Bangkok

“The happiest capital in the world”

Type : City Break
Best Date : Nov- Feb
Expense :  Fair
Things to do : Visit Temples, Visit Markets, Dine, Nightlife, Shopping
Points of Interest: The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Siam Paragon, Khao san Rd, Emerald Buddhas, Wat Arun, ect
The Good: A lot to see and do, cheap, full of culture
The Bad: lots of scammers,

Brief

Bangkok or Krungthep (as known to locals) is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It holds around 8 million inhabitants which is about 10% of the country’s total population. Although it is the government, financial and investment centre of the country  there are calls to move its title as the capital elsewhere due to various problems such as its congestion and floods.

The capital is one of the most famed in South East Asia, a hotspot for tourists which featured in movies such as The Beach, Hangover Part 2, Street Fighter and many more. According to MasterCard the city ranked top destination by foreign visitors in its global destination cities index in 2018.

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Temple, Night, Wat Phra Kaew

The Place

I visited Bangkok on a short 3 day period heading home from Myanmar back to London. Due to my short stay, I didn’t get to visit everything the city had to offer, however the places I did see were remarkable.

Firstly I stayed in a place called Ratchaprarop Rd which is unofficially known as the little India of the city. This area had various different night markets and small malls. It was a little noisy at night and there were a lot of people, however I didn’t experience a great deal of discomfort from my hotel room at Indra Regent Hotel.

Khao San road is one of the most popular place to go and stay for travellers and backpackers in Asia. A haven for hostels, bars and night markets, this road is central for affordable leisure and entertainment.

Tuktuk, Thailand, Motorcycle, Taxi, Go, Tourist

The Grand Palace is the official residence of the Kings. Tourists are allowed to visit the complex with a ticket which is bought online and collected 24 hours before the visit.  The complex is one of the main places to visit as a lot of the significant things to see such as the Emerald Buddhas, The Demon Guardians, The Statue of Cheewok Khomaraphat, Phra Mondop and many more are situated here.

Palace, Bangkok, Thailand, Asia, Architecture, Temple

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew (in thai) is in another complex right beside the Grand Palace and depending on what ticket you purchase, you may only need one to enter both. As the name states the temple is where the Emerald Buddha Statues are situated and these are one of the main attraction to see in Bangkok. Along with the Grand Palace this complex will be a very enjoyable for a full day visit. There is just plenty to see and all the details of artwork and architecture are fascinating.

Another complex to visit is the Wat Pho or Wat Po which is situated south of the Grand Palace. This complex is most notable for the Giant Reclining Buddha however like the Grand Palace there are loads of other attractions to see within its vicinity. I bought my ticket on the day of entry so I do not believe entry is as strict as that of the Grand Palace.

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Malls are very popular in Bangkok and the city is full of them. These places are popular for tourists who want to relax, shop, dine and getaway from the heat of the outdoors. Just some of the malls are Terminal 21 which has an airport interior feel, centralworld probably the most popular for all, the luxury Siam Paragon which has one of the largest aquariums in South East Asia and so much more.

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I also visited the arts and culture centre which is a free gallery showcasing Thailand’s modern arts. The exhibits change frequently and is popular for the more artistic personalities.

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I went to the Damnoen Samnuak Floating Market and the Maeklong Rail Market which are very popular day excursions. I enjoyed and fully recommend the Maeklong Rail Market an active market on top of train tracks which is especially exciting when a train actually passes (I believe only twice a day). The market sells actual food products which cater to locals and not just tourists so you can feel the culture and normality of life. However I was disappointed with the Damnoen Samnuak Floating Market as this was made especially for tourism, everything sold were souvenirs and not actual products catering to locals, furthermore I may be wrong but I believe 100% of people there were tourists. So I did not feel true culture there. But nonetheless altogether it was a good day out especially the active rail market.

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Conclusion

In conclusion Bangkok is a tourist haven, from its markets to its temples, its malls, nightlife, shrines and many other places in the capital.  Although the city alone has plenty to offer, there are  many very popular day excursions just outside its perimiter. I didn’t get to see all the city has to offer due to my short stay but even though, I have to say my visit was successful and enjoyable.

I believe 5 days to a week is a good duration to stay in the city, there is plenty to see and do. It is cheap so an even longer stay wouldn’t hurt your budget. The only negative aspect of the city I experience were locals trying to trick tourists into extorting more money, expensive tuk-tuk rides are a thing to lookout for, I advise to use the Grab taxi a set price booked with your phone. Nonetheless altogether Bangkok is a beautiful place with some of the most friendliest people in the world.

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Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangkok#Calls_to_move_the_capital

Photo:

3 photos have been taken from Pixabay

 

A Small Circuit Around South East Asia

My first trip of 2019 and its a pretty big one. I visited 4 places of different characteristics. Kuala Lumpur which is one of Asia’s fastest growing cities, Siem Reap a majestic Cambodian Province, Langkawi a large adventurous island and Finally Koh Lipe a calm relaxing Thai island.

All were great and had its own approach

First Stop Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

The First stop and my base city for this trip. For the first part in Kuala Lumpur I stayed in popular KL hostel Backhome. An eye opener with lots of different things to see and do.

Second Stop Siem Reap (Cambodia)

One of the main reasons to venture in this part of the world was to visit Siem Reap, Cambodia. I have to admit the fact that Angkor Wat is consistently top 3 must visit places in various websites, made visiting this city a must.

Then Langkawi via Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

Venture to one of Malaysia’s popular island. Travelled by plane instead of boat due to work perks. Quieter than the usual islands I visit like Boracay, Crete, Cebu and others but Langkawi didn’t fail to impress.

Fourth Stop in Koh Lipe (Thailand)

A short venture to another small nearby island. Koh Lipe happens to be crossing the boarder to Thailand. An interesting experience with a beach immigration system.

Finale, Back to Kuala Lumpur

A rest back in Kuala Lumpur, this time a more chilled and comfortable accommodation, ready to fly back to London.

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Koh Lipe

“You’re small cosy paradise”

Type : Island
Best Date :  Nov- May
Expense :  Medium
Things to do : Walk along beach, Sun bathe, Scuba Dive, Kayaking
Points of Interest: Sunrise Beach, Sunset Beach, Pattaya Beach, Walking Street
The Good: Warm white sand beaches, beautiful marine life
The Bad: Limited areas to visit

Brief

Koh Lipe is one of the southern most island in Thailand just in the edge of the Adaman sea near the border with Malaysia. The island is only about 3.5km long and lies within the Tarutao national marine park a popular dive spot.

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The Place

Koh Lipe was the last place I visited on this small south east Asian circuit venture. The purpose of this visit was to relax before heading back to London. It is a relatively quiet and calm island but can have its congestion with many tourists arriving for day tours. Nonetheless Koh Lipe is was an interesting visit, a place that small groups can enjoy.

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Firstly I want to write about getting to the island itself. There are no airports in this island so boats are the main mode of transport to get to and from the island. As Koh Lipe has a low sea level, there is also no piers for larger boats to dock and thus they have a to stop at offshore pontoon where passengers will take a smaller long tail boat to arrive on the island. These are said to cost 50 baht however I didn’t need to pay this when I arrived. Upon arrival depending on where you departed/arrived from/to  there is also an immigration and custom system which was unlike any other as you line up on the beach (a sight to see).

Popular ways to get to Koh Lipe are from Langkawi (Malaysia) or Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and Pak Bara from Thailand. There also several possible ways to travel to and from small islands within the Andaman Sea. I arrived and departed from Langkawi and there for required to through an immigration system.

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Pattaya Beach

One of the main points to visit in the island is Pattaya Beach the main point where visitors arrive and depart. This beach is a stretch of beautiful white sand south of the island. Arguably this beach is the most popular of the beaches with the most shops, bars and restaurants beachfront. This beach also connects to walking street one of the main parts of the islands. There is also an beachfront makeshift movie theatre  placed at night beachside which is an interesting concept.

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Pattaya Beach

Another popular place to see is Sunset Beach. The smallest of the main beaches visited. It is said you can see the best views of the lovely sunset however I in my opinion there is a better location. This small stretch of white sand beach is not very popular for high end hotels but a place for bungalows. Sunset beach is a bit further away to walking street than Pattaya and Sunrise beach.

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Sunrise Beach

Lastly Sunrise Beach where I stayed and another popular place unwind, popular for sunrise yoga and morning jogs. In my understanding this is the longest of all the beaches on the island. This is my favourite place in the island as it is much more quieter than other areas, this is also where a beautiful spot is to watch the sunset (in the northmost end of sunrise beach). However I did notice that the tide can get very high making the shore very thin, so walking around the beach can be difficult. Nonetheless there are many quiet bars, restaurants and massage places beachfront which makes this my favourite place to roam.

Walking Street is in my opinion the main roaming place away from the beaches. This short 15 minute (walking) stretch is full of hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. In my opinion at night this is the brightest and noisiest area in the island it is a busy street however it is not overcrowded and messy. This street has plenty sea food restaurants which is very popular in the island. There are also plenty souvenir, tour shops and massage parlour around here and most importantly for tourists this is the place for ATM machines and money changers which are very relevant in the island.

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Tourists come to this islands for the calm and relaxing atmosphere which you wouldn’t normally get from other islands. However a few activities are very popular in Koh Lipe, these are Snorkelling, Scuba Diving and Kayaking. There are a few different companies to choose from so research for best prices are a good idea. I did love my Scuba diving experience where I saw schools of fish, many different breeds and types of underwater creatures.

Conclusion

When I planned this trip I knew it would be a quiet calm place with maybe a few hundred visitors. However I was surprised when my hotel and scuba diving activities were fully booked, the island also had a few more people than I thought but it wasnt overcrowded. The sand and beach was lovely but there were plenty of boats parked in the shore which in my opinion ruined the potential scenery of the island. There were plenty of dogs around and unlike the aggressive dogs around the Philippines the dogs here were very friendly and many tourists love to play with them. My favourite part of the visit was definitely the Scuba Diving and also just walking around this small island itself. I’d say a 2 night stay is enough as anything longer would result into potential boredom as the island is small with not much activities or things to do, however if your purpose is to relax then maybe you could stay a little longer.

Back to “A small circuit around South East Asia”

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