Travel plans 2016: Bangkok Part 1
It’s probably weird why 2016 is higher in my list than 2015. This is because…. I’ll GRADUATE NEXT YEAR JUNE!!!!! Yay! *throws confetti all around*
It means that I’m free to travel around until whatever I’ve decided to do turns up. Still not certain what I want to do after graduation. Maybe teach? Or pursue my Masters degree? Travel writing..? It’s weird that I feel more resolved to travel rather than to figure out my future path. Prioritize, woman!
Keep in mind that this is just a rough guide and draft of the places I wanna go. What really happens at the end really depends on God’s will, or my mood (haha, not funny).
Destination 1: Thailand (Bangkok & Hua Hin)
This is gonna be my graduation trip with my classmates. Probably after this trip, we would never be likely to meet again. So expect some group activities and loads of pics!
We are gonna travel from 26-30th May 2016. It looks like it’ll be quite hot with 30 degree Celsius. I was trained for Malaysian weather, so 30 degree Celsius is what we call sap sap water (no problem at all!).
Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. It’s known for it’s vibrant modern city life with an ancient Thailand twist. It’s sort of like an all-in-one package. There are rooftop bars and restaurants, cheap red light districts, night clubs and shopping paradise(s) or ancient temples and sacred grounds like Wat Arun and the Grand Palace (my first post by the way, yay!).
Wat arun, the temple of dawn
Opening hours: 8:30am-7:30pm
Entry fees: 100 baht
It’s situated on the riverside of Chao Phraya River. Although it is called the temple of dawn, it is recommended by tourists to visit in the evening or night time when the lights are all lit up. Some also say that the best time to visit is to visit in the early morning to beat the tourist crowd. This I absolutely agree! I think that sometimes too many people ruin the serenity of temples. It’s also extremely annoying to have a bunch of people walking around the background when you just wanna take a nice photo of the place. Bangkok.com claims that this is the one of the most recognizable temples in Bangkok as the design of this temple is significantly different from other temples in Bangkok. What is different, I don’t really know. But know that I will find out. One day.
Grand palace & Wat Phra keau
Opening hours: 8:30am- 3:30pm
Entry fees: Varies with package, can cost up to 400baht
Wow, this building has seen a lot! It has been around since the 18th century and as suggested by the name, it is home to Thai kings for 150 years. Although royalty does not live there anymore, the building is still used for celebrations. Most of it is open to visitors except for the inner courts, which was where the King’s royal consorts and daughters have lived. Reading the description of this building, it seems a little bit similar to Beijing’s Forbidden City. It seems like a self-sufficient little city. I don’t know, maybe I’m not that well versed in palaces, but it fascinates me.
Oh! A really important thing when visiting places with strong religious influences like Thailand: always bring an extra shawl or scarf and socks. Temples are considered to be sacred in Bangkok. It is forbidden to enter sacred grounds with revealing clothing. In some instances, even bare feet is considered as taboo. That means, no singlets, no shorts/short skirts/slippers. Shawls and socks are useful in covering all those revealing areas in a moment’s notice. Not to worry if you didn’t prepare any of it, there is a clothing booth outside the palace with robes ready to be rented, at a deposit of course.
Wat Phra keau
This is where the famous emerald Buddha resides within the Grand Palace. Unlike other temples, it does not contain living quarters for monks; it has only elaborately decorated pagodas, statues and architecture. Oddly enough, it has a lot of influences from the Indian civilization running back before humans are, well, civilized. There are murals depicting the Ramayana epic, which basically a good will always defeat evil story (thank you Tamadun Islam paper which I’m supposed to be studying now -_-). There are also giant guardians guarding the gates of the Balcony (which can be compared as the temple walls) that are from the same epic. There is a model of Angkor Wat (temple in Cambodia) in the temple, which I find really really weird. I get it that Cambodia was under Siamese control at that time and the King has ordered for the mini Angkor Wat to be build in the temple of the Grand Palace. What I couldn’t grasp is that why build it in Thailand? Why not build some Thailand landmark on Cambodia instead? Hmm, well, another answer to search for!
The Khlongs of Thonburi
Transport fee: vary
Visit Bangkok in the olden ages. Khlong means canal in Thai (according to Wikipedia). It’s filled with quaint attractions from the older days like old teak houses and old factories found in the various different khlongs. Khlong Mon has more of an old town feel. Imagine cruising through the river (I’m gonna call it a river because I don’t like the word canal) running between shores with old temples, shacks that look like it’s gonna fall off anytime soon. Women are washing laundry by the riverside, scrubbing, talking and waving and smiling at the same time. Monks wearing orange robes travelling in groups, talking to the people and praying for them. It’s so picturesque, it’s unbelievable. It represents Bangkok in a simpler and older way. Khlong Bangkok Noi, on the other hand, is a wider river. The sides are lined with old factories, navy installations and temples. It connects with Chao Phraya, so if you want to visit any attractions there, it might be a good idea to cruise the river. (Source)
Apparently, there are a lot of different transportation modes you can choose to cross the river. There are the express water taxis, identifiable by flag colours. I like to think of them to be like trains, where different flag colours represent a different route. You can find more information about the routes and other modes of water transport here. But for those who doesn’t want to open the link to read, the costs basically varies between 3 baht (local ferry-just to cross the river) to 10-100 baht (water taxis) to as high as 400-500 baht/hour (private tour on a traditional long tail boat).
Opening hours: ??-2.30am/3am
Price: varies with how wasted you want to get
What is Thailand without sex? OK, that came out wrong but Thailand is known for the red light districts
and the prostitution and the transvestites and sex change operations . So it’s sort of integral to the Thailand identity. Soi Cowboy seems like a place where Go Go Bars assemble. There are at least 11 bars as introduced by this website. Drinks varies from 100 baht to 200 baht. Well, I think it’s quite worth a visit. If not to get wasted, it’s always a pleasure to see other people get wasted or get laid.
Keep in mind, I haven’t really went to these places yet. All of my information are gathered through Bangkok.com, NomadicMatt.com (this site is great, by the way, go check it out!) and Lonelyplanet.com. For those that are sharp eyed, you might have realized that I only included sources from the ending onwards. This is because I forgot to add in the source when I was drafting the article out and didn’t save the link. But everything I wrote here is based on the 3 links I provided earlier and some personal views. Until next time, then!