06 March 2012

Amazing Thailand (Temple Tour and Chatuchak)

Back in 2010, Thailand, specifically Bangkok, was painted red by anti-government riots. This led to security concerns prompting the Foreign Affairs Department to issue an advisory asking Filipinos to postpone non-essential travel to Bangkok. By June 2010, tensions have waned down. A couple of friends went to Bangkok and enjoyed their trip so much that I cound't resist a Cebupacific seat sale to experience Bangkok for myself. Airfare was Php9,037.04 for me and my girlfriend (Php4,518.52 each then add Php750 Terminal Fee and Php1,620 Travel tax).

August came and it was time to fly. Another couple was with us and was great since this makes things cheaper and one of them is already familiar with Bangkok. We arrived around midnight and shared a taxi to our respective hotels. Taxi to Silom was around 400THB or around Php600 for more than an hour ride (Php150 each). We stayed at The Heritage Hotel Silom which at their 2010 rate of Php1,800 per night was a steal given the spacious room and the delicious buffet breakfast. Our friends stayed for free at the Sofitel Hotel using loyalty cards.

After a delightful breakfast, we met with our friends at the Chong Nonsi Station which is just 3 minutes away from our hotel. We bought the Day Pass (Php180) which is ideal for tourists. First stop was Saphan Tak Sin Station and we walked towards Wat Yannawa, a good starter temple for first time Bangkok travellers. After some pictures we walked back towards the train station and then to the Sathon pier to hop on the ferry to the Grand Palace (Php21). Entrance to the grand Palace is 350BHT or Php525. Comfortable shoes are a must since you'll do a lot of walking in this huge complex. Almost everything in the Grand Palace is awe-inspiring with golden temples and amazing sculptures withstood the test of time.

Next on the itinerary was Wat Pho, adjacent to the Grand Palace. Wat Pho houses the largest image of Buddha in Thailand, The Reclining Buddha, covered in gold no less. (Entrance Fee: 150BHT or Php225). Just across the river is Wat Arun. The barge to cross the river costs 3BHT or Php4.50.

Wat Arun
By this time we were tired of all the walking and we hailed a cab to the nearest BTS skytrain station (45BHT or Php67.50). We rode the skytrain to Siam BTS station to eat at the Siam Paragon Food Hall. Unlike food courts in Philippine malls, payment at the Paragon Food Hall was through an electronic card, unused credits of which can be refunded upon surrendering the card. We spent around 150BHT or Php225 each sampling a wide variety of delicious food choices.

We headed next to the famous weekend market, Chatuchak. We rode the BTS to Mo Chit station and walked a considerable length before we reached the market. One can only have enough strength to cover the entire 35 acres of endless stalls but the cheap buys will make you forget the fact you've been walking for hours. I spent around 1,500BHT or Php2,250 for key chains, souvenir displays, t-shirts, and bags.

Needless to say, a whole day of walking made our legs and feet sore so we called it a day by sunset.  We went back to Chong Nonsi Station and found a local restaurant just a stone's throw away from our hotel. The food was great at cost us around 250BHT a few dishes and drinks for two (Php375 or Php187.50 each).

Airfare: Php4,518.52
Terminal fee: Php750
Travel tax: Php1,620
Taxi to Hotel: Php150
3 Nights at Hotel: Php2,700  per person
Airfare and Hotel TOTAL: Php9,738.52 per person

Temple Tour expenses: Php1,023
Lunch and Dinner: Php412.50
Day 1 TOTAL: Php1,435.50 per person

*Chatuchak shopping expenses: Php2,250
***exchange rate assumption: 1BHT = Php1.50

Next: Amazing Thailand (Floating Market, Siam Ocean World and Pat Pong)

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