Thursday, 23 December 2010

Bangkok trip – Prologue

A lot of Singaporeans have went to Bangkok umpteen times but this is my maiden trip there. Must be very sua ku right? Even YQ have went to Bangkok thrice. I heard from many people that Bangkok is a shopping haven and things are freaking cheap.

As I'm travelling during the Xmas period, airticket would not be as cheap as normal days. Initially, I intend to book Air Asia tix during promotion but due to my slower response, the tix I have selected were taken up others when I'm on the payment webpage. Haiz... In the end, I booked with Jetstar way back in March and airtix cost $243 including airport tax. On normal days, tcket to Bangkok can be as low as $100 for return trip. Who knows, maybe I'll fall in love with Bangkok and pay yearly "pilgrimage" there, hehe... I'm really those super kiasu who booked Dec airtix in March which is 9 months ahead! For the record, I even booked my 2011 CNY airtix. Yes, I'm heading to Bangkok within a span of 2 months.
Map of Thailand

Bangkok is one of the largest city in Southeast Asia. It is the capital of Thailand since 1782 after it was moved from Ayutthaya. Bangkok is listed in Guinness Book of Records for the world's longest place name. Thais called Bangkok "Krung Thep". The full name is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit (Thai: กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุทธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์) which translates to "The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarm".

I heard from frenz who visited Bangkok that the 4 & 5 stars hotels are cheap compared to hotels of similar standard in Singapore. However, I'm staying in Bangkok for 7 nights, this would work out to a substantial sum. After some research, I decided to stay at Take A Nap Hostel. The rooms were all furnished with a different theme like the boutique hotels in Singapore. But the rates are very affordable and wouldn't burn a hole in my wallet. Furthermore, the hostel is located near both MRT and BTS. It is also a MRT station away from Hualumphong train station which is very accessible for us since most of our days would be taking a train to the outskirt in the morning and returning at night. I booked 2 different double rooms, 1 room for 5 nights and another for 2 nights. The total cost is only THB7,300 ~ S$317 which is ~$45 per night.

Although this is my 1st trip to Bangkok, I would be visiting the outskirt for most of the days and the attractions in Bangkok will be reserved for my next trip when I'm travelling with my parents. This trip is deja vu to my taiwan trip where I spent more time outside the city which I'm actually visiting. Quite a few people are surprised that I'm planning to visit the outskirt since most Singaporeans only went to Bangkok for shopping and makan.

After researching on the places to visit, my outskirt trips would be to Ayutthaya (pronounce as "A-you-their"), Mae Klong railway market, Nakhon Pathom & Kanchanaburi. I shall give a brief description on these 4 places.

Ayutthaya was Thailand second capital after Sokhothai and before Bangkok. It was one of the world's most prosperous cities in the 17th Century. I made a mental note before to visit Southeast Asia’s four greatest historical sites including Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Ayutthaya in Thailand, Bagan in Mymmar and Borobudur in Indonesia. All except Bagan are UNESCO World Heritage site. Ayutthaya can be done in a day trip from Bangkok since it is 1.5hr away by bus or 2hr away by train. Most atttractions in Ayutthaya are situated within an island and is best to rent a bicycle or motorbike or hire a tuk tuk to get around.

I believe quite a lot of people should have seen a video on a train running through the middle of a market and forces the vendors to pull back their awnings. A lot of people including me wondered whether such place exist on earth? There is indeed such a place and it's in Thailand Mae Klong. Well, the journey from Bangkok to Mae Klong is a bit complicated due to few train timings and connecting of trains. I shall further elaborate with photos later.

Nakhon Pathom will be a stopover trip on our way to Kanchanaburi. The purpose of stopping here is to visit Phra Pathom Chedi, the tallest stupa in the world.

Kanchanaburi is made famous by the death railway. I intend to spend a night in Kanchanaburi as a day trip would be a bit rush. Initially, I thought of staying at River Kwai Jungle Rafts after I have seen it on a TV variety show but it's quite expensive. What is special about River Kwai Jungkle Rafts is that it can only be reach by boat. I settled for an ensuite double room at Apple's Retreat and Guesthouse which cost THB650 per night and offers complimentary pick up service from the train station or bus terminal.

Since YQ offered to share my burden by planning the meals and massage, I shall give him another chance. If he informed me at the very last minute that he didnt do the research, I will definitely scold him. =p

Itinerary for 9 days:
Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok at 8.35pm (GMT +7) and check in at Take A Nap Hostel
Day 2: Shopping at Chatuchak, Pratunam, Platanium Mall
Day 3: Shopping at Chatuchak & Mahboonkrong and watch Muay Thai
Day 4: Ayutthaya & Suan Lam Market
Day 5: Mae Klong railway market
Day 6: Nakhon Pathom & Kanchanaburi
Day 7: Kanchanaburi
Day 8: Bangkok F&E
Day 9: Depart for 1.45pm flight (GMT +7)

Budget for this trip is S$1,000:
- S$200 for accomodation
- S$50 for admission fees
- S$100 for transport
- S$200 for meals
- S$350 for shopping
- S$100 for massage


Anonymous said...

Have you figured out how to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok?
Could you share it by leaving comments?

I am doing some research of how to get there as well.

The bus ride looks daunting.



Jerlin Tan said...

Hi Clare,

There are 2 mode of transport from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, either by mini-van or train.

The train journey is ~2hr and cost THB15 for 3rd class train ticket.

There are 8 daily departures from 6am – 9.30pm. The earliest train is 5.45am

To get to the centre of the town from Ayutthaya station on the east bank of the pier, take the ferry THB4 from the jetty 100m west of the station across and upriver to Chao Phrom pier, then a 5min walk to the junction of U Thong and Naresuan roads.

For minivans, you have to take them at Victory Monument. Alight at Victory Monument BTS and walk down the left side of the overhead bridge when facing the Victory Monument. The minivans to Ayutthaya are park here.

The van leaves about every half hour from 5am – 10pm and drop you right at Ayutthaya Chao Phrom Market. From Ayutthaya, vans leave from the end of Naresuan Soi 1, for Bangkok's Victory Monument every 30 mins, from 5am – 6pm.