that I shared with a friend. After I arrived at the hotel, I was wandering around with my roommate. It was very satisfying. I had my first plate of Pad Thai, a sour apple fruit snack, and a sweet banana chocolate pancake.
I arrived at Don Muang airport. I had been to Bangkok before but I arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport. Don Muang is pretty much smaller than Suvarnabhumi, I am assuming it is the airport for low-cost carrier. The immigration process was simple, and I walked out the immigration post and left the arrival terminal in wonder. It has been 3 years since I have not visited Thailand, and it felt so surreal. Even the cylindrical water cup next to the ladies looked surreal. Every curve of Thai alphabet looked surreal. Maybe I was just amazed by the fact that the day after, I was still in the office and now I was there in Bangkok.
I decided to take the bus to Sukhumvit to my hotel. It was a good day for a bus ride. I took the bus A1 that would drop me to the MRT (Now, bangkok has MRT!) at Chatuchak. The ride costed 30 baht. I was impressed of how the station looks. It looks better than KL's LRT station and safer. It reminds me much of Singapore's MRT and HK's subway.
|Our lovely hotel|
|Bangkok's street, taken by Opi|
We went out to the city and visit the red light district. My friend told me that there are two Bangkok's red light districts and we are going to the happening one, which is Pat Pong. No kidding. They distributed flyers to male passerby, as well as female, what crazy was that they offered my roommate, who is a muslim woman with hijab one of the flyer. I mean, dude.... know your audience. We ended up sitting at a roadside cafe, watching the locals and tourists mingled with each others. The ladyboy looked completely flawlesss in their heels and dresses. They even looked more like a woman compare to me. Fair skin and healthy long hair. There was this one ladybody who was very hilarious and stylish. She had this beyonce-esque attitude as she walked up and down the street.
It was a goodnight as I had the infamous mango sticky rice (with two-colored rice!) and my awaited boxing glove that I bought only for 1000 Baht. I was told that the price was around RM 150 or 1500 bath but then I guess that was quite a price!
The night was still young so, we decided to go around the urban spot in town which was in Siam Paragon Mall. After we collected our lost friends--Yes, we did have a lost moment in our travel, we were entitled to--we went by the mall using sky train. The mall is huge and upscale. They were having Christmas decoration in accordance to the festive as well as a musical acts on stage. However, we did not know what to do there.
|Pat Pong red light district|
Wednesday, 25th December 2014
|Wat Arun temple complex|
It was Christmas Day and it was our chance to be a tourist. We wandered around the common tourist places in Bangkok, such as the Grand Palace (but we did not go inside, as the entrance fee costed like our allowance in a day) and Wat Pho. It was such an enchanting experience. We even made a joke amongst ourselves, as we went into scared places, we should approach foreign tourists and whispered closely to them, "No Photo, Sir." *mean*
The most unforgettable part of Bangkok was of course the street food. It seemed like we were taking stop whenever there was food. There is this delicious yam cake and a whole pomegranate as our snacks. We had a satisfying vegetarian lunch at the temple in Wat Pho. It costed around 160 baht for meal for 5! (Crazy cheap) we learnt the meal was the regular that the monks are eating daily. Suddenly, we were all feeling holy.
|Peanut and dried chilli... culinary found of the day|
|where else can you snack on a crunchy Pomegranate|
We still had another halfday to go so we decided to take the water taxi down the famous Chao Praya river. It was confusing at first because we did not know which boat to board. Later we found out that the orange-flagged boat were going to be the ones that would take us to the next station. So we boarded the boat until the last stop which was stop 30. It costed us only for 3 baht! So each person would have to pay 6 baht for return trip. It was crazy cheap. But of course sitting nearby the front of the boat will get you a free facial, we called it, "The Chao Praya facial" because the river water would splash onto your face over and over. Mmm... refreshing....
After we reached the Stop 30 and arrived at a small town in the North of Bangkok. We did not even recall the town's name, but everything felt so local. It was certainly not a tourist area, because we hardly see any tourist, and again lots a food... A friend of mine was eating a whole leg of deep fried chicken, and God, advertising lost this time. It was so tender and juicy, I wish I would have taken one picture or two.
|heading on a boat before having the Chao Praya facial|
We are walking around the small town and they had a pretty large wet market to visit. The market sold spices, meat, and everything... I bought packets of Thailand Nescafe and Ovaltine like crazy. I did not know why I enjoyed shopping groceries so much, but I did! I liked to see international brand sold in other countries. My friend was ending the afternoon by having lunch at the market, eating oyster omelete and noodles.
|The stop-30 town, you see the rooster on the top of the tower?|
|Food vendor in Stop 30|
|My favorite Thailand snack... sweet potato cake!|
|The wet market|
We still had time to kill, so we moved on from Stop 3, to stop 13, The Phra Athit, which is near to Khao San Road, where all the backpackers hang out and stay. It was so crowded as we had expected. And it hadn't changed that much since the last time I visited Bangkok. I was staying at one of the hostels in Tanee Road.
Before going to the Khao San Road, we visited the victory monument where a rally was held. So we watch politicians giving speech and the crowd was cheering. There were food stalls, which we believed were giving out free food for the protesters. Holymoly they looked so delicious, we wondered if we could have a bite too.
|March at Victory Monumet, as per today, it has turned bloody :(|
|Siam Paragon Interior|
|Passerby in front of Cafe|
|A design concept store...|
My friends were accompanying me to get a coffee, which was a cup of disappointment from a pretty cafe upstairs. We ended up having our dinner in Tong Lo district, just a walking distance we could see the stalls lining up. I was having a seafood pad thai, while the others were trying Pork rice which look very delicious but unfortunately I was not allowed to try.
Then, we wrapped up the night quite early as we needed to get up early for our departure to Siem Reap Cambodia,
and the real adventure was about to begin...