Sunday, July 19, 2009

Birthday Bash in Bangkok, Thailand (March 2008)

When I started earning on my own, I celebrate my birthday to its grandest every five years. So I gave myself a treat last March 2008 and celebrated my 30th birthday in Bangkok, Thailand with Lea. Main itinerary was to go shopping and river cruising. Never did I know that I'd be amazed with the architectural tourist spots within the City of Bangkok.

Culture & Tradition, Historical Venues and Temples

Grand Palace Temples
I witnessed how Thais showed their reverence to the Royal Family as evident to the King & Queen's billboards in every district and main streets of Bangkok. When we cruised Chao Phraya Rivera at night, the Thai band stopped playing, pause for short silence and stoop up as we passed the Grand Palace. Grand Palace once served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th century onwards. However, at the present King Rama IX does not currently reside there but at the Chitralada Palace. Bangkok is somewhat relaxed as the city offers enormous amounts of getaway locations. The city itself offers many historical venues mostly temples such as Grand Palace, Wat Arun, etc. I admired how Thai maintained Chao Phraya River for tourists for cruising at night and hopping from one temple to another during the day.

Shopping, Massage, Tuktuk, Thai Cuisine

Bangkok is a haven of street smart and quality and fashionable clothes, accessories, bags and shoes. Famous for the cheap wholesale items is Chatuchak Market or Jatujak Market which is also known as Weekend Market. This is the largest flea market in Thailand that offers variety of products including clothing, household items, Thai handicrafts, collectibles, religious artifacts and even live animals. Most stalls are only open for Saturdays and Sundays. Wholesale came in 3 pieces and my tip is to haggle up to 50% of the original price. Use your charm and haggle with all your might. Speak slowly as there are some Thais who cannot speak straight English and be a little friendly. It really helps!

MBK is also one of the largest malls in Bangkok. In downtown Bangkok where we stayed are nearby malls like Platinum Fashion Mall, IT Mall and the famous night Pratunam market. If Hongkong and Singapore offers outlet stores for branded and signature clothes, Bangkok offers variety of fashionable items with unique style but of good quality also. One thing why I loved Bangkok is because of their cuisine. They are abundant with sidings and garrnishing ingredients like fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. We were too delighted with all the food that we ate in a restaurant in Platinum Mall, Riverside Cruise, foodcourt in Platinum Mall and even in the cafeteria in the Chao Phraya Pier.

Cruising Chao Phraya River during the day and View of Bangkok City at night in Baiyoke Sky Tower
Aboard Riverside Hotel Rivercruise

On the eve of my birthday, we tried the night cruising with Riverside Hotel Cruise. I enjoyed the scenic views at night, the music of Thai band and dinner of some Thai cuisine.
Chao Phraya Unlimited All-Day-River-Pass @ Baht 120 only

And on the day of my birthday, with the all-day-river pass, I & Lea cruised the Chao Phraya River and hopped from one temple to another.

Baiyoke Skytower 360 degrees roofdeck

The Baiyoke Sky Tower also offered a different experience of capturing the best view of Bangkok and beyond the metropolis to the Gulf of Thailand for 360 degrees in an open-air at the 84th floor. Being the highest hotel in Bangkok, the hotel is rising with 88-storeys above Bangkok’s skyline. The observation deck is located on the 77th floor while the Sky Walk-Revolving Roof Deck is on the 84th floor.

Here's my itinerary for this trip:

March 14, 2008
22:00 Departure from NAIA 1 to Suvarnabhumi Airport .
01:00 Arrival BKK Airport

March 15, 2008
01:00 Check-In Grand Watergate Hotel
08:00 Wake up Call
09:00 Breakfast at Grand Watergate Hotel
11:00 Chatuchak Market Shopping
14:00 Platinum Fashion Mall, IT Mall, Pratunam Market
16:30 Foot Massage at Lavender Spa
17:00 Riverside River Cruise along Chao Phraya River
22:00 Back to Grand Watergate Hotel

March 16, 2008
06:00 Wake Up Call
08:00 Breakfast
09:00 Rivercruise
02:00 MBK/Platinum Fashion Mall
18:00 Baiyoke Sky Tower
21:00 Departure to BKK Airport

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