Bangkok also known as “Krung Thep” or City of Angels will soon become the world most popular tourist destination 2013. I have been to the capital of Thailand, Bangkok many times and even worked here in the mid eighties. I love this city, the food, the culture and people. It is a buddhist country with a long rein monarchy. The current monarchy of Thailand is Bhumibol Adulyadej. The “King of Thailand” or “King of Siam” has reigned the country since 1946, making him the world’s longest reigning current monarch and the world’s longest serving head of state.
I have always come back to Thailand. It is a a quick 1 hour and 15 minutes flight from Penang with a couple of daily direct flights with either Air Asia X and Thai Airways. Alternatively, there is a train between Bangkok and Butterworth (mainland section of Penang). It will take almost a day on the overnight train. It is a great way to see the country side of both Thailand and Malaysia.
On this trip, I have booked for the first time a return flight with Thai Airway. It left Penang early at 8 am, arriving in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 8:20 am with an hour time zone difference. It was a good flight and on time. The only drama I had was I forgot to bring along my Australian credit card that I used to booked the airfares online. It was required to check-in at the airport with Thai Airway. Fortunately, I was able to login wireless to internet banking and provide the ground crew with my credit card number. Imagine getting stuck at the airport unable to check-in. That will ruin the entire holiday before I even start!
Arriving at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, we were greeted by a limousine service from the hotel – Chatrium Hotel Riverside. I have stayed at this hotel on previous trips and have been happy with the service, room and location. The free river shuttle service from the hotel pier to the Skytrain station – Sathorn Taksin is a convenient way of getting around Bangkok city without being trapped in the notorious Bangkok traffic jam during peak hours. On top of that, we were offered an upgrade to a river view corner suite for a mere 600 Thai Baht per night, an equivalent of AUD$22. Bangkok is a great place for shopping. There are many choices from streets after streets of roadside stalls to open markets and mega malls of local designers clothing, homewares, accessories to top international branded goods. It is a true shopping haven.
There is a new night market which was moved from the Suan Lum nightmarket to a purpose built waterfront night market with restaurants and food courts to attract the tourists and middle class locals. The market is called “Asiatique” which was opened a year ago.But my favourite market of all time is the weekend market – Chatuchak Market, which is the world largest market. This place is very popular with the ordinary Thai people. Getting there is the easy part – either on the Skytrain or the subway train. The challenging part is the crowd and making you way through. The fun part is to bargain and bargain hard, but in a polite manner. And, the most important thing is to drink a lot of water and beware of pick pocket. Guard your bag and wallet.