Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bangkok, The City of Angel

Bangkok, the vibrant capital of Thailand, known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, meaning city of angel in short, has about 9 millions population.

For many travelers, the city is full of life with many reasons to come to visit the capital, the dazzling temples and palace, delicious local food, shopping heaven, the famous nightlife and anything in between for man and women.

Vibrant Bangkok

Wikitravel says:
For years, it was only a small trading post at the banks of the Chao Phraya river, until King Rama I, the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty, turned vit into the capital of Siam in 1782, after the burning of Ayutthaya by Burmese invaders. Since then, Bangkok has turned into a national treasure house and functions as Thailand's spiritual, cultural, political, commercial, educational and diplomatic center.

Thailand is such a country so rich in culture, and deeply rooted heritage, The Thais are friendly, polite and the magical smile across their faces are what travelers like most. At least that's what I experienced too.

I touched down at Suvarnabhumi Airport, located 30km to the east of Bangkok. There are many choices of transportations available to get you into the city, the city cab, the train (150 Baht) and shuttle bus (70 Baht).

I shared the taxi fare with the ladies, expect the taxi driver to ask you to pay the toll fares.

Do not simply litter at the busiest street on Rama 1 road, Siam Square, where all the shopping malls are located. You will be fined for 2,000 Baht if caught for littering.
I knew because Miss J "simply, incidentally and inadvertently" threw a cigarette butt on the floor and she was fined on the spot! We haven't even started shopping yet, was just outside our first stop at MBK mall with Miss S, five minutes walk from Lub.d hotel.

Notice that their names were represented by letter J & S because they prefer to remain hidden from my public post.

Anyway, it rained every day in Bangkok on May, the weather was so unpredictable with heavy downpour that lasted for a couple of hours and I wasted the chance to vist the Grand Palace, Wat Phrakaew and Arun. Maybe next time but I still managed to visit Chinatown, Jim Thompson's museum, Chatuchak, Siam Square, Khao San road, RCA, and Soi Cowboy at Sukhumvit though I missed Patpong.

Lub.d Hostel

It was one of the best hostel I've ever stayed and I'd definitely come back to here next time. It is situated at Siam Square, less than a minute from National Stadium BTS in central Bangkok.

Slightly expensive Lub.d hostel at Siam Square
The hangout place
It's best recommended to stay at this cozy and clean hostel for a very memorable and refreshing modern backpacking experience, slightly expensive but consider the facilities and the set up, it worths the money most definitely.

I haven't been bothered to look for other hostels or guest houses special thanks to the girls whom I traveled with for the first three days in Bangkok before I embarked on journey to travel a little bit west and north.

Lub.d is good for sweet couple, explorative backpackers, new experience seeker, with slight higher cost of rental. For three days, I saved RM150 staying with them, thank you.

It has got five types of rooms ranging from deluxe dorm to double deluxe. A twin bed room would cost you RM180 where a dorm cost RM50.

Deluxe double, I was sleeping at the left corner

The comfy bed that I hardly get to sleep

There will be more to talk about Lub.d in another post, in fact, more photos and less writing, visit their official website to book a room or you can walk in anytime.


There was a day in Bangkok where I hired a motorbike taxi driver to Hua Lampong train station from the hostel for 50 Bath to try to purchase the train ticket next day to Kanchanaburi, I didn't get the ticket because I was told the train to Kanchanaburi was at Thonburi train station in Bangkok Noi further west from Khao San road.

And I was hungry.

25 Bath curry noodle at Hua Lampong train station

I decided to walk through China Town to Khao San road with no idea that it would take more than an hour to reach my destination on foot.

Thanon Yaowarat, the main street of Chinatown
Before hitting Yaowarat the main street where traffic was very congested, there were moments of peacefuness where I felt like I was back in the past, it's the most awesome and wildest imagination.

People who's working in the old streets were mostly old folks, I looked into each of their eyes, and I could tell they have a lot of untold histories marked over their aging faces.

They were slow and relaxed, but they were determined to finish their routine jobs. There were some friendly faces who put on the warmest smile at me and I returned the kindness of act with respect, but there were some unfriendly grandmas who would be staring at me while I took some pictures of the streets and buildings, still I returned with a smile with respect.

Old Chinese building

I got lost, the survival instinct kicked in and I started asking around for help but everyone was pointing at different directions heading to Khao San road and I thought it would be a good idea to hire a motorbike taxi driver.

I paid 80 Baht to get to Khao San road, was good call. It was farther than I expected it to be.

发财快乐, it means happy good fortune and they sell hopes, people do buy chances don't they?
Khao San Road

Khao San Road is literally drawing a lot of attention from backpackers around the world because of some of its affordable accommodations, tour deals and nightlife.

It's not particularly high class, travelers just chilled out at the pubs along the street and sipping a glass of Chang beer (50 Baht for a small bottle), the dazzling nightlife was definitely the main attraction to me. The street came to life after 8pm.

There were a lot of massage parlors around too if you got too stressful with the roadside bars, they were cheap, 200 Bath for an hour of body massage.

There were three nights on three distinctive occasions I ended up at Khao San road, first was with the girls and two Europeans from the hostel for party and drinks. I forgot their names, neither did we exchange emails nor Facebook contacts.

Kha San road, the main street
Dinner at Thai restaurant with my travel mates
Second, I was there after checking out the schedule and ticket price to Kanchanaburi at Thonburi train station, I went up to chill out at Khao San road 2 (Rambuttri road or something like) where it was quieter and more relaxed at one of the restaurant pub with acoustic live band unlike the main street where pubs and bars blasted deafening music.

There another evening I was at Khao San road for transit to Koh Samui, nothing much to say about that.

One of these things you should try at Khao San road
Fried grasshoppers, beetles, worms, etc
No, I was sober enough to avoid these snacks from the local sellers.

Coming up next, I'll be posting some incredible experience in Kanchanaburi and Ayutthaya, and some short post to show you some details of guest houses I stayed.

Some useful words
  1. Sawathee krap/ka (Hello)
  2. Thaorai? (How much?)
  3. Nid noi, Ped nid noi, Mai ped (A bit, a bit spicy, no spicy)
  4. Paragon U tinai?, U tinai? (Where is Paragon? Where is this? - I used this quite often when I got lost, I'd be asking U tinai? And direct the person to look and point on the map)
  5. Sat fai (Train)
  6. Korn song (Bus)
  7. Peng (Expensive)
  8. Dai, mai dai (OK, not OK)
  9. Cai, mai cai (Yes, No)
  10. Khun chi a rai? (What is your name?)
  11. Kee Mong (What is the time?)
  12. Mai cow jai (Don't understand)
  13. Mai phen rai (Never mind)

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