Seriously, this post is way too late regarding to the title. Actually it should have been posted right after I took the vacation, but since I had a lot of work, it’s postponed until now (MARCH??!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?)
So, back to the topic. Yes, I just took a vacation to Bangkok, Thailand (last month), on February 13-16, 2013. Finally after I save some money and after going through some hectic atmosphere from work , I went for a vacation. I already bought the ticket since May 2012. Yes, I got tricked into those ‘early promo bid’ tickets that actually from my experience, you don’t have to book for cheap ticket in that very long time. But well, I got pretty cheap round-trip ticket from Air Asia. And no, I didn’t go for a backpacker trip, and I stayed in pretty comfort hotel hahaha.
It took about 3 hours flight to Bangkok from Jakarta. The flight with Air Asia is pretty comfortable. You should enjoy the scenery from the plane while travelling to new places, so it’s better to book for window seat just like I did hehe.
Bangkok is pretty awesome, I can say. I decided only visited Bangkok for this time and didn’t go to other famous destination in Thailand such as Phuket. Bangkok itself is worth discovered within a few days and I went to some interesting places. In a short description, Bangkok is a pleasure place where traditionalism and modernity meet.
How about the city’s impression? In my own opinion, it’s not really different from Jakarta. But there are several basic things that Jakarta doesn’t have. Bangkok is also infamous for its traffic problem. The fact that they already have a developed mass transport system such as BTS and MRT, it is weird finding the fact that the traffic is still jamming. I assume this as the impact of Bangkok as tourist destination and let’s say it doubled the population there. So, though lot of people use public transport, the tourist buses, taxis, private cars, and other vehicles are still crowded on the road. Another interesting fact known from local source is stating that local people in Bangkok like to eat outside rather than cooking at home so it makes people there often to go out. I can’t guarantee the validity of this analysis hahaha. However, even Bangkok still face the traffic problem, it’s not as worse as Jakarta. Besides, using public transport there is recommended.
From my own experience, the city is pretty clean. In fact is I kinda find it hard to find garbage can, but the area is indeed still clean. Some of minus point in Bangkok is the hundred electricity cable that hanging above and make some of the environment looks ugly. It also has some dense area and a little bit slum if you observe it clearly. However, the management of the city is pretty much aware of its title as one of favorite tourist destination so you can pretty much enjoy the city.
Learning from Bangkok, how to achieve a success tourist city? You should have the developed infrastructure (creating a convenient atmosphere, easy to travel within the city, etc), local selling point (the local potential that usually from traditional value or building or else e.g Bangkok has its traditional heritage building and local value as tourist commodity), and local people that aware and ready for it (ready to speak in international language, english it is, so tourists are able to communicate with local people). From what I saw, Bangkok have those three conditions (though their english accent is a torture for me to understand).
For the first couple days, I went to some famous traditional places (famous? I even can’t say the name of places right. Thai language and their English accent is incredibly hard to understand). Well for the recap (and after I google the right name of the places), I went to the Chao Praya river (and stopped at Wat Arun Temple and I watched some Chinese New Year celebration there),
Wat Pho Temple (this is where the Sleeping Buddha statue lies)
Grand Palace (What Phra Kaew, the golden luxurious temple where you have to dress politely when you visit this place),
Vimanmek Mansion (the wooden heritage building with historical stuffs inside and you can’t take any pictures here inside the building)
We also went to a place that called as Istana Raja? I don’t know. Indonesian here called it that way.
Speaking of traditional, I also tried the traditional(?), local public transport, which is well known as Thuk-Thuk. Actually it’s not pretty different from Bajaj (Jakarta), but Thuk-Thuk is more comfortable and able to give tourism experience because they design and decorate the vehicle in such a way that make it interesting.
The next day, I decided to have some taste of the modernity of Bangkok. Actually the hotel where I stayed is located in the center of city and lies in front of MBK shopping mall. We went to the famous Siam district that has modern malls agglomeration such as Discovery, Siam Square, and Siam Paragon. We also visit Terminal 21 and some other malls that I forgot the name hahaha. Why malls? Bangkok has hot weather that time and mall is the most comfy place that popped in my head. Interestingly, each malls have different taste in interior design and many various shopping tenants. It’s such a pleasure looking at the interesting design in many different stores and malls.
Ah, I also went to Madame Tusauds (the famous wax statue museum franchise) inside Siam Discovery Mall. I met a lot of famous people (statue) there and ridiculously took hundred of photos with them hahaha.
At night we also went to the newly open Asiatique Riverfront. It’s a really cool place to hang out. It offers many choices for shopping and restaurants. I went for the giant wheels and experienced Bangkok’s view from such a height.
What else? Ah, we also visited the Jim Thompson house. I didn’t really know about this place but my friend insisted to go here because it’s famous for it’s traditional silk and historical story
Well it’s quite interesting hehe. Once at night me and my friends also kinda ‘get lost’ to a district called ‘Nana’. We have no idea that Nana is famous for its night life experience. Oh hell yeah, I saw a lot of shemale here and don’t get it wrong, now I really believe about that shemale joke in Thailand. Some of them were indeed prettier than real women.
Hahaha. One of the highlight of the trip is when I went to Chatuchak Market. Oh sweet mother of God. Chatuchak is a bitch. I couldn’t help to control myself from buying things there. They offer cheap prices on many different-interesting-oh-god-i-want-it stuffs. You can’t imagine my female friends and girlfriend spent their money like crazy there. Oh yeah, I had one of the best shopping experience there. And actually, it is a traditional market but really well managed. I wish Indonesia have one like this.
Anyway, have you ever watched Thailand movie? I watched once a Thai movie with school settings. I realize that the students actually have to obey the rules that they have to wear uniform and exactly same haircut! What the hell. Hahaha. Actually in Bali some of schools are also have this kind of rule. Wanna see the Thai school girls? Here they are hahaha.
When I and my friends went to Bangkok it’s coincidentally meet with many events. Thailand is still celebrating Chinese New Year so there are many Chinese events there. And it’s also Valentine’s Day and finally I can celebrate it with my girlfriend after 5 years of relationship never celebrating this kind of thing hahaha. And another out of scenario thing is that we accidentally met the Super Junior fan showcase in Siam Square. Oh yes right, all the girls were screaming when we found out that event and so it was, we stopped by to watch that Korean superstar because it’s free.
Me and my friends use public transport to travel from place to place. This is what I pretty like from Bangkok as one of the cities that has well developed public transport system. I call it four layers of city’s movement. So the first layer is the underground which MRT train operates there; the second layer is the main road where cars and road vehicles move; the third layer is pedestrian walk bridge where people can comfortably walk above the main road (though actually most of the pedestrian walk is basically stays along besides the main road); and it is connected to the fourth layer where BTS Skytrain operates. The public transport system is definitely on time and it’s so easy to reach one place to another. The route map is available and easy to understand so I didn’t mistakenly take wrong direction. The officers are also really kind to help when there were things I didn’t understand. For me, I only need three things from public transport system, which are on time, cheap, and comfortable (safe is included in comfortable criteria). And Bangkok mass transport system has those three criteria that I demand.
How about the food there? I have no problem with Thai food taste. That’s it. Hahaha. Anyway, Thai Tea and Thai Curry left their mark on my stomach and made to my favorite food list. Oh, encouraged by my curiosity (and my junkfood instinct), I also tried the KFC and McD here. They sell some different menus with local taste. And hell yeah, I love Thai taste on those junkfood monster. Another trick to save money is we ate 7eleven fast food meals (the most popular convenience store at Bangkok) hahaha.
ps: believe me, my real trip is way more exciting and interesting than what i wrote here hahahaha