I love Bangkok. When I went there last 2009 with my former officemates, I instantly fell in love with it. I told myself I would definitely go back. I cannot explain it well, but I feel a connection with Thailand, like a baby connected to the womb by the umbilical chord. I usually say, “It feels like I was born there in my past life.”
After my relaxing tour to the Angkor temples, it was time to leave for Bangkok. The trip was an excruciating 12 hours from Siem Reap to Cambodia-Thailand border at Poipet, then to Bangkok. I was with a bunch of tourists ranging from British to Japanese going to the same destination. We left Siem Reap at 8am via bus and then arrived at Poipet at 11am. The Thailand immigration was packed with people crossing Cambodia from Thailand (and vice versa). It took us about 3 hours to finish, and then we were picked up by a van. We stopped at a nearby canteen for lunch then we headed out, then another stop at a gas station in Aranyaprathet so our van can get a refill and we can have our bathroom and snack breaks.
It was around 6-7pm before I saw signs that we were near our destination (my cue was actually the Subvarnabhumi International airport). It was a relief because the trip was getting kind of uncomfortable by the minute. At 8pm, we arrived near Khao San road, a popular place to tourists, especially backpackers, unfortunately for me, I already had booked beforehand. After parting ways with the rest, I took a cab and headed to Bangkok City Hotel at Ratchathewi.
The Bangkok City Hotel was just recently opened, I even remember the lot enclosed back in 2009 (we stayed at Samran Place, which was just beside Bangkok City Hotel). A standard room costs 1090 Baht complete with buffet breakfast. The room was nice with a modern touch to it, plus there was a bath tub, which was great!
After checking in, I went out to eat at a nearby food stall outside the hotel. Yes, hotels offer food, but I am fond of Bangkok’s street food! In fact, I think their street food tastes better. A trip is not complete without the food, right?
The following day, it was shopping at the Chatuchak weekend market. Honestly, it was my primary reason for going back–so I could shop. I know I mentioned before that I am not an avid shopper and shopping sometimes is too tiring, but who can resist a good bargain, right? Prices are relatively cheap (even though the Baht is higher than the Philippine Peso), and there are a lot of bargains you can find, and recently, I found out that there are a lot of new flea markets in Bangkok.
The Chatuchak weekend market is open on weekends, but the mall beside it is open daily. Products sold here range from clothes, art pieces, decorations, furnitures, accessories, toys, and of course, food. A color map can be found at the nearby police station (larger versions are stationed near the entrances) so shoppers would know which part of the market they can go to find a particular product they want to buy. Go early in the morning at 8-9am since people will swarm the market late in the morning up to lunchtime.
At night, I went to the tallest tower in Bangkok, the Baiyoke Sky Tower, which houses different kinds of restaurants, some offer buffets, at the upper floors of the tower. You have the option to choose which restaurant you want to go to. Unfortunately for me, the restaurant I went to only offered a mediocre menu. But the main attraction to the tower was the revolving floor at the top, where you can see a 360 view of the city. Getting there was as difficult as going down since the elevators can get pretty crowded. I actually feared that the elevator lines would snap anytime and we would fall 80 floors down. If it were not for the revolving floor and experience seeing the view, I would probably not go there.
On my last day, I went mall hopping to Siam Center and to MBK (Ma Boon Khrong) Shopping Center for another round of shopping. Siam Center was closed for renovation, so I ended up going to the posh Siam Paragon and the Siam Discovery center. MBK also houses a variety of shops and stalls with a food court and movie house at the top floors. There were some cheap goods and a lot of stores that offer items at a marked down price. I had some money issues so I had to return to the hotel and back to the mall, good thing the hotel was just a few train stations away.
Of course, my trip would not be complete without a round of a traditional Thai massage. I went at a nearby establishment to get a much needed massage after all that walking around. It was a great way to cap off my very first solo adventure to a different land.