Category: Thailand

Mar 22 2010

Bangkok Day 3, Thailand

After 2 days of being shown around, today will be my day to explore the city myself.

Chao Praya river.

Took the water subway

to Chinatown.

Market

Lunch (42 Baht~USD$1.5)

A roundabout

There is a big ethnic Chinese community in Bangkok. However, they are well integrated into the society with Thai names and practicing Thai culture. Thai is pretty accepting and doesn’t discriminate among different ethnicities. Thaksin is also an ethnic Chinese and was managed to be elected into office as well.

Got the day pass for the subway (120 Baht~USD$4).
Lumphini boxing stadium.

Thailand stock exchange.

There is a good business library

just beside the exchange and were quite a lot of English magazines like economist, businessweek… Spent a few hours there to update myself with current affairs.

Queen’s Conference Center

Rush hour on the subway

Sukhomvit. There are some gogo bars around Sukhomvit station.

The word Farang in Thai means foreigners with a Caucasian look and on Sukhomvit street, it’s not uncommon to see some fat, bald Farang with a thai lady or even thai lady boy.
I guess some of the Farang are on welfare back home and spent the government money in Thailand.

A Farang making his move

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Mar 21 2010

Bangkok Day 2, Thailand

Walked to the National Museum (200 Baht~USD$7)

Took bus 3 to Chattucak market.

Tea pulling demonstration

Street massage which is popular throughout the city

Met up with Thongek and went around the city.

To Paragon, Siam square.

Central World mall

The King’s signature

Central World mall is one of the world’s biggest shopping mall

Met with another old friend, Kittisak in the evening. Had a sumptuous dinner with Kittisak’s family. Kittisak brought me to another Health Land center for an hour of food massage this time and showed me around the city.

Back to Khao San road, a stall selling roasted insects.

Tried to be adventurous and bought a small bag of insects mix and a can of Nescafe. I had no problem eating the roasted cocoon, but the grasshopper gave me a hard time.

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Mar 20 2010

Bangkok Day 1, Thailand

Thailand has a population of 65 million with 75% Thai, 15% ethnic Chinese and other minorities. Thailand is the only south east asian countries that has never been colonized, sort of the buffer state between Burma, colonized by the British and Vietnam, colonized by the French.

The first Thai Kingdom is considered to be the Buddhist kingdom of Sukhothai founded in the 13th century. After the Khmer empire falls, in the mid 14th century the kingdom of Ayutthaya was established.

Red Shirt Protest again

Thongek who is a university friend of mine volunteered to be my guide for the day.
There are so many temples in Bangkok. Visited Wat Pho, a temple which many years ago was a school for massage. It’s also the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok.

Statue of the reclining Buddha, 46 meters long and 15 meters high.

There were some Chinese influences in the temple with some Chinese statues.

Thongek as my guide for the day.

Wat Pho is the birthplace of Thai massage. Statues of some massage techniques.

There are a lot of foreigners and tourist in Thailand. It was much more than I thought. Tourism has become one of Thailand biggest money generator with more than 11 million tourist a year.

The Grand Palace,

350 Baht~USD$11 for foreigners and free for Thai. We tried to use the entrance for Thai but was not successful so decided not to go in.

Lunch (30 Baht~USD$1), a mixture of the internal organs of cow.

Sticky rice with Mango (30 Baht~USD$1)

Since the Chao Praya river cut through Bangkok, there is also the water subway system. Took the water subway

Passing by another Temple, Wat Arun.

to Chong Nongsi skytrain station and to Thongek house.

Thongek drove us to Health Land which is a franchise specializing in massage. There were many people who were waiting. We waited for an hour for a 2 hours massage session, 200 Baht with discounted coupons. That was my first time trying a Thai massage and it’s more physical that I thought. Another friend mentioned that her leg was injured for a week after having a session of Thai massage.

Again the red shirt protest is causing traffic jam on the street.

Dinner at Samboon seafood restaurant with Thongek family. Samboon is a famous franchise for curry crab.

The restaurant is not far away from Patpong street which is famous for its night market and go go bars. Walked passed by the Patpong market.

The street just next to Patpong is a Japanese street with all signs in japanese. The Japanese are one of the biggest contributor to the gogo bar industry.

Just right across the street is another street with gogo bars cater to the gay and lady boy community.

Visited a Jazz club, just around the street from the freedom monument with Thongek and Pichaya.

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Mar 19 2010

Train to Bangkok, Thailand

The train was delayed for another 4 hours again in the morning. When I thought things couldn’t get worse, there was an accident where a car ran into the train and was dragged for some distances.

Passing by the padi field in Thailand

Finally got to Bangkok train station,

Thailand, the land of smiles at 6.20pm Thai time which is an hour slower than Malaysian time after almost 29 hours on the train, terrible!
The journey is only around 1200 km and it shouldn’t take that long.

View Larger Map

Bangkok is a pretty big city with a population of around 11 million people.

Pad Thai (30 Baht~ USD$1) for dinner just across the train station

Took bus 53 to Khao San road where many of the budget hotels are located.

Walked for 30 minutes and then found a place called Live Good hostel (180 Bath~USD$6)

The protest in Bangkok was a hot topic in the news. The protesters are Thaksin supporter and wear red color clothings. The red shirt protest is just around Khao San road, beside the Democracy Monument.

Out of curiosity, I went to check it out. It’s more like a carnival than protest where there were food sellers, massage services and I even managed to get a bowl of free food.

Back to Khao San road at night.

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Mar 18 2010

Medan, Indonesia to Penang, Malaysia to Bangkok, Thailand

Got a cab (20,000 Ruppiah, 10 minutes ride) to the airport at 5.30am in the morning.

I was joking with the air ticket seller yesterday to give me a morning call and she really did, I never expected it and that gave me a good impression about Indonesians. There is an airport tax of 75,000 Ruppiah which must be paid in Ruppiah.

Sriwijaya Air

So far in my trip, this is my 10th flights. Usually I avoid flying, but because flying is inexpensive in Indonesia and the road transportation is bad, I flew 3 times in Indonesia and that saved a lot of time.

On the plane, noticed that many Indonesians were flying to Penang for medical treatment, Penang is trying to attract medical tourism money from Medan since it’s just 40 minutes flight away. Taxied down at Penang at 9.20am Malaysian time (an hour ahead of Indonesia time) and my parents picked me up. I just have a few hours to kill before the 2.20pm train to Bangkok.

It has been many years since I last took the ferry to the mainland.
Ferry

Leaving the port

There is a daily train from Butterworth to Bangkok at 2.20pm (112 Ringgit.~USD$33, 20 hours ride). The train station is located right beside the ferry terminal in Butterworth. The train was delayed for 30 minutes and departed at 3pm.

Inside the train

There were only 2 coaches, so the train was pretty short compared to those in China with at least 15 coaches.

The train moved pretty slowly. It was supposed to cross the Malaysian border to Hat Yai, Thailand at 6pm but the train only crossed the border at 9pm.

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