Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Beautiful Bangkok, Thailand – 2007

We did not have any bad experience with Airasia during the last trip, so I decided to grab the opportunity to fly with them again this time around. And Airasia made it possible for us and our overflowing needs to travel with its RM0 promo... :-)

Again, with the whole lot of my family members i.e. my mom & dad plus my baby sister and her hubby joining us together this time, I never realized that I had all categories of travelers in my list. My son, aged 3, falls under the ‘Child’ category, my mom & dad falls under ‘Senior Citizen’, while my younger sister, in her 7 months pregnancy, falls under ‘Priority’ category.

We were allowed to board the plane first because obviously the preggy mom, my son and my old folks should be given the so-called priviledge during any flights. At that time, “Priority Lanes” were never a practice for Airasia flights. However, thanks to the friendliness and concern of the Airasia staff, we managed to board the plane earlier than the rest of the passengers.

If there’s one thing you should know (or already knew), we Malaysians are so ‘Kiasu’, just like the Singaporeans. So you can only imagine how our so-called ‘friendly’ Malaysians will rush to board the plane and start to book the seats not only for them but for their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and the rest of the clans. You wouldn’t want to know...

OK now, Thailand is well-acclaimed as the Land of Smiles. Throughout our stay we were greeted with smiles by the soft-speaking Thais, be it the people by the roadside, the hotel staff or the shop promoters. The hotel, The Eastin in New Petchaburi Road, was a nice hotel smacked right in the middle of the city centre.

We took the tour to Damern Saduak Floating Market and The Grand Palace on the first day. On our way to the floating market, which was quite a distance from our hotel, we stopped by at a few places plainly to see how salt was produced on land and we then dropped by to one of their local coconut factory.

The salt-making process was particularly incredible because there was no sea in sight but yet there were tonnes of salt being produced.

And at the coconut factory, we had the chance to quench our
thirsts with their ever-popular coconut drink. It was so cooling and refreshing.

As we arrived at Damern Saduak, we chartered a boat and rode off to the market area. We had to go through a small canal before reaching the main market.

It was truly remarkable to see how marketing (literally translated) was actually done from boat to boat. All sorts of things were sold on this narrow boat, handled by one person, normally a woman. I was amazed by the whole experience, it was something you can never get to see elsewhere, definitely not in Malaysia.

Next, the Grand Palace. There are no words to describe the beautiful architecture and intricate details of the luscious Grand Palace. It was simply, simply breathtaking. If there is a must-see sight in Bangkok, than this would be it.

Menam Chao-Phraya, is another attraction in Bangkok that one should not miss. Wat Arun, a temple by the river was one of my favourites.

We took a ride on a boat and we were explained about the history of the river, the many Wats (Temples) along the river, the Royal Barge and the stories of the many famous buildings in the city by the friendly and well-versed tour guide. And I also learned that Bangkok’s old name was very, very long indeed. It was something like “Krung Thep Makhanakhon...blah...blah”, obviously I can’t get it in full. It’s too complicated. Let’s google for it later… :-)

Holidaying without shopping is sinful. It’s my own theory, so don’t bother to follow. Mah Bun Krong (MBK) shopping complex offered an array of middle-to-high range of handbags, clothing, household items, crafts and souvenirs and many food outlets too. We went to Suan Lum Night Market to find some souvenirs to bring back home but Chatuchak Weekend Market was the best offer to quench our shopping thirst!

Hundreds of stalls selling mainly everything from clothing to bags to souvenirs to household items to pets and food, all in one huge area. And one word to best describe it was “Cheap-Cheap”!!

Oh, one important stop for shopping (for me & hubby) was The Hard Rock Café Bangkok, to get ourselves some T-shirts. It seemed that this was the only expensive item we bought for ourselves in Bangkok! The rests were all at a bargained price... :-)

And of course we also stumbled upon the best ever Tomyam in Bangkok. It was a Halal Restaurant by the Darul Aman Mosque area. The chef had personally “cooked up a storm” for us when he learned that we were Malaysians.

One more thing, don’t be afraid to jump onto their Tuk-Tuk transport, a small 3-wheeler bike that will bring you from one point to another without having to worry how bad Bangkok jam is! Just hold your breath and you’ll make it! ... :-)

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