Now that CFA is over and I have my social life back, I want to update this quiet ol’ blog on recent and not-so-recent trips.
One of the not-so-recent ones was a 3-day trip last August 2009 to Bangkok, Thailand. Since three days are not enough to cover the city, let alone the beaches, we only got to tour a few places.
First off, we stayed at Grand Watergate, quite small but if you’re looking for a reasonably-priced hotel it’s okay. (Address: 49/29 Petchburi Road, Petchburi 15 Phayathai Ratchtewee, Bangkok 10400) They serve buffet breakfasts and keep your bags even when you’ve checked out already (and want to explore a bit more before leaving for the airport).
We wanted to tour the temples on our first day since we already booked tours for Days 2-3 online. We had heard about a Filipina who owned a tour service and the shop was a short walk from the hotel, so we decided to go there for info on how to get to the temples. Ate Gemma (or was it Julie? I forgot) was quite helpful and told us it was cheaper to hire a tuk-tuk to take us to the temples we wanted to visit. Only catch is you have to go to a shop where you look at merchandise (usually pearls, jewels, crafts and the like) and are “highly encouraged” to purchase items. (I mentioned before that this was the case in Beijing / Suzhou too… so it must be how tour operators cut costs or whatever.) We agreed since it was really no biggie.
Ate Gemma’s shop is called Kabuhayan Tours and it’s located at 21/11 Juldis Tower, Petchburi Soi 19, Petchburi Road, Rajtevee, Bangkok 10400. They have a roaming Smart number (+63920 8599825) and a local number too in case you’re in Thailand already (+66 813000294). Her shop sells yum-yum tamarind candies (the sugared kind–sweet, spicy) and some Filipino brands as well.
First stop was the Grand Palace, which was really beautiful–a must-see for Bangkok first-timers. Apart from the royal residences and throne halls, this is also where the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) is located. The statue itself is not really cut from real emerald, rather it’s carved from a single block of green jade. You’re not allowed to take pictures inside, but they do give you a free picture postcard of the Buddha when you pay the entrance fee. Note the murals on the room’s four sides when you enter–they portray scenes from Buddha’s life and are quite pretty.
Do remember to wear jeans (no skirts, shorts or anything revealing even a hint of leg) into the temples.
N.B. I last edited this post on July 2, 2010. Considering it’s been more than six months hence, I’ve lost my train of thought. Might as well post it.