During my 4D3N trip to Bangkok, Thailand, I was able to experience a lot of “firsts”.
It was my first time traveling to another country with a different time zone – Bangkok is an hour behind PH time. So, yeah, I basically went back in time! I am officially a time-traveling bitch! Lol. Ticking that off my bucket list! 🙂
First time staying in a hostel with mixed dorm rooms.
First time sharing a bathroom/shower area with hot, gorgeous foreign men with abs for days. *wink wink*
First time swimming with flesh-eating fish. FUN!
First time eating authentic Pad Thai and other Thai cuisines.
First time going to a foreign country where I don’t look like a foreigner coz I kinda look like a Thai person. Haha!
First time falling in love with a 7-11 store. I mean, look at THESE!!!
First time commuting by BOAT.
First time getting obsessed and addicted to handmade soaps.
First time riding a Tuk Tuk!
First time tasting taro-filled bread (and I super loved it!)
First time seeing penguins!
First time seeing wax figures (Tom, George, Julia, and Britney… bitch LOL).
AND first time doing Zumba while submerged in water.
My travel buddy and I did a lot of “When in Thailand…” stuff, except for the whole meet and greet with the elephants, the floating market, and the whole museum-temple-palace tour. I mean, I knew Bangkok has a lot of those and they’re majestic and ‘Gram-worthy… but I just wanted to do different stuff while I was there.
DAY 1 – OUT AND ABOUT THE CITY – GIANT SWING, GRAND PALACE, THA MAHARAJ, COMMUTER BOAT, MBK CENTER, SIAM DISCOVERY
This was probably the most exhausting. We arrived early so we couldn’t check in at our hostel yet. We stayed at Krit Hostel and Coffee Bar, located at Siripong Road. It’s a pretty good hostel for backpackers and those who have a tight budget. It WAS clean and quiet during the first two nights. But then some inconsiderate idiots came and ruined all that. The staff was friendly, chatty, helpful, and just overall congenial. My only concern was the fact that some guys were able to sneak in alcohol and were really loud and unruly all night long.
ANYWAY… we had our brunch first at this cute eatery nearby called “Kope Hya Tai Kee”. I was glad that they had vegetarian food there. I tried this dish called “rice with crispy fluffy fried egg and veggie pad kra paow”. Whew! That’s a mouthful! LOL! So I learned my FIRST LESSON here. When in Thailand… never, ever, trust the people when they say it’s ONLY A LITTLE spicy. They lie. Lol. Okay, they don’t lie. I just have like a really LOW tolerance for spicy food. Spicy food AND dumb people.
Our first stop was the Giant Swing, which was like 2 minutes away on foot from Krit Hostel. I actually had expectations about this Giant Swing. For one thing, I was looking for an actual SWING. Lol. Anyway, according to my dear friend, Wiki: “The Giant Swing is a religious structure in Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand. Located in front of Wat Suthat, it was formerly used in an old Brahmin ceremony and is one of Bangkok’s tourist attractions. An annual swinging ceremony known as Triyampavai-Tripavai was held at Giant Swings of major cities until 1935 when it was abolished for safety reasons. According to an ancient Hindu epic, after Brahma created the world he sent Shiva to look after it. When Shiva descended to the earth, Naga serpents wrapped around the mountains in order to keep the earth in place. After Shiva found the earth solid, the Nagas moved to the seas in celebration. The Swing Ceremony was a reenactment of this. The pillars of the Giant Swing represented the mountains, while the circular base of the swing represented the earth and the seas. In the ceremony, Brahmins would swing, trying to grab a bag of coins placed on one of the pillars.”
We didn’t stay there for too long coz the sun was like burning us to hell. We did see A LOT of pigeons there. And they were flocking around something that looked like green brains which were creepy. Lol. So if you’re into pigeon-watching or feeding, go visit the Giant Swing.
I think we went back to our hostel for a bit, checked in, freshened up, and then headed out again. Our plan was to take a pic of the Grand Palace – just outside coz I was wearing shorts and they won’t let me in. Lol. Okay, I knew they had a strict dress code. I just didn’t feel like wearing jeans or anything long and uncomfortable in that weather. Plus, I wasn’t too keen on entering the Grand Palace. I just really wanted to see the outside. So my friend and I started what we call our version of the “death march”. Under the scorching heat of the sun and the lovely humidity – we followed a map and started walking around the outside of the Grand Palace, in search of the “front side” so that we could get a sneak peek and take pics. Unfortunately, after almost twenty-nine years of trudging, we were not able to do that. The security around the Grand Palace was really tight and we saw a lot of mourners lining the streets and coming in and out of the palace.
A little trivia, Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej is getting cremated in October, a year after his death. This was something I noticed (well, anyone with eyes would’ve noticed this LOL) while I was in Bangkok. He was EVERYWHERE. Never have I seen someone’s face THAT MUCH in one day. Every road, street, alley, establishment, store, restaurant – every single place you could think of – has a picture, a poster, or huge billboard of him. It’s fascinating how much they revered him.
After our failed attempt to get a glimpse of the majestic Grand Palace, we decided to just take the Chao Praya River Tour. We went to the nearest pier – Tha Maharaj.
We got a bit hungry and thirsty so we grabbed a bite to eat first. Wrong move. We should’ve checked the schedule first. Lol. So, yeah, unfortunately, the last boat left at 16:00 and I think it was almost 18:00 when we decided to buy tickets. Haha.
However, we were still able to take a “boat tour” – albeit aboard the normal commuter boat a.k.a. the “hop on and hop off as quickly as you can if you don’t want to fall into the water boat”. Haha. Due to the language barrier, it was a bit hard at first to ask for directions and help. Good thing a bubbly and helpful 아줌마 overheard us asking the woman at the ticket counter and she took us under her wings. Lol. Despite her broken English, she tried her best to give us directions and converse with us. Lucky for us, she was also alighting at the same pier. She was also like a tour guide coz she kept on pointing at some tourist places and saying stuff about them. I just wish I could understand her better. She was telling me to look at the “university” and I was like, “Oh, cool there’s a famous university here”… but she was saying “River City”. -.-
Anyway, the helpful 아줌마 guided us all the way to the BTS Skytrain station (I think it was Bang Wa) where we had to take a train to Siam Discovery. We wanted to visit Madame Tussauds and the Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World. When we got there, we found out from the lady selling tickets that we could still go in (I think it was past 19:00 then) but we already missed the last screening of the free 4D movie that they’re showing. So she suggested that we come back early morning tomorrow… which SUCKS. Like, we went all the way there. But my friend also said that (based on her experience) there are some booths selling tickets for both attractions at a lower price. So we decided to just go home and go back on Saturday.
It wasn’t a complete waste of time coz we took pictures around the MBK Center. This wall covered with fake graffiti and drawings of the MBK mascot, Ma Krub, is adorbs!
DAY 2 – ERAWAN WATERFALLS AND ERAWAN NATIONAL PARK, KHAO SAN ROAD
We decided not to DIY this one and we just availed of the Erawan Waterfalls and River Kwai Tour from Day Tours Bangkok. They have a lot of one-day tours (or 2-3 days, depending on what you like) which was perfect for us. The price was 1,500 Baht per person and it might seem a bit pricey but it was totally worth it. Here’s part of their email:
“You will be collected from your hotel at 06:50 and first taken by minibus
to a meeting point where the tour groups areorganizedd and then to the
famous Erawan Waterfalls national park where you have the morning to walk
all the way to the top and observe the seven beautiful waterfalls that
make up this great national park.
You will eat lunch (Thai food choose one dish) near the Erawan Waterfalls
and after lunch, next stop is the River Kwai at Kanchanaburi and here you
will visit the famous Bridge over the River Kwai(about 10 min).
You will return to Bangkok (Khaosan Road area) by around 19:30 depending
So there were other people with us on the tour but they were all foreigners and they were pretty chill and nice. The trip took about 3 hours. When we arrived, I thought the tour guide would actually “guide” us and explain stuff along the way – which was what he was hired to do, right? I mean… okay. Everything about this tour (and the company) was actually pretty GOOD. There was no hassle at all. I just have to comment on the tour guide they hired. I mean, they could at least hire someone more personable and chatty and bubbly. And someone with a better English communication skill. This tour guide was just cranky and snappy and moody. When we arrived, he was talking too fast and explaining about what time we were expected to eat lunch and come back to the meeting spot, but he didn’t care that NOBODY understood a word he said. He just said it and then turned his back on us.
MOVING ON… we trekked by ourselves and it was fine coz the Erawan National Park had signs all over the place. The trail was also mostly flat and cemented so it wasn’t that hard. So there are SEVEN waterfalls; the third one is 150 meters away from the starting point, the seventh is 1,550 meters away. OF COURSE, we only went as far as the third one. Haha. We weren’t really keen on visiting all seven. We just wanted to take a dip in one of them – preferably a shallow one coz I CANNOT swim.
There weren’t a lot of people at first, but when we went back to the second waterfall – which was the BEST place to “swim”, or in my case “walk around”, the place had become more crowded. It was funny coz the first waterfall was 3 meters deep and I didn’t know how deep that was (like I was ready to jump in) until my friend lectured me about it. Haha. So, NOTE TO SELF: If the water is 3-meter deep, DON’T. Just DON’T. Lol!
Probably part of the “attraction” at the Erawan Waterfalls are the FLESH-EATING FISH swimming around and lurking in the waters. I know it sounds terrifying but… well, yeah, IT IS terrifying. Especially seeing them up close! They’re HUGE and, despite the tour guide assuring us that they’d just “nibble” not bite, I knew they were going to freakin’ BITE! Lol!
So my friend had more balls than me so she got in the water first. The rule was not to stay still for more than 10 seconds coz if you do, those nasty flesh-eating fish are going to attack you. Haha! She reassured me, however, that the bigger ones don’t bite – they actually didn’t come near her. It was the smaller ones that would chew on the dead skin cells around your feet. And we noticed that they only attack human feet. They actually don’t care much for any part of our body. Just the feet. Hmm. Feet fetish? Lol!
After much convincing from my friend, and because the prickly heat was annoying me, I finally gave in and just jumped into the water. It was funny coz from the moment I got in, I kept on moving and jumping around – doing some “Zumba” dance moves lol – coz I was terrified of staying still for a second. It was a great workout for us. Haha. The water was not as COOL as the water in Baler’s Mother Falls but it did cool me off and I felt so refreshed afterward.
Not sure how long we stayed there, jumping around and making fun of this Johnny Bravo-ish dude doing pictorials with his boyfie… We got out of the water and decided to head back to the meeting place where we could have our free lunch. I was kinda worried about this coz I feel like we won’t have many choices, coz it was free. However, they served vegetarian meals in that eatery so, YAY for me!
And it was FREAKIN’ delish! One of the best meals I’ve had in Thailand.
We got on the “mini bus” (which was actually a van) and headed to the famous Bridge on the River Kwai. I didn’t know much about this. So, apparently, there was a 1950s movie about this famous bridge. And the historical relevance is “During WW II, Japan constructed the meter-gauge railway line from Ban Pong, Thailand to Thanbyuzayat, Burma. The line passing through the scenic Three Pagodas Pass runs for 250 miles. This is now known as the Death Railway. The construction was done using POWs and Asian slave laborers in unfavorable conditions. The work started in October 1942 was completed in a year. Due to the difficult terrain, thousands of laborers lost their lives. It is believed that one life was lost for each sleeper laid on the track.”
We would’ve crossed the bridge and gotten all the way to the other side if it weren’t for the fact that WE WERE BURNING IN HELL. Like, I’m not even kidding. It felt like I’ve developed skin cancer from the heat of the sun during my 10-minute stay there.
The 3-hour drive back to Bangkok was uneventful and quiet. The tour guide was not with us anymore, which was fine coz we didn’t really need him anyway. Lol. OH! We stopped at a gas station and my friend bought some sliced guava from a stall there and IT WAS DA BOMB! Like, seriously! I should’ve bought one too! I just tried hers and I loved it!
^ These fruits are a must-try!
The driver dropped us off at Khao San Road, as promised. This is where the night life is happening. But we weren’t up for that. We were icky and drained and still a bit wet (coz we just let the sun dry us lol), so we just wanted to go home. We did look around for a bit.
And that was when we smelled something REALLY, REALLY GOOD. So this dude just opened his stall and was taking out these cute handmade soaps (which were designed like different fruits and flowers) and MAN, THEY SMELLED SOOOOOOOO DAMN GOOD! Like, for real! Especially the WATERMELON soap! I think we stayed there for more than 5 minutes, just sniffing out all the handmade soaps that he was putting on the table. Like addicts. Lol. He was selling them for 60 Baht each but we haggled and asked if he could sell them for 50 Baht each and he said YES right away. Little did we know that in Chatuchak Weekend Market, they sell these handmade soaps for only 25 Baht each. Ugh. But that gave us a fleeting moment of relaxation and happiness. I swear I’m still sniffing these soaps every now and then. Lol!
DAY 3: CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET, JIM THOMPSON’S HOUSE, SEA LIFE BANGKOK OCEAN WORLD, MBK CENTER, SIAM PARAGON, SIAM DISCOVERY
Our first stop was the Chatuchak Weekend Market. The nice lady at Krit Hostel taught us how to get there by bus. We were planning to take the longer (and more expensive) route – taxi and then BTS Skytrain. Lol. Good thing she was there to help us out. We just walked for a bit from Krit Hostel and then waited for the right bus (numbers 44, 59, or 503) which would directly take us to Chatuchak Market. We were there early so it wasn’t packed yet. It reminded me of Divisoria and the Night Market in Baguio City. The place was GINORMOUS. I read somewhere that there are about 15,000 stalls/shops.
We were calmly walking and looking around when we smelled something GOOD! Like something vaguely familiar. It was like deja vu! Haha! We turned a corner and saw this shop!!! I mean, look at ALL those handmade soaps!!! I think we spent an unnecessary amount of time in that shop, just admiring the intricate designs and how real they looked and just sniffing the hell out of each one of them! Lol. The bigger ones were 4 for 100 Baht and the small ones were 5 for 100 Baht. Pretty good deal! So they’re not really soaps for your body, they’re more like some kind of air freshener/deodorizer.
I also treated myself and bought this cute red backpack for 199 Baht. I thought really hard before purchasing it coz I’m a cheapass bitch and I didn’t want to regret buying a 300-peso bag. All my bags cost less than that. Lol. Anyway, a few minutes after buying it, I immediately regretted it. Coz there was another store outside selling the same freakin’ bag for 130 Baht!!! WTF.
We decided to take it easy on our third day – just visit a couple of places and then go shopping. HOWEVER, there is no such thing as a relaxing, walk in the park day when you’re in Bangkok. Lol. Well, it was the weekend so it was understandable why the malls were packed. The funny thing was, when we went to the Siam Discovery early in the morning, around 10 AM, it was pretty chillaxed and almost empty. So, we thought, “Oh, cool, the malls here aren’t crowded like in Manila”. WE WERE WRONG. Lol.
So before buying tickets to Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World, we had to go out and look for another currency exchange place coz the ones inside the malls were buying PHP for only 45 Baht, whereas it’s 65+ Baht in other places.
Finally, we saw this place called SUPER RICH THAILAND CURRENCY EXCHANGE and we were lucky we did! I highly recommend that you exchange your money at this place when you’re in Thailand. Their rates are WAY BETTER than those banks. AND the lady even gave us these TOURIST DISCOUNT COUPONS – for Madame Tussauds and Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World! Good thing we haven’t bought tickets yet! A 30% discount was exactly what we needed!
After that, we headed toward the famous Jim Thompson’s House. You can actually walk from the main road to the house, it’s probably a 5-minute walk, but we decided to just wait for the “shuttle service” to take us there. Coz we’re so bougie. Haha. There’s an entrance fee of 100 Baht and then you can avail of the tour in a language that you prefer. Of course, we chose Korean. JK. We took the English tour. We had to wait for about 30 minutes before the start of the next tour so we looked around the place first.
A little history: “The Jim Thompson House is a museum in central Bangkok, Thailand, housing the art collection of American businessman and architect Jim Thompson, the museum designer, and former owner.” If you want to know more about this fascinating dude who met a mysterious and sad ending, read more here.
We entered this place which displayed some kind of modern art exhibition, a.k.a. some weird shit that I don’t get. Lol. I mean, I understand SOME art works, but these ones were just… weird AF.
Like this pool of hair which was randomly collected from some barbershop in the 1900s.
Or this military jacket filled with coral reef stones.
Or these stones….
And while my friend was taking this pic of me with the ugly mask behind me, I was smiling at first but I saw a video clip playing behind her that totally STUNNED me. Lol. It was a video clip of a Russian dude – stark naked – punching and kicking another him, which was translucent and ghost-like.
There was an explanation there but I couldn’t remember. Something about the artist having self-conflict coz of his religion…
Moving on… the tour of the house was pretty good mainly coz the Thai woman was very expressive. I mean, listening to her tell the story of Jim Thompson was like listening to some kind of spoken poetry. I loved how she talked in a sweet, calm voice with a cute rising and falling intonation.
I guess the most interesting tidbit was the fact that at the age of 61, Jim Thompson went to meet some friends in Malaysia and never came back. They never heard from him again. They never found his body. He just vanished into thin air. No one knew exactly what happened to him.
After the tour, we just took pics around the place and left.
We went back to Siam Paragon for our Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World tour. I was pretty excited about this coz I’ve never been to a walk through aquarium before.
I met some fascinating sea creatures there but the highlight was the PENGUINS!!! I can finally say that I’ve seen penguins in person! Haha!
There was this sinister-looking shark swimming around and giving us the side eye but what’s creepier was that gigantic statue behind it.
These artistic, psychedelic thingies were also pretty cool.
The place was HUGE! We didn’t think the tour would take more than an hour! It felt like we were walking for hours and we still couldn’t find the EXIT. Lol.
But I had a bit of fun and I let my inner child come out to play. Haha!
I love how this seahorse and starfish are so like me: JUST HANGING IN THERE. LOL!
For lunch, I finally had the famous PAD THAI. We ate at this bougie-looking place called The Fifth Food Avenue at MBK Center.
I kinda liked the system here. So when you enter, you have to get a “card” from the lady at the front desk and give her a certain amount to put in your card – like a deposit money. You then order some food and pay using that card. You can refund your remaining balance before you leave the place, after surrendering the card to the same lady. The Fifth Food Avenue offers a plethora of international cuisines from Lebanese to Indian to Mexican to Vietnamese.
These Vietnamese fresh spring rolls are DA BOMB!!!
And my first Pad Thai was soooooooo damn good. But the serving was too much for me. Lol. So I had to take home half of it and I ate it for dinner later that night.
My dad wanted me to buy these disco-like light bulbs at the MBK Center so we went there afterward. The first time we went there, I already saw these Thai crispy pancakes (Khanom Buang) and they were fascinating to look at coz you would think, at first, that they were tacos or something. It is actually made of rice flour, which serves as a delicious vessel to the rich (and colorful) meringue topped with candied duck egg yolk. So I gave in to the temptation and bought one. AND I LOVED IT. So I bought another one. Lol. IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you try this when in Thailand.
After buying my dad’s light bulbs, we headed home. So it was freakin’ difficult to get a cab home from the Phaya Thai station of the BTS Skytrain. And we didn’t really understand WHY THE FUCK. We tried Grab but it was WAY too expensive. The moment we start talking to the cab drivers and showing them a map and pointing to where we are headed, they all rejected us. They were all like “try another cab” or “I don’t know” or they simply shook their heads and said “NO”. Like, WTF?! It was not like we’re going to another dimension or something! And it is a well-known area coz it was so near the popular tourist spots like the Giant Swing and the FREAKIN’ GRAND PALACE!
I got used to cab drivers in my country who’d be super enthusiastic and overzealously (to the point that it’s borderline creepy and scary) ask me if I want a ride and where I’m going even if I didn’t flag them down. Apparently, cab drivers in Thailand don’t want to earn money. I mean, we are PAYING customers dammit.
Anyway, after a few failed attempts, this Tuk Tuk suddenly parked near us and two men approached us. We were hesitant at first coz we knew it’d be WAY TOO expensive. So they asked where we were going and we showed them our map and the instructions which were written in Thai. That was another thing that pissed us off with the cab drivers who said “I don’t know” — our map had pictures of the popular monuments and it had the names of the places written in FREAKIN’ THAI — in their language! You’d think they’d stop for a second and read the freakin’ thing before saying I DON’T KNOW. Ugh.
Sorry. That just got me so riled up coz it was a very frustrating experience for us. Okay, deep breaths…
Going back to the two men… at least they took a good look at our map and read the instructions on the paper that we printed out. But of course, they were asking us for A LOT of money. They were like 200 Baht. And we were like, UH, HELL NO. Coz we took a regular cab from the same place the other day and the fare was only 75 Baht. So we haggled and we were like 150. The other guy, who was not really the driver of the Tuk Tuk got pissed off and walked away. He kept on insisting that it was 200 coz it was too far. The driver actually looked like he was okay with our price, I mean it wasn’t that bad. And he was not saying anything. After a minute or so of haggling, they gave up. LOL. We won. They were like, “okay okay, 150”. VICTORY!
SIDE THOUGHT: When in Thailand… OF COURSE you’d see Mario freakin’ Maurer everywhere. Haha! He’s seriously endorsing chlorophyll…?! LOL
Our flight the next day was at 9:35 AM so we had to leave early. We decided to just take a Grab to the Phaya Thai BTS station coz we were like so familiar with that place now. Haha. And that would take us straight to the station at the airport – the Suvarnabhumi Station.
SIDE THOUGHT: I’ve been to Singapore before and they have the same system – their subway also has a station straight to the airport which is sooooooooo much better and more convenient. I don’t get why we cannot have the same thing here in my country. That would definitely eliminate traffic around the airport area AND make life easier for A LOT of people – not just the travelers! And we won’t get rip off by greedy cab drivers who think everyone who goes to the airport has A LOT of money.
Anyway… the nice cab driver was a bit confused at first and we didn’t know why. He kept on asking “Where you go?” and we said “Phaya Thai BTS” he kept on repeating “Phaya Thai…? Phaya Thai…?” After a minute of him asking the same question and us giving him the same answer, my friend explained and was like “We’re going to the airport.” And I guess he heard the word “airport” and was like “Airport link! Ahhh…” So apparently, Phaya Thai was still a bit far so he took us to the nearer BTS station which would is what they call an “Airport link” station. It was Ratchaprarop Station.
SIDE THOUGHT AGAIN: I really thought it would be easy to communicate with Thai people coz, like Filipinos, I thought they know basic English. I was wrong. We struggled A LOT with the language barrier. We had to sort of dumb down our English and use broken English most of the time to get our message across. At Krit Hostel, my friend and I were asking a “receipt” from the front desk staff and she couldn’t understand what a receipt was. My friend explained it but she was clueless. And then a foreigner (who could speak Thai) stepped in and he was like “It’s like ticket” and she finally understood. So they use some English words in different context.
And then there was that funny incident at the BTS Station. So it was still too early that was why it was empty save for a foreign couple who were also in a hurry to get to the airport. My friend and I were about to take the escalator on the LEFT, but we saw that it was going down, not up. So we walked over to the one on the right side. But before we reached it, the security guard yelled at us “LIFT! LIFT!” and was pointing toward the LEFT escalator. So we were like, “Oh, Okay. We’re supposed to take the LEFT escalator?” so we headed there, but it was still GOING DOWN, not UP. So we thought maybe he made a mistake. Confused, we walked back toward the right escalator and this time the guard was ANGRILY screaming at us “LIFT!!! LIFT!!!” Even the foreign couple with us was confused! LOL. And then we saw it… he was referring to the LIFT/ELEVATOR on the LEFT side. We DID NOT see that. Hahahaha! When we finally saw it and headed toward it, he gave a LOUD and exasperated sigh that sounded like, “THESE IDIOTS”. LOL!
So that concludes my 4D3N in Bangkok, Thailand! I guess the trip to Erawan National Park and swimming with the flesh-eating fish in the Erawan Waterfall were the most memorable. It was also fascinating to have a first-hand experience of Thai culture and finally taste authentic Thai food. I also got to see a bit of the Tak Bat Buddhist ceremony where they give food to Buddhist monks who are walking around barefoot. I learned that “it’s a way to support the monks, who study and practice Buddha’s teachings, by offering them food. At the same time, they are learning to give and to let go.”
All in all, it was a much-needed break from my stressful and thankless job. I’d probably go back to Thailand, but not in Bangkok. Maybe Ko Phi Phi or Chiang Mai would be more ideal.