Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bangkok 1

Bangkok, Capital of Thailand, gave us many surprises as we took our 4 days 3 nights tour over the city during May, 2009. From the movies such as "Bangkok Dangerous", "Ong-Bak", "Ong-Bak II", and all sorts of Thai's movies, our impression about Bangkok- full with antiques building, wats (temples), Buddha statues, small streets, villagers' looking folks... We are right, partly, as we missed up the modern and contemporary part of Bangkok.

Suvarnabhumi Airport, contemporary and antique, commersial and religiously blended hub to the outside world, gives warm welcome to whoever step their foot on the land of Siam.

Upon reaching the Suvarnabhumi Airport, at 5 pm, we took a taxi to our hotel. Even we used expressway and toll paid, we still get knew to "Traffic Jam The Great" in Bangkok, which caused us 2 hours time to reach our hotel, for a 25 minutes journey. Much more terrible than the worst case we ever have in Malaysia. So, if you plan to visit Bangkok, make sure your flight arrive outside the rush hours (7-9 am, 5-7 pm), eluding the frustration that might kills your fine holiday mood. The traffic is less jam on Sunday or public holiday as well, as we experienced a very loose traffic on Labour Day (1st May 2009).

Photos taken from the taxi along the highway. Low shutter speed yet with still high clarity, thanks to the traffic jam.

Anyway, our emotional agitation caused by a long trap in traffic was comforted by the warm welcome from the hotel staffs. Salil Hotel at Sukhumvit Soi 8, with Air Asia rate of RM160 per night. We booked our hotel together with air tickets through Air Asia. That's our first time in booking hotel online, and Air Asia washed all our doubts away. We called the hotel and got our confirmation from the hotel in less than 3 days from the moment we clicked the "yes" button on the web.

What can we expect from a hotel with such rate in Sukhumvit Soi 8? Everything else except one of the best... But what we had there was one of the best hotel we ever stayed. It's small with friendly English speaking staffs, whose collectively refused any tips in any form from us. The room was clean and well designed, the food served in restaurant, although short in variety met our taste buds. The hotel is 700 - 800 meters away from Nana Skytrain Station (further than the description in some of the tourism webpage). But the 24 hours service shuttle cart solved our problem. The hotel is 25 minutes away from the airport (without traffic jam), with taxi, cost about 500 Baht (including expressway toll). Last but not least, equiped with DVD player, we can get DVD for free viewing from the lobby.

Salil Hotel at Sukumvit Soi 8. Far upper row from left to right shows staircase, walkway, and buffet breakfast. The room is clean and neat, with cooling air cond, hearty snacks (even we didn't take any), coffee making, fridge, 32 flat screen, and two elephants as door gift. The photo below shows the electric powered shutter cart use to carry the residents forth and back from the skytrain station.

Photo shows Nana Skytrain Station at night, around 8 pm.

Around 8:30 pm, we reached Paragon, one of the biggest shopping mall in Bangkok, located 3 BTS Skytrain stations away from Nana Station. We took our dinner and a short shopping there, and head straight back to Nana Station. Just below the station, a few hundred stalls of night market awaited. We did some surveys about the price, quality, and, get our bargaining skills polished.

Night market from the overhead skytrain station. Photo taken around 10 pm.

The next morning, we took BTS Skytrain and MRT to Hua Lampong. Then, we took a walk into Old Siam area (Siam is the old name of Thailand) through Thanon Yauwarrat. Along Thanon Yauwarrat, we visited famous China Town Market, with hundreds of meters of lanes, filled with thousands of hawkers and stalls, selling various type of stuffs, food, clothes, toys, kitchen appliances, stationaries, sport equipments,adornments, drawings, souvenirs, and many many more. We bought some stuffs with really good bargained price (we will never get it in our country).

The routes that we took in Old Siam: We went through Thanon Yauwarrat and Thanon Charoen Krung on foot (red), to the temples around the area with tut-tut (green), and went to Arun Wat with ferry (blue). Map taken from Thaiway Magazine. As you can notice from the map, Old Siam area is surrounded by water ways (indicated in blue colour), which once served as moat.
Photo on the upper left shows Hua Lampong Station, which lead to Thanon Yauwarrat and Thanon Charoen Krung. Other photos show scene at Thanon Yauwarrat.

We continued our journey to old part of Bangkok, or been called old Siam, visiting several temples, mostly on foot. We took tut-tut to visit the outskirt temples and ferries for Arun Wat.

One thing that we would like to comment on tut-tut- always go for the more "high-priced one" (such as 50 Baht and above, depends on the distance) to go to your destination without any interference. The "low-priced" tut-tut (such as 20 - 30 Baht per ride or even free-of-charge) might end up with bringing you "go-a-merry-ride" to shops with very expensive jewelleries and clothes before yours destination. We had been brought to visit two jewellery shops and one taylor shop on our ride, and can you belief that we were actually pay nothing for the whole day ride? Well, the drivers of the tut-tut, once we were on, requested our permission to stop at certain shops, and in return, they offered us free rides. We fulfilled their request, and, what else? Free ride we had.

Please follow us to the Temples in Bangkok.


  1. What is the distance between hualampong station and wat pho?

  2. According to the map, it is around 3 km