Saturday, 29 October 2011

What Made Me Stay in Bangkok for Five Days

Arrived in Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport one afternoon from Osaka.

I have cruised the Chao Phraya river, enjoyed the food in the Floating Restaurant, purchased souvenirs in the Floating Market, and wandered the city of Bangkok to see the temples and all things nice. These happened in just 5 days. Read on and find out how.

It was my second trip to Bangkok, the first being 6 years back, and just as exciting as the first. 

One of Bangkok's Military Formation
I will always cherish our time together with our new Thai friends Denchai and Kwan. A very pleasant and hospitable couple. I met them in Osaka which was the first leg of my Asian tour.

It only took us few minutes to talk and exchange ideas and became comfortable with each other. In the end, they invited us to come to Bangkok. It was my third Asian destination out of the five countries in my itinerary. 

Denchai & Kwan - Our New Friends from Bangkok 


Thai Airways touched down the airport after which, I took a cab with my family who were with me and checked in to the Grand Tower Inn Hotel in the city centre. It was a four-star hotel with amenities that anyone will think that it deserve more stars to their ranking.

The nice accommodation that we had, speaks for the high room rates.  I pay not a single baht though. I used my split-week from one of the timeshares I own.


This is the QVIClub wherein I'd been a member for over a decade now. My membership is valid for another 20 years of enjoying its home resorts in Antalya, Turkey - Koh Samui, Thailand - Bangkok, Thailand - Phuket, Thailand - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and South Africa.


The other timeshare is a 2-bedroom suite with loft at the Westgate Vacation Villas in Kissimmee, Orlando, Florida in the U.S.A. The suite can accommodate 10-12 guests loaded with luxurious amenities.

Both timeshares can be used for accommodation all over the world for an additional exchange fee. If anyone reading this is interested to any of my timeshare, please send me an email I provided below. 
GrandTowerInnHotel Front Desk









Now, lets go back to my travel story.

As soon as we arrived in Bangkok, I called Kwan. She dropped by to the hotel with husband Denchai. I remember Kwan's few words when they came to see us...."Tomorrow, we will be your tour guide for the whole day and whole night...and...don't worry, she said --- it is for free. Full of humour indeed!

And it all did happen in one day and one night.

I feel like we were friends for a long time. They never let me pull money from my wallet, though I really feel uncomfortable doing this. 

Denchai & Kwan
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and is the largest city. It is not only the temples and palaces that is popular.

For many years, boats has been the means of transportation in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand. At Chao Phraya river alone, I can see a lot of small  boats plying the river to different destinations. Even then, you will be charmed with the peaceful atmosphere of the waterways.


Cruising the legendary Chao Phraya River is a must-see and must-do. You will have a glimpse of the hospitable local people. You will see them busy with their daily lives along the banks. For a tourist, this is the best way of cruising the river.

People of Bangkok
I went around the busy markets and the floating market which is a little farther from the centre.  Damnoen Saduak continues to offer an authentic experience though it is increasingly becoming  touristy. Hundreds of wooden row boats floating by, selling with farm fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Many locals live along the canals and that is why a floating market is necessary for their daily livelihood. The market is situated in Damnoen Saduak district in Ratchaburi province, 105 kilometres away from Bangkok. Allow at least 2 hours travel time from Bangkok city centre to this famous floating market.


Direction By Car:
From Bangkok via Thonburi-Paktoh Highway to Samut Songkhram Town.  Follow the sign to Damnoen Saduak (Highway 325).


Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Not far from my hotel is the Chatuchak Weekend Market which is considered the world's largest weekend market.  The market has more than 15,000 booths selling goods coming from different parts of Thailand.  With everything from antiquities, trendy fashions, silk, amulets and other items which made it difficult to decide because the choices are endless. We bought quite a lot of clothings and local handicrafts and had to grab some souvenir items. They are cheap as they sell at local price even to tourists. Remember to haggle on anything that you want including the ones I mentioned earlier.

I spent more than half a day shopping with my family. I did not like shopping but this time I had to go with the flow as these are real bargain. This market is open on Saturdays and Sundays.  The nearby attractions include JJ Mall, Chatuchak Park, Children's museum, Train Museum, Chatuchak Plaza, and Jatujak Day & Night.

Chatuchak Weekend Market is at Payolhothin Road which is five minutes walk from Mo Chit Skytrain Station and Suan Chatuchak Station
Street Vendor in Thailand
The next three days were spent scouring the tourist attractions that everyone is talking about.

The Grand Palace caught my attention. It's spectacular!  I was amazed with the beautiful architecture and intricate details.  You are allowed inside the reception hall where you will find the antique throne.  You should not miss seeing this.  I guess it is Bangkok's most famous landmark.

View of the Grand Palace in Bangkok
You can go around and see the whole complex where you will be entering the Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Dress appropriately when you visit the palace. No short pants and sleeveless shirts are allowed for men.  Women should be modestly dressed with no see-through clothes and bare shoulders.  But women have other options if they are improperly dressed and still want to go inside. They can proceed to a booth near the entrance and get clothes provided to cover you up.

For men, no other option - you cannot even wear sandals.  If you do, you should wear socks.  If your itinerary is hectic, be aware of the dress code regulations while in Thailand.

Grand Palace Complex in Bangkok

I had a glimpse of the Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn.  It has become one of the most recognized temple landmarks. It consists of a huge elongated tower, surrounded by four small ones. You will have a good view of this structure from a distance.

Restaurants on the opposite side of the Chao Phraya river is recommended as it is a good place to view the temple. 

Direction to Wat Arun: Go to the pier southwest corner of Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew and take the Tha Tien Express boat which leaves every few minutes.  

Wat Pho in Bangkok
In the old city, Wat Pho is located in the Rattanakosin district adjacent to the Grand Palace. It is the home of the reclining buddha and more than a thousand images of smaller buddhas collected mostly from the ruins of the former capitals, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. It is better known as Wat Phra Chetuphon to the locals.

Yes, the reclining buddha is the highlight of this Wat. The feet and the eyes are engraved with mother-of-pearl decor. To go to the entrance of Wat Pho, head out to Chetuphon Road.  


Streets of Bangkok
Bangkok is a tropical country and is a traveller-friendly, so much so that the people are so welcoming and nice to the tourists. It is always hot in Bangkok, sunny all year round with a temperature of 30°C (86°F) or even higher.  

Plan a trip to Thailand and include Bangkok in your itinerary.  You will be glad you read some detailed information right here in my blog.


From the desk of: 
Freddie Miranda
A blogger and a freelance writer based in Toronto. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send him a message fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail(dot)com.