Reminiscing my first time in Bangkok
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 1 of 32 › view all entries
October 11th, 2001 – by: jaeWALK
Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale in “Brokedown Palace”. That movie made me not want to have Bangkok on my must-go-to destinations. Besides I heard it's so much like Manila minus the temples.
I got my first taste of Thai hospitality during the TG621 flight to Bangkok. Back then budget air travel to and from Manila was non-existent. As i stepped into the plane, i got my first "sawadi ka" from the pretty Thai Airways Flight Attendant. The flight service was really good (one of the best in memory), although the in-flight movie was a bit boring. I didn’t even bother to watch. Nevertheless, I had 3 glasses of red wine along the way. That makes up for it. I was traveling with my mother by the way. She was the one who wanted me to go to Bangkok with her.
Our plane landed at Don Muang Airport around 5 PM. Again may I remind you this was back in 2001.
Culture. That’s what I’m always after. I want to learn as much as I can about the people, the way of life, the language, the food, the architecture… everything! Being a city full of bargain markets and fake merchandise, of course one couldn’t help get over the idea about shopping, but I didn’t come to Bangkok for that (yeah right! I'll back on that later)
We checked in at The Residence Rajtaevee and was given a warm welcome by the receptionists, Nancy and Amy.
The first thing I did was to buy chicken BBQ from this hawker at the corner near the hotel. It was the best chicken BBQ that I have tasted in my life, so I ended up buying there everyday. Fast forward to 2007 and she is still there and she still remembers me. After dinner, my mom and took a stroll around the area to get a feel of the place as we waiting for a friend who's joining us to arrive at the hotel. Once my friend checked-in, since he knew Bangkok well, he took us at to this market that's open until midnight to eat. It was just walking distance from the hotel, way past Panthip Plaza.
Anyway enough about that, here was our itinerary for the next several days and what made each place we went to memorable. I'll just write individual reviews about these places next time:
DAY2: Wat Pho and Wat Arun: We got a cab to get from Wat Arun to Wat Pho. We later found out that we can just cross the river to do that.
DAY3: It was Saturday, hence Chatuchak! My mom of course went crazy here. She bought a lot of things: Thai silks, teak wood wall hangings, little soldier uniforms for my nephews and so many more. I was too tired to actually continue it so i just sat at this café while my mom and friend went shopping. Again, it was Khao San for dinner, then Silom/Patpong Area where my haggling skills were born.
DAY4: We did nothing on this day except to check out the malls and also checked out Sukhumvit. Mom wanted us to go back to Patpong in the evening. She had fun seeing them strippers i guess.
DAYs5&6: We went to Lop Buri and Ayuthaya on day 5.
DAY7: It was a day spent at the Grand Palace and Vimanmek Mansion.
DAYs8&9: Days of relaxation. We had lunch at Jim Thompson's, hanged out in cafes and visited a spa and of course more shopping. On our last day, i woke up early to catch a glimpse of the city waking up. I took an early morning walk at Lumphini.
We had to leave for the airport by lunch, but stubborn me still wanted to go to Siam Square because I was craving for milkshake. I was caught in traffic on the way back to the hotel which worried mother and the hotel staff. Still we made it to the airport with enough time to spare. I remember being so sad leaving bangkok. Despite not even wanting to go to there in the first place, I found myself going back there 9 months later with my sister, and again the year after that.
The most memorable part of this first trip was Nancy and Amy, the hotel receptionists. We remained in-touch. And whenever i go back to Bangkok they were the ones who took care of me at the hotel. Whenever I arrive from the airport they would have thai sweets and pastries ready for me, and sometimes it would even from their families. It was really sweet. Sadly, I lost contact with Amy when I moved to a different hotel. The last email I got from Nancy was when she moved to work at a boutique shop in Khao Lak in Phang Nga province two weeks before the Asian Tsunami. I never heard again from her since.
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