Bangkok and Pattaya, Thailand (29th March - 1st April)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

This post is all about my recent trip to Thailand… first time.

Thailand has been listed in my ‘must visit’ country for 2011. MUST. I don’t care if I go alone too. As long as I have enough information and cash. Lol. Fortunately, my friends also planning to go there too. They’ve been planning for the trip since last year but due to some inevitable reason, they only can go this year. Then, we planned everything in January (not!).

We already booked our tickets with RBA in January. Ticket was $408 per person. We did try to find other alternative to use Air Asia but the dates we choose to fly, no connecting via KL to Bangkok on the same day which required us to stay one night in KL. Troublesome and expensive. We choose the easiest way and more convenient for all. Fly with RBA.

Actually there were 4 of us who confirmed to go there but during 7 days before our departure date, some unexpected things happened. We had additional 3 more people went with us. Awesome! The more the merrier, right?

We went there from 29th March till 1st April (the duration is too short for me! I think this is the lowest number of days I spent at foreign country). Never mind. I still have plenty of holidays this year. Enough for me to go around euro in one month (I wish!). haha.

29th March – I woke up early coz I had to ensure everything was in the bag. I gave a short morning call to Chin, just in case he still dreaming on la la la land. We arrived at the airport at 9am. Kimah arrived there early. Had a short conversation with her and asked how much cash she brought. No surprise. Haha. I went to Baiduri ATM and withdraw few more hundred.

We waited for all members, and then checked in. Our flight departed at 10:15am from Brunei International Airport. It was almost 2 hours flight. I think the most delicious food is when you’re in the airplane. Agree?

We arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok almost noon (local time). Thailand is 1 hour difference from us. The airport is so big. I saw a lot of foreigners there. White. Black. Chinese. Japanese. Korean. Malaysian. I think you can spot every national there while waiting at passport counter. Suvarnabhumi is the 5th busiest airport in Asia (handled 42.7 million passengers in 2010), extracted from Wiki. Enough said.
In less than 30 minutes, we were out and looking for a van. The first time I walked out of the airport, I realised the weather was cool. I thought the wind is coming from nearby big air-cond. But no, it was from outside. I never been to Thailand and I assumed the weather is natural to be cool since the country is away from equator. Hmmmm… I asked chin, if the weather was natural like that but he can’t remember it much.

Most Thai people can’t speak English but they do understand it and you need to pronounce it louder and clearer. I had some difficulty trying to explain to our van driver where our hotel is. I told him, White Palace Hotel. He nodded. Then asked again, White Palace Hotel? Err?? I let my other friends to explain to him. Lol. It took us almost 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach to the hotel. The traffic jam is bad at Bangkok. We’re not get used with the high traffic on the road, don’t we? But I did enjoy the view. It was my first time to see the taxi in PINK. Not one BUT many PINK taxi. Haha! So cute. They even modified their taxi car look like a racing car. Amazing!

White palace hotel is located at Pratunam area. We booked 3 rooms since the rate is CHEAPER. Yes. The hotel rate is way much cheaper than KL. Kimah was the one who booked for us. Thanks! The review is not so bad too. Why would you stay at high price hotel when you only need them to sleep? There are many reasons to stay at Pratunam area too. The street is full of shops, bargain goods and etc. There are a few halal restaurants too. It’s a one stop place for all your needs.

We stayed at the room for an hour before a non-stop walking and shopping. Shopping? Me? Hmm… We were going our separate way. Kimah, her bf, pgs and huds they went in one group. Chin, my brother and me in one group. We had a short tour around Pratunam area then decided to go to big malls. Thanks to Thai apps that I downloaded in my phone at least I know where places to go around Bangkok. We took a cab and went to Siam Paragon.

Siam Paragon? Okay. This is too much for me. TOO EXPENSIVE. It is comparable with Pavilion in KL. If you’re looking for branded stuffs. This is the place. Shop till you don’t have penny in the bank. Lol. They even have Lamborghini cars in the building (damn!).

Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Central World and MBK Malls are connected to each other. MBK mall is connected via a bridge. I was lost in the mall. Too many too see. Too many things you want to buy. I didn’t buy anything on the first day coz I want to see what they offer. For budget wise shopping experience, I would recommend to go to MBK. They have almost everything you are looking for. Don’t miss out MBK when you’re in Bangkok! Bangkok is a shopping heaven for shoppers.

We spent many hours in the mall. The weather was cool around the city too. The temperature might be around 18-23 degrees. I forget to bring my sweater. Hmph!

We went back to the hotel almost 10pm. There were many ‘tuk-tuk’ drivers waiting at the entrance of our hotel. One of them approached us. “massage?” he said and showing us one small booklet with many hot and young girls. Lol. Seriously? The price is high too for that massage. Around 2000 bhat. Hahaha

We didn’t entertain them and off to the room. There, all of us in the room waiting for other friends to discuss whether we’re going to Pattaya the next morning. Majority voted yes. Go Pattaya!

30th March – Our group leader, Pgs, said to us be ready at 9am. I am a morning person. I woke up early and ring their rooms for a wakeup call. I assumed my call managed to wake them. I went for a free breakfast at the hotel. I took a heavy breakfast that morning. I waited for them and they didn’t show. Not even their shadows. I went back to the room and gave another call. To my surprise, they just woke up! Haha! Busted!

We managed to hire a van to go to Pattaya. The cost? 3500 bhat return. Not bad since everybody chipped in. The temperature was still cool and I like it. The bus driver also a cool old man. They asked if it’s okay to smoke in the van. The old man smiled and gave a thumb up. Pattaya!

The driving distance from Bangkok to Pattaya is approximately 148km. It is such a nice view and more relaxing to get away from the city where the air pollution is high, traffic jam everywhere. We were using a 4 lane highway to go to Pattaya. The van speed average at 100km/h. We took a good nap while waiting to reach the destination though sometimes the van bounced up and down on the bumpy road.

We reached Pattaya City at 10:30am or 11am. I can’t remember the time but we were there before 11am. Once we stepped out of the van, Kimah said “Welcome to Pattaya! Welcome to the Sin City”. Wow. How could you know this is the sin city? My best guess… she google!

I don’t really know what to expect at this Pattaya City other than a nice beach which stretch kilometres from one point to another. It is indeed a nice beach with many activities. Most people would go for sun bathing. They also offered banana boat, Jet Ski and etc. If you don’t like water activities, you may grab the chance to go for riding on elephant or shooting. Shooting? Yes. They have a real gun where you can choose. Just pay J

The street also stretch very far with many bars, restaurants, bargain goods, massage parlours, saunas and cheap budget hotels. Sometimes I wonder if I was actually in Thailand coz they are many foreigners compared to Thai people at Pattaya. It’s true.

It will be not complete if you are not going into a Hard Rock Café. They have nice shirts and sweaters.Not just a café, they also have their own nice hotel. I think my friends spent hundreds at the place alone. Huh!

Then, we decided to have a great lunch especially to try Thailand seafood cuisines. Thailand is very famous for its seafood and tom yam! We asked the driver to bring us to the best seafood restaurant at Pattaya. Pupen SeaFood Restaurant, remember this! We ordered many dishes and coconut water. Bless! I’m craving for its fish and tom yam! SO DELICIOUS!

We continued to discover more places around Pattaya. They were looking for dried cuttlefish and even said this to our van driver “SOTONG”. HAHAHAHA. By now, the old man should know what SOTONG is. The taste is great! You can even try to taste before you buy. I recommend you to buy in bulk coz the owner will be happy to give you extra.

I don’t know if they have many shopping malls around Pattaya City but we went to this mall, CentralFestival. I say…. The best! A one stop shopping centre. I didn’t really buy many things except shirts. If you’re looking for cheap slippers, shoes, shirts… go to the street. Bargain! One thing I realize is I can blend with Thai. They speak Thai language with me. LOL. I know some 20 common words used to communicate when shopping. If you have android or iphone, do download Thai language. Very helpful.

We planning to go back at night but we didn’t realise the time was almost 9pm. There are many places to see. If you are thinking to go here, do spend a night or two here. Enjoy their nightlife too. I see many bars, clubs. You choose! *wink* My friend, chin, was hugged by a cute bar lady when we were walking down the street. Haha.

It was a very tiring day. I don’t know what time we reached at the hotel but it was late. Again, we were approached by ‘tuk-tuk’ drivers once we out from the van at the entrance. Seriously? Massage? Damn. This ‘tuk-tuk’ drivers are very persistent. Sorry! Too tired already and your massage is way too expensive! Haha. They even give me a discounted price of 1500 bhat. WTH?! Lol. I wonder how much they earn the commission if they manage to lure foreigners like us to go to these ‘massage’ and ping-pong shows. Hahaha. They’re really good on how to make some money. My advice, be extra careful. You don’t know what you will expect =)

31st march – This was our last day to hunt for things we wanted to buy. My brother and I went to MBK and nearby malls. It was also my first time to use ‘tuk-tuk’. It is a fast and cheap transport available. It can overtake many cars during heavy traffic and take short-cut around the city. Try to experience it; you will feel ‘near accident’ feeling.

Nothing much I did on this date except from shopping. I did try ‘Thai massage’ near to my hotel. I couldn’t stand the pain on my shoulder of carrying bags for few days straight and my joints seem to detach. I never experience ‘Thai massage’ and my body got twisted. Damn! But my body felt so refresh and energize. You guys should try it!

Late at night, we were busy with packing our stuffs. I threw everything in my big luggage. Done!

1st April – We went to the airport 2 hours early to ensure we were on time and avoid traffic jam. I spent my remaining Bhat cash on chocolates and durian cake. The airport is so big. Plenty of shops. We reached our beloved country at 5pm.

Thailand is the next best country for shoppings! The people is very nice too (forget about the red and yellow t-shirt campaign). They have many places to see. Good nightlife. Lol. I am planning to go there again… what?? Haha. Or maybe just Phuket. Who knows.

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