Travel Diary: Sawadika Thailand! Part 1

My mom had a serious case of wanderlust last year and so we traveled to Bangkok, Thailand. Why, Thailand? Well, it was really a toss between Vietnam and Thailand but the latter had more available flights around the dates we were looking at. It was everyone's first time in Bangkok saved for Mai Ann who'd been there once before.

I knew of Thailand of course as it is a well known tourist destination plus I knew of it from Crazy Little Thing Called Love, a very popular Thai movie that had my 20-something year old self crushing on Mario Maurer and shipping his love team up with Bai Fern.



The trip was short - 4 days and 3 nights to be exact - but that was because when I booked it, I was after the cheap fare (there was a Ceb Pac seat sale) and I was trying to save what little leave days I had left. 

The hotel I booked was called Vera Nidhra. It's a charming bed and breakfast place situated in Klongsan district. It's accessible enough by MRT but also far from the city center. If you want peace and quiet, this is perfect. But if you want to party and meet people, you're better off staying somewhere else. More on Vera Nidhra on another post.

The Bangkok travel group


Along with my mom, we traveled with her friend, Mari, my aunt Neneth and my friend/travel buddy/photographer, Mai Ann. This is our group photo taken at Vera Nidhra's lobby. 

Our trip to Bangkok was quite eventful. For starters, Mai and my adventurous self kicked in and so we decided we'd take the airport train and then the MRT to get to our hotel instead of renting a car to take us there. LOL! That was a bad decision because we struggled with finding our way to Vera Nidhra. By early afternoon, we already had three cranky, hungry and tired senior citizens with us. We eventually found our way to the hotel of course (thanks Google Maps!) where welcome drinks were given to us when we checked in. But just when relief was already washing over us, we realized we were in for another surprise - Vera Nidhra didn't have an elevator! Only stairs! Yikes! We had to bear the rantings of the oldies once again as they climbed up three flights of stairs to get to their room. 

Day 0

After settling in our hotel rooms and giving everyone enough time to rest and freshen up, we headed out to go exploring our area and to find a place to have dinner. There was a mall near our hotel called Icon Siam and that's where we headed to eat. Again, more walking ensued! LOL! Well it was near our hotel but getting there by foot turned out to be a challenge - we had to climb up an overpass to cross the street. Luckily, there was no ranting this time around as the seniors had gotten some rest. 

Icon Siam is a big mall! I think it had about five to seven floors. We were all thrilled to visit a mall. Well, Mai and I are mall rats! As for the seniors? Well any place they haven't to before is a sight to see!


Here they are having their photo taken outside the mall


The lower ground area where we entered was a food court sort of area setup like one of Thailand's floating markets. There's another food court in this area which looks classier but also more expensive.         




          


Our dinner. We're not a foodie group and so we were always ordering something familiar to our taste buds like the last photo above. I craved for something sweet to drink and found a vendor selling Thai milk tea. Deliciously sweet and big too! 




We went exploring around the mall, splitting up into two groups so we could do our own thing. I was confident I could leave my mom alone this time even though she had no data connection to reach me since it was just a mall. 

Back story: On our first out of the country travel together, we also split up so we could explore places we wanted - mom with her friends and I with mine. Unfortunately, they got hopelessly lost in Hongkong and couldn't remember our hotel's name or how to get there! It was a good thing that country had a lot of overseas Filipino workers because they were able to ask a stranger's help to call and tell me they were lost. My friends and I went to pick them up of course but en route to my mom, I was silently kicking myself for letting her go on her own. 

Icon Siam was a beautiful mall. This mall itself is an attraction and so naturally we took photos. 







My outfit was the same colors as that of the Tiffany and Co. Christmas tree!😂



There was also a fountain show in the mall and so we fetched the seniors to watch it. I knew my mom would like it. 





The following day was gonna be a tour booked via Klook and so when the seniors had retired for the night, I asked Mai Ann to do a test run with me in finding the meet up place. There were directions given but I wasn't going to risk getting lost again on the day! We got lost in the city that night instead.😅

You see it turns out there were two Century malls in Bangkok! And not bothering to read the directions given properly, we simply entered Century mall on Google maps and followed that instead! We tried to ask locals for directions but there's a language barrier. Unlike Singapore where people can understand and speak English, not a lot of locals we encountered in Thailand could. We eventually managed to find the right mall and by the time we got to our hotel, we were both exhausted but still in good spirits! We just laughed at our silliness. I love that about Mai Ann. She's so easy going.

Day 1

Our first full day! We're off to Ayutthaya, an old city in Thailand.


This was just about 7am but already the road was full of vehicles! I heard Bangkok's traffic is similar to Manila. Hellish. 


So we took the MRT 'cos it was the fastest way to get to our destination! Unlike in the Philippines though, even though the train could get crowded, it's not an awful commute! We didn't have to wait in line too long. The train air conditioning was working well. The people seemed polite and disciplined enough not to crowd.


Finally at the right Century mall! Selfie to document our success! LOL! 


Selfie with mom, of course while waiting for our tour to start


So the hotel did send us off with breakfast but the oldies still brought snacks! You'd never go hungry with them for company! 




Firs stop: Bang Pa-In Summer Palace

Thai Kings used to reside in this place. 




Mai Ann and I were the official photographers of the seniors 😆









Bang Pa In Palace is such a gorgeous place we enjoyed going around the area taking in the sights and posing for photos. It's also huge and peaceful too! You can rent a golf cart to take you around the place if you don't want to walk or have trouble walking. But not my mom, Aunt and friend though! They didn't mind the walk.

The architecture of the place is interesting. It's surrounded by green lawns, little canals and structures and designs that's a mix of Chinese, Thai and European.  


2nd stop: A floating village

We also visited a floating village in Ayutthaya where we had a short boat ride to tour around the area. You can buy affordable souvenirs in this place too - affordable compared to prices in Bangkok. 


3rd stop: Wat Lokayasutharam 

This is where you'll find the reclining Buddha. It's the home of the largest reclining Buddha in the island of Ayutthaya. 




4th stop: Wat Maha Tat (The Monastery of the Great Relic)






The structures of this place reminded me of the temples I saw in Angkor, Cambodia which upon doing a little reading I realized is because they followed the Khmer concept of temple construction. 




Right behind me is the most popular sight to see in Wat Maha That. An unusual Buddha image. 


The trip ended with a sunset boat ride. It's an open boat ride so you can see the sights as you cruised down the river. 

 







It was a lovely watching the sun set in Ayutthaya. I thought it was a great way to end our tour really. 

But because it was only about 8pm when we got back to Bangkok, Mai Ann and I decided there was still time for us to visit another place in the city. So we brought the seniors back to the hotel and after freshening up, we headed back out again. 

We decided to check out Open House in Central Embassy. It's a really beautiful bookstore in Bangkok. You can browse around and even read with no one to bother you - not that we could because the books are in Thai!😅 But it seemed more than just a bookstore. There was a cafe, a restaurant and a bar right inside this store and even a co-working space!  








Tall ceilings and wide spaces, this place was a gem! And a dream place for book lovers! I would have wanted to stay there for a little while longer but it was getting late and the mall was closing. It was a nice, quick stop that wrapped up our little adventure in Bangkok that first day. 

Come back to read again as I continue to tell you all about my trip to Thailand in the next posts. 

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