Thailand – Day 0 – To Thailand and China Town

It’s our 1st year anniversary! So what’s the best way to celebrate it than celebrating it to a new place?! We decided Thailand is the best place for us.

 Thailand is famous for backpackers, I read it’s tourist friendly, so instead of taking a packaged tour, we decided to up the adventure by going DIY. Researching helped me a lot. A Month before our booked flight, I have started reading blogs and articles to get an idea of the country. There are lots of blogs and articles that give very detailed info about Thailand. From price range of food, toiletries, transportation, up to the step by step instructions on how to go to the tourist spots, everything you could find with just a click of your mouse.

 To return the favor, I am writing my fair share of experience in Thailand. I’ll give details as much as I can remember and prices for transportation and food. But please be reminded that I wasn’t able to record everything during my stay there and some prices may not be that exact. I’ll leave the currency conversion to you. 😀 (note: We stayed there February 2015). I’ll put Thailand Travel as day-by-day blog as our trip was full of adventures and each day deserves an independent post.

 February is a good month in Thailand. It was not too hot, and haven’t even seen a rain. With our limited 5-day vacation, we decided to tour Bangkok and the nearby Provinces of Ayuthaya and Kanchanaburi. If you have more time, you could scour Northern Thailand and the beaches of Southern Thailand.

 I booked our tickets through www.skyscanner.com on February 3, 2015 (night time) – February 8, 2013 (night time), Dubai to Bangkok. At this date, we got return flight 1,345AED each. I went to www.booking.com for our hostel – Bed Bangkok Hostel. I highly recommended this for budget traveller for its price, simplicity and coziness. For a room for 3, we paid 5,000baht for 5 days. It’s not a 5-star hotel, if that’s what you’re looking for. But for backpackers like us, it’s the best! Check them here:

http://www.booking.com/hotel/th/bed-bangkok-hostel.en-gb.html?aid=311984;label=bed-bangkok-hostel-3th_KhsU0kGEYi_mxXjblgS7953333553%3Apl%3Ata%3Ap1%3Ap2%3Aac%3Aap1t2%3Aneg;sid=2fb67e09de266ad11b178a01ce7dec33;dcid=4;ucfs=1;srfid=af8d816af02fa67dd5bacd236a2db084d8c12f4cX1;highlight_room= .

Also, please be reminded that most of hostel in Bangkok requires local currency payment. So we only paid the hotel once we arrived there. You can pay directly via credit card in www.booking.com as well, whichever you prefer.

 We arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport, at around 1:30pm local time. First thing we did was look for a currency exchange center. However, they advised us to trade our money in the city  instead as there’s a higher exchange rate there compared in the airport. So we only exchanged a few dirhams for our taxi.

Outside, you could notice the long line of colourful taxis, in variation of pink, green, blue, yellow and more. We have to fall in line and take a number, which needs to be presented to the taxi driver to take us in. I recommend that you bring a printed copy of your Hotel address from their site as it usually has address in Thai alphabets that taxi drivers could easily understand.

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Long Line in Taxi at Arrival

Tip: Instead of taking the taxi going to Bangkok (cost us 550baht to Hostel), I recommend you take the Airport Rail Link and go down to Payatta Station, transfer to another train to your destination or take the Taxi from there. Better view even!

From the Airport to our Hostel, it took us more than 30 minutes as the airport is quite far  from the city. It was noted in the airport that an additional of 50baht will be added on your fare for the drivers. But in our case, he also requested 100baht more, with a total of 550baht for just the taxi.

  However, we found out later that there’s an Airport Rail Link (Train) that’s going from Airport to Bangkok and Back which is much cheaper than a taxi (and much faster definitely.) You just have to follow the signs from the airport (without going out) to reach there. If I remember right, it would only cost less than 100baht each to reach Payatta BTS Station, where you could transfer to BTS or take the taxi from there to your hotel.

We reached Bed Bangkok at around 2:30pm and the staff greeted us cheerily, along with her cats! Once settled in on our room and changed clothes, we headed out to look for a currency exchange centre which the hotel staff readily pointed to us. Don’t worry as we’ve noticed lots of currency exchange centre all over the city. Most are walking distance from each other. From the airport, 1 dirham will be exchanged to 6.25baht, but here, it’s 1dirham =7.36baht.

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Long Line in Taxi at Arrival

Before going back at the hostel, we stopped by to eat some street foods. Kenneth and Carl had this eggs wrapped in some dumplings wrapper and hotdogs wrapped in dumpling wrapper, both on stick, and I bought some pork flakes perfectly matched with sticky rice. I don’t have the picture though but they’re so yummy for a street food!

Eggs = 10baht; Hotdogs= 10baht; Pork and Rice = 20baht                                        Total = 40baht

 

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Street near our Hotel, near 711 store, street foods, eateries and Ploenchit BTS.

After refreshing ourselves, we took the BTS (Ploen Chit) again to Hualamphong station and rent a Tuktuk from there to go to China Town.

 Beware of Tuktuk that are waiting on the side street. No, beware of all Tuktuk drivers. I

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Our first Tuktuk experience.. 🙂

highly suggest to ask for their price first before getting in. On our case, we found this Tuktuk suspiciously waiting. When we asked him the fare to china town, he told us 500baht!!! Good thing the taxi driver earlier from the airport told us that Tuktuks are only around 100baht and below. So we directly told him no then, we find this honest Tuktuk driver who offered us just 70baht to China Town. Another tip?! BARGAIN! Once they know you’re tourist, they’re going to price it up (sometimes, 10x more). But since he seems to be an honest person, we only bargained until 60baht. From Hualamphong station, it’s just 10min ride or less.

China Town Ark
You would immediately know you are in China town once you see this ark, which blogs called the Chinese Gate.

The place is what you can expect from a China Town, Chinese Signs everywhere, red banners, streets full of market stalls, and food everywhere! But our main goal? Eat at the famous T&K restaurant! I’ve seen lots of blogs and 3 out of 5 mentioned this.

We walked to search for the T&K seafood restaurant. It took us 30min or more to find it as Thais are more familiar with their local language and we need to ask some directions in English and making signs. When we finally reached our destination, we ordered– seafood in milk soup, some clams, shrimps, rice and drinks for only 420baht, good for three! It’s definitely a great introduction to Thailand. The business of the street, the people shouting for order and the beautiful chaos of it all… perfectly Bangkok.

dessert

Then, we had below dessert on the side street for 30baht each. It’s actually a mixture of different fruits, jellys with vanilla and ice on top. It’s quite delicious actually. It’s like Thailand’s version of Philippine’s Halo Halo and Gulaman.

 

 

Going home, we decided to walk back from where we came from to take some pictures on the temple we passed through and the ark as well. It was already 7pm this time so the temple is closed but luckily, it doesn’t need to be open to see our first temple. Walking was fun as well as there are simple and cool things on the street to take some crazy pictures with.

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Our very first Thai Temple, I can’t remember the name, sorry 😀

Across the street is another temple, it was already closed so we planned to return to it the next day. Sadly, we never had the time.

 From the Chinese Gate, a good Samaritan told us that BTS is already a walking distance away so we decided to just walk. Reaching home, we bought some beer in 7/11 (red horse and some local beers to try) and some chicken intestines (isaw) for 10baht each which we missed a lot back in the Philippines.

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Best IhawIhaw Ever!

 

DAY 0 ends here. You can check Day 1 for Ayutthaya Thailand. 🙂

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