Travel Diaries: Bangkok, Thailand

As a pre-birthday treat for myself, I asked my husband if we could go on a quick trip to Thailand during UAE's long weekend last December. It didn't take much to convince him, and before I knew it, we were packing our luggages and rushing to finish work early in order to catch our late night flight to Bangkok.

We chose to fly from Dubai to Bangkok via Qatar Airways because their flight timing was perfect for our itinerary. My love for Bangkok's vibe was instantaneous that the very minute I stepped out of the airport I knew I'd fit right in. Yes, it's a modern city, but Bangkok also exudes such depth of character and soul that's just so incredibly rich and authentic. And being labeled as the land of smiles? They really got that one on point. Their friendly people are truly their best asset and have made this trip a lot more fun and memorable.

Our hotel, Centre Point Silom is an upscale apartment hotel along Charoenkrung Road conveniently located near major tourist attractions and also walking distance from Surasak Skytrain station and the river taxi station. But aside from its perfect location, we picked this hotel for the amazing reviews on their breakfast buffet selections and amenities and they did not disappoint. In fact, we found ourselves waking up extra early excited for breakfast and a quick swim at their rooftop pool overlooking Bangkok's skyline.

My husband and I have never been to Thailand before this, so we decided to book a tour guide to accompany us during our first day to make sure that we'll be able to see and experience as much as we can in four short days what Bangkok has to offer. I think we've had too much DIY adventures recently, and while that's what we always recommend for travellers who want to get a full-on immersion, having a local with you also has its advantages. Being with a tour guide this time around really saved us a lot of time and headaches, because the only thing we had to worry about was to relax and have fun, which we pretty much managed to cover 101%. It's become extra educational too since they're able to answer most of our curiosities and share the stories and fascinating history behind every spot we went to.
On our first morning, we rode one of the boats in Chao Phraya River after breakfast to get to Wat Pho, a Buddhist temple complex, which houses the Reclining Buddha. The glimmering statue is 46 meter-long and also exquisitely covered in golden leaf. Simply put, the gigantic opulence of it all was just pretty astonishing.

Wat Pho is also known as the birth place of the famous Thai massage, so this is definitely one of the best places to get yourself a proper massage. We opted not to have it there though since we were so excited to roam around and visit the other temples.

For good luck, we were requested by our guide to purchase a pot of coins to be dropped one by one into the 108 wishing bowls lined up inside the temple. 108 is a symbolic number for Buddhism because it represents all the actions and worldly temptations that Buddha managed to overcome in order to reach Nirvana. Of course we can't be certain that all our wishes would come true, but it's nice to know that all the proceeds will go towards the maintenance and preservation of this marvellous temple.

We also visited the Wat Phra Kaew or The Temple of Emerald Buddha, and also Wat Benjamabhobit or Wat Benja, which is nicknamed as the The Marble Temple. Unfortunately, we were unable to tour the Grand Palace since it was closed in preparation for their Nai Luang or King Rama IX's upcoming birthday at the time.

Our driver then picked us up to get to Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo, which is an hour away from Bangkok. We had buffet lunch in Erawan Restaurant as soon as we arrived in Samphran. The food selection was quite okay and the Pad Thai they served was amazing.

The entire day was spent watching an utterly boring magic show, but the elephant show that followed made up for it. Those dancing elephants were too adorable for words.

We fed the crocodiles and elephants after paying a small fee of 20 Baht just for the experience, and of course a trip to Thailand won't be compete without riding on an elephant's back. The only thing I did not like about the whole experience in Samphran was probably the crocodile wrestling show. After three minutes of seeing those poor crocodiles being beaten by wooden sticks, I was a tearful mess. I just couldn't bring myself to watch the entire thing. I know those sticks are tiny but it looks brutally cruel and so heartbreaking to watch.


Before night time, our friendly tour guide dropped us back to the hotel. We rested and freshen up a bit  before being picked up once again, but this time by my husband's cousin Amy, who lives in Bangkok. She was so nice to agree to tour us around and see Bangkok at night. We had so much fun bonding with her and hearing about her laid-back life and adventures in Thailand.

She treated us to a scrumptious buffet dinner in Anantara Riverside Terrace, overlooking Chao Phraya River. I think I gained ten pounds just during this trip. Who wouldn't, right? I mean we were having buffet after buffet after buffet on the daily. We enjoyed the open-show kitchen which served fresh grilled meats and seafood, and also the wide variety of desserts. Thai food is just love!

It rained cats and dogs while we were having dinner, so we hung out for a while inside Anantara. It's a good thing that we were entertained by Thai classical dance live performances inside the hotel over coffee and dessert, which elevated the dining experience into a  rather cultural one.


As soon as the rain stopped, we boarded one of the free hotel boats which took us to Asiatique. It's a riverfront open-air mall and night bazaar. There's a bit of everything in Asiatique, so we did some shopping for souvenirs and accessories. Amy told us not to splurge so much though and told us to do most of our shopping in MBK the next day for the best bargain deals.
She dropped us back to the hotel where we enjoyed a traditional Thai massage and probably the best  and most relaxing sleep ever. I've never felt so recharged. It was definitely what our tired legs and muscles needed after a full day of passionate discoveries and walking.

Our last day was spent doing what we do best, which is shopping of course. We literally got trapped inside MBK Shopping Centre the entire day. The mall is located in Pathumwan, opposite Paragon and was considered as the largest shopping mall in Asia when it opened in 1985. To get there, we tried the BTS and went down to National Stadium station (the last station of Silom line). I was carrying just a small bag when we entered the mall in the morning, but ended up going back to the hotel at night carrying an entirely new luggage filled with clothes, shoes, bags, accessories and what-not's. Everything is just so crazily inexpensive! And for that sole reason alone, I seriously need to come back.
Our vacation in Thailand has got to be one of the most exciting trips we've had in a long time, and I have to say that Bangkok is probably the most tourist-friendly cities we've ever been to. I know that our poor photography doesn't give it justice, but the country has so much to offer and very beautiful to see and experience first hand. Their food is delicious, their people are warm, and the Thai massage is addicting. So addicting that we even had another round of Thai massage from the able hands of Chang's Foot Massage and Spa inside the airport no less while waiting for our boarding time.

I'm actually eyeing another trip to Thailand (maybe next year) but to Chiang Mai instead of Bangkok for a more soulful breather, closer to nature. Attending a short Thai cooking class is surely on the itinerary next time. I can't wait for our next adventure!

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