Experiencing Bangkok (Part 1)

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Having been well-traveled domestically did not prepare me for a four days vacation tour in one of South East Asia’s emerging tourism destinations to date: Bangkok, Thailand.

The trip has been planned for the whole year as funds were still generated and schedules have been considered along with officemates.

I am no neophyte when it comes to traveling but internationally I am; and Bangkok was my first ever trip abroad though I’m determined to go somewhere else in the future (nature bid me).

 We had around three hours of air travel direct from Cebu’s Mactan International Airport to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

We left Cebu in the evening and we were expected to arrive in Bangkok around midnight.

It was a bit rough going down because of tremors since it rained in the city but still lights flooded my vision when I peeped on the airplane’s window.

I was stunned to see such wide landscape of glaring lights spreading like wildfire. From the plane, Bangkok appeared to me like a vast speck of light as from windows left and right I could not fathom where the its length and depth ended.

Despite fatigue from work I had with me back home, excitement instantly shoot up my veins and I wanted to get my camera from my bag, if only it was allowed on board.

The arrival

When we got down, I could not help but compare my city to this foreign land, but I kept my observations to myself as I wanted to write it on paper.

They had a huge airport, more like a shopping mall for a small creature like me.

I once again stopped myself from taking out my camera inside my bag to get some snapshots because we were rushing along with other foreigners to get out of what seemed to me was an endless aisle.

After we got our passports checked and verified by Thai immigration, we immediately got out of the airport and since we were not familiar with the place, we had a hard time deciding what to take. We did our research before the trip and mind you we studied it for a year but nothing from that research prepared me for the real thing.

I was surprised to note that some Thai could not speak fluent English so we had a hard time negotiating our way to our hotel.

We were almost tried by a man who offered to take us to Shangri-La for a certain thousand baht but since we felt he was suspicious, we tried asking around couple of times for directions and miraculously an airport staff told us the right way.

We head off with an airport hired taxi to the Shangri-La Bangkok which offered us a good deal. It was almost midnight so there were only a few people out on the streets.

When we reached Shangri-La, I was too tired and sleepy to check out the room but this time we did not let time slip without taking some photographs.

Sawadeekah!!

We were billeted in the main hotel overlooking the Chao Phraya River so the next day as we opened our window, we were welcomed by Bangkok’s metropolitan landscape.

Although it rained that early morning nothing stopped us from hitting the road and we collectively agreed to go to the Grand Palace as our first stop.

Going to the Grand Palace was not easy for us who opted to go on our own without tour guides or translators but only a map in tow.

We were equipped with our common sense, guts and will power.

Before we found a taxi, we tried walking along the sidewalk which smelled of foreign herby odor.

We wanted to take a bus but to our surprise, the buses did not have English translations and looking at the map we were not convince on which direction to take so we tried looking out for a taxi instead.

And luckily after some minutes of walking and looking around like lost souls in Siam’s new civilization, we hailed a neon pink cab (most cabs in Bangkok were neon colored) and told the non-English speaking driver where we wanted to go which took us around some minutes more to get the right destination across his confused face.

Going to the Grand Palace, we passed along Bangkok’s China Town which is considered as the largest in the world (what happened to China’s China town??). Along the way, I enthusiastically took in the tidbits of information I’ve gotten from the mere sight of each street we passed by.

From the wide array of restaurants, hotels, offices and commercial establishments we’ve passed along, I noted that Bangkok already adopted a mixture of different styles, from modern, ethnic, cultural to even Western but the Asian culture was very much dominant.

The Grand Palace

After some minutes, we arrived at the gates of the Grand Palace. Yes it was so grand because the infrastructure was no like other places I’ve seen along the way. 

Immediately we took some pictures.

One by one, me and my four other companions scurried like little kids smiling from different angles.

After getting our ticket to the Grand Palace, we lined in together with a multitude of Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, and Westerners. Inside, I was enthralled to behold such a rich reserve of culture and civilization.

There were giant stone guards made with colorful bits of intricately molded and chiseled stone.

Inside were golden temples and intricately designed roofs. It was amazing to see so many structures with so many designs and I could not measure how much time and effort were spent to complete these artistic infrastructures. It was marvelous and it mirrored the rich culture and history of Thailand.

With so many towering figures around us, my camera did not stop from clicking from one image to the next and my plastered smile stayed in my lips despite such a hot day and I was able to manage my angles fairly well with practice of course.

We also entered the Jade Buddha but unfortunately, taking pictures inside was prohibited.

The deep religiosity of Thais also marveled me because ancient Thai were very much devoted to their gods and goddesses that they were able to construct such a beauty.

It took us more than an hour to take in the beauty inside the Grand Palace because of so many interesting figures and sights to behold and capture in digital print.

We wanted to stay longer but our hungry stomachs refused the thought so we went out to get something to eat.

On our way out, we passed by their Grand Mansion which had a vast well manicured lawn and yard. We had some last minute picture taking until we decided to go out and looked around for restaurants to eat nearby. We dined in one of the restaurants along the other side of the Grand Palace and I had a tasty meal that noon, my first ever meal in Bangkok (aside from my breakfast at the hotel early). And boy it was good; I like the flavor as well as the spicy kick inside my mouth.

            Full and sated now, we started again to walk (most of our tours inside Bangkok is all about walking).

a monument outside Bangkok's Grand Palace
.. to be continued

           

 

 

 

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Sawadeekah!!
Sawadeekah!!
a monument outside Bangkoks Grand…
a monument outside Bangkok's Gran…
Bangkok
photo by: Deats