Trip To Thailand – Day 3-4

After 2 days in Thailand I started to get used to the BTS skytrain and also started to have a crush on Chao Phraya cruises. After seeing Wat Pho and Wat Arun in my first day and visiting China Town and Flowers Market in my second day, I thought it would be the time to relax a bit and take a lighter approach. So, I searched on the Chao Phraya brochure something a little more manageable, maybe a shopping location. I’ve heard a lot about Thai silk and antiques boutiques and I thought to pay a visit to the River City shopping mall. On the following day I was suppose to go  on my first organized tour (one of the tours booked by internet) and I thought to relax a bit before that.

Bangkok River City

River City is a traditional location for antiques and traditional thai artifacts situated near the Chao Phraya river. The shop was surprisingly empty and at the ground floor there was an art exhibition.

I walked a little from shop to shop only to see that some of the higher floors shops didn’t actually had anybody inside. Looked desert but nevertheless cozy. I did a little bit of shopping: small jade elephants, some silk accessories for my wife and daughter, and a Tibetan dzi bead for me. The dzi bead was by no mean an original dzi, those are well over 1000-1500 USD (the most affordable, of course, an original dzi can go up to 5000 USD), but at least it was from a stone not resin, so I thought it would make a nice memory.

Although the mall seemed mostly empty I was able to have some interesting conversations with at least two shop owners while looking at some very interesting antique pieces. But after finishing this, I realized I didn’t have too much to do there and got back to the hotel.

Bangkok Victoria Monument

In the afternoon I took the BTS and stopped to a station called Victoria Monument. Didn’t know its historical meaning (and I still don’t) but the station seemed interesting enough for a shooting session.

The area is something between Siam upscale malls, all shining and new, and lower areas like the night market in Silom near Sala Daeng skytrain station. Overcrowded and filled with shopping booths to the point that you actually had to walk on the streets:

Watched the traffic for a while, looking at the motorcycles and how they managed to squeeze through the bigger cars.

It was still hot but either I was already adapted, either it was a little bit colder than yesterday. I think I spent at least half an hour on the Victoria Monument skywalk.

My 3rd day to Thailand was a fast-forward day.

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Trip To Thailand – Day 2

After my first day of my trip to Thailand I was so eager to explore more. My sensors were still overloaded with shapes, colors, smells and my body, although recovering from the extensive walk rides from yesterday was light and flexible. I was really enjoying the fruits breakfast at the hotel, especially the watermelon juices and carrot juices. Without too much planning I took the BTS skytrain again with the destination Saphan Taksin, the main pier for Chao Phraya boat cruising. After I bought my ticket I started to peruse the brochure and picked my destinations. Seemed like a visit to China Town in the morning and then visiting the Flower Market could be a good choice. Minutes after getting on board I was getting down to the pier for China Town.

China Town In Bangkok

In the morning, China Town didn’t seem overwhelming at all. People were slowly moving their chariots with food and set up their places.

The place looked overcrowded with merchandise in a very Chinese style:

Every 20-30 meters a sudden color explosion arrived out of nowhere:

The streets where rather busy, and not only with people. Suspended wires, cars, tuk-tuks, motorcycles and a low noise were making a rather intriguing setup. Building were no match to the ones in the downtown Bangkok, on the contrary:

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Trip To Thailand – Day 1

I arrived in Bangkok at 10:30 on a Sunday morning. I checked in to my hotel, a nice one located in the Siam center area, and then went out for a quick check of the surroundings. Most of my impressions after this quick walk were described in the first post about the trip to Thailand. Not only I walked 3-4 blocks around the hotel in several directions, but I also checked out on the public transportation, changed some money in the local currency and tried to identify some shops and restaurants around the hotel area. A part from this, I also checked the hotel pool and spa, which, in total, took almost my entire Sunday.

So, although I arrived in Bangkok on a Sunday, I consider the next Monday to be technically my first day there. With just as much information as I needed, I started to explore Bangkok completely “a l’improvista” . Please be aware that this post contains more than 40 photos, so if you’re on a slow connection or just short in time, make sure you bookmark it and come back later to fully enjoy it.

I though that going with BTS a little far today, maybe until the end of the Silom branch, to the main pier for the boats that are crossing the Chao Phraya River would be a good idea. I went out from the hotel a around 10:00 AM. Outside it was cruelly hot and humid, but apparently that didn’t stop those who make their living by selling food on the streets.

Just 50 meters away from this street food vendor it was Gaysorn Plaza with the boldly BTS rails curbing away.

Watched the morning traffic for a few minutes

And then walked 5 minutes to the nearest BTS station from my hotel, Ratchadamri

I had to go 4 stations from Ratchadamri to the final station, Saphan Taksin, which is also the main pier for the boats which are cruising the Chao Phraya river. I took a one day ticket (120 BAHT) and waited for my boat. This ticket gave me the possibility to go out and down at any station whenever I wanted to for an entire day. While waiting, I watched the spectacular boats of the luxury hotels from the other shore ferrying their customers to this side of the river.

I started to read the brochure they gave me with the ticket. Apparently, there were around 8-9 piers where you could stop and for each pier there were listed some main attractions. I had no idea how much time would take to go to a specific pier, not to mention how much it will take to actually visit every attraction mentioned, but I decided to give it a try with the temples Wat Pho and Wat Arun. Wat Pho was on the same side of the river but for Wat Arun I should take a ferry (3 BAHT) to the other side of the river. In around 5 minutes my boat arrived and I walked on board along with a crowd of curious tourists. In about 6 minutes we were already at the Wat Pho pier. I get down on the boat and slowly walked into my first Bangkok individual exploring adventure.

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The Trip To Thailand

Traveling for personal development isn’t just a recent post on my blog (quite popular if I’m looking at statistics) but a real lifestyle for me. I always do my best to practice what I’m preaching so several days ago I started a trip to Bangkok. A week before the trip I had no idea that I would go there. Bianca had a one week holiday from the kindergarten and Diana decided it could be great to spend it at their parents. That gave me a window of opportunity, so to speak, so I jumped on it.

Planning For Thailand

Planning the trip took me around 3 hours top, including printing vouchers and arranging payments. Everything was done online of course, and you can imagine I did planned a little loose. I bounced back and forth a little between orbitz, travelocity and expedia, and eventually chose expedia. I first booked the hotel in Bangkok, the flight and 3-4 additional services, out of curiosity. For instance, I booked transfer from the airport and to the airport, and 2 half day tours.

If I would go again I won’t chose any of those services, because you can find your way around without them, but overall it was a useful experience. I know by now that a taxi fare to the airport from downtown Bangkok is no more than 400 BAHT (around 13-15 USD) and that a tour to one of the temples can be done with no more than 2-300 BAHT (including transport via BTS and Chao Phraya boat).

Oh, ok, ok, I started to talk a little ahead and mentioned things like BTS and the Chao Phraya river. I’ll stop that and come back to the main story because there is still some more to say until we’re in Bangkok. Just teasing you a little, of course.

Flying To Thailand

I flew with FinnAir and that proved to be a good choice overall. The route was Bucharest – Helsinki – Bangkok. The flights were very well connected and from what I read in the planes and in some of the materials in the airport, Helsinki is trying to become the first Europe – Asia flying hub. One of their key points in achieving that is to provide good flight connections and fast transfer of the passengers. When I flew to Bangkok I stayed in the Helsinki airport around 4 hours and when I come back I stayed around 3 hours. The airport is quiet, clean and it has free internet connection in one of its areas. Not in the whole airport, which is a little strange, so you have to go through passport check in order to reach the free internet area but it didn’t felt like an inconvenient to me.

From Bucharest to Helsinki I flew with an Embraer 170 which might be the tinier airplane I flew with so far. It’s an airplane manufactured in Brasil, quite exotic in Europe. But the Boeing MD 11, a somehow obsolete tri-jet which took me from Helsinki to Bangkok was even funnier. The entertainment system in the economic class consists on 4-5 large monitors with a fixed program for all passengers. All the other transcontinental flights I had so far had individual entertainment systems. Other than that, both planes proved to be extremely reliable, clean and well-serviced.

From Bucharest to Helsinki you fly 2:40 hours and from Helsinki to Bangkok 9:30-10-30 hours. When I got back I was so relaxed that I slept most of the time and when I arrived in Bucharest I actually didn’t felt tired at all. On the way to Bangkok I had some mild anxiety moments, but all of them were related to my old pattern of “not being able to enjoy stuff” that I’m working on for several years now.

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