One Night in Orchid Resort

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Comfortable Bed of Orchid Resort

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Where I Stayed: Orchid Resort

Buddies: Solo

Booked a standard room for THB990 per night with breakfast and airport transfers. This was my second time in Bangkok. The Orchid Resort is one of the cheapest hotel in Bangkok considering its location to the airport. I arrived late, so I didn’t meet their representative at arrival gate door 3. I missed printing out the hotel voucher but when I arrived in the hotel, they have a copy. The hotel staffs were well trained. The check out time was 12 noon, so I paid additional THB300 because I will check out 3pm.

My room was on the 5th floor and the building has no elevator. The stairs were so narrow to walk for two persons. Anyway, the room boy carried my baggage. I was on a light travel. I had a good room overlooking the hotel ground and the market. I also had a good spot for the hotel’s small swimming pool. At first, I struggled connecting through their free broadband internet for the portal was not directly open from my laptop. So I went down and asked their staff’s help. Account number and password was obtained from the reception.

Another, I was confused on the sliding door at the receiving area. One time, I mishandled it. Luckily, there were children playing at the hall and used the door.
Breakfast was American style with coffee. One restaurant staff humbly offered me for a city tour (with fee of course) but I declined because I already visited some spots with my wife and we’ll visit the others and remaining spots together.

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THINKING THAILAND.
“Amazing Thailand” and I was definitely amazed. For me, living in Thailand is so easy and the people are good and honest. Accommodation here is comparatively cheaper than in Manila. Street foods are healthier and cheaper too. Tourist spots are so many and need more days to visit them all. Taxi drivers are honest but only the problem for us as tourist is language.For “tuktuk’,they asked higher and mostly expensive than a taxi. I rather say that “tuktuk” is only good for first experience but choose taxi for a comfortable ride.

BYE BANGKOK!
I don’t know when will be the next time to visit this beautiful place.  I finally left Bangkok at 6:40pm with Sri Lankan Airlines.

 

Coral Island Tour and Pattaya

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We met our English speaking Thai travel guide in front of Royal Hotel. Our meeting place for our day tour in Pattaya and Koh Larn (also called as Coral Beach) at 7am. We skipped our complimentary breakfast in the hotel for these early activity. She immediately recognized us as the only Asian couple in the group tour. At 7:30am, the group headed to Pattaya which was two hours away from Bangkok by a van. The group were composed of 11 people; three Swiss, two American couples, a Brazilian couple, and us.
Before reaching Pattaya, the van stopped in a gasoline station to abide the calls of nature. A Swiss lady came out and was complaining for using the traditional old style toilet bowl. Ladies knew what she meant for.

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The group continued to the beach side in Pattaya. Wow! A beach within the city. There were so many tall buildings and the parasailing activities made the sea so busy. The tourist guide asked us, if we like to do parasailing which costs 500 baht per person. For me, parasailing in Pattaya was half-price cheaper than Boracay in the Philippines. For nobody raised hands in the group for parasailing aside from us, we decided not to do it. We didn’t want them to wait for us.

A speed boat transported us from Pattaya beach to Coral beach for 20 minutes. The white beach was crowded with tourists. The group headed to a local restaurant which explained by our guide to be our meeting place. Our lunch will be served here. She also explained everything about activities like banana boat riding (4oo baht per 30 minutes), trekking, and many water activities. Benches are for rent which costs 100 baht each.  Towels are also available for a 100 baht.

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Coral Island Beach

We looked for our benches to relax. We’re confident of leaving our belongings on the bench while we enjoyed the clear and warm water of Coral Island.

At 12nn, the group met at the local restaurant for lunch. A seafood soup, fish fillet, fried local fish, and a vegetable menu were served on the table. We’ll be eating together so a little bit uncomfortable for me. I didn’t know the reasons. Adding to that feelings was that we all just met in the morning. We were still not such close. It was not a buffet nor plated style. It was a local style lunch which taking and sharing of foods required senses. Whatever available or served on the table, we must share and enjoy it equally. No complaints, no adds on.
Some ants spotted on the dishes and the Brazilian lady removed and chased them away. An American woman told her softly, “It’s ok, they will not eat much”. We’re burst to laughter.

After lunch, we didn’t go back to the water because the temperature hit painfully. For Westerners, they were still enjoying tanning their body from that hot sun exposure. Instead, we took a 40 baht dark shower room (no lights installed) and relaxed on the benches sipping fresh coconut juice.

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We left the island at 2:30pm and arrived in Pattaya for a short sight seeing tour in Gem Factory. A 20-minute introductory was given while riding in a mining rail car. No camera and video was allowed! We’re just like inside a miner’s cave and was introduced how they mined stones and produced precious gems. After an informative cave rides, we headed to the real factory and sale room. All those gems from the cheapest to the expensive was there with a price of course!
There was a free coffee and tea in the factory’s bar. This was included in Coral Island Pattaya Tour Package booked in www.thailandhighlight.com by Lotus Country Travel for 1,900 baht per person.

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We left Pattaya and arrived in Bangkok at 5:30pm. Instead of bringing us back to the hotel, we requested to drop us at famous Khaosan Road for shopping. The bazaar was lively at night and the numbers of traveling backpackers and tourists overcrowding the street. Also, a dragon parade was held for a Chinese New Year celebration.

We left Khaosan Road at 8:30pm and arrived in the hotel around 9pm. Unfortunately, the hotel restaurant was already closed, so we decided to go out for dinner. Few meters away from the hotel was the Tesco Lotus Mall. We went in and entered a Japanese/Thai Restaurant. The waiter asked our orders in Thai language. He just laughed when we told him that we were foreigner. The menu set here was cheap and for less than 200 baht, we have a complete set of delicious and yummy dinner.

Temples, Palace, Cruise, and a Lotus

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At first look – a typical water lily

We woke up early for our Thai breakfast at 7am. The dish was like a porridge with so many spices. The taste was very flavorful.

We then prepared to Taling Chan Floating Market which was just 20 minutes from the hotel according to the google map. Unfortunately, the taxi only brought us at Taling Chan town and not in the floating market. They advised us for a motorcycle ride for 60 baht to reach the floating market in time.

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The floating market was not so big but we saw bulk of tourist visitors. Like us, we’re here with a common reason. To experience the market venue in a floating platform. The good thing was its free and has no entrance fee.

We saw those women paddling the boat and selling their products. The water was not clear, chocolate in color but those big fishes (catfish?) were smartly living there. One Thai student fed the fishes with bread and offered some bait with us. We enjoyed the life in the floating market and the restaurants as well. The first menu was the delicious and fresh vegetable salad. We also tried  the tasty bowl of noodle soup while seated in a shortened chair with matching table. Our stomach were full when we left the market. There were so many Thai foods and agricultural products on sale.

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We decided to walk up to the temples that we had seen along the way. We didn’t usually know the names of them. After the temples, we hired a taxi going back to the hotel to prepare for our next tourist site. I checked through internet that entering the Grand Palace requires descent clothing. Wearing short skirts and pants were discouraged.

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We arrived at the Grand Palace at 3pm. We were late but we still secured an entrance gate pass for 400 baht each. We were amazed on the preservation of the place and the temples of Emerald Buddha. The stones and the architecture were very impressive and unique. We even entered the temples removing our shoes. Touring and visiting Grand Palace needed more time to explore. And we failed! We didn’t gave such ample time. We lastly visited the Emerald Buddha museum before it closes at 4:30pm.

We followed the flow of visitors exiting the palace. It was directed to the nearest market along Chao Praya river. A cold refreshing smoothies after a tiring walk inside the palace was the best reward.  The foods in Thailand were very cheap and healthy.
We didn’t eat much for we’re preparing for our cruise dinner. For it still early, we walked from the market up to the pier allocated for boats going to Temples of the Dawn. We just glimpsed the temples because we didn’t have time to transfer on the other side of the river.

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The Wan Fah Dinner Cruise was booked through site Bangkok Cruise for 1,300 baht. The starting point was at the River City. Thinking that we’re just along the river, I’m expecting that we’re near the River City pier. I asked a “tuk-tuk” but the driver charged us 300 baht. We didn’t agreed because for me it was overpriced. We dealt with 200 baht. But on the way, I realized that it was really far and the traffic jammed us. The cleverness of the driver escaped us from the crowded traffic. When we arrived at River City Mall after Sheraton Hotel, we handed him 300 baht as silent apology.

At the pier, back of the River City Mall, we couldn’t see the staffs of Wan Fah Cruise. We went inside the mall and saw their booth. We approached the staffs and confirmed our arrival. They pinned us corsages with a number and led us to the waiting old wooden boat at the pier.

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Our dinner cruise along Chao Praya River started at 7pm. Prior for our boarding, a lady wearing a thai traditional costume held us for a picture taking. She then led us to our table number corresponding the number on our corsages. The boat started to move and the dinner was prepared starting with a spicy soup and vegetable spring rolls. After a few minutes, the Thai and Seafood set baskets were served. While the people were busy popping their heavy meals, the tour guide was explaining the tourist sites we had passed like the Temples of the Dawn, Grand Palace, famous hospital, and the beautiful Rama VIII bridge of Bangkok. When the guide is off air, thai traditional music was on the playlist.

On the way back, Thai traditional dances were performed. They also asked some tourist to dance together with them. Unfortunately, my camera was down because the battery degraded. I have no souvenir from those cute dancers. Three different dances were performed but with same dance steps. For me, only costumes and the music were changed but the steps were not. The bill was then given to each table. The drinks were not free except for water. Each delicious drink costs 150 baht. Then the photo shopped picture which was taken before boarding was in frame and costs 200 baht.
The river cruising took two hours and the experience was great. Touring Bangkok will never complete without experiencing river dinner cruise.

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For the River City is very far, we chartered a taxi in going back to our hotel. Our hotel was not that famous because the first driver didn’t know it. So, we rode a taxi to the famous Phayathai train station and from there another taxi to Resort Bangphlat.

Meeting In Bangkok

A foggy day when the Sri Lankan Air from Dammam landed in Colombo airport at 6:15am. I immediately headed to Gate 7 for my quick connecting flight to Bangkok. Passengers were called and boarding was already started. This was my second time in this airport, so it didn’t take long finding the boarding gate.

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Seated on the window side but I couldn’t took pictures on the airport facilities as what I always did because the moisture blurred the mirror. But when the aircraft was already up the sky, the mirror became clear and I was happy seeing Sri Lanka as a green country which was covered mostly by coconut trees.

After 3 hours, the plane landed in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, 12nn in Bangkok. I was amazed of its wide airport and its unique building frames. It’s so huge that took me few minutes before reaching the immigration queues. I directly changed my dollar bills into baht at the money exchange counter before engaging into a long line of immigration. Thailand  has so many visitors! As what a tourist normally did, I filled up the immigration arrival form. I was entertained after an hour of waiting.

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It was so easy to visit as tourist in Bangkok. Aside from the long queue (usual in most countries), the immigration officer was smiling and very welcoming. She stamped my passport without throwing a single question.
At bag collection area, I found my luggage on the floor. The assigned baggage conveyor was rolling with baggage from different flight. I remembered, I spent more than an hour at immigration.

I bought a tourist mobile sim and contacted my wife. She will arrive at night from Manila. I hired an airport taxi to bring me at Resort Bangphlat. I was surprised. It was very far and with heavy traffic because of on going road and rail constructions. It took us more than one hour before reaching the hotel which I booked in Agoda.

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Comfortable Bed of Resort Bangphlat Hotel

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

Where I Stayed: Resort Bangphlat Hotel

Buddies: Solo

The Resort Bangphlat is a boutique hotel with traditional wooden old Thai houses. A very quite place which was far from the noisy sound of the city. All staffs were very approachable and accommodating. They spoke hardly in English except for the lady receptionist. Though language seems a barrier, they helped and guided me on how to stroll in Bangkok in the fastest and cheapest way.

The fastest and economical way to go to the airport was by the train. From the hotel, as advised by a staff, I hired a taxi to Phayathai. Payathai is the last train station connecting straight to the airport but the driver didn’t understand me. I pronounced it incorrectly, so he dropped me. Again I stopped another taxi, and lucky he understand the words “airport link”. In Phayathai, I went in a wrong train station, so I asked the lady inside the information booth about the correct station linking to the airport. I was surprised that she replied using a microphone and her voice was heard throughout the area. Even I was very far from the booth, I still heard her guiding me the directions which I didn’t understand. Her help was deeply appreciated but I was more confused. I asked a thai student nearby and she answered me perfectly.

I paid the taxi for 145 baht and 45 baht from Phayathai to Subarnabhumi airport by train. Also, I always brought a hotel pamphlet or anything showing the hotel name and address written in English and Thai.  I handed over the pamphlet to the driver to make the dialogue shorter anytime we misunderstood each other.

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My wife’s flight from Manila was delayed so I waited for her in the airport for almost three hours. We finally met around 11pm and we headed to Bangphlat with the same route. In Phayathai, just below the station, there was a seafood restaurant. We tried their spicy lobster menu and pineapple seafood rice. After a heavy dinner, a “tuk-tuk” driver offered to bring us to the hotel. He asked for 400 baht. Expensive but it was ok because it was our first time. The tricycle speed was so fast and we felt nervous after a long ride. However, we arrived in the hotel safe and alive.