THAILAND TRIP: BANGKOK CITY TOUR [01.29.2016]

We slept all afternoon yesterday so Day 2 was a big day for us! I planned out all the places we’ll visit as well as how we’ll get there until 2AM. Seriously though, public transpo in Bangkok is so difficult! We were already awake before 6AM but seeing that it’s still dark out and quiet, we hesitated to get up and start our day. I read though that the temples open at 8AM so we got up anyway and started preparing.

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We have this in our hostel. We weren’t able to use this info though since we didn’t take the bus.

We went downstairs to get breakfast. The food in our hostel is kind of expensive so we went to 7-11 to buy some breakfast. Actually, our original plan was to have breakfast at McDonald’s just to see what kind of breakfast they have there. We were so shocked to find out that the cheapest breakfast meal costs THB100. Too expensive! That’s what we notice while in Thailand – foreign fastfood costs a lot. For example, Starbucks, KFC, Burger King etc. So we decided to go to 7-11 instead. I love what they have in 7-11 and cheap, too. I decided to buy coffee in can, a banana and a toasted sandwich. All less than THB50. Yum~ Also, it’s funny cause when we were walking along Khao San Road, the only people we can see are monks and people who are still drinking – not yet finished with their partying from last night. Most bars have closed but they continued partying on the roads.

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7-11 breakfast at our hostel.

We went back to our hotel to have breakfast. At around 7:30AM, we started walking to Wat Pho. It was actually fun to walk in the morning and how people in Bangkok start their mornings. I noticed that they start their mornings late, I think classes and office hours start at 9AM. According to Google Maps, from our hotel to Wat Pho takes around 20 minutes. After a few turns, we’ve reached the temple.

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We passed by another Wat otw to Wat Pho.
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Walking walking~
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There are maps everywhere so you won’t actually get lost!
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We’re here!

Funny thing though, we almost got scammed by tuktuk drivers when we got there. We’ve been warned by the signs in our hotel to avoid tuktuk drivers because they tend to charge their riders too high and this is just proof of that. We were looking for the entrance of the temple when a guy stopped us and said that the temple isn’t open yet because there’s some sort of ceremony. He told us to come back at 10AM. He then started his spiel – he approached this tuktuk driver waiting in front of the entrance and asked for a map. He then started saying that the tuktuk driver can take us to the pier where we can rent a boat for just THB1200 each. The boat will take us to the floating market, to the villages (I’m assuming this is the village where there are houses built in the river – kinda like what we saw in Kota Kinabalu) and trees where we can take pictures of monkeys (Again, I’ve seen this in KK.) We just said, “Yes.” to shut him up. We then took the tuktuk to the pier and when we got there, the man who owns the boat started to sell his boat tour package. We blatantly told him that all we want is to get across the river to get to Wat Arun. He wasn’t insistent and since we already have a map, we pretty much know how to get from there. The tuktuk driver was still trying to convince us that the temples wouldn’t be open until 10AM so it’s better to take the tour and by the time it’s over, we’re just in time to go to the temples. But I’ve read enough articles on the internet to know what they’re up to. The tuktuk driver can’t be trusted as well because he smelled like booze. We knew from the moment we got off the pier that this is some sort of scam cause the tuktuk driver was willing to wait for us. FYI, we did pay him THB10 each. In the end, we didn’t do the tour – there’s no way we’d do it because THB1200 is like our expenses for the whole day, sobra pa! What happened worked to our advantage though – we got a map and we are the pier area na so easier to go around.

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We walked to the other pier (Tha Thien pier) because that’s where the ferries are going to Wat Arun. We figured that it would be easier to just go to Wat Arun first and then Wat Pho after. While walking to the pier, there was this Caucasian girl following us. She was alone and we figured that she’s also a tourist going in the same direction as us. We approached her and asked if she wants to go with us.  Her name’s Elina and she’s from Finland. She’s 21 years old and it’s her first time in Asia. Just like us, she’s also having a hard time getting around due to the language barrier. We were so happy to find another person who speaks English! We talked to her about her life, turns out she’s currently on school vacation and she’s travelling alone. She said she took a flight from Finland to Norway, then to Bangkok. She shared other stuff like she has a unicorn tattoo, she rides horses etc

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Chao Praya River
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The port.
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With our new friend, Elina!
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The ticket! Pardon my yucky nail polish. :p
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It’s currently under construction so it’s hard to take a good photo. We passed by it later that evening though and it was super beautiful. My phone was lowbat so unfortunately, wasn’t able to take a pic.

The boat ride across the Chao Praya river only costs THB2.50, it’s the same going back. The dock leads to the gate of Wat Arun. Entrance fee is THB50. It’s too bad it’s currently under reconstruction so we can’t really take pictures of the main architecture, only the ones on the side. It’s still beautiful though. There are stairs so we can go around the structure and the steps are too steep. It’s kind of scary. Some of the other tourists were hesitant to go around and went down instead. LOL. We take a lot of pictures around and afterwards, took the boat back to the other side.

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Those stairs were frigging steep O_O
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It’s super beautiful!

We then went to Wat Pho. We parted ways with Elina because she’s going to Grand Palace, she just needs to figure out where the entrance is. LOL. So we went inside Wat Pho, entrance is THB100. I understand why the entrance fee is more expensive than Wat Arun, this place is beautiful! I read on the map that it’s a UNESCO Heritage Site – which totally makes sense. I really enjoyed walking around this temple complex because it’s huge and there are a lot of things to see. Of course, the main attraction was the Reclining Buddha. Before going in, you have to take off your shoes and place them inside a bag, which you can take with you inside. Once you get to the other door, you can take them out, put your shoes back on and return the bag. Back to the Buddha, It’s a little hard to take a photo of the whole thing cause there are divisions – still amazing though. On the other side, there are bronze bowls where visitors can drop coins – I believe it’s for good luck.

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The ticket!
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Just the head. There are division so it’s hard to take a photo of the whole thing.
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I tried 🙁
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There’s a miniature so you can see how it looks like. But there’s also another reclining Buddha in some place along Chao Praya River. We saw it when we were otw to Asiatique.
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My current FB cover photo. Thanks to my friend, Mine for this candid shot!
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LOL! I look like I’m in a frame!
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The Giant Buddhas aka guards 🙂
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Rest time! Hahaha!
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FYI: These are artists, they’re sketching the building.

There are a lot of buddhas everywhere, of course but what I wanted to see was the Giants, which turns out to be located right by the entrance. Whew. It’s fine cause at least we saw everything. We also saw the traditional Thai massage school. We originally planned to go their for some authentic Thai massage but we figured we’ll still go to a lot of other places afterwards and a massage might not be a good idea at the time.

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Prices of their massage 🙂

I was hungry after going around Wat Pho so we decided to sit down and have some snacks. Near the Tha Thien pier are food stalls, I bought shrimp and crab sticks from one food stall and we ate it at the park nearby.

Our next stop is the Jim Thompson’s House. There is really no direct public transpo from Wat Pho to Jim Thompson’s so we decided to take a taxi. According to one website, from Khao San to JTH should cost around THB70 so we thought it wouldn’t be so bad to take a taxi instead. Ok, now here’s the tricky part. Cab drivers in Bangkok are also very notorious. The first taxi we flagged didn’t even know what we were talking about. Mine told me to show him the map but I thought, if he can’t even understand where we’re going then I think the whole taxi ride would be doomed. The second taxi driver was so much better. When we were walking towards the taxi stand, I already made eye contact with him and he looked like a nice ahjushi. When I went up to tell him our destination, he understood and so we got in! YAY! It was actually nice to go around in a taxi because you get to see some tourist attractions that you can’t reach by foot. We saw the Grand Swing from inside the taxi.

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The Grand Swing!

It was around noon so it was kinda traffic. Also, our driver made a wrong turn on a different street but that’s fine. We ended up paying him THB110 – THB40 more than our estimate but that’s fine since it was a convenient ride going there.

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Lovers in Siam? They’re so cute!

Jim Thompson’s House is at the end of a street near National Stadium. I love the service in that place! The guard (?) opened our door when we got off the taxi and then let us to the small booth where we have to pay the entrance fee of THB150. There’s a guided tour conducted in the house and you have to tell them in what language you prefer it to be done. Of course, it’s English for us. After paying you have to go to another counter where they will brief you on what time your tour is. Ours was at 12:35 PM. It was about 10 minutes before that time so we just sat on one of the benches and waited till they call our group.

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We started the tour not too long after and first order of business is to leave your bags inside a locker. We only brought our phones with us and the key to the locker. Also, we were told that we’re not allowed to take pictures inside the house. Also, once we tour the interior of the house, we have to take off our shoes and leave them in a shelf. It’s very organized and educational. Our tour guide (I forgot her name) was very gracious in entertaining questions and it was very interactive. The people in my group really asked her questions about Jim Thompson. Jim Thompson’s life is very interesting. You guys should Google him. LOL.

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Silk 🙂
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These two girls are weaving and making silk.
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There’s a girl showing us how silk is made from cocoons. Interesting. There was a Korean woman who tried to touch them but she said, “Don’t touch!” Seriously though, why would you even touch it?! >_<
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LOL, I look like a lost kid.

There was a really cute guy in our group though. I was seriously stalking him in the most discreet way possible. He had lovely eyes and out of all the hot guys I’ve seen in Bangkok, he’s so my type. Too bad, I didn’t get to see him again after the tour. Wonder where he went. I mean we went around and took pictures before taking the shuttle back to the main road.

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Those are my feet. LOL, obvious ba? ;p
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In front of one of the houses. According to our guide, it’s the house meant for one of his helpers.

Since we were in that area already, we decided to visit the malls like MBK Center and Siam Square. We were actually looking for a supermarket but we can’t find any. They’re all clothing stores etc. We ended up not buying anything.

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Must post these cute donuts though! PANDAAAA!

I didn’t realize that there’s a Hello Kitty House in Bangkok! I wanted to go but it was lunch time and I feel like I wouldn’t be satisfied by the food they serve there. I just took pictures outside and maybe I’ll go We had lunch at this chicken restaurant called Chester’s. OMG, everything in Bangkok is spicy! We learned that the next time someone asks you if you want spicy or not, just tell them “not spicy” so they’d give you their level one of spiciness! (LOL, is that even a word?)

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Huge cat figure in front of the mall.
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Kyuhyun. LOL.
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One Direction. LOL.

After lunch, we rested for a while since it was too hot! It was around 2PM at the time. We took the BTS to Sala Daeng station and then from there, we only needed to walk to Lumphini Park. I was very excited to see the elephants! Ok, their BTS is a whole another experience. It’s similar to how we get tickets from MRT. On the ticket machine, each station has a corresponding number and that’s how much you have to pay using coins. If you don’t have enough coins, you can go to the counter to buy tickets or get some change so you can use the machine. It was actually easy to use!  Sala Daeng is only 2 stations away from Siam so travelling was quite fast.

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When you see this, you’re in the right place!
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This looks so much like Burnham Park in Baguio. Hahaha!
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Still selca-ing while resting but Mine’s too tired and won’t cooperate. LOL

Now this is probably the biggest disappointment of our trip. This wasn’t originally included in our itinerary bu we decided to include because we read on the CebuPac magazine that there will be an Elephant Parade until Jan 29th. Lumphini Park is a huge park and we had no idea where this exhibit is located. We continued walking to the end of the park only to find nothing. Asking random people there is such a challenge due to the language barrier. I managed to ask one woman and she tried her best to get her message across by saying, “Elephant… go home.” THAT IS SUCH A BUMMER! I could swear we saw that it was until Jan 29th, but when I checked the website again afterwards, it says Jan 27th. Sob. Sob. We went there for nothing. We also had to walk back to Sala Daeng BTS station, to take a train to Saphan Takshin station as our final stop for the day is Asiatique The Riverfront.

From Saphan Taksin station, we have to walk to the Sathorn Taksin Pier so that we can take the free ferry to Asiatique. The line was sooooooo long but it’s amazing how we all fit in one boat going there. It was all worth it when we got there because the place is really beautiful. It’s best to go there at night – anyway, the Asiatique Sky (the ferris wheel) is open from 5PM – 12MN. My phone was running out of battery then so we managed to just take a few shots before it totally died on me. I was really thirsty then so we spent a few minutes at a milk tea place before going around. Near the milk tea place (I forgot what it was), is Juliet Love Garden where you can put love locks. Who knew that they also have this in Bangkok? There are also a lot of stores where you can buy stuff and rides that you can enjoy. They’re pretty pricey though. A ride to the ferris wheel is THB300 and that one ride that costs THB200. We figured we couldn’t take pictures anymore so after an hour of walking around, we decided to go home. On top of that, we’re really tired na rin and we just want to rest our legs and feet.

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Here’s how it looks like facing the river.
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Locks of love~

From Asiatique, we took the free ferry back to Sathorn Taksin and then we queued to take a boat to Phra Arthit Pier, which is the nearest pier to Khao San Road. It took about 30 minutes for the boat ride but it’s so amazing that the fare is only THB13. WOOOOOW. The boat is seriously my favorite mode of transportation in Bangkok! We went home at around 6:30PM and that’s rush hour but we totally avoided the traffic by taking the boat. It’s amazing! It’s also good to do some sightseeing while on the boat.The Chao Phraya river looks majestic at night. We passed by Wat Arun as well and it’s more beautiful in the evening. On both sides of the pier as well, there are musicians playing at the park. Nightlife in Bangkok is soooo alive, wherever you are!

Also, I would like to note how nice the locals are. The whole day, we’ve been getting so much help from random people we ask or even if they just hear my conversation with my friend, they try to help us as much as they can by pointing us to the right direction. There’s that man with his child at the park near Wat Pho, then I already mentioned that lady at Lumphini Park, the lady at the ferry and pretty much everyone who sees us looking confused as we pass by each place. LOL.

We arrived at the pier at around 7:30PM and from there, we have to walk to Khao San Road from Rambuttri Street. We had to ask a policeman where to go since I think we missed the alley where we need to enter to get to Rambuttri then to Khao San. The other side of Rambuttri is awesome! There’s a cocktail place that I wanted to try and we also said that we’ll have our Thai massage there – didn’t happen though. Sob sob.

After returning to our hotel, we took some rest, charged our gadgets and went out for dinner at around 10PM. We ate at the same restaurant where we had our dinner the night before. I had sticky rice with mangoes first from a road stall before we went to the restaurant. We sat at our usual table. So we have a “usual table” now? I ordered papaya salad, glass noodles and a bottle of Chang beer. The papaya salad is super spicy. AS IN!!!! I knew it was going to be spicy but nothing could prepare me for this. WHEW. We scrapped all our other plans and just went back to the hotel after dinner since we were already tired. While everyone on Khao San is partying, we were inside our room – resting. LOL!

I didn’t sleep right away – as usual. I had to do some research about Cha Am since we’re going there the next day.I don’t remember what time I put down my phone to get some shut-eye.

Talk to me~