03/05/2015 Leave a comment
The institute I used to work for had this thing for travel. People would come and go with just a tell-tale post-it in their desks and I found myself often stuck all by my lonesome, nursing a cup of milk tea. A few months had gone by like this until one uneventful day, I was asked for my passport number.
I was told that the team would be going on a short trip to Thailand and that passports were needed immediately. Back then, I just shrugged it off, like it was nothing but now that I looked back to it, I was the proverbial unsuspecting victim of the viral disease called wanderlust. A few whirls later, I found myself in a tight line trying to get my passport in order and thinking of what I’m supposed to be doing there for half a week.
Then it came.
We went to Thailand.
- Ticket price: free
- Accommodation: free
- Pocket money: $150.00 for three days
WHAT I WAS DOING THEN
I was working on a project back in 2012 when the news came along: the cluster was going to Thailand for some office activity. I was all for it but then I remembered something else, I haven’t a passport yet. My boss said it was okay with her if I didn’t come because apparently, passport processing in the country could take you a lifetime and a half to get done. I would take none of it, of course. I mean, this was a trip to a view you don’t get to see very often so a level-headed person (such as not myself) would not pass this up.
I decided to go get a passport three and a half weeks before the flight.
Being directly related to someone working for the government, I enjoyed this one good policy they had: the red lane. Apparently, a faster passport processing time is promised to the government employee as well as first degree relatives of said employee. So to you people out there who have to get their passports in a rush and have a government employee parent or spouse, you can use the red lane to get your passes.
For everyone else, the chaotic line at the DFA starts at 0700H. It’s best if you apply two months prior your desired trip date. I’m not kidding.
WHAT I PACKED
I was from a tropical country going to another tropical country. I packed what I would usually wear – light shirts, a few pants and another pair of shoes. No slippers for me because I wasn’t going to the beach or anything (I was WORKING). No dresses because I don’t like walking around new places in uncomfortable clothes. I brought slacks though, just because it’s a work thing. Anyway, I’m not big on dressing up so if you want to wear anything fashionable, go right ahead. Just don’t wear thick clothes; it’s downright suicide.
I recommend that you to bring sunscreen if you’re going in the summer. Most of the places you will go to involves being exposed to sunlight (but I bet what you wanted to see was the night life anyway) so prepare yourself for burnt skin if you forgot about this. Anyway, Thailand sells all kind of products for a cheap price. It’s because labor there is cheaper than other places so the products there are also sold for less (which is nice).
WHERE I STAYED
So first of, we checked in on MyHotel Pratunam. The room I got was pretty good. It had two beds which I shared with myself. So what I did was jump around until my companions called me for meetings and happenings. That aside, here’s a picture of the room I stayed in:
It’s a clean room which really works well for me. The view wasn’t really breath taking outside though since we were situated right smack in the middle the Pratunam shopping district. This is a pretty nice place to stay in if you plan to shop later on. It’s in the Pratunam district where various stalls and malls litter the place. I bought myself shirts and blouses with just a 10-minute walk from my place.
WHERE WE WENT
- The Naj
This is a restaurant situated in Bangkok. I think we wound up here due to a recommendation from one of our companion’s friends. I was at first taken back by the presence of the place. There was a small alcove leading towards the restaurant (it wasn’t situated right at the roadside). Then there was music playing when we entered the receiving area. This place is the go-to destination if you want ambiance served in huge dollops.
HOWEVER, The Naj is not a place for the newly baptized in the world of Thai cuisine. You can maybe appreciate a few of the dishes but most of them take time to love. It needs to be a constant affair or else, even the provided palette cleanser will override your taste buds.
Anyway, here’s a picture of the place from Google (because I think I forgot the camera back at the hotel):
There’s a plus side to you first-timers not ending up eating: they hold live cultural dances during dinner. They have this little stage up front where they present to you traditional dances as you eat…which is nice.
- Khaosan Street
Khaosan street is situated in Bangkok. It’s a nice place to go to when you need to unwind at night. The place offers street foods as well as restobars and small fashion kiosks. Along the street you can also find massage parlors and gold stores. This place is lively all throughout the night (in all the meaning that apply).
I mean really lively.
If you’re there to experience the night life, then this is the place where you have to go. As for me, I just contented myself with looking at the various wares that littered the sidewalk…among other things. i was eating through the whole street and when i got back to the hotel, the toilet was my best friend.
- Wat Traimit Temple
What you should probably expect from going on a planned tour to Thailand is a tour of their temples. They have The Golden Buddha, The Reclining Buddha and the Emerald Buddha temples listed off in the first half day of the cultural tour. among all of these, what really caught my attention was the Wat Traimit Temple which housed the Golden Buddha.
The place was intricately designed, to say the least. It was as if it was a living tesseract with all its attention to detail.
- Kwai River Bridge (Kanchanaburi)
There is a feeling of nostalgia when I walked the tracks along the Kwai River. It’s the same feeling I got every time I walked inside the ruins of Corregidor. There is an overwhelming sense of sadness coupled with longing, all topped with gripping curiosity that always washes over me when ruins of old batteries and forts from the second world war present themselves in vivid colors. It reminds me to be a better person afterwards.
- Damnoen Saruak Floating Market (Ratchaburi)
Finally, we went to the Floating Market. They sell viciously delicious Thai lanzones here. You should buy 10kg of it when you can, seriously.
On a side note, you may opt not to ride boats in this place. They have mini bridges that connect the island markets together.
HOW IT WAS
This trip sparked the wanderlust in me. It showed me a living world with actual people and not just another picture on Google. What I regretted not doing was going to Phuket though. However, I can just live that to another time.
The food adventure was something else, though.
Here’s a praying Thai McDonald from the MBK branch to bid you welcome and goodbye.