Bangkok and Me

THAILAND was never on top of the bucket list of places I dreamed of  going.. But when my friends from Oman, where I used to work some years ago, invited me to join them in their vacation to Thailand instead of them spending it here in the Philippines, I thought why not? Thinking that I already have travel companions regardless of the lack of lure of the said destination, I said yes to their invitation. After all, traveling is one of my hobbies, just like everybody else.

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TOMBS with a solemn line of Buddha images outside Wat Suthat temple.

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ENTRANCE of the Wat Suthat temple bedecked in meticulous golden designs.

It was not my first time to step foot on Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, for I had a stopover in this humongous airport when I flew with Thai Airways long ago from Oman to the Philippines. Suvarnabhumi is such a huge architectural structure that houses almost all travel and tourism activities in this culturally-rich but modernized nation. Upon arrival, one will be welcomed with awe and bright curiosity. I could not help but make mention of the continuous throngs of people lining up in their immigration area both Asians and non-Asians alike every hour just to gain entry to Thailand either for business, religion, leisure, or shopping. This is one thing I find exactly opposite in our own Immigration Area in NAIA 3. I believe these foreigners find it safe, complete, and satisfying to spend their holidays in Thailand rather than in the Philippines. Sad, but true.

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FAMOUS ride in Thailand, the Tuktuk.

Spending a day to visit the highlighted cultural tourist spots in Bangkok is both memorable and fun-filled. As a first-timer in Bangkok, I really tried to make my own research how to roam around and see the city’s ancient Temples. First stop was finding which train station we could take off to take us to the main pier of the Chao Phraya River. Visiting ancient city part of Bangkok is more easily accessible through the river than the streets. They have a well-organized tourist guidance booklet telling every tourist passenger on which sub-pier to alight in order to see magnificent and golden religious architectural wonders. And this river tour can be availed with unlimited rides by just paying 150 baht (approximately 240 pesos). However, you just need to take note that this tour ends at 5:30pm, which began at 8:00 in the morning.

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FACADE of one of the small temple in the Wat Pho compound.

With the express tourist boat, we were able to see Wat Pho Temple, or the temple of the famous reclining Buddha. It is also considered as the leading massage school in Thailand. On the other exact side of the river, Wat Arun Temple is towering visibly. Wat Arun or the temple of the dawn is partly made up of colorful spires and stands majestically over the water. Just adjacent to Wat Arun is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok called “Wat Suthat”. Its construction was commissioned by King Rama 1 in the year 1807 soon after his coronation, of which the temple’s original name was Mahasuthawat. It was believed that people pray to Buddha images in Wat Suthat for charms and broad vision. More memorable was seeing Bangkok Old Customs House from the river, which was said to be the gateway of Thailand from long ago, levying taxes on traders moving in and out of Thailand. The ancient building was built by an Italian architect in 1890s. This crumbling yet hauntingly beautiful building still stands today as the living witness of Thailand magnificent eras that passed, which now houses members of Bangkok’s fire brigade and likewise a favorite spot for movie shooting and professional photo shoots.

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SUVARNABHUMI Airport where millions of life and love stories are etched.

Visiting Bangkok would never be complete without dropping by its huge shopping malls such as the MBK or the Mahboonkrong, where one can buy little somethings for friends, loved ones, and associates. It’s also a good place to take a cool refuge from the heat outdoors as well as tasting some of the authentic Thai dishes which are often served hot and spicy. Bangkok is a bastion of the old and new world where life is a fleeting grace that traverse on its soil and water. For history lovers like me who are constantly fascinated by stories of ancient cities, religion, and landmarks, Bangkok is one good place to fly to. “Ngan wi cex kan him!” (See you then!)

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BANGKOK’S old Customs house.

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BIG MAP showing the old town and central Bangkok.

MOTLEY – Bangkok & Me

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