Golden temples, night markets and elephants are the things that enter my mind whenever I hear about Thailand – things for which the country is known. Thailand is one of the popular destinations of most backpackers because of its easy access and cheap tours, I guess.
I made most of my Indochina tour by visiting this beautiful country.
We travelled from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Thailand by bus. We arrived at Bangkok at about 7PM already; the travel took 10 hours. The bus dropped us off at Pattaya near BTS (Bangkok Train System).
Being so unfamiliar with the place, we asked some locals how to get to our hostel (Charan 41 Hostel) but we found it very hard to talk to them in English.
We tried to charter a taxi to bring us to our hostel. Maybe because we were foreigners, the taxi driver tried to overcharge us. He was charging us 700 Baht, which I find so unreasonable knowing that the hostel was near from where we were. We declined the offer, and use Grab instead. However, we didn’t have internet to use the app.
It took us almost 30mins just to buy an LTE simcard from 7/11 because the vendors could not speak English either. Luckily, there was a guy who could speak English who helped us talk to the vendors. As soon as the sim was activated, we booked a car to drive us to our hostel.
I rang the driver to tell him our whereabouts, but again, we could not understand each other. I went inside 7/11 and had the lady speak to the driver (Language barrier is real!). Finally, we got into the car and drove to our hostel. We paid 180 Baht (Just imagine if we had chosen to ride the taxi).
Upon arriving to our hostel, the owner oriented us about Bangkok and its landmarks. It was so awkward because we could hardly understood her accent, though, she is good in English. She was very accommodating and hospitable. The hostel was so nice and quiet.
After fixing our things, we moved to our first destination: Khao San Road, a night market (Bangkok is known for night markets). In KSR, Beerhouses were everywehere. You can also see lots of cheap souvenir shops and (exotic) street food.
We bought Pad Thai (Famous Thai food) for only 50 Bhat. My friends told me not to miss trying Pad Thai. Well, I was not disappointed.
We woke up at about 8AM the next day. The owner prepared our free breakast (Fried rice with shrimp toppings).
We checked out after taking our breakfast. Wat Pho (Commonly known as Temple of the Reclining Buddha) was our second destination in Bangkok. Credits to the hostel owner for accompanying us until we got into the Tuk Tuk. She endorsed us to a Thai student who was heading the same direction.
Before reaching the Wat Pho Temple, we passed by the Grand Palace where the king of Thailand lived. We opted not to enter the Palace as the crowd was overwhelming (The king of Thailand has just died). Entrance fee is 500 Bhat (at the time of writing). There were thousands of mourners who gathered there to pay respect to the late king. Thais were also giving out free food and drinks for both locals and tourists. I got a bottled iced tea. (You can get another bottle if you want to.) I somehow realized how nationalitic Thais are. They really love their king.
Note: Be cautious about the color of your clothes when entering the Palace for the mourning lasts for one year. Lively colors are not advisable.
We purchased our Wat Pho entrance ticket for only 50 Bhat. The temple was just a few steps away from the Grand Palace.
The golden Buddha was just so astounding. I didn’t expect that it’s going to be that huge. (15m high and 46m long). Being one of the largest Wats in Thailand, Wat Pho was also recognized by UNESCO.
People have to bear in mind decorums when visiting the Reclining Buddha: (1) No cap or hat, (2) No shoes or slippers, (3) Above the knee shorts or skirts are not allowed, (4) Avoid talking with a loud voice.
We made most of our time inside the complex by touring around and amusing ourselves with the golden buddhas and beautiful structures arrayed with shining gems and crystals.
Soon after, we transported to our next destination: Wat Arun, also known as The Temple Dawn. We rode another boat to reach Wat Arun complex (13 Bhat for two-way). My cousin and I were confused if we were at the right boat terminal as we could not really understand the dispatcher. Good thing that there was a Filipino lady who overheard us talking (in our native language) and she confirmed that we were not lost. At the entrance, we bought our Wat Arun ticket for 100 Bhat each.
We had our lunch at the nearest eatery (50 Bhat). That time, we were heading to Don Mueang International Airport to catch our flight back to Vietnam. We tried to look for Filipinos to ask them how to get to the airport, but most of them were tourists like us.
I asked a police officer who was manning the Grand Palace how to ge to the airport. He advised us to wait for the bus going to Hualampong Train station, and from there, ride a train going to the airport. We were fortunate to meet an old couple who were heading the same way. We weren’t asked to pay for the bus; suddenly, we remebered what the hostel owner told us that some buses are for free, especially if the driver is going home. Yeah! We saved some money.
It was around 3 in the afternoon when we arrived at the train station. We got our ticket for only 20 Bhat each.
After almost 2 hrs, we arrived at the airport. As usual, we queued for immigration and passport stamping. Since we did not spend much in our tour, and in fact, we saved some Thai Bhat, we had some coffee while waiting for the boarding.
Albeit, it was so quick, I’m so glad to fullfil one of my dreams – to sojourn Thailand.
BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES
- Bus from Cambodia to Thailand 10$
- Average meal 50 Bhat to 60 Bhat.
- Hostel 18$/2
- Wat Pho 50 Bhat
- Wat Arun 100 Bhat
- Taxi 180 Bhat/2
- Souvenirs 450 Bhat
Fees and price are based on the date of writing.
FB: Jethro Salamo