Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to get to The Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha complex by BTS

Hopping from one landmark to another in Bangkok along the Chao Phraya River can be more than a fascinating experience. To get to the Chao Phraya River cruise station, all you have to do is to take the BTS Sky Train and hop off at the Sapan Taksin Terminal station.

You have the option to take unlimited hop on and hop off on the orange lane boat if you pay Baht150.00 only. This can take you all the way to Nonthaburi and back. In my case though, since I have already tried the unlimited hop on and off with 2 of my Filipino travel mates yesterday, this time, i will pay for a one-way ride to The Grand Palace. Based on the map, this stop will be at Tha Tien Pier (#8 station) and will cost me less than Baht 20.00 one way.

The Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha complex is a lot grander than I imagined. You can also find the Reclining Buddha at the Wat Pho which is the temple adjacent to The Grand Palace Complex.

Don't bother taking the Tuktuk or talking to people who will bring you somehwere else, as you might be charged a lote higher than usual. Just go directly to the entrance gates of these temples and pay the ticket there. No other charges should be paid except the entrance ticket. Everything is walkable from the River station so no need to bargain with Tuktuk drivers.

I went back to Saphan Taksin BTS station with my travel mates on board the orange lane boat. It costs not more than Baht20.00 and I paid to the ticket lady on board the boat.

This day had to end with window shopping at MBK by taking the BTS from Saphan Taksin and hopping off at Siam Interchange to board on the train by Silom Line, then finally hopping off at the National Stadium station. MBK is house to cheap RTW, bags, accessories, novelty shirts, souvenir items, and restaurants. Some items are quite cheap and not found at the Chatuchak market but electronic gadgets are much higher than Pantip.

This day ends with aching leg muscles...and tomorrow is going to be another day to beat.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How to Get to Wat Arun by BTS Sky Train

This is the first hop for me to get to check Bangkok sites where my family can go around. I seem to think getting on the BTS Sky Train would probably be the most practical and convenient way to get around.

I learned from a short walk yesterday that the River Cruise at the Sapan Taksin BTS Terminal Station would cost Baht150.00 per person and will get me unlimited hop on and hop off to all the stops along Chao Phraya River. I stopped at the Flower Market, River City (high-end souvenir shop), Wat Arun, but left Grand Palace for tomorrow (as this temple closes at 3pm). It will cost you Baht3.00 to cross the other side of the river from the stop station to Wat Arun. It's called the temple of the Dawn and is a must see if you want to see the Grand Palace from across.

I had lunch (with 2 of my Filipino travel mates) at the one of the station's food kiosks and an average rice meal will cost you around Baht35.00 which is quite filling.

I think Baht150.00 is not really very practical if you only want to see Wat Arun and The Grand Palace. I missed to hop off at King Rama VII bridge, but who knows if I did, i might think otherwise.

On my way back to the Sapan Taksin station, I took the orange lane boat again all the way until the Terminal station. This day had to end with a shopping spree at the Chatuchak Market which is a weekend market that opens during Saturdays and Sundays only. To get to Chatuchak, we had to take the BTS from Sapan Taksin and hop off at Mo Chit terminal station. A good photo shoot at the Chatuchak park with the pigeons will make your day complete. You can pay Baht5.00 for the bird feeds and you can spend a few minutes feeding the doves and take lovely shots at the park.

I think a day is enough for this...I have to check what's in store for me by tomorrow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cheap Apartment Hotel in Bangkok

I plan to house my parents at AIT so they can see my campus life here in Thailand. But I need to book them in a hotel in Bangkok for 1 night (a night before they leave for Cebu) since we are going to Patpong late that night anyway.

I found a very good apartment hotel which is very ideal for my parents to stay. Citadines apartment hotel is a chain of apart'hotels located around Bangkok in Sukhumvit. Studio apartment can accommodate 2 persons, with 1 queen size bed and a sofa chair, free internet connection, hot & cold shower, cooking facilities (stove, microwave, refrigerator, kitchen sink, complete with china wear and cuttlery) and TV/DVD set. They also have Deluxe studio which is quite bigger but I choose the Studio for my parents.

It is probably the best priced apartment hotel in Bangkok area as it ranges from Baht1,100++ to Baht1,900++ per night only. Their chains of hotels are located nearby BTS stations (walkinh distance) which adds to its convenience. I chose one at Sukhumvit 23 which is near Asok station. It is a little pricey compared to that one which is near Nane station at Sukhumvit 11 (which costs Baht1,100++) but the one at Sukhumvit 23 (Baht1,900++) is nearby many massage parlors and food establishments, which can be more convenient.

Both locations are near Patpong and will cost about Baht215.00 for a taxi ride from the hotel to Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Airport.

I think my parents will have a great stay in this hotel...and I'm getting 2 rooms for them (my parents and my sister and her hubby). I can't wait to see them!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coming in Five By

I can never be happier!

My last exam is over and my parents will be certain to come over. I have never been busier setting up their itinerary. The bigger plan is to go to Chiang Mai and get a return flight to Cebu from there, but due to the short time, that might no longer be possible.

I checked to see the flight details, and I'm quite disappointed that it's shorter than I thought:

This means that they will arrive Bangkok around 1am on December 17 and will have to be at Suvarnnabhumi Airport to depart for Cebu at least by 9PM on December 20 (few hours away from their return flight on December 21).

That gives me 4 days to think for and find nice places to visit in Bangkok. I have not been around since I arrived last August 24 and it might be a great chance to spend some time going around the city this coming Saturday.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Waiting in Vain

The demonstration heats up and I wait in vain for my family to confirm their flight to Bangkok. Suvarnabhumi Airport was shut down since about 3 days ago due to the protesters that flocked the international airport.

I still wait in vain, as no one knows when this demonstration will end.

Meanwhile, I have my exams to think about....All I can do is read the papers, while I study hard for the exams....and keep waiting....

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