(Travelogue) Bangkok Diary; 6th-18th June 2013

Flying to Bangkok to me is a regular affair. This neighbouring country, the ‘land of a thousand smiles’, offers great street food and bargain buys –a shopaholic’s empyrean, a food lover’s heaven, and also where many fashion retail owners and blogshop owners bulk up on their stock of apparels.

Today, 19th June 2013, marks my 13th day in Bangkok; it won’t be long before I have to bid this unforgettable city goodbye again.

As an insouciant traveller and a lucid wanderer, I eradicated any form of touristy sightseeing plans (much less join a tour group), and explored the country in my own random spontaneous ways.

Being a solo-traveller, I have gotten lost and found my way around (thanks to google maps and friendly locals or I’d still be lost); I’ve walked the off-the-beaten-paths and relish the serenity aspect of it that no one else cares for because it isn’t a prominent landmark that everyone talks about; and the best part about travelling alone is that I can roam around freely without following a stringent schedule (this also applies to what time I can wake up –anytime).

Armed only with an iPhone 4S – no dslr, not even a compact camera – my shots are mostly random and candid, taken out on the streets, portraying Bangkok the way I perceive it.

“The street is my home; but it is also where I fear the most.”

“When life gives you oranges, make orange juice.”

There are no short of ritzy malls in Bangkok, but apart from its cooling air-conditioning, nothing really draws me in as compared to unearthing quirky pieces at street markets.

Your trip to Bangkok is deemed incomplete in most books without a visit to Chatuchak Market (also known as JJ Market). For the adventurous, you can take the BTS train to Mo Chit Station. Taking the public trains is a good way to beat the slow-moving traffic on the heavily congested roads.

The blistering heat can make shopping a dread at Chatuchak, but most shops are sheltered and drinks stalls are aplenty.

Here’s a picture of me hiding in the shade and sipping on fresh coconut juice while taking a break from shopping!

Shopping hauls from Platinum Shopping Mall and Chatuchak Market! There’s more… and counting.

18th June 2013 – I took the Airport Rail Link to Suvarnabhumi Airport to meet my mum who’s joining me for the remaining 4 days of this trip.

It took about 30 minutes to get to the airport from the city centre, where I took barely 10 minutes to get to Ratchaprarop Station from my hotel in Pratunam by foot –which could have been lesser if not for the uneven gravelled roads along the path I took. Public transportation is fast and convenient!

I would take the train to and fro the airport when arriving and departing if not for the hassle of lugging my luggage around.

Tuk tuk is another form of transportation that I take, and resort to when my legs are weary from a long walk. Be sure to bargain! There are also tuk tuk drivers who would propose taking a pit stop at “somewhere for 5 minutes” and offer you a slight discount for that –don’t waste your time.

Sometimes, it’s still cheaper to take a cab running on meter as opposed to taking the tuk tuk. For instance, a tuk tuk driver quoted me 150 baht to get to Silom from Pratunam, while the cab ride cost me only 70 baht.

Street food in Bangkok is not the most hygienic dining option, but it’s a true representation of their cuisine –especially if you want to experience life like a local.

Two years ago when I stayed at Citin Pratunam, I patronised this congee street hawker on an almost daily basis. Back here again two years later, the same stall occupies the same spot on the same street, selling the exact same thing, with the same flavour, and the same level of comfort upon indulging.

“Ready to devour.”

The hotel that I’m staying at is nothing fancy or luxurious as compared to the big names, but at a reasonable price of $60-ish a night per room, it offers a clean, spacious room equipped with the necessary amenities such as clean towels, electric boiling kettle, mini fridge and safe box.

Citin Pratunam Hotel also provides free tuk tuk service to Platinum Shopping Mall and the BTS train station, and is a short walk to malls such as Central World.

“Not alone.”

I shall end my post with a picture taken while finding my way back to the hotel from a train station. Google maps suggested I take this route, but I’ve come to realise that you can’t trust technology a 100%. There was once it took me to a dead end, because worn-out makeshift houses now occupy the then-empty roads.