Monday, September 10, 2018

Bangkok 4D4N for First Timer

I can't really recall how many times have I been to Bangkok. It is definitely one of my favorite cities in the world because they serve the best food in the world! Be it humble street food or high end fine dining restaurants, Bangkok has it all! (This comment comes from a food-loving-Penangite.... go figure)

For this trip, I was bringing first-timers to Bangkok. I ensured that we covered at least a temple, a night market, a floating market and a shopping mall. As usual, I also make sure that I visit a place that I've never been to for every Bangkok trips I make.

Arrival Evening
Don Mueang Airport is always busy. Though our host arranged for someone to pick us up from the airport, it still took us a few hours to finally reached our studio apartment AirBnB CHIC STUDIO at Rama 9.

We grabbed to New Rot Fai Market Ratchada for dinner and shopping. There are rows and rows of food stalls selling mouth watering array of food. However, both of us couldn't eat much so we ended up with only one Pla Pao (Thai Grilled Fish) and some snacks..

The items being sold at Ratchada Train Market are not much different from the stuff sold at the markets around Bangkok. However, this won't stop us from having lots of fun doing shopping.

Day 1 (Maeklong Railway Market + Kanchanaburi (Bridge of River Kwai))
I have never been to Maeklong Railway Market. Since we have bigger group this round, I decided that we should rent a van and go all the way to Makelong Railway Market and Bridge of River Kwai to see something different. (I've saw people offering such 1-day tour packages online so I assumed this is do-able)
The car rental agency didn't warn me about the time needed for covering both places. Maeklong Railway Market is about 70km away from Bangkok, and it will take around 90 minutes to arrive, depending on the traffic situation. From Maeklong Railway Market to Kanchanaburi is about 120km, and will take around 2 to 2.5 hours depending on the traffic. Going back to Bangkok from Kanchanaburi is another 150km, which will take around 2 to 3 hours (And because we reached Bangkok during peak hour, it was even worse). So basically we spent about 7 hours in the car.

It was my bad decision actually, but it didn't stop us from having lots of fun. Maeklong Railway Market is worth the visit because of the craziness. Seeing the vendors rushing to close their parasols and canvas when the train arriving, and seeing the parasols and canvas immediately reopen after the train passes, definitely worth the 90 minutes drive from Bangkok.

Kanchanaburi was very cool too. However, I will never again plan this as part of a day tour. I think Kanchanaburi worth an at least 2D1N trip because of the history and nature.

We had a very short visit at the Bridge of River Kwai, and strolled along the Death Railway. (The track is developed into a walkway with side platforms. This allows crossing the railway bridge on foot. These platforms are useful as viewpoints and for avoiding trains. A small tourist train runs back and forth across the bridge.)

By the time we arrived at Bangkok, the traffic was so bad that we decided to bid farewell to our driver mid-way and walked to Terminal 21 for air-conditioning. Of course, after the exhausting car ride, I was glad to have dinner at the food court of Terminal 21.

Day 2 (Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market + Chatuchak Weekend Market)
We started our day at Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market.

Ever since I been to Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market back in year 2016, I've fell in love with this place. This is a market that visited mainly by the locals (more tourists compare to my previous visit, but still very authentic), selling mouth watering food and fresh ingredients. I'd say this is one of the best place to have breakfast for Thai food lovers.

I didn't try the boat trip in my previous visit, so this round we decided to take a 1-hour-boat-ride. It was a nice ride to experience peaceful riverside atmosphere and to see a more traditional way of Thai life up close. I love the tranquility, which is hard to find in Bangkok's hustle and bustle.

After our breakfast, we took Grab to go to Chatuchak Weekend Market. There's no reasons not to bring Bangkok first-timer to one of the world's largest weekend markets (covers area of 27 Acres, altogether divided into 27 Sections, contains more than 15,000 booths selling goods from every part of Thailand). Even for person that doesn't enjoy shopping, this is still a place that you must visit at least once to understand the craziness.

After bidding farewell with our friends that continued their journey to Krabi, our group downsized to two. We decided to have dinner at Pee Aor Tom Yum Goong. It is often named as the “Best Tom Yum In Bangkok”. I'll not call it the best (because my "Bangkok best tom yum" title goes to "Tom Yum Goong Banglamphu"), but the tom yum noodles that they serve comes in varieties of options and taste really good.

Day 3 (Wat Arun + Khao San Road + Asiatique The Riverfront)
On the third day, we started our day with breakfast at Doy Kuay Teow Reua. Back in my family trip in year 2013, our driver introduced us to boat noodle in Ayutthaya, and I fell in love with boat noodle ever since. I googled and read multiple blogs about boat noodle in Bangkok, and I've chosen Doy Kuay Teow Reua to try.
We first had to take BTS to Victory Monument. Then Google map brought us crossing small alleys by the canal, including those that were wide enough for one person to cross. This boat noodle is right by the canal, and behind a temple. They serve very simple menu: beef or pork. There were also other vendors selling kuih, and I heard the satay stall that operates in the afternoon is great too. Do visit this place before it is known to the tourists!

Going through the alleys, we saw some food vendors preparing their food in very traditional ways, and met a lot of traditional street food vendors. I think this is a place that worth multiple visits to explore further.

cooking rice

We then took a boat to Tha Tien to visit Wat Arun. I always love Wat Arun. It always draws the most stunning skylines of Bangkok.
Boat ride

After Wat Arun, we took the boat to the other side of Chao Phraya River as we wished to visit the Grand Palace. However, when we saw the queue, we decided that we better spend our limited time somewhere else.

Look at the queue!


We then took a Grab to Khao San Road, and walked 3 blocks away to have our lunch at Tom Yum Goong Banglamphu. This humble stall located on the sidewalk outside of the main Banglamphu car park. You won't miss it because of the constant queue in front of the stall.

As there were only 2 of us, we only ordered a tom yum goong and a roasted pork from this stall, and ordered a small plate of Tod Mun Pla (fish cake) from an adjacent stall.

The tom yum goong from this stall was perfect. It was creamy, fatty, and with so many layers of flavors. It officially went into my list of "must eat in Bangkok". (Also, the fruit juice stall right opposite this stall was great too! I've never came across such variety of fresh fruit juice to choose from, at extremely reasonable price)

After spending a few hours in Khao San Road, we decided to head to Asiatique for Christmas Eve dinner. We picked Ko Dang Talay, a restaurant by the river, and had some great time there.

Day 4 (Show DC)
The only reason that we decided to go to Show DC was because we were lazy. We decided not to wake up too early, spent some time in the neighbourhood, then went straight to airport. Show DC was the obvious choice. It was just a few blocks away from where we stayed. Though it has a grand concept of being the hub of leisure and entertainment, we certainly didn't feel the thrill. Maybe because we went there early, there were almost no one around. We had some simple food at cafe, walked around, and headed back to the apartment.

Read also about other blog posts about our Bangkok trip:
Maeklong Railway Market

Other itineraries:

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