04/17/2014 It was only 2.30 AM when the alarm rang. I woke up from my only two hour sleep, earlier than all the chicken behind my house. I was still so sleepy and my eyes burnt but then it was for good as I was going to Thailand that day with my sister and her three friends!
Getting excited by the thoughts of the trip, I got up and got ready, the flight I had to catch was at 06.10 AM while it took approximately two hours from my house to the airport. Having said goodbye with my parents and my kitty whose sleep was disturbed because of the noises my sister and I made, we finally went out of the house with my sister’s friend whose Dad took us to the airport. (thank you, Sir)
So there we were, my sister, her three friends and I, arrived at Soekarno Hatta Int’l airport at around 4.45 AM and ready to rock Thailand. As always, I took my Antimo pills (lol) thirty minutes before the plane took off to prevent me from getting motion sickness on the plane.
It took three hours to fly from Jakarta to Bangkok. We arrived in Don Mueang Int’l Airport at around 10 AM then proceeded to the immigration lines and luggage claims. My first thought as I arrived in the airport was: Soekarno Hatta Int’l Airport was not as bad as what I always thought it was (LOL). We then left the airport and Bangkok at 11 AM, with a friendly Thai driver who was ready to pick us up and take us to our first destination: PATTAYA!
Mr. Drainai was the name of our driver, a really nice and friendly guy, he was. He spoke English better than most Thai people we met in Thailand and he was willing to take us anywhere we wanted to go. Our first destination was Mini Siam. It is a miniature park attraction that has lots of replicas of famous buildings and statues like Statue of Liberty, Sydney Opera House, Tower of London, Arc de Triumph, and many other famous buildings from all over Thailand and the world. I personally enjoyed the sights there, it was interesting for those who have not travelled much and wanted to see the famous buildings and statues around the world in a small form. Unfortunately the heavy rain bothered us a lot and it did not seem to stop as we were there so we could not take good pictures and I felt a little bit disappointed because of it.
Our next stop was Floating Market Pattaya. We were a little bit tired already from waking up early and walking around Mini Siam. Although so, it did not lessen our excitement to explore Floating Market. With 90 THB, we could enter the Floating Market and stay as long as we pleased. As I have imagined, there were lots of Thai foods and drinks there, I could not help but drooling over the foods being cooked. The first food I had in Floating Market was a 50 THB Mango Sticky Rice and I immediately fell in love with it! I was also gonna buy Pad Thai but then I felt full already from it. We then walked around and bought lots of foods. I had myself a 50 THB Turkey ice cream which was so good and very sticky. Overall, it was also a good place to go because they also had an attraction inside that you might want to watch. (P.S: I would recommend that you starve yourself before going to this place.)
It was 4.30 AM already as I decided to force my sister and her friends to leave and go to our next destination. We only had a a day in Pattaya so I thought we had to spend our time very wisely. With the itinerary I made back home, I asked Mr. Drainai to take us to Silverlake Vineyard, a famous vineyard in Pattaya. Right when we parked our car, we saw a very huge Buddha figure in a mountain. Turned out, it was also a tourist attraction called Golden Buddha. Although there was not very much to see, we were so thrilled to see the huge Buddha and of course to take lots of pictures! The Silverlake Vineyard itself was indeed very beautiful. I enjoyed being there and just sitting in one of the chairs to look around. It’s also a free entrance too, except you wanna take the tour around the vineyard and try the tasty grape juice then you have too pay for 100 THB (I would recommend that you try it.) We stayed there for more than two hours until the sun set in the west.
It was about time for us to go to our hotel and rest before going to our last destination: Alcazar Cabaret Show. We were all drained from walking too much and just wanting the touch of fresh water. We parted with Mr. Drainai at the hotel as it was the end of his service already, but we had agreed to use his service again to take us to our hotel in Bangkok the next day.
The Cabaret show started at 09.30 PM and we were lucky that it is located only five minutes away from our hotel. Although it was close to our hotel, we were frightened to walk to the show since a lot of foreigners splashed water to everyone in the street to celebrate Songkran, Thailand’s traditional New Year. We were running for our lives, (and I especially ran faster than everyone since I only had a pair of clean jeans left) from the hotel to the Alcazar Show to avoid getting splashed from them.
The Alcazar Show was gone far from my expectation. The ladyboys were all very pretty, even prettier than some real girls which was amusing, but I was expecting them to sing instead of doing a lip-sync. I had to watch them doing a lip-sync for two hours which was kind of boring but well, it was not a Broadway and it was honestly pretty entertaining to see them dance anyway.
And as the night could not be more darker in Pattaya, we went back to our hotel almost at midnight to rest our body and especially our feet for our upcoming Bangkok trip the next day.
04/18/2014 We checked out from the hotel early in the morning at around 6.30 AM. Mr. Drainai was already waiting for us in front of the hotel. We were ready to go to our hotel in Bangkok to just put our luggage in our rooms and then go to our destinations. Having made the itinerary myself, we were supposed to go to Rattanakosin (the area of where the famous temples like Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun are), Dusit, and Asiatique the Riverfront on that day.
It was real hot in Bangkok. Twenty one years of living in Jakarta was clearly not even a guarantee for me to stand Bangkok’s heat but we kept on moving because today’s destinations were like the highlights of our trip. With 100 THB per person, we took a boat across Chao Phraya river to the Grand Palace.
The Grand Palace was overall nothing but as GRAND as its name. It was all posh, beautiful, and just worth the entrance fee which was 500 THB. Although it was very hot and we were sweating a lot, it did not stop us to take lots of pictures and just enjoy the view. There were lots of tourists who were very curious about and surprised (some even asked us about it) by the monopad or the selfie stick (tongsis, it is) that my sister brought and which could help us take pictures together without asking for a stranger to help us do that. I found it very funny and embarrassing because people just could not stop looking at us every time we took pictures in front of the sights. (LOL!)
We continued our journey from the Grand Palace to Wat Pho, which according to Google Map is very close to Grand Palace. As we walked there from the Grand Palace, we realised that Wat Pho is kind of far from Grand Palace. It took more than ten minutes to walk there plus it was very hot that it drained us. I would suggest going there by Taxi or Tuktuk.
Wat Pho was honestly quiet boring compared to the Grand Palace. There was not much to see but the Reclining Buddha inside the temple. Although it was quiet fascinating to see the large Reclining Budha as well as the temples complex, it was not as good as what we had seen on the internet. Felt exhausted and hot from the sunshine that drained us, we decided to rest and sit in a small park inside the complex for almost two hours. (Yes, I regretted wasting my time on this.)
After having enough rest at Wat Pho, we then continued our trip to Wat Arun, the last temple in the area of Rattanakosin that we planned to visit. While we were on our way there, we stopped by a souvenir shop to buy some souvenirs for families and friends back home. I did only buy a Thai trousers for myself which was mostly worn by tourists because I ran out of clean trousers lol.
To reach Wat Arun, we needed to go on a small shuttle boat to cross the Chao Phraya river. We were surprised to know that it cost only 3 THB per person for a single trip. It was indeed very cheap.
At first my sister, one of her friends and I decided not to go inside the temple because we felt so tired we thought we could not afford to walk anymore, but then we were there already so I again decided to force my sister to enter the temple.
I would have never forgiven myself if that day I decided not to enter the temple. I loved being in Wat Arun so much. The architecture of the temple was just very beautiful. We could also climb the central spire to get to the top and see Chao Phraya River, the Grand Palace, and Wat Pho on the opposite of the spire. We unfortunately did not go to the highest point of the spire as the steps were very steep and I was personally scared of heights (shame). Although so, you need not to worry as there is a railing to balance yourself while climbing and it also only cost 50 THB for foreigners to enter the temple. (We entered the temple for free because they might think that we were locals! LOL)
It was 06.00 PM already when we decided to leave Wat Arun because it was about to close. We went back using the shuttle boat and decided that it was late already to go to Dusit so we went to the Asiatique the Riverfront instead.
Asiatique the Riverfront was more like a night market where there were lots of shops and food stalls. We had dinner at one place located in front of Asiatique. There we found the best Thai Tea in Thailand and it was only 30 THB too! We were just so happy to find a place where all the foods being sold were halal. 🙂
Overall, we (re: my sister and her friends, except me) spent the night in Asiatique by shopping. I explored the Asiatique by myself while they were busy hunting for things and got myself new sandals to wear for the next day since I got blisters on my feet from walking too much. It was worth visit and a cool place to go at night but we did not spend too much time there as we left at 09.00 PM to go back to our hotel.
04/19/2014 It was our third day in Thailand. My sister and her friends went to see Madame Tussaud’s in Siam Center, a mall that is located in Siam, the city center where all the biggest and coolest malls are. Since I have already been to Madame Tussaud’s in London before, I decided not to go with them and instead walked around the malls while waiting for them.
There were not lots to do in the malls but shopping. What I mostly did in the mall was sitting at Starbucks and playing a game on my iPad with a cute kid sitting beside me. But then of course I got bored waiting for them so I decided to walk around and see what’s inside the malls.
In my point of view, Siam Paragon, one of the malls in Siam, was like the okay-est mall among the other malls. It had a good food court where you could find lots of Thai foods with a good price. We did spend almost all day in Siam Paragon when we decided to go to Platinum Mall (yes, another mall :|) which was close to our hotel to go shopping (again). As we got there, we found out that almost all the stores in Platinum were closed already. Luckily, Pratunam Market (the famous traditional Market in Bangkok that is located right in front of Platinum Mall) was open at night. So we just walked around there and did some shopping until almost midnight.
04/20/2014 It was our fourth and last day in Bangkok, Thailand. Our flight was at 07.30 PM so we still had half of day to explore more of Bangkok. I decided to part with my sister and her friends as they were going to shop again in Chatuchak Weekend Market and I wanted to go to Dusit which we did not go to on our second day simply because we did not have enough time.
But, as they left already…. I remembered that my best friend was going to deliver her baby soon. So, I decided to go to Platinum Mall first to buy something for the baby. Having done with it, I still had to go back to Siam Paragon to buy a medicine and souvenirs my sister and her friends wanted to buy the other day but they did not. I thought I still had enough time to go to Dusit but apparently I did not. I was gutted in the first place, so I treated myself a large cup of Thai Tea and Mango Sticky Rice at Siam Paragon. While I was having them, there was a local guy trying to sit in the same table with me.
X : *spoke Thai*
A : sorry?
X : is the seat free?
A : oh yeah, you could sit here.
That was not my first time since I arrived in Thailand that I was mistaken as a Thai lol. Feeling awkward, I left him with his food and moved to a long chair where there was no one sitting in.
As I was trying to finish my Thai tea, there were two Korean guys (whom I thought my sister and her friends would like) came to ask a direction for me. So there I was, trying to act like a pro local…
X : Sawadee Kha, do you know which way to go to the Central World?
A : Huh? Oh just follow this way *pointed the way* and keep going straight.
X : Kap Kun Kaa (thank you)
I couldn’t help but laughing. I thought I could just live there without having to speak and people would think I was a local.
Knowing it’s about time to go back to the hotel and get ready to go to the airport, I finally left Siam Paragon. Although I was still disappointed for not being able to go to Dusit, the experience I had alone was actually fun. I got to see the Embassy of Indonesia while walking to Platinum Mall and a free-entrance temple located next to Siam Paragon, had a large cup of Thai tea, plus acted like a local.
It was really a cool trip and although it was so tiring to walk there everyday with the sun that burnt my skin, I would still love to go back and walk a thousand miles, exploring what I had not explored yet.
Thailand, I’ll be back to you someday! 🙂