B for Bangkok..B for Buddha or B for Bags !!

1000 Buddha

Bangkok has been on my wishlist for a long while… Am sure its every girl’s favorite destination for shopping. Clothes, Shoes, Bags .. and that’s what makes it a paradise for us. It’s very much a budget travelers destination and gives you a wide variety of options in terms of entertainment, food and shopping. From kids to senior citizens, it has something for everyone. Am sharing my experience of Bangkok, and I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed travelling.

Planning

Make an itinerary; 3 days would be good enough to cover Bangkok. Add Pattaya or Phuket/Krabi based on your preference. Pattaya is around 150 kms by road and takes about 3 hours.

I recommend you download trip advisor app. Its a very handy tool to plan for your trip, review the hotel stays, and also the places to visit.

Reaching Bangkok

There are lots of budget airways starting from INR 15,000 return fare from most of the Indian cities. Try and book your tickets 45-60 days in advance to get the best fare. If you choose a budget airline, plan for in-flight meals and make sure your smartphone is loaded with enough movies and songs because the airline is going to provide neither the food nor the entertainment. Plan on arriving in the morning so that you get the whole day.

Food

It is a paradise for non-vegetarians ,slightly challenging for vegetarians though.There are plenty of indian restaurants too. While in Bangkok, try the street food, its clean and healthy..and ofcourse cheap. For 60 Baht, you could get a bowl of noodles or fried rice or Pad Thai.One suggestion though – ask the vendor to avoid fish sauce and then you are good to go. My favorite was the Pad Thai, and it is a must try. Other things that I tried were banana pan cakes, crepes and rolls. Veg options are limited though. Try the noodle soup for sure. With a drink or starter, a full meal could be anywhere from 100- 120 Baht, per person. Since you will be walking a lot, ensure you have enough water with you. Buy water bottles from super markets or 7/11 stores. If you’re accustomed to eating 3 meals a day then your food budget could be up to 200 THB a day. Considering the fact that you are walking all day (sightseeing is a lot of walking) snacking throughout the day on fruits which you can buy on the street.. jackfruit, pineapple etc.  So let’s just say you can get by on 300 -400 TB a day.

Don’t forget to get a massage

Every street in Bangkok has a massage parlour. You will find a row of chairs and footstalls where you will sit if you request a foot massage. Start with foot massage and if the experience is nothing less than heavenly, you upgrade to neck and shoulder or if you are too tired, just go in for a full body one. Try different places, till you find the best one. Thai massage focuses on pressure points, varying amounts of pressure are applied to energy lines along the body and its very soothing. On an average it costs 200 baht for an hour’s Thai massage.

Shhh…Shopping Time

Bags

Since this post is meant for you GIRLS out there, thought I will list down my experience of shopping in Bangkok before we move on to the list of touristy places :-).

Its a paradise for shoppers, to say the least. It has a never ending array of street markets, offering everything ,from fruits to cosmetics to clothes to bags . In case you are a high end brand follower, there are endless malls to cater to your taste.

I splurged like there is no tomorrow. Found Rayban sunglasses to Tommy Handbags, all under 500 BAHT! This is the place to be for every bag lover, for you will find fakes of LV to Prada to MK. (No, am not promoting fakes) Prices would vary depending on whether its a 1st copy or nth copy. No more keychains and fridge magnets to all my girl friends, Bags and purses for you from Bangkok!!

Tips for shopping

Never go out in the sun, its pretty hot and humid. You need patience to bargain, and walk away after quoting your price. The vendor will call you back. My suggestion would be to  start after 5pm and carry water bottle along with you. Shopping can be pretty exhausting 🙂

Start with MBK Centre, move to Pratunam (closes by 8pm) and then Siam. Indira Square Wholesale market and Mall and MBK are air conditioned, so check out those during day time and move to make shift shops late in the evening. Don’t forget to bargain (do i even need to tell that to you girls ;-)), and buy more than one , that gives you more power to negotiate. Word of caution: There are no trial rooms so be careful if you are buying clothes without trying them out.

I found some amazing stuffs at Terminal 21 – Charles& Keith Handbags, Esprit Belts etc. It was sale season!!!! Nothing makes a girl more happier than those”SALE” boards.

 

My endless list of must-visit includes

Buddhist Temples

Temples in Thailand are amazingly beautiful. “Golden Buddha” is mesmerizing. One would feel enlightened just standing in front of Buddha.

Wat Pho (Temple of Reclining Buddha) Wat Arun are on the top of my list. It so serene and peaceful even with tons of tourist . Temples preserve its sanctity and spirituality. I was so touched by the Thai hospitality when after the temple visit they gave a small bottle of mineral water. People in Thailand are true followers of Buddha and his principles.

Buddha

Floating Market

Around 100 kms from Bangkok city. A typical Thai village market maintained for tourists. Will have to wake up early in the morning and exit Bangkok city in case you would like to visit this place. Coconut Ice is a must try here. It’s tender coconut flavor with peanut toping. Local delicacy, but you would love it, trust me :-). Another yummy snack I tasted was Crepes with cream filling and grated coconut. Its the ultimate dessert. Crunchy and sweet ..umm Yummy !!!

Local food is so tasty . I had Phad Thai almost every day. Fried rice or noodles , with fresh vegies, so fresh that you would fall in love with vegetables.

FM1

Safari World & Marine Park

If you are travelling with kids, this is a must visit. You have Zoo, animal shows, bird and animal feeding. And is filled with ‘desi’ tourists that you can practically speak in any Indian language and will find enough people to respond to you in your native language.

I particularly liked the Dolphin show, it was my first experience. Huge gallery and they played Bollywood music for almost 20 mts and gave a grand welcome ! We should learn from these folks, how to make tourists happy. Made everyone dance to the top Bollywood numbers, then moved on to Arabic songs and latin American songs.

Giraffe Feeding was another attraction. Kids just love it. 100’s of giraffes and you feed them bananas and click selfie !!!

There was tiger and lion feeding too. But I didn’t have the courage to try any of those. So they make the tiger sit on your lap, keep a feeding bottle filled with milk inside the mouth so that the poor tiger has no interest in you till you finish clicking pics. If you are an animal lover (Non PETA) would enjoy the day.

Giraffe.jpg

There will never be a time when your finances are in order and your Boss gives you some ‘extra’ bonus. If you keep waiting for someone to plan for it and book the tickets for you, it might not happen at all. Your children will not be old enough to eat street food. There are excuses and excuses you could  make not to travel to this beautiful country. But its a ‘must do’

Some more info on how to go about it , hope this helps you make up your mind.

Accommodation

Hotel accommodation is very reasonable and you can choose from a vast array of 3 star or 4 star options. Range starts from INR 3500 – 4500 for a good place for budget travelers.

Visa

Visa for Thailand is on arrival. You need to have a confirmed return ticket, carry a print out of the hotel address and confirmation of reservation. Rs. 20,000 per traveller/family of 2 and one photograph. Visa fee will have to paid in Thai Bhat, so either carry Bhat with you or right outside the Visa desk there are foreign exchange counters where you could convert INR.

Now is the time…pack your bags and get , set goooo

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