Reminiscing my first time in Bangkok

Bangkok Travel Blog

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buddha at the temple of the emerald buddha
DISCLAIMER: I will be slowly migrating my travel entries from my old blog sites into TB. Yes! I'm making TB my permanent home for all travel-related writings. I have only signed with TB for less than a week and I am already enjoying it a lot! Anyway, this is from my livejournal entry from years back, so if there's information that's out-dated, well it really is. It's been seven years since i wrote this one. Although i will have to consolidate 6 old entries into one and update it to make it sound like a whole new fresh experience. Here goes...

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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.
wat arun
But with some convincing from friends, I decided to give it a try. Little did I know i was in for the biggest surprise of my life.

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.
shampoo billboard... aka if your girl only knew
Beautiful Suvarnabhumi airport was non-existent at that time. The airport wasn’t that impressive. It was as disappointing as Ninoy International Airport in Manila. Anyway, I got a limo service to take us to our hotel at Petchburi. I think we got the mercedes benz for 600 Baht. As soon as we left the airport, the excitement started to kick in. I guess it was the juxtaposition of traditional Thai architecture with modern buildings that got me going. And little by little the thought of experiencing another culture sets in.

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.
solitude
I adore these girls so much. They were so nice and helpful, and made us feel right at home. The Residence Rajtaevee is located along Petchburi Road. It is a small hotel, and more like a service apartment. We got a suite, which was really cute and cozy.

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.
Wat Pho
Today the market is no more, in it's place is the Platinum Fashion Mall. The next several days were spent visiting various temples and shopping areas. Earlier I said I wasn't into shopping, but since you can't take the impulsive buyer out of me... can you blame me if I gave in to the urge? At first I was hesitant and shy to haggle, but when i tried it for the first time (and succeeded with a 75% off the original price), i was unstoppable and merciless.

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.
mom and Gian At Wat Arun
And the ferry station was just a few meters away from were we got the cab. We had dinner at Khao San and we also checked out Pak Khlong Talat (the flower market), and Saphan Phut.

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.
Khao San
while Day 6 was again, mom's shopping spree.

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.
At the palace grounds
I gave Bangkok a rest between 2004-2006, and last year I went back. I chose this particular time to blog about because, in a way this is how my love story with Bangkok began.

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.
kokfoo83 says:
i love thailand too....bangkok so much to offer....nice blog and pic
Posted on: May 14, 2009
jaeWALK says:
yikes now there's traffic to this blog i've kept for quite awhile when it was only locked for private. haha!
Posted on: May 06, 2009
huck says:
congrats buddy!
Posted on: May 05, 2009
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buddha at the temple of the emeral…
buddha at the temple of the emera…
wat arun
wat arun
shampoo billboard... aka if your g…
shampoo billboard... aka if your …
solitude
solitude
Wat Pho
Wat Pho
mom and Gian At Wat Arun
mom and Gian At Wat Arun
Khao San
Khao San
At the palace grounds
At the palace grounds
flower boy. Pratunam
flower boy. Pratunam
Wat Arun
Wat Arun
at Residence Rajtaevee hotel Spa
at Residence Rajtaevee hotel Spa
my sister, Lunch at Jim Thompsons…
my sister, Lunch at Jim Thompson'…
Bangkok
photo by: Deats