First Stop, Bangkok Thailand also known as Krung Thep!
Bangkok Airport Transfer: Metered Taxi’s pre-arranged with hostel or can also be found outside
Airport: Suvarnabhumi Airport
Accommodation: ISANOOK Hostel (female dorm)
What Not To Miss:
1) Wat Arun Temple
2) Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The traffic in Bangkok is horrible it took us forever to get to our hostel. When we got to our hostel there was a mix up and the guy at the front desk thought we were a no show because he forgot to remember that our flight was arriving very early in the morning. When we finally checked in, the rooms were clean with bright colours everywhere and the beds were very cool, clean and modern. We were exhausted and hungry and because breakfast did not look too appetizing and was not halal friendly we waited for lunch time at the ISANOOK restaurant across the street. A downside to this hostel although rated highly everywhere was that there were not any proper restaurants in the area. The food at the restaurant is decent but there are definitely other much better places to eat in Bangkok.
We were so exhausted from our long flight that we just slept for several hours. When we got up, I was told I could purchase a sim card from 7-11 down the street, which I did and then we went for dinner to a Chinese restaurant on the main road a 20 min walk which wasn’t too great. After dinner we walked another 25 mins to catch a bus to see the famous temple Wat Arun lit up in the night. The buses going to Wat Arun are not as frequent so it took more than 30 minutes to catch the bus, those 30 minutes were very useful because during that time we quickly learned the unique technique of frantically flagging down a bus if we wanted it to pick us up. This was something we are not really used to living in Toronto. Somehow we were the only 3 crazy people waiting for the bus to Wat Arun at this time, although a bit sketchy I am glad we took a local bus there as I learned an important lesson – the respect for religion. Every time the driver passed a temple he prayed to them and showed them respect by putting together his hands and preceding with a tiny bow with his head- something I personally do not do when I pass a mosque. Seeing this driver do this taught me to now be more respectful, turn off my music and praise Allah when I pass a mosque.
Another interesting thing I also learned on the bus was that the flower bracelets that are usually sold as accessories for women in Pakistan are actually used as a religious symbol to ward off evil and for good luck in Thailand. They are hung in homes, cars, shops and other spaces and places.
Once we got to Wat Arun, the walk was quiet and not buzzing with countless tourist as it usually is during the day. Wat Arun lit up on the quiet lake was as magical as I had expected it to be and was very peaceful. We decided to try UBER in Thailand and took an UBER back. It turned out to be a super-efficient, safe and cheap option.
The next day we woke up really early and took an UBER to the floating market Damnoen Saduak which was an hour and a half away from our hostel. We got there at 8:45 super excited that we were going to beat all the other tourists there as the floating market is really popular and is known to get really crowded and becomes unenjoyable and hard to manoeuver (as read on Trip advisor) However, things did not got as expected we got there too early and shops were still closed, YIKES! Fortunately, there was a 7-11 nearby we grabbed some breakfast and snacks from 7-11 and waited until the Floating Market opened at 9:30. On the bright side, we were able to see the markets and shop when it was not too busy so it was totally worth it to wake up early. We decided to get on a boat to get the real experience and it was very cheap as there were 3 of us sharing a boat. We had the opportunity of buying fresh lychees, bananas and refreshing coconut water.
After exploring the floating market we didn’t have a ride back as the UBER driver had left but there are several mini buses leaving the markets to the city and it’s not difficult nor expensive to hop on one. We approached a shop keeper to assist us in getting back to the city and he recommended a mini bus service that was going to the city. From the Bangkok bus terminal we took an UBER to little India where we explored shops and ate lunch at this restaurant that we stumbled upon called “Mama’s”. The prawn biryani and the rest of the food was average compared to my moms food! (I know I have been away from home for one day and I miss her food already!) After exploring little India we walked to the ferry terminal for Wat Arun. The walk to the ferry terminal was really nice as we went through the city and got to see more of the shops, street food and street hawkers in Bangkok along the way.
Once we got to the ferry terminal everything was easy and the cost of the ticket to Wat Arun was less than a dollar! We spent the rest of the day exploring the beautiful grounds of Wat Arun and climbing to the top to see the view of the whole city. It was a wonderful two days in Bangkok before heading out to our next destination Bali, Indonesia!