Bangkok, Thailand: Land of Smiles - Day 1
Arriving almost 8 in the morning in Suvarnabhumi Airport in the Bangkok, Thailand, I already expected my first day in the capital will be short and tiring after 10 hours of travel from Oslo, Norway. From the airport, we traveled about half an hour to our hotel towards the taxi.
Learning from the experience ask first the taxi driver how much he will charge. I and my sister experienced paying four times the average fare. Well, I do not want to stress myself, so I just brush it off. Another thing, I noticed it was difficult to communicate in English with the taxi driver and even the hotel receptionists. The communication barrier became a problem for us in the entire trip.
Our goal is to cover as many places in Bangkok as possible using the least amount of resources and time. To do this, I prepared a draft schedule of our itinerary throughout our short stay.
After we left our hotel, we went directly to the nearest City Airport Link. We stopped at Phaya Thai Station and paid 40 baht (10 NOK). From Phaya Thai, we took the taxi to our first stop.
Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall
Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall provides a good contrast of the Thai culture and architectiure within the surrounding areas. Its architectural design follows Italian Renaissance and Neo Classic style with its central dome and six other smaller surrounding domes. In the domes’ interiors, one could see the paintings of Galileo Chini and Carlo Riguili on the past dynasties, who ruled Siam, the land of the Free. The place was used by the People’s party in 1932 to initiate a revolution that changed the Thailand’s political system from absolute to constitutional monarchy.
From our first stop, we took the Chao Phraya Boat Express Orange Line from Thewet to Tha Tien Station. We paid 15 baht each (3 NOK). We were able to see the beauty of the historical Chao Phraya River. From Tha Tien Station, we needed to take another short boat trip to the opposite side of the river to our second stop. This trip we paid 5 baht each (1 NOK).
Named after the Hindu god, Aruna, Wat Arun or Temple of the Dawn found in the west bank of the Chao Phraya River shines like sun with it distinctive spires. This 200-year-old temple houses the Emerald Buddha before. Furthermore, its high central tower with surrounding four small spires are adorned with seashells and porcelain. Moreover, the main spire has seven-pronged trident, which symbolizes reality, desires and happiness.
From our second stop, we took the boat ride from Tha Tien area to Marine Department through Orange Line. From the Marine Department, we passed by some communities near the market until we reached the China Town to our third stop.
The Golden Buddha, located in Wat Traimit is said to be the world’s largest solid gold statue, weighing about 5.5 kilograms. The 3-meter golden Buddha, which reflects an Indian influence, is securely covered with thick layer materials and is composed of nine 18-karat golden parts carefully assembled to create the statue. The statue is said worth 250 million dollars.
From our third stop, we took the toktok, a popular vehicle in Thailand. We tried asking the driver to take us in a shopping center where we can eat and shop at the same time. Again, we encountered problems with speaking to the driver due to language barriers, but the driver was very accommodating.
Honestly, I no longer know where we are at that point as we were so hungry and I just wanted to eat. We were able to eat Thai seafood in a place near the street. It was clean and the attendants were so kind, even though she had problems with communicating with us. Nonetheless, the food was delicious.
We tried walking from where we ate our dinner and reached the BTS station. We took a ride until we reached the central Bangkok area, where most shopping malls were located.
Eating and Shopping
Eating authentic Thai food is a must when traveling in Bangkok. The average expenditure in a usual meal is about 100 baht (25 NOK) per person. We tried to catch Siam Niramit show but we simply do not have the energy to do it. I hoped we could do so in the second day, but we were not able to do so.
To gain an excellent view of Thailand history and culture, one must see Siam Niramit, which is considered to be one of the largest stage production in the world with over a hundred of performers using hundreds with costumes.
We ended the first day of trip in Bangkok happy, gaining valuable appreciation of the Thai culture and its people.