Friday, January 18, 2013

Thailand Part 1: Bangkok, Ayothaya

To prevent this post to be too pic heavy, I've divided it into 2 parts. But pics upload is a pain in the ass with lousy internet connection so please be patient for Part 2! Part 2 will be focusing on Koh Samui. This time was on our own so I can probably let you know some budget travel tips! ^^

I had abandoned this space for quite sometime. Being busy with my Industrial training of 28 weeks, followed by my traveling plans I was lost in time. Handling a fansite also made me caught up with time. Now I am back in University, officially a Final Year student. It is time to do something crazy perhaps? But now I would like to keep some privacy to myself, this blog will be more like a travel-food blog in future? Maybe. 

Now before I get really busy, let me update you on my trip to Thailand. It was a family trip planned by me (well I do plan most of my family trip). It has to be a short one because I ended my Industrial training late and my youngest brother had to register back to his college. Thus it was a 10 days trip. Knowing me, I would made it longer to go North-East-South-West but that, would make it into my next travel plan. This time only made it to Bangkok-Ayothaya-Surat Thani- Koh Samui.

Since I was so busy with work, I didn't look up on anything on Thailand until one day before my flight. In Bangkok we stayed with my cousin who married a Thai lady and now lives there permanently. Surat Thani & Koh Samui hotels were booked online while I was in Bangkok, plans were mostly made a day before. Definitely all these are not advisable! It is best to book a month in advance for hotel, and arrange pick up to proven mess if you travel in group of more than 2. 

Our KL-BKK flight arrived late at night so we just read and my cousin planned everything for us in Bangkok & Ayothaya! Please, if you want to visit Bangkok and islands, do go for islands first because Bangkok is a shopping paradise, you wouldn't want to carry you additional luggage around, which we made the wrong choice :( When we flew to Surat Thani, I had to purchase additional luggage weight.

I set all the must go/visit, must do and must eat in bold for your convenience!

Day 1: we spent whole day at Platinum Mall!! Then went to Central World Isetan and Erawan Shrine. It is just located walking distance behind Platinum Mall. There is a tourist information counter located just outside Platinum Mall. Grab free Bangkok and MRT maps there. Also ask for directions if you need to go elsewhere from Platinum Mall. Bangkok is a shopping paradise definitely~ Took lunch at the Food court inside Platinum mall, great choices available! Even the must try Mango Sticky Rice, though a lil expensive. But after lunch, you can continue to shop! Remember to bargain!! ^^ At Central World, I tried Buddhi Belly yogurt ice cream which is recommended by many~

Tuktuk is a very common mean of transport in any Indo-China countries. I must say that they are really professional drivers. From Central World we took a tuktuk to Chit Lom MRT station were we meet up with my cousin. He then brough us for dinner! Ate Pad Thai, Thailand famous fried noodle. At night, we just chill at home and worn ourselves out playing with my very active nephew (who actually looks like Nickhun of Korean boyband 2PM - Thai born!!)

Day 2: We went on river cruise at Chao Phraya River. Not exactly a cruise, the boat ride was madness, sickly crowded but it is one of the way to view Bangkok's riverside, the cheaper way. Purchase a one-day pass and you can get down and get up the boat at any stops along the river. You will be given a (river) map with all the stops and the tourist attractions on it. It is advisable to take the boat till the end of the route to enjoy the riverside view, then only selecting the stops on the return ride. We visited the Grand Palace and Chinatown :) To visit the sacred places such as the Palace and Temples, do remember to cover up. It is best to wear a simple T-shirt and long pants/skirts, else you can bring them in your backpack to change. You can also visit Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Po, Wat Arun & Wat Rachabophit. We didn't visit them because the weather was too hot and I was not feeling well. They are all accessible by the boat ride and then on foot. Details based on my research before the trip:

1. Wat Phra Kaew opens 8.30am-3.30pm. Entrance fee is 300baht
2. Wat Po opens 8.00am - 5.00pm. Entrance fee is 50baht. 10mins walk from Wat Phra Kaew
3. Wat Arun opens 8.30am - 5.30pm. Entrance fee is 50baht.
4. Wat Rachabophit is just 10mins. walk from the Grand Palace.

Day 3, we went to Cha Tu Chak Weekend Market! The ever famous weekend market in Thailand. At Cha Tu Chak you can buy everything!! But I didn't shop much here, compared to my parents. The quality is not up to my expectations. And of course I was aiming more on clothings~~ :D Nearby Cha Tu Chak Market there is a mall called JJ Mall. They provide free shuttle to JJ Mall from Cha Tu Chak Weekend Market every half an hour. We went to JJ Mall and experienced eating various Thailand delicacies!

Day 4: We went to Ayutthaya. For more info visit: http://www.ayutthaya-history.comAyutthaya is called the "historic city" of Thailand. There are left over structures of temples and palace as seen like Cambodia's Angkor Wat. Ayutthaya is approximately an hour drive from Bangkok. My cousin rented a VIP van to bring us around. On our way there, we stopped at the King Chulalongkorn Monastery. Even though a Buddhist, the monastery and buildings were built resembling a lot like Christian's Church because of his influence by the Western countries during his early days studying oversea. We were lucky to witness a process of a man being a monk. My cousin said all male Buddhist believers in Thailand need to be a monk at least once in their lifetime and it is something which makes the family proud. We went around the city centre in a jeepney but you can always rent a bike/bicycle to go more leisure. It is a very huge area to cover so it is best not to go on foot, except if you spend a night or 2 at Ayutthaya. There are Elephant Rides provided, I didn't took the chance because I've rode 2 hours in Cambodia. I'm guessing it was around 1000baht for 30mins (for a couple). Do try the ice cream sold by vendors, the coconut flavour is a must try! We also stopped at the Ayutthaya Historical Park. There are many monuments and great sceneries. Visit the Ayutthaya Floating Market where you can find Thailand delicacies and souvenirs. For dinner, we had seafood! On a floating restaurant :)

With Love, 
Mei Lin

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