Using part of my remaining annual leave in December 2012, I’ve decided to bring my family to travel to Bangkok. I’ve been to Thailand twice before. One when I was in secondary school, there was a program with Princess Chulabhorn College, Satun and another one was a visit to Krabi with my friends. The experience helped to set some expectation to this welcoming smiling city.
From Saigon, my son, wife and I took Airasia flight to Bangkok. We noticed that the check-in at Airasia Saigon was still required even though the passenger already done it online, so the queue at drop bag counter was not really quick. Instead of Suvarnabhumi (BKK), the flight landed at Don Muang (DMK). At DMK airport, conveniently we changed some of our cash to Thai Baht before queuing and taking taxi to our hotel.
Along the way we had a look of the city. A unique Elephant Building was sighted.
We got to our hotel in about less than 30mins. The hotel we chose was Grande Centre Point Hotel & Residence – Sukhumvit Terminal 21. Based from online reading, we selected this place because Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) & Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Skytrain are just next to the hotel. The hotel also connected to Terminal 21 Mall that eased us to get halal food there. The halal shop is located near to the lift.
The room type we stayed was Deluxe Premium. There was free Wifi, huge fridge, combo washer-dryer, electric stove and microwave. The groceries can be purchased at Gourmet Market, lower ground of Terminal 21, making it convenient for us to have meal in the room.
After settling in and short rest, we visited Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall in the afternoon. BTS & MRT were not within the area, so taxi was the best way to get there. I’ve decided not to take any tuk tuk since there are so many scam stories. Days before we visited the place, the King had event for his birthday there. It is not allowed to take picture, not just inside the Throne Hall but also at the garden. All visitor need to wear proper attire, even woman wearing pants or jeans is considered improper. Wifey was wearing jeans that time so she purchased the Thai Sarong which cost only THB50. She didn’t mind since she bought it as souvenir. For the ladies who don’t want Sarong as souvenir, you should be wearing long dress/skirt for the visit.
The Throne Hall has European architecture. At the dome ceiling, drawing of Siam history and culture can be seen. Among the exhibits, includes crafts made of gold. We were wondering whether some part of the gold was originated from Northern states of Malaya. Kedah, Pattani, Kelantan & Terengganu were presenting golden and silver flowers to Siam but the reason was unclear whether in the form of tributary or friendship. The practice ended in 1909 when British established their rule.
At the Throne Hall ground floor, we visited the Queen’s exhibit until the exit door. At the exit, guestbook was available, which I wrote down our thank you notes.
We took taxi to get back to the hotel. The taxi driver was friendly and chatty so we talked quite number of topics. During our conversation he said that there is no freedom Malaysia, I was shocked and said, I don’t understand. He explained that there is no freedom in Malaysia because the drink (alcohol) is expensive. Bad things are not cheap in Malaysia, cigarette is also expensive – my short reply. Then he changed the topic to English proficiency among tourist.
Our first day in Bangkok was mostly spent for traveling, so it was short. We had our dinner at Pier 21, Level 5 of Terminal 21 and strolled in the mall. Since the hotel is connected with the mall, we spent the time until we tired.