As a corporate worker, I don’t always get a lot of time to travel. So, when I got a three-day off, Bangkok was the very first place that popped in my mind. It’s going to be a big leap, initially considering the cost it entails. I just know that nothing is ever more than rightful to treat oneself every once in a while. The seemingly constraints as having a limited time and budget only became a bearable challenge to experience this interesting city to the fullest. Below is an account of how I maximized my short visit:
Arriving in Bangkok from Manila via Cebu Pacific around 9AM, my trip began when my Thai friend, Nhui, picked me up in the airport. He instantly took me around the city for a quick tour. I’m too lucky to have gained a good friend in him from back in Kuwait that I only felt like a celebrity, acting too V.I.P and touristy, riding his car. We had our lunch in a local Thai eatery where I ate my personal favorite, Pad Thai, a sticky rice perfect with a Thai Iced Tea. It’s so different to eat Thai cuisine in the native land. You don’t only get the perfect taste, but also the perfect feel as well. Epic! It is sure a lunch experience that one shouldn’t miss.
We then headed to my hotel, Rainbow Hotel, located at Khao San Road, a known hub for backpackers, oozing with festive vibe. As we arrived in my hotel, I instantly just checked-in to drop off my bags. We headed straight to exploring more of Khao San Road. Indeed, it’s a thriving community that caters to every budget traveler need, from cut-priced airfares and to accommodations, to cheap Thai cuisine, to budget shopping, to exchanging tales and preparing for the next stint on the backpacker trail.
It was around 3pm when we traded random wanderings for some cultural education. We visited Bangkok National Museum. The entrance fee is 200 Baht for foreigners, but I only paid 30 Baht since I was with a Thai friend and Asian as I’ am, looking like a local became a major plus. Sneaky, I know, but a great way for me to save some cash.
The museum tour came to be a lot more educational to me. It only left me astounded with Thai culture even more. Soon after, we went to an adjacent theater nearby and watched a cultural show around 5pm.
Not only was the show extremely entertaining, but it was mesmerizing as the dancers and performers adorned themselves in colorful costumes and played traditional Thai tunes.
Hungry after the show, we headed back to the Khao San Road and ate at street side restaurant. The street stall may look a little sketchy, but the rice with yellow curry they serve was absolutely incredible plus it only cost 40 Baht.
Dinner ended and we were ready to party. Being right in the middle of one of the best party areas in Bangkok where bars and clubs are situated, we only waste no time to meet new friends. We partied like there’s no tomorrow. And I sure had a Thai blast.
On my second day, when I finally made it out of bed, Nhui came to pick me up all the way from his downtown apartment and took me for a temple tour. We traveled to many of the famous temples including WAtarun, the Grand Palace and the Reclining Buddha.
The green mango was way more delicious than it looked and the durian tasted much better than it smelled. The day was going great and got even better when we met a Spanish girl named Amparo while we’re at the Grand Palace. She was traveling alone, lost and scared to ask for directions. She experienced being scammed by a local Thai person before. Without doubt of being kind, I invited her to go along with us. It was luckily she’s staying at a hostel near mine.
We readily spent the evening pigging out and partying, still in Khao San Road, hopping from one bar to another. We ended the night eating scorpion (it was awesome!).
Nhui suggested that we visit Ayutthaya Province, about 1.5 hours away from Bangkok. After taking our breakfast, he picked Amparo and I around 8 AM. When we arrived, we visited and prayed in the temples, making it a total of about 30 temple visits during my trip! Aside from praying, we checked out the floating market. I was able to ride an elephant too. It was like a dream come true until I learned the disturbing truth about this popular ride. These 4-ton-beasts are beaten just to let a tourist experience how it is to ride on them. Although they tend to be entertaining as they star in a show, what they had to take in order to do so is beyond compare.
Ayutthaya had fantastic shops with lots handicrafts to choose from. I made sure to stock souvenirs before our bonus trip ends.
I then bid farewell to a new found adventurous friend, Amparo. Nhui sent me to the airport for my 8PM flight back to Manila afterwards. I am really going to miss the both of them!
Overall, it was a fantastic and adventurous three days of exploration. I certainly had a memorable trip with a great host and new-found friend.