Venice of the East
I went to a conference held in Bangkok, Thailand last week. And whenever possible, the family goes with me. We went there by MAS. Somehow, AirAsia had no promotional offer during the dates and MAS fares were lower than AirAsia. Thus, my kids got to indulge in the Malaysian Hospitality served on board; Ferrero Rocher and Haagen Daaz.

At Suvarnabhumi airport Bangkok, your photo will be taken during passport check. My kids were amused and excited going through the procedure.

In Bangkok, we stayed in Emerald Hotel on Ratchadapisek Road. The hotel is also the venue of the conference.

The room is quite spacious but we had to ask for an extra bed to accommodate all of us.

Bangkok was once dubbed as the Venice of the East due to the activities that transpired along Chao Phraya river. And Bangkok has several floating markets attractions. We did not get to see any of the floating markets but we went for a cruise along the river. It was windy and wet the first few days we were there. So, boarding on the boat was quite a freezing adventure. There's a tour package available  in the form of one day river pass for 150 baht (RM15). You can hop in hop off the boat via specified piers all day long.

Along the river, there are several wats which are located quite close to the pier.

We stopped at Tha Tien Pier  which is in the vicinity of 2 wats: Wat Arun and Wat Pho. Wat Pho is within walking distance from the pier but to get to Wat Arun which is located on the other side of the river bank, you need to take a ferry which cost you 3 baht. Well, that's 30 cents. We spent some time in Wat Pho but did not proceed to Wat Arun nor did we proceed to the other piers. It's getting late and it's cold. The other piers also offer other wat attractions as well as Anantasamakom Throne Hall.

We also went to Lumpini Park. At the entrance of the park stood a huge statue of King Rama VI. I noticed some Thais bow and gave respect whenever they pass the statue.

The park is huge and have lots of facilities. Taman Tasik Titiwangsa just cannot compete with this park. It has a lake with paddle boat service, swimming pool, kids playground, hall, youth center with courts and other facilities.

Bangkok is also famous for its night markets or bazaars. We dropped by one night market, Patpong night market. 

Besides the night markets, the weekend markets are equally famous. One of it is Chatuchak Market. Jatuchak? Chaktuchak? All refer to the same place. We managed to go there before we went back. It is a very big market. With Zones A, B, C and D and numerous gates. One can easily get lost in it. And can easily lost your money to the vendors as well happy. Frankly, we did not shop much. Ada la beli sikit2 je. Most of our money were spent on taxis and meals.

But actually, it is a common scenery to see vendors and stalls along the roadside. You don't have to go to any specific markets.

Things on sale vary. Food, clothes, home deco etc. And being a pharmacologist, I can't help but noticing them selling Valium and sildenafil in the open raised eyebrows.

In certain areas, I saw this signage by the roadside. I don't know what it means but this may be what it would look like if ever PAS merge with BN winking.

There are many means of transportation around Bangkok. Taxis are everywhere and easy to get. But some drivers refused to take you due to bad traffic condition. Yeah... traffic in Bangkok can be very bad or always bad it seems to me. Some taxi drivers may refuse to use the meter but instead fix the fare beforehand. Jangan la naik teksi tu. We met some taxi drivers  with interesting (or scary) characters. Most of them drive like mad. I guess it is a required skill to be able to survive the congested traffic. One taxi driver laughed and mumbled to himself while listening to the radio. Mujur sampai jugak ke tempat yang nak pergi. Lots of drivers can't understand nor speak English so most of the time we rode in silence. And kalau nak kutuk2 driver pun ok, dia bukannya paham... he he...winking Anyhow, you'll be able to identify vacant taxi by the LED light displayed on the windscreen.

And of course, the famous motorized rickshaws or nama manjanya tuk tuk are also available. All 6 of us managed to squeeze into one tuk tuk for one short trip from Lumpini Park to Patpong night market. I don't think we can tolerate longer trips with our uncomfortable positions inside the tuk tuk as well as the risk of over breathing in engine fumes.

We also tried the BTS, the sky train.

And also the MRT, the underground train.

These two transportations will get you to your destination faster during heavy traffic flow but for a family of 6 like mine, using the BTS or MRT might not be cost-effective.

For a more adventurous way of traveling, motor taxis are also available. Those who are available for hire usually wear colored vests such as these motorists. So if you are traveling solo, doesn't have lots of baggage on you, you may want to try and ride on these motorcycles.

One of the concerns when being in Bangkok is getting in the middle of red shirt protestors. We witnessed the protest on our last day. Luckily, it was very peaceful but it did cause traffic congestion.

Alhamdulillah, in terms of health, I was fine throughout my stay over there except for the usual grouches of a pregnant woman. However, my kids, (except the youngest) had a few episodes of vomiting but Alhamdulillah, they recovered. I don't know what trigger the vomiting. Maybe the food or the reckless taxi drivers or the thick smell of fried and grilled food by the roadside. The smell can be nauseating. Luckily I'm now past my 1st trimester or else I would be the one who vomits sick. Talking about food, we had some interesting experience. Will write about it in the next post.
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4 Responses
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