We were in Bangkok in September for a short trip. Decided to come back again during Christmas. Wanting to experience the Christmas atmosphere at a city of which would expect the most influx of tourists during the Christmas and New Year period.
The journey leaving Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 was a breeze, thinking the airport would be packed. Anyway, it was packed. However, the MAHB and the airline companies have done a good job in ensuring all passengers welfare are taken off. Though the toilet lines are rather long, especially for female. The security checking was smooth, as compared to two weeks ago I was at the same airport.
Don Mueng International Airport was also quite calm, surprisingly. AOT has done really good job in maintaining the order of passenger flow. We were thinking might stuck at the arrival hall for at least 45mins. We left in less than 20mins, to collect our luggages.
Kudos to AirAsia, both the return flights were sort of on time, with only 30mins differences. Kind of acceptable for AirAsia standard. I had experienced in the past that flights were delayed for 2 hours.
Only downside on Don Mueng Airport ~ the arrival shopping (Changi wins in this department) and the six seater taxi options. Of course there is also the Grab option. Visited 7 Eleven near the taxi counter to get some snacks.
It took us almost an hour from Don Mueng to Anantara Sathorn Bangkok Hotel. We went by 2 taxis, since the larger size taxi would need to wait another 45mins or 60mins.
We were a bit in a bad luck, which our taxi broke down on the highway, due to the language barrier. The driver did not communicate with us the issue. We asked if he needed help, call the hotline or switch us to another taxi. He did not reply. When we were about to call the taxi hotline (available on the driver’s card, displayed in every taxi), a highway cop stopped by. Checked the vehicle, spoke to the driver and then offered some form of help. The car started again in 15mins. We were sort of trapped in the middle of highway, with cars passing us really fast. Kind of scary.
After we arrived at the hotel, were told due to the peak season, we have to wait for the room. So, the hotel team offered us some advices, such as going for a short trip tour or alike, but we wanted to have lunch instead. The concierge team recommended us the hotel meals, but we opted for street food nearby.
The walk from Anantara to Siam Nara is about 10mins. A place filled with local Thai food, at affordable prices. The place was packed with lunch crowd. Annoying encounter being, some left their hang tag on the tables to block anyone from using the table. Since the food place is self-service, so kind of challenging to find a spot. We were in luck some how. We found seats after some waiting. Kind fo remind me of experience in KL, Hong Kong, Ipoh etc, where you need to hang on at the tables for someone to leave.
Anantara Sathorn Bangkok is an amazing hotel but with a kind of hidden location. From the main road, you can’t really see the hotel, it is blocked by Sathorn Heritage Centre. Anantara occupies one block and Oaks takes the other. They share the facilities such as restaurants, swimming pool, gym, spa etc.
In general the Thai hospitality service is at the highest level.
The only thing I find kind of challenging at Anantara is the lift waiting time as well as bugs (and rats) too.
The first 3 days of our Bangkok trip were covered with haze and air quality was really polluted. Noticed many Thais walking around with face masks on. It was really bad.
Due to the haze, the weather is also humid and hot. I find the thing about a warm outdoor and a really cold indoor is something not to be desired. It could get one sick easily. I remember our clients from Moscow once told me not to put the air-condition fan speed on the high side.
To travel around, we used the taxi, Grab, Sky Train, BRT as well as ferry/boat. We found that to travel to places like The Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Chinatown etc best use the boat or ferry. Though the amount might be higher because of the tourist prices. You can opt for the local Thai price.
If you fancy shopping mall, then you can hop on the complimentary ferry shuttle to ICONSIAM. We did not take that, due to the really long line. Under this weather, we opted to pay the ferry ride.
Just head to Saphon Thaksin Sky Train station, where the boats and ferries are operated.
You noticed I did not mention Tuk-Tuk as an option at all, because I have tried them in my last trip, I do not find them useful other than ripping off the tourists with the unreasonable prices.
A short visit to ICONSIAM, an eye opening for me. It is an amazing upmarket shopping district with new hotels and residences coming up. We took the complimentary shuttle ferry from Chinatown to the mall.We took the Chao Praya Tourist Boat (yes, only tourists use this, since it is communicated in English and Thai) to Ratchawongse, also known as Chinatown of Bangkok.
The last visit to Bangkok, we were here on the last day. This time round, we came on our fourth day. In case there are more that we want to see at this charming Chinatown.
I have not been to that many Chinatown abroad, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Rome, Madrid. Chinatown in Bangkok is really large.
Taken from Wikipedia, Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. It was founded in 1782 when the city was established as the capital of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, and served as the home of the mainly Teochew immigrant Chinese population, who soon became the city’s dominant ethnic group. Originally centred around Sampheng, the core of Chinatown now lies along Yaowarat Road, which serves as its main artery and sometimes lends its name to the entire area, which is often referred to as Yaowarat. Chinatown’s entire area is roughly coterminous with Samphanthawong District, and includes neighbourhoods such as Song Wat and Talat Noi along the Chao Phraya River, and Charoen Chai, Khlong Thom and Nakhon Khasem along Charoen Krung Road.
Sampheng area is still quite packed with Chinese businesses, where most of the main shops are located.
There are exceedingly many gold shops on Yaowarat road, mainly patronised by tourists from China.
We did not enter to any gold shop, but had lunch at Tang Jai Yoo, a small Chinese restaurant with some 20 tables seating. Served authentic Chinese cuisine, with customers mainly the local Thai Chinese. I could hear some Teo Chew in their communications.
There are many lanes in Chinatown. They are generally narrow and also packed with many things. Kind of health hazard. Also with the bikes zooming in and out of the lanes.
The traffic in Chinatown is kind of challenging especially on the main Yaorawat road. However, it is best to walk on foot while in Chinatown. We walked about after a sumptuous lunch. We avoided the busy gold shop district, walked into the quiet lanes and street which we do not know the names.
It is generally safe to walk about in Bangkok, of course to be vigilant with the personal belongings. For female, it is best to walk in pair.
We noticed there will be a MRT station in the Chinatown, which is completed. So the next time we could use the train as well, other than the boat.
There are many stalls in Chinatown, seriously many. We had the street food, but I find most of the street food to be similar with the sort I could get at Silom, Sathorn even Langsuan. Except some sweets seems more Chinese. We also bought some pastry from the Chinese bakery nearby the restaurant we had lunch.
I think Bangkok is a place only to be appreciate by young adults, adults, not so much for kids.
The Grand Palace is really a place you need a guide to truly experience the history of the overall place. After the tour by Ken, our guide, we went into the Queen’s Museum to learn more about the Grand Palace, the construction, history significances as well as the materials used. I noticed many have missed this part.
We also walked into the Bangkok Museum, which I think could have been better curated. Kind of big let down for the kids, whom love history.
The current exhibits at the museum have descriptions. Unlike the Grand Palace, need a guide to take you through as there is nothing much written to explain.
We had so much of the street food this time round until 3 of us had food poisoning. Guess was one of the item we had (mixed rice) the meat was not fresh.
Well, lesson learn.
Bangkok, next time when we are back again, we will come for a short trip.