And here I am, to tell you all about my Thailand trip!
To do so, I need to break it in like at least two posts cause there are too many things to say and plenty of pics to upload as well.
Ready? Let’s get started then!
I booked my trip back in December, finding a really good price with Emirates for a 10 days break. Originally, I decided to go to Thailand even if I have been once already because I was planning to meet a friend, in due course though the plan changed and this turned into a solo trip. After the first day or two panicking and thinking, OH MY what am I going to do, I decided to see the bright side and I realized it was ages that I wanted to travel by myself but then either I wasn’t brave enough or I didn’t have money or time.
First thing about solo traveling: do not let your friends/family scare you about this. They will say you’re crazy, that you have to be careful at what you eat, where you go, “Oh you’re going by yourself, REALLY?” – really, Mother. Of course you have to be careful, as you have to be careful everyday in your life! I guess we all check before crossing the street, right?
Common sense is what you need, you won’t eat from a street vendor that looks like shit and you won’t adventure in dark alleys by yourself at 2am.
So I got to Bangkok on a Saturday lunch time, 35 degrees outside and a busy airport and I had no idea where to start from. I though first thing, find a taxi. At BKK airport they’re on the ground floor with a pretty easy queueing system. Also, it’s very helpful if you have the address where you need to go in Thai as well, whoever says Thais speak english is lying.
Another thing you need to remember is: taxi drivers will try to get as more money as they can out of you. To avoid this, always ask for the meter to be on (and do not pay more than 400 Baht for a taxi ride to Sukhumvit, including the highway fee).
I booked Solo Sukhumvit for my first 3 nights in Bangkok. The hotel is quite close to the Sky Train even if it is at the end of a street that is not good looking at all. Still, no one bothered me. The swimming pool on the rooftop is exactly what you need after a day visiting the city and having a beer day during happy hour is a must. The rooms are clean and quite nice, unfortunately the breakfast is not as good. But who cares, this hotel was great for what I needed.
After a jet lagged night, first stop on the Sunday morning was Wat Pho, the famous Buddhist temple complex. Entrance is 100 Baht and the first thing you see is the 46m long reclining Buddha – fascinating. This complex has also the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand and they do have a massage school as well. I heard that when you go there for a massage you can chose if you want to have it with the teacher or the student.
In all the temples you need to be dressed appropriately and here they will lend you sarong or something suitable.
It might have been just cause it was early in the morning, but I found this place quite peaceful and much better than the second place I decided to visit: Wat Phra Kaew.
The Emerald Buddha is housed here and this is a good enough reason to go – even if it’s a bit smaller then expected! Entrance, though, is 500 Baht and the place was packed with tourists. You also need to rent a sarong if you’re not dressed properly with a 200 Baht deposit. And let’s not talk about the heat, cause at that point it was midday. But while I was queuing for my sarong, I met a group of lovely Italians and I decided to join them and visit the temples together. We then jumped on a tuk tuk and negotiated a good price to go to MBK, which is one of the most convenient (and not particularly fancy) shopping centres.
In the evening of my second day in Bangkok I attended a food tour that I booked from home and I read about on my Lonely Planet.
The Midnight food tour by Tuk Tuk organized by Bangkok food tours was one of the highlight of my trip!
The cost is around £40, you meet at either 7.30pm or 8 and the tour finishes at either 11.30 or midnight. The groups are max of 12 people and you get in a tuk tuk with your partner, in my case with Meng, the guide, cause I was the only solo traveller – and that was lucky cause I got to learn a lot of other stuff while we were moving from a place to the other.
Meng was a wonderful guide, he explained where we were about to go and in every single place he was making sure we knew enough about the history of the place and the food.
One of the great things about this tour is that all the little restaurants we visited were family owned and run by generations and also most of them have been in the same place for 40/50 years. And of course, we were the only tourists… everyone else was local!
We had chicken with rice, sticky coconut rice with mango, some magical noodles in egg (and we have been shown how they make it as well!) and the original Pad Thai. We also managed to visit a night flower market, Wat Pho at night and we went to a stunning but secret price – it’s a surprise and I won’t spoil it!
All the dishes have their own Thai name which unfortunately I wasn’t able to write down, but I hope the pictures will be inviting enough.. click to see it bigger!
Can you spot me? 🙂
On day 3 I decided to go outside Bangkok to visit Ayutthaya, but I think this post is long enough so I will do a separate one to tell you all about more Buddhas and temples.
Stay tuned, the best is yet to come!