Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bangkok Jam



“My first trip to Bangkok and it was great. The places I've seen are awesome. The food is gastronomically delectable. And the people are nice and will always give you a smile. Bangkok has preserved its richness in culture as they have maintained most of their temples and palaces which is the cradle of their religion, which is Buddhism. You will be impressed with the grandiose of all these temples located far from the other side of Bangkok's central business district. You will also be amazed to see a lot of flashy neon coloured taxis (like pink, green, blue and orange) that it would be so hard for you to hail the taxi as you will not be able to see whether it is available or not because they are just too bright to look at.

So back in September 2009, I decided to venture into an unorthodox way for Filipinos and travel alone. The statement above is what I have posted on my Facebook account but rereading it, it actually made me feel I did not say that much about how I lost my virginity of solo travelling. Yes you read it right. It was my first time to be in a foreign country and all alone. Bangkok is a pretty friendly place. I am sure many good things have been written and word-mouthed about this seemingly crowded, polluted yet tourist-infested city. I have to say that there were really a lot of Caucasian tourists strolling the streets and munching on dirty street food but who cares. We all have our own food poisoning stories to share. Mine is a different and stupid to story that does not need to be discussed here.

Since it is my first time here, I only relied on Google about Bangkok and brochures I got from the airport which was very helpful and a lot compared to the airport in Manila. My initial thoughts were always comparing the city I am visiting to Manila. It is not hometown though but Manila is close to me. The exoticness of Bangkok makes the place perfect for travellers. (You might want to check the difference between a traveller and a tourist) The city has good transportation facilities. If my memory serves me right, They have a subway and an MRT that are interconnected which makes getting around the city very smooth. Most of the malls and markets are near the train station and taxis are quite reliable. I was told that I should take taxi instead of tuktuks (traditional transport like pedicabs in Manila). The tuktuk drivers will definitely take advantage of you if they know you are not a local. Taxis have meters and they can’t argue with you about the metered price.

There are a lot of historical places to see but for me the top three places that I managed to see in my 2.5 days trip are the Grand Palace, the Reclining Buddha and Chatuchak Weekend Market. The Grand Palace has it all. The grandeur of the ancient Buddhist Temples and the old palaces not to mention the sparkling gold plated designs of the temples all over the place. The Reclining Buddha is simply amazing. I remember seeing it in the movie “The Beach” and it literally painted awe into my sun-burned face. Now I am wondering why there wasn’t any reclining Jesus Christ for Catholics to see. And last the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Do not be stupid enough to go there on Mondays to Fridays as they only open on Saturdays and Sundays. But that was 2009. I don’t know if it still only runs on weekends. When in the market, be mesmerized with cheap buys, cheap souvenirs, cheap food and everything else that is expensive in your country maybe cheap here. But be careful when the dark clouds starts to loom in that area as there’s a saying that “When it rains, it floods” I was fortunate enough to experience that and had to walk from the market to the MRT on knee-length flood.

If I comeback to Bangkok, I would definitely go and see these three places again plus Pat Pong. Pat Pong is a market where you can literally SEE EVERYTHING if you know what I mean. 

Bangkok, Thailand
September 2009

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