bangkok, thailand – day 3 and departure

On our last day in Bangkok, we visited its two well-known tourist attractions: the gigantic Reclining Buddha, and the Grand Palace.

We went to Saphan Thaksin station via BTS, and took a ferry to N9.

20130524_081404

20130524_081416

The Grand Palace, a golden complex located on the banks of the Chao Praya River, was the residence of the Kings of Siam from the 18th century until 1925. Though the King no longer lives there, it is still the site of some of the royal offices. Gatekeepers are pretty strict, so no sleeveless tops or muscle shirts, no shorts, no skirts. I wore a dress with black leggings underneath but still got questioned. (A “safe” attire would be a shirt with sleeves and pants.) No worries, the Information office lends proper clothing to visitors. You just need to give a deposit of 200 THB, which you’ll get after you return the garments.

20130524_084848

Entrance to the Grand Palace is 500 THB.

I was overwhelmed by the volume of tourists who visited the complex that day. Divisoria-levels ito. While queuing up for the entrance, a group of tourists practically plowed into us. We almost landed in the plant box. It was chaos, and the weather was hot.

Anyway. Grand Palace was a beauty and a great display of Thai artistry and the kingdom’s grandeur, but I would have enjoyed the sights more if the weather was better and there were less rude tourists around.

If you’re going to visit the palace soon, please be kind to other visitors.

 20130524_090209

20130524_090347

20130524_090625

Look at the detail:

20130524_090645

I look tired here, haha.

20130524_090732

20130524_091458

20130524_091611

20130524_091623

Panoramic view:

20130524_091755

20130524_091839

20130524_091855

20130524_092804

Look how the gold in the painting glows as it catches the light:

20130524_093341

Gorgeous!

20130524_093842

20130524_093905

20130524_094545

20130524_094836

20130524_095024

The Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho is adjacent to the Grand Palace. It was such a long walk under the hot sun that I had to buy a pair of slippers (40 THB) to replace my shoes and free up my poor toes.

This statue is massive. I was blown away.

20130524_112315

20130524_112744

20130524_112732

A closer look at the symbols on his feet:

20130524_112853

20130524_112903

20130524_112656

We walked around to look at the Buddha’s pillows:

20130524_113128

The temple itself is breathtaking.

20130524_113248

20130524_112421

20130524_112600

Details.

20130524_112446

20130524_112350

20130524_112645

20130524_112341

I was so tired and sweaty I completely forgot we had to stop by Siam Ocean World before heading to Sunflower Place. (I needed a bath!)

I’ve never been to Manila Ocean World, and I don’t dive nor snorkel (and it was air-conditioned), so this was a treat:

20130524_145746

20130524_153510

20130524_141848

20130524_142154

20130524_142250

Great color!

20130524_141949

I love this.

20130524_142344

A fleeting view of a hammerhead shark. I love hammerhead sharks. I wished one stopped long enough for a photo-op. LOL.

20130524_164141

More:

20130524_153700

20130524_153913

Nemo!

20130524_142540

A pass also gives you a chance to enjoy some activities, like the glass-bottom boat ride, and the infamous Happy Feet. You submerge your feet in water, and these little fish will nibble on your dead skin cells.

Eeeeeeeee—

20130524_155035

—eeeeeeeeeeee

20130524_155157

It’s not for the ticklish.

We had dinner in a small eatery and visited the night market, where I realized that I only have 30 THB left for shopping. So I went home ahead of the others, rested my legs, and took a long, cold shower, and lamented the fact that I was not able to buy Thai Iced Tea or Pad Thai or a key chain.

We left Sunflower Place before 6 AM the next day and took a cab to Lumphini Park. From there, we got on a bus (after a confusing “conversation” with a conductor who kept speaking to us in Thai, insisting via gestures that all six of us would still fit in a bus that had only four available seats) that would take us to Cambodia.

Goodbye Bangkok. You are a charming city. I will see you again soon.

Total expenses for Thailand is USD 446.63 (including downpayment and shopping).

bangkok, thailand – day 2

Temple Tour day for Day 2, so we were up early to get from the hotel to Victory Monument via BTS. From the Victory Monument, we walked to the station of parked vans that would take us to Ayutthaya, the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam.

The six of us hired a tuktuk (auto rickshaw) for the entire tour.

20130523_120033

Some snapshots of Ayutthaya’s splendor. Imagine how the kingdom looked before it fell into ruin.

P5221234

P5221236

P5221237

P5221238

P5221239

Gigantic Buddha.

P5221240

P5221244

Exquisite detail.

P5221245

P5221249

P5221252

P5221251

Inside Wat Mahathat.

P5221253

I felt bad for these elephants, so I just decided to split a basket of fruits (50 THB) with a friend and feed them.

P5221255

20130523_100738

20130523_100756

See how close they were tied to the pole. :(

P5221257

This tourist stop also sells ivory products. They claim that the ivory used was taken from a living elephant.

P5221258

On with the tour:

20130523_112727

A panoramic view of the original Reclining Buddha at Wat Yai Chai Mongkol:

20130523_105928

Lovely colors and architectural design.

P5221259

A closer look.

P5221260

P5221261

P5221267

I can’t remember the name of the place, but all of the statues there – like this one – are asking visitors for donation.

20130523_114656

We went back to Victory Monument, and from there took the train to National Stadium to visit MBK (a shopping mall; we didn’t stay long, but I managed to buy a small bottle of Evian facial mist) and Siam Paragon.

Chicken satay for lunch! It was delicious, but I went overbudget.

20130523_145028

After using up all our Baht inside Platinum Mall, we had dinner at a sidewalk stall:

20130523_190236

20130523_190924

20130523_191111

Yum.

We went back to the hotel, and I finally had my shower! A glorious, glorious shower. I can’t stand the heat, and this is coming from a girl who lives in a tropical country.

I slept late because I had to wrestle with my damn luggage, now filled to the brim with pasalubong. You know how it is. Pinoys love buying gifts for the entire barangay. I don’t know why we do this to ourselves.

bangkok, thailand – day 1

Ayala Avenue lang ang peg.

When we landed in Thailand, we headed straight to the taxicabs lined up at the side of the airport. They have a good system for the airport taxis – a woman writes down the address and the drivers themselves queue up to wait for passengers – and the prices were reasonable. Payment is meter price plus 50 Baht (THB) surcharge. The woman manning the desk said fare to Sunflower Place is usually 350 THB by meter. We ended up paying only 340 THB, surcharge and other fees included.

Sunflower Place is tucked in a quiet street fronted by massage parlors, so print out a map as the driver might not know the way.

We looked at the streets from inside the taxi, and Bangkok’s Silom Road really looks like Makati CBD, only with stalls and stalls of food. It’s not as humid as in Hanoi.

Sunflower Place is charming. I highly recommend it. The staff when we were there were helpful, and there was free water (hot and cold) and coffee in the lobby any time of the day. Security is also topnotch, with CCTVs and a swipe card for the door, to make sure that only guests can enter the hotel. And it’s cheap! Saan ka pa? We paid 45 USD each for two triple beds for our entire stay there.

20130522_115144

20130522_131817

20130522_133143

I know there are money changers in Bangkok, but we had to pay the hotel in Baht before we could check in, so we had no choice but to go to Bangkok Bank. Their exchange rate is  2 PHP for 1 THB, or around 30 THB for 1 USD. Lugi ang mga lola. We were expecting a 1.4 peso to Baht rate. Oh well. The budget goes flying out the window.

(Protip: Ask for coins. You’ll use those in the train.)

We had some squid balls before going back to the hotel to pay, just to tide us over.

McDonald’s for lunch. Their default size for fries and drink is Large. (In the PHL, you need to pay more to get a large anything.) I couldn’t finish mine.

20130522_135139

The nearest BTS station is Saladaeng. We got off at Siam to get to Siam Paragon. I am envious of their train and their train system. Walang MRT level na siksikan. Inggit.

P5221224

20130522_142653

Nice mall.

20130522_161840

Madame Tussaud’s.

P5221227

P5221226

As expected, we didn’t bother with the interactive displays and informative signs inside.

We just –

20130522_155230

20130522_153606

20130522_153456

20130522_152839

20130522_152659

You know –

20130522_152802

20130522_151913

20130522_150820

20130522_150411

– enjoyed ourselves.

We walked from Siam Paragon to Platinum Mall. It’s a long-ass walk. We made the mistake of not using the walkway, so we walked on the sidewalk under the hot sun. Walk walk walk. I was so bone-tired I didn’t even want to think about that walk again. Wear something comfortable. Ghia and I were talking that we should have just brought our dependable Crocs.

P5221230

P5221231

Platinum Mall is actually two buildings, so don’t forget to visit the more diverse, and cheaper, Zone 2.

It started raining, so we ate in a Carl’s Jr. before going back to the hotel.

P5221232

I haven’t seen a Carl’s Jr in a long long while. I raised my feet up. I could feel the pain of the walk around my hips. Outside, there were prostitutes walking in heels on the wet sidewalk, hawking their wares.

back + copies of ‘unseen moon’ now here

And I’m back from my nine-day Hanoi-Bangkok-Siem Reap trip with friends! Will post a day-by-day detailed account – with itinerary and costing for interested travelers – after I catch up with my work emails.

UPDATE: Start reading. :)

Hanoi, Vietnam – Day 1 2 3

Bangkok, Thailand – Day 1 2 3

Siem Reap, CambodiaDay 1 2

Anyway, some photos from my phone:

preview 1

My high school classmates – and constant travelmates – relaxing outside a small restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam.

preview 2

A touristy photo inside Madame Tussaud’s Bangkok.

preview 3

Visiting the temples.

Also, the paperback copies of Unseen Moon are here! Will be shipping these out soon. Visit the Goodreads page or this page for reviews and details about the collection. Thanks to those who have ordered! I hope it’s worth the wait.

unseen moon print

unseen moon

Will work on the next posts/do my laundry/sign the book copies now. *flails and runs*