It was January 2009 when my college friend and I planned our first trip abroad together. We’ve been wanting to travel together for quite sometime now, and with the various airlines offering low airfares because of the economic downturn, we felt it was time for us to push through with our plans. So with that settled, our next question was when and where to go. But since one of our friends was working in Bangkok that time, we decided to go to Thailand, not only to see the sights, but to visit her as well. When? After juggling both our schedule, we finally set the date – March 30 until April 2. What followed were the usual booking of flights and and hotels, which were both done online.
Finally, it was March 30! It was time to go. With both our bags packed and ready, we headed to Changi Airport (Singapore) where we will be boarding our flight to Bangkok. Aboard Tiger Airways, we reached Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok at around 8 in the evening. From the airport, we took the bus ride to our chosen hotel for 150 baht. Not bad for an hour drive from the airport to the hotel.
We stayed at Sawasdee Bangkok Inn, a hotel with a unique colonial architectural design located at the heart of Khaosan Road in Bangkok. Although an old hotel with paints peeling off and room service not at its best, we decided to stay here not only because it was the hotel offering the cheapest price, but because it is located in a shopping area district and a walking distance from the Capital’s major tourists attractions such as the Grand palace or Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), wat Benchamaborphit (The Marble Temple), the National Museum, the National Art Gallery, and the Vimanmek Royal Palace.
Immediately after arriving at the hotel, we just put our bags down and went out again to explore Khaosan Road, with the streets lined up with vendors selling everything – food, clothing, various accessories and souvenir items, and offering services such as massage and henna tattoos. Bars also lined up the streets were beers and hard drinks are served and tourists drink on sidewalks.
We met our other friend the following day. We spent the whole day mall hopping and shopping, trying out different Thai foods which were so spicy they left our mouths numb. One Thai food that I liked best is the Som Tam, which is made from papaya and fish sauce (if I am not mistaken!).
On our second day, we went to the Floating Market and the to the Elephant Village. The Floating Market is totally different from what I was expecting. Contrary to what I am expecting, Floating Market consists of several stores literally floating on a small canal. I was expecting a very big marketplace, instead what I saw was several small stalls situated apart from each other, you really need a boat to get your shopping done. Here, we bought some souvenir items. Next stop was the Elephant Village, where we got to experience riding at the back of an elephant for almost an hour. The experience was bought scary and at the same time exciting especially for first timers like us.
Our last night saw us drinking vodka mixed with red bull on the streets of Khaosan Road. We party until the wee hours in the morning, bar hopping and literally drinking until we dropped. It was the best girl-bonding I had with my girlfriends. It was the night of April 2 when we boarded Tiger Airways to go back to Singapore.
Our trip to Bangkok, Thailand was a memorable experience for me. Not only did I experience a taste of Thailand, but I also got to bond with my long time girl friends.