Of Meeting Elephants and Counting Countless Temples

Amazing Thailand. The Thai tourism council made a splendid job of coming up with a no-better-word than 'Amazing'. I couldn't think of another adjective to describe this South East Asian marvel. Everything in Thailand is either, exciting or amazing, both words equally complimenting.

Over a long weekend, my sisters and I went on an exciting trip southwest of the Philippines and was greeted with the typical high pitched tone of Sawadeeka. Except for the language, the left lane drive way and gold being literally everywhere, it still feels home. Much of Bangkok's metroscape resembles that of the Manila.

We only had two days in Bangkok as my sisters were heading to Phuket on the third and I was going back to Manila for work, but boy it was definitely worth it. The two days felt like a week that we were able to hop on 15 major tourist spots in a single day with the help of a private driver for 1800 THB (negotiation started at 2500 - my sisters are demigods of haggling). 

The hotel staff at Princeton Park Suites gave us an idea of how Thai hospitality is. Just along Din Daeng and just at the northeast of the Victory Monument (at the Din Daeng and Vibhavadi-Rangsit intersection) and a few minutes away from Ratchadapisek, Pratunam and Thailand’s Cultural Centre. The hotel rooms were spacious, oriental themed and has this 'Thai' aroma which embraces the lobby up to the hotel rooms with fresh orchids all over the place. 


The temples are carpeted and walled in nothing less than that shining yellow surface i'd like to call gold. Thailand's rich culture is manifested by more than 40,000 Grandeur Temples - each has a story to tell. Temples are the life of the Thai tourism. And each temple hosts thousands of local and foreign tourist every day.

Since I was a little boy, my mom and I used to talk about Thailand's floating market after seeing it on one of the travel shows on the television. Since then, I have always wished to hop into those paddled boats and float swiftly on the canals of the infamous Floating Market. The Thai experience would never be complete unless you get into the boat and bump into every tourist of all races giggling in delight of a remarkably unique shopping experience - the Floating Market is a major rip off of your conventional shopping. 

And Thailand isn't Thailand without the long nosed, huge eared creatures. Seeing elephants one foot away was a moment of a lifetime. And I say lifetime because it almost stepped foot on me while I was getting as close for a picture perfect moment. Whew! 

Aside from the Elephants, one must not miss riding the tuktuk - a local triple wheeled public utility vehicle.

Oh yes, shopping. Bangkok- the shopping capital of South East Asia. Who wouldn't love bargaining to more than 80 percent of the first price. Here's a tip, never settle for the first offer, the bid could start up at 1000 Baht and after a few negotiations it drops off to 800 and then you walk away until they call you back and offer you 300. See what I mean? You don't even have to exert much effort, and you come home with a lot of extra baggage to pay at the airport. So there's where the frugality goes. ;)

Bangkok is indeed a lovely, lively and an exciting city. Walking down the street makes me feel a part of those Crazy Little Thing Called Love -kind of movies. You look everywhere and tourists would seem to outnumber the locals.  

The Thai people are very friendly and welcoming, the struggle with English appear to be a barrier to their hospitality though, but nevertheless, their warmth is beyond words.

Wander Dude Notes: 

  • Shopping in Bangkok is an experience of a lifetime. Specially on flee markets, thrift shops or stalls, never underestimate the power of bargaining with the vendor. Try haggling to the most reasonable price you can come up with, worked for us the whole time.
  • When visiting temples, bring extra pants as some temples does not permit wearing of shorts.
  • Car rentals are good choices if you want to save more time. They can bring you to as much as a dozen tourist spots with ease.
  • The Suvarnabhumi Airport boosts an exciting gateway to Thailand. Spend an hour or two before your next flight and enjoy wandering in the airport.
  • The Phat Phong Shopping Area is a paradise to the shop lovers. It is composed of streets and alleys of different goods. Along the sides are sexy pole shows of both men and women in bikinis. They will usually entice you to get inside the bar until you can't say no. The best way to say no is to say 'finished' which means, you have been there already.
  • Try the locally famous Coco Ice Cream!
  • Bangkok is also a hub for precious stones and gems in Asia. For some authentic jewelry shopping, visit World Thai Gems Gallery which is ISO 9001 and 9002 accredited.  

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