First part of the travel blog: When In Thailand: What To Do In Phuket
Bangkok is probably the biggest city outside the country I’ve been to so far, I’ve never been to a lot of places but keeping my fingers crossed that I will go to places (literally) soooon! But if you’re a Bangkok virgin, here are some places that I’ve been to that you might also want to check out:
Visit the temples: Wat Arun/Temple of Dawn, Wat Pho/Grand Palace
I can’t help but compare Manila to Bangkok, but probably the best thing about Bangkok is that although they are one of the modern cities you’ll visit, the heritage and culture can still be seen to this day: from their buildings to bridges and decors. Maybe it’s cause Philippines have been a smorgasbord of different countries that our identity have become just that, we have everything, but it’s still nice to see a city so modern, yet so rich in culture and heritage. Anyway, you cannot go to Bangkok and not visit this triumvirate of temples. There are countless temples in Bangkok, but these three are the ones you have to see, especially if you have limited time. The best thing about it is that you can basically see them in half a day! How to do it: Start early: ride the Chao Phraya riverboat going to Wat Pho station. Go visit the reclining Buddha and be at awe at Thailand’s architecture. Once done, visit the Grand Palace. It’s so near Wat Pho that you can walk from one temple to the other. Afterwards, return to the station where you were dropped off and ride the boat that crosses the river to see the majestic Wat Arun. Note: Make sure to wear appropriate clothes in visiting temples, especially girls. Wear tops with sleeves and bottoms should be below or just above the knees, same with boys. Most temples require tourists to pay additional 20 baht per temple to rent sarongs in order to enter the temple.
Chao Phraya riverboat from Saphan Taksin to station basic fare: 40 baht
Entrance to Wat Pho: 100 baht with free water
Entrance to Grand Palace: 500 baht (Didn’t enter the premises because I thought it was too pricey and I was all templed out, so I don’t know how it looked like inside haha!) but it was so pretty from the outside.
Fare to cross to the other side of the river: 6 baht.
Entrance to Wat Arun: 50 baht
Return trip to central station: 15 baht
Get lost in Bangkok Chinatown (Yaowarat)
One of the things I’ll never forget about my Bangkok trip was when my uncle and I got lost in Chinatown. Hahaha! It was one of the fun things that happened and by the end of the day we were both laughing at our experience. We left his apartment in the morning and rode the BTS (Bangkok Train station) and get off at Saphan Taksin station, hop on one of the boats and get off at Chinatown station. You will be immediately greeted by peddlers selling variety of stuff: from food to bags, hats, and what have you, everything you’d want is in there. What I liked about Chinatown is that they also have temples, malls and tourist spots inside the complex. It’s like a smaller version of the entire Bangkok. We visited Wat Traimit, where you can find the world’s largest Buddha made of gold. I kid you not! We also visited two other temples, the other one housing two crocodiles and the other one is just a simpler version of the bigger temples in Bangkok. We also walked around Chinatown, map in hand, bottled water in the other and tried being Dora and Diego the explorer! Haha! The best part is we came across an ice cream vendor that sells the most amazing coconut ice cream I’ve had in my stay there. I heard Chinatown is even better at night, when the lights are out and everybody are just having fun. I haven’t experienced a lot of night life in Bangkok as my uncle works as a singer in Hard Rock Café, so if I’m not with him (went twice to his gig), I was at the night market or reading Harry Potter at night. Did I miss a lot of Bangkok’s nightlife? Not really sure, I’m already a proud member of #TitasOfManila
Entrance to Chinatown: Free!!! Just pay for the fare for the boat and roam around the old city
Entrance to Wat Traimit: around 100 baht, not really sure, my uncle paid for it. #moneyger
Shop ‘til you drop: Platinum Shopping Mall
Bangkok, similar with Hong Kong (though I haven’t been to HK) is a shopping heaven. I swear I think I’ve seen angels lurking inside the Platinum mall with “sale” signs replacing their halos. Kidding! Platinum is a six storey building filled with things for boys, girls, kids and other things you might need at a cheaper price! My uncle’s place was strategically located near Platinum that I have been there three times the entire time I was there and I ended up going home with an extra luggage and an almost empty wallet. Ugh.
Can’t remember the train station you have to get off to get to Platinum, though. Just Google it! But it was the best! If you think that the price are still pricey for you, get out of the building and look for Pratunam. It’s a street filled with other items as well that are sold at a cheaper price. The downside though is that the area is too big you might get lost in the sea of clothes, bags, shoes and other things. It was crazy, I begged my uncle to get out of the area because it was suffocating me. If you’re a Pinoy, Platinum is like 168, while Pratunam is a bigger version of Divisoria.
No photo. 😦 I got so excited shopping. 😦
Go to Chatuchak Weekend Market
If you’re spending a weekend in Bangkok, make sure to visit Chatuchak Weekend market. Pretty much you can also find everything in here. I heard it’s around a hectare-big place that it is almost impossible to go around every stall in just a day. Go challenge yourself if you can!
How to go there: Ride the BTS and get off at Mo Chit Station. Walk to the park and you’ll see the sellers already. Prepare your feet for some walkathon, and your wallet to splurge.
Visit Madam Tussauds’ Wax Museum
Visiting Madam Tussaud’s was also one of the highlights of my trip. Similar with the ones in other places, Madam Tussaud’s feature the most powerful and influential people in different fields: politics, local and international, movers and shakers of the world, pop stars, sports icons, actors, and even your favorite cartoons and animes!
Entrance: Standard price is at 850 baht, but I only paid 425 baht (BAM!) because we booked it online for the early bird promo. You just have to be there before 12nn to avail Check out their rates in the official page to know how to save your moolah! Didn’t save moolah though, cause I got a waxed version of my hand for 500 baht, but it was a waste of money because it melted in Phil. Climate. WTF.
Channeling my inner Taytay circa All Too Well piano playing lol.
Wanna be on top? Visit the floating market.
One of the things I told my uncle that I’m going to have to see is Bangkok’s floating market. See, a few years ago, I’ve been obsessed with watching America’s Next Top Model and at one point, they went to Bangkok and had a shoot at one of their floating markets. I wasn’t really sure if it was the Damnoen or the Amphawa were we went, but whatever. Haha! If you’re going to the weekend market, make sure that you have an entire day to dedicate to it, because it’s a long drive from the main city. I think maybe around 2 hours.
How to get there: Ride the BTS and get off at Victory monument. Ask the locals (pray that you;ll find one who speaks English well) on where the terminal for vans leaving to Amphawa. It’s almost right below the station. Pay (if I remember it right) less than 100 baht per person and you’d get off at Amphawa. Amphawa is the floating market popular to Thais while Damnoen is more popular to tourists.
It’s a different kind of Thailand. Sellers cook their food in their boats and you can buy goods from one boat to another boat. The good thing about Amphawa is that it’s very inexpensive compared to Damnoen (I believe) because it’s less tourist-y. We had the best mango salad in this area huhubels, super kaduper sarap! And the seafoods! Yum!!!
You can also take a boat and visit 5 small temples in the area for 50 baht. Such a steal, but by the fourth temple, I was all templed out. Haha! Make sure to book your van going home once you arrived, slots run out fast. We didn’t, the good thing though was that there another company that brings back tourists from Amphawa to Bangkok. Oh, if you’re staying for a night, make sure to see the fireflies! I think they have it in there, didn’t get to experience it, but had it in Kota Kinabalu and it was AMAZING! Mother Nature is AWESOME!!! Fireflies are one of the best creatures I’ve seen! They’re like Christmas lights, AAAHHH!
Ride the Chao Phraya River
You’ve never been to Bangkok if you haven’t tried at least once riding their boat. Nothing much can be seen from the boat, because the tourist spots are mostly in grounds. But this river connects all of these places that it would be stupid not to try it. It has also become one of the major thoroughfares in the city. You DO NOT need to buy the 150 baht fixed fare for the entire day to ride unlimited number of times, unless you think that you can get your money’s worth out of it. I hate it when they try to rip tourists.
Ride the Asiatique riverboat for free and check out the area!
They have this big ferris wheel where you can ride at 300 baht and see the city skyline from above. You can also find several shops and restaurants in the area as well as their version of the love locks. #walangforever
If you have the money, try the Chao Phraya dinner cruise and tell me about it! Haha! By the way, my friend Irwan had dinner with another friend at one of the restaurants facing the Wat Arun and the view was just amazing! So do try I as well! If ever I get the chance to come back, I’d definitely do that!
Ride the BTS
If you’re going to Bangkok, aside from riding the Chao Phraya riverboats, you have to ride the BTS. Dear Pinoys, no, it’s waaay different from our sucky MRT. Their BTS is even connected to their airports. Fuck Manila’s crappy transport system. Commuting in Bangkok is not as horrendous as commuting in the Philippines. The one thing I liked BTS is that it’s very easy to go from one place to another and transfer trains. The convenience would make you think twice of riding another mode of transpo. Taxis are fine, but why are you riding one if you want to experience the local life, right?
Skip the restaurants, go to the streets to experience authentic Thai food
Aside from saving up on money that you could basically spend somewhere more fun, you will have the authentic Thai food experience! Try bami, pad thai, satay, coconut ice cream and my favorite pomegranate juice where I just found on the streets! While you’re at it, make sure to try their lanzones, pineapple and mangosteen that will leave you wanting more! The’re so sweet you’d think they’ve been injected with sugar! LOL I think I finished 3 kilos of mangosteen during my entire stay! Haha!
Pomegranate juice! Love this! Why don’t we have this refreshing drink in the Philippines?
Other places that we visited that were so-so was the Khao San Road, we visited in the morning so it was still pretty quiet. If you like the party life, then maybe this is for you. The other people I’ve talked to didn’t like it because it was too crowded. We also visited malls in the Siam area and of course, Hard Rock café where my uncle works. I wanted to visit Ayuttaya but they said it’s similar to that of Angkor Wat so I took it out of my planned itinerary. I haven’t tried any tours involving animals and elephants or nature because I already did that in Phuket. But try to find nearby beaches and elephant tours if you’re eager to see one after the one in the Manila Zoo died.
I spent 12 days in Bangkok and I’d like to think I lived a local life, I took everything in slowly and not did everything at once. But if you’re spending several days only, the most probable itinerary that you could do is:
Day 1: Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Grand Palace in the morning ‘til afternoon, and try the night markets or Asiatique at night, ride the ferris wheel!
Day 2: Floating Market if you’re only doing the day trip, visit Khao San Road/try the night life in Bangkok
Day 3: Madam Tussaud’s wax museum in the morning, have lunch and then go to Chinatown til nighttime.
Day 4: Visit Chatuchak Weekend Market and if you’re still up for it, visit Platinum or Pratunam. Make sure to ask for discounts! Get a massage after!
The cost of living in Bangkok is similar to the Philippines. I can’t give an exact budget proposal because my uncle took care of me, but I’m thinking 1000 baht budget per day is more than enough for the day. If you’re reading this and you’ve been to Bangkok and you have more tips, feel free to comment below!