Day 1: Thailand Adventure
Pardon for the uber slow updates. I have been busy with lots of domestic chores lately. Maybe, I’ll post entries about that some other day. But for the meantime, here’s the first entry of the most awaited Mommy’s 74th birthday celebration in Thailand and Vietnam. (Feeling ko lang na hinihintay nyo ng bonggang-bongga ang kwento ko. Pabayaan nyo na, yan ang paniniwala ko eh! Hehehe!)
As always, I’d start off my travelogue with the characters. So, here are the Thailand Adventure cast:
Len and Candy are my friends from church/choir while the other two, you already know who they are as their pics are always posted here in my site. LOL.
Oct. 24, 2009. We were scheduled to take the 12:20 p.m. Cebu Pacific flight in Clark so we had to leave home before 6:00 am. We needed to catch the 7:00 am Philtranco Bus at the back of SM Megamall. It exclusively plies from Ortigas to Clark and cost just P300 per head.
At around 9:oo am., we reached Clark Airport a.k.a. Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA). Ahem! Ayaw magpatalo sa NAIA at kelangan talaga ganyan ang pangalan ng airport? And since it was too early for our flight, we had some snacks, deliberately abused the wifi connection (kaya naman updated ang status ko sa Facebook, hehehe!) and did my favorite habit… photo ops, what else?! 😛
I don’t know what is with flying that my Mom like so much. We see the same thing over and over again (read: just clouds) whenever inside the plane but she still prefers to look outside the window. So I tried to capture that moment. And without adjusting my old trusty digicam, I got this amazing stolen shot of her:
When she turned back on me and she told a story about a neighbor who hates flying. Here’s our conversation:
Mommy: Kilala mo si Aling (insert name here), di ba?
Mommy: Kilala mo yun. Palagi yun pumupunta sa bahay eh!
Winkie: Ok fine. Oh anong meron ke Aling (insert name here)?
Mommy: Nakakwentuhan ko sya nung isang araw. Nabanggit ko na pupunta tayo ng Thailand. Bigla ba naman sinabi na ayaw daw nyang sumakay ng eroplano lalo pag umuuwi ng probinsya. Kasi daw wala naman nakikitang maganda pag nasa eroplano. Di katulad pag nakasakay sa bus eh maraming nakikita. May mga sceneries, puno, kalabaw… nakakalibang daw. Loka-loka din noh? Mas maganda kaya sa eroplano, clouds ang makikita. Wala kayang ganun pag nagbus ka.
Winkie: Korek! Kaya magulat ka ‘pag nakakita ka ng kalabaw ngayon.
Mommy: Hahaha! Oo nga noh?!
That is just one of my hilarious conversations with my Mom. There’s more. I’ll check if I could inject them in my other posts.
Anyhow, our Manila-to-Bangkok flight was smooth. At 2:35 p.m. (Thailand’s local time), we landed at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. At syemps, pikchuran agad!
It was too obvious that we were already in Thailand as we saw this and exploited it for some more photo ops…
I was a bit amazed with the facilities of the airport. It was huge and has updated techology at the immigration. It’s definitely not better than HK and SG airports but waaaaay ahead than NAIA.
Since I got us accommodation package, we were picked up from the airport. Our tourist guide, Anne, was already there waiting for us. We boarded a nice 10-seater van that took us to our hotel. But along the way, I took some snaps of the Thai roads:
Oh di ba parang Manila lang. Ke daming fly-over! Too bad I wasn’t able to take pics of the jammed roads when we pushed furhter to Bangkok proper. It was a 45-minute trip from the airport to our hotel… inclusive of bad traffic! LOL.
I got us affordable accommodations at the Baiyoke Boutique Hotel. It’s located in Pratunam area…very near the street slash night markets and shopping malls. Len and Candy were checked in a separate room from us. They were housed at room 422 while Mom and I were at 424.
You might be wondering why I had to tell slash show this thing. Well, I just noticed some very important numbers slash dates here. The hotel coupons carried Mommy’s birthday (Oct. 27, our check out date) while the hotel room stood for my birthday (Apr. 24). May konek, di ba?! Galing noh?! Hehehe!
Wanna have a peek of our room??? Eto po…
Sorry naman, may lolang mahilig sumama sa picture! Hehehe! Obviously, it wasn’t grand. Just a simple accommodation for budget travellers like me and my Mom. Apparently, I got this at USD100 (P4,900 at the time we booked) for 4D3N inclusive of airport transfers, daily breakfast and half-day city tour. Quite a nice package, eh?!
(Note to Irene: Sooooo very sorry I wasn’t able to get back at you to at least inform that I’m not getting the Le Meridien accommodation. When I learned that 2 of my friends are joining us, I opted to book cheaper accommodation. Hey, maybe next time I’ll holler when I swing by HK… soon!)
Since it was a bit late in the afternoon and we still haven’t eaten lunch, we just headed to the nearest mall (read: mala-Plaza Miranda or Tutuban mall) and tried to look for a nice resto or foodchain. I’m really not much adventurous when it comes to food and I have tried some Thai dishes before. They just didn’t much my taste buds well. So, we chose to be on the safe side and decided to eat here…
KFC kung KFC! Hahaha! In all fairness, I learned that KFC foods from Bangkok and Manila taste the same. LOL. It was a bit too pricey as compared here back home. Maybe P40 to 50 higher than the Manila price. But hey, their servings are way bigger. I could never finish a combo meal all by myself. So, Mommmy and I always shared meals. Tipid noh?! 😛
The Pratunam area is really haven for shoppers who are so much fond of branded class A and other tiangge buys. Too bad, I’m not their desired client. May kaartehan talaga ako sa shopping. Hehehe! I felt I was in Divisoria or Plaza Miranda. There were clothes, shoes and bags sold everywhere… and all other items that one could think of. Here, I took a snap so you can have a clear idea of what the Pratunam street market looks like:
It got overly crowded with vendors and shoppers as it turned darker. Too crowded that it’s no longer passable by vehicles. Sorry though as I wasn’t able to document that. 😦
While we were checking out the area, Candy mentioned about Siam Paragon. It’s a very nice high-end mall located just minutes from where we are. Equipped with map, we checked by ourselves how to get there. But the map we had in hand is a bit to vague to understand. Promise, first time ko maguluhan sa map at malocate kung nasaan ako. Hehehe! Another set of tourists seemed lost. They asked a local for directions. Since gaya-gaya kami, we also approached the that nice Thai lady and asked how we could get to Siam Paragon by foot. She gave us directions… but still a bit vague for us. And so I asked, “Is it near from here? Or it would be best to take a cab instead?” She said that it’s a bit too far to walk so advised as to take a tuk-tuk. It’s like the counterpart of our jeepneys here in the Phils but they look more like three-wheeler motorbikes. Oh wait, I got a pic of a tuk-tuk…
How cool is that?! 😛 You think it’s just a cheap ride? Think again… it’s not! When we asked how much will it cost us to take Siam Paragon, the driver told that it’s THB 150 (roughly P210 or USD5). Ang mahal di bah? Since we knew that tuk-tuks don’t offer fixed rates, we tried to haggle. We were able to agree at THB 80 ( roughly P110 or USD2.50) from Pratunam to Siam Paragon. Still a bit expensive as compared to tricycle fares in Manila. Anyhow, we still hopped in.
At last, we saw a nice looking mall. A real one. Siam Paragon is a bit comparable to the Shang-rila Mall along EDSA… but much much bigger.
We just checked out some familiar shops like Mango and Zara. We didn’t shop though. It was a very short mall trip. We had some snacks and bought some water and other necessary items at the supermarket before we headed back home… err, to the hotel.
I know it was kinda bitin, but we were already tired at that time so we all called it a day.
To be continued….