Chestnuts of My Bangkok Trip – Day 1

Ever since I started my love affair with traveling, I’ve experienced different types of packing stuff and airport or bus stations kind of excitement. From preparing things and putting them inside the traveling bag, to that taxi ride going to the terminal or the airport, to the departure time, to that arrival on my destination and finally setting my feet on that happy ground—each place and experience truly has a different feel each time. But I guess I had the most frenzied feel in my recent out of the country expedition—I’m finally traveling with my family! Guess it’s just a different kind of high when you know that you’re going to ride the plane and travel to a foreign land with your family—my mom, sis, and my cousin Percie. It just felt awesome!

And for this trip, we’re flying to Bangkok baby!

We actually owe this trip to Father God. He blessed us with cheap fares, favors in the hotel accommodation, and provisions for the entire trip.

DAY 1:

We arrived in Bangkok, Thailand morning of July 7. The long queue of tourists in the immigration in Suvarnabhumi Airport was just sooo overwhelming. I really wish to see that long line at NAIA’s tourist immigration, too! if I could just comment, I just found some if not most of the Thai officers in the airport to be a bit snotty as compared to the other international airports I’ve been to. One incident to prove that was when I asked a lady stationed in some sort of reception area where the exit is. That lady happened to be playing some mobile games with her friend that when I asked her, she looked apathetic at me and answered me in a quite not-so-good-to-my-ear-tone. I don’t know if that’s just the usual tone of their voices but it just sounded irritating to me. But of course, I didn’t go there to piss myself with negative stuff, so I just shrugged that incident off. There were some other incidents that followed which made me conclude Thais are not really that hospitable as compared to us, Pinoys.

Part of the add-ons in our booking at Nest Boutique Hotel was the free airport transfer to and from the hotel. I actually had to call the hotel (goodluck sa bill ko!) twice because the hotel staff who was supposed to pick us up was not yet there when we arrived. We had to wait for almost 30 minutes for them to pick us up and bring us to the hotel.

Alright, so the first few moments at Bangkok were not really as blithe as I expected it to be but that didn’t dampen our travel spirits.

Nest Hotel is located just 10-15 minutes away from Suvarnabhumi Airport. It was a bit far from the city proper but nevertheless, I could say the hotel was a good choice. We got a good deal of 3 nights booking at Nest for only 2136Baht (P2,982) via AsiaRooms. What’s good about this booking was we didn’t have to pay in advance. We only had to provide some pertinent information and then we could pay upon arrival at the hotel.

The room was actually only for 3 pax but it was big enough to accommodate us 4. The rate we paid for didn’t come with a breakfast but we didn’t mind at all. The hotel was really highly recommendable especially if you have a midnight flight since you don’t have to rush your way to the airport. Plus, the staff were very nice and accommodating, too. The only stuffy thing about it was that it’s a bit far from the city center–like 20-30 minutes away via train.

The hotel is actually located in some sort of rural residential area in Lat Krabang. They will provide you with a map to show the cab drivers since it’s not that easy to find. Once you became familiar to the place, however, you wouldn’t be needing that map anymore since the hotel’s location is easy to remember.

After we left our stuff in the hotel, we rode a Tuktuk to go to the Airport Link’s Lat Krabang station. The Airport Link actually starts from the Suvarnabhumi Airport and then goes up to the Phaya Thai Station of the BTS Skytrain Line. People coming from the airport need not worry about the hustle of traveling from the airport to the city center, all thanks to the Airport Link.

Here’s a map of the Bangkok’s transportation services (Airport Link, BTS Skytrain, MRT) which are actually interlinked to each other at various points for the convenience of the commuters.

Since we arrived in Bangkok on a Sunday, we decided to put Chatuchak in our first day itinerary so we could experience the Weekend Market.

Note: I got these photos of the Chatuchak Market from the net since I wasn’t able to take some photos that time.

Photo credits: http://www.adventurouskate.com

photo credit: gobackpacking.com

Chatuchak Weekend Market’s really a total shopping haven! It actually looked like the dry market inside Sunshine Plaza in Baguio City but the prices of the goods here were really cheap as compared to the other shopping areas in Bangkok. In fact, I was able to buy a dress here for only 100Baht.

We also had the first taste of the authentic Thai food at Chatuchak.

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Chrysanthemum-flavor Iced Tea (10Baht)

I totally forgot the names of the food we ordered but our bill for this meal (good for 4) was approximately around 200baht only, inclusive of bottled water and Chrystantemum Iced Tea.

After a little more window shopping, we decided to go to the Siam malls (Siam Center, Siam Paragon) located in Siam. Since the fare in BTS was a bit expensive for us 4, we decided to just ride a bus to go to Siam. Apparently, that was a not-so-nice idea since the policeman we asked direction from didn’t seem to understand us and gave us the wrong bus number to take. Good thing the conductor was nice enough to tell us that we need to get off at a certain bust stop and just ride a taxi from there. Nonetheless, riding a bus wasn’t that bad at all since we were able to do some sightseeing of the city and experience a bit of Bangkok traffic.

After some turns and re-routes, we finally arrived at Siam Square.

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A look inside Siam Center

And as much as we would love to experience the yummy goodness (according to reviews) of After You Dessert Cafe, the line of waiting diners was too long for our already grumpy tummies so we decided to try other cake shop.

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After doing another round of walks around the ground floor of Siam Paragon and having some free tastes, we decided to eat at Cafe De Tu.

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We ordered Macadamia Cake (105Baht)…

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Red Velvet Cake (105 Baht) and 2 Toffee Latte (95 Baht/each)

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Coconut Cake (105 Baht)

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and Oreo Cake (120 Baht)

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Their cakes were not actually as tasty as they looked like but I loved their Oreo cake.

After Siam Paragon, our next stop was the Pratunam Street. I thought that it’s just near Siam Square since basing on the train map, Pratunam is very close to Siam. But lo and behold, it took us about 30 minutes to get there from Siam Square! We had to go up the over pass and walk and walk and walk till we reach the Isetan Mall and we walked up the over pass again to go to the other side of the street. Okay, so that was a lot of walk! Good thing we were entertained with the different things we saw on the streets–bargain shops, busy people, etc..–that we didn’t find that too tiring (okay, I’m lying. That was really tiring!).

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We first looked for a money exchange shop since we’re running out of Baht. We didn’t exchange all our pesos to Baht at the airport since the buying rate was too low–P1 = 0.48 Baht. At the Pratunam street, we chanced upon a money changer with a good buying rate–P1 = 0.52 Baht.

If Chatuchak Weekend Market was the shopping haven, Pratunam market was my happy place! I actually bought more from this strip than in Chatuchak 😀 I was even able to buy 2 dresses for only 30 Baht each (me and my Ukay-ukay instinct!).

photo credit: mytour.vn

The food in Pratunam was also awesome! There was this particular restaurant in that long strip of side street restaurants along Pratunam which we really love, but which of course we didn’t know the name because it’s written in Thai.

Maybe you can just look for this signboard in that long strip 😀 They have the best Phad Thai (65 baht) ever! I just don’t have a photo of that 😀

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This one was just sooo yummy I couldn’t seem to forget the taste but I just forgot the name 😀

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(60 baht)

Burp!

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Coca Cola (15 baht)

After we gorged on these yummy treats, we felt the need to go back to our hotel already. We ended the first day of our Bangkok adventure trying on the stuff we bought at Chatuchak and Pratunam markets, planning and budgeting for day 2, and a really satisfying sleep 😀

Useful TIPS:

Getting to Chatuchak from Nest Hotel, Lat Krabang:

– ride a Tuktuk from Nest Hotel to Lat Krabang Station Airport Link (60 baht)

-take the Airport Link going to Phaya Thai Station of the BTS Skytrain line (45 baht/person)

-from Phaya Thai, take the BTS Skytrain going to Mo Chit Station (34 Baht/person)

-from Mo Chit, you can already see the Chatuchak Park; walk through the park and you can already see the weekend market.

getting to Nest Hotel from Pratunam:

– You can actually just walk from Pratunam to Ratchaprarop Station Airport Link (about 15 minutes)

– you can also ride a taxi from Pratunam to Ratchaprarop

– from Ratchaprarop Station, take the train going to Lat Krabang Station (around 25-30 baht/pax)

– from Lat Krabang Station, hail a taxi, give the hotel map to the driver going to Nest Hotel (approx 40-50 baht)


Food expenses:

a. Chatuchak Market – around 200 baht

– 50 baht/person for the meal

– bottled water (10 baht)

– Chrysantemum iced tea (10 baht)

b. Cafe de Tu – 865 baht

c. Pratunam market – 310 baht

– Phad Thai (65 baht)

– rice (15 baht * 5)

– fried shrimp something (the one in the photo above) (60 baht/order)

– fried pork (60/baht)

– coke (15/bottle *4)

-bucket of ice (5 baht)

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