Move Forward and Never Be Still

Revisiting Bangkok, Thailand

Revisiting Bangkok, Thailand

Welcome to Bangkok!

My first visit to Bangkok was back in 2012. I was with a friend and we were on a 10-day backpacking trip across SingaporeMalaysia and Thailand. It was a short visit and we just focused on a few sites. So when 2018 arrived, I had an opportunity to finally stay here longer when my one of my best friends proposed to his now fiancee and the 2018 Miss Universe pageant was held in the country. I thought that the timing was just perfect!

My four other friends: Rem, Lana, Jherson and Claire were already in Chiang Mai when Billy, our photographer buddy, and I arrived in Bangkok. We were to travel to Chiang Mai via overnight train from Bangkok on the day of our arrival. As we still had a full day ahead of us, we planned to visit Bangkok’s famous sites namely Wat Arun and Wat Pho and Khao San Road. We were also able to chance upon the interesting Coin Museum near Khao San.

Billy had his first glimpse of the capital when we alighted in Hua Lumphong station. I have been here a couple of times before and I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic when I saw the airy and high-ceilinged station. It was nearing noon. The sun cast a beautiful glow. We spent several minutes taking photos and I gladly obliged to Billy’s request for a ‘tourist’ shot. Haha!

I was glad to see great improvements here!

Since we still felt full from the meal we took on the plane, we decided to skip lunch and left our stuff at the station (THB 80 for each luggage). I booked a Grab to Wat Pho. My curiosity was mounting since it was my first time to actually explore Bangkok. My previous visits were just confined in hotels and in the vicinity of Khao San Road. Thai temples were new to me. I remembered my visit to Burma and how majestic some of the temples there. I bet that temples in Thailand would just be as majestic.

That obligatory tourist shot. 
The first snack I bought upon arrival. This yummy bean flavored waffle was at THB 20.

Wat Pho

Billy and I arrived at Wat Pho at one in the afternoon. The sun was not as bright as I was expecting it to be so walking inside was comfortable. We paid THB 100 each (foreign visitors have a pricier fee) upon entry. The visitors come from different countries and all walks of life. Western travelers easily stand out in the crowd as they are often spotted wearing local textiles. As for us, we look so similar to Thais and we are often mistaken to be locals. But I remember one vendor who knew we were Filipinos by way of our accent. They even greeted us in Filipino.  But I can no longer remember what he said.

Monks in Wat Pho

Wat Pho (or Wat Po) is a Buddhist Temple Complex which is famous for its enormous reclining Buddha. As one of Bangkok’s oldest and largest temples, it is frequented by both local and foreign visitors alike. Why the reclining Buddha? I’ve read that this image represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana.

The complex was crowded when we visited but I still managed capture a photo of the reclining Buddha without any distractions. I just had to make it quick though. We spent about an hour exploring the complex before we headed out to catch a ride to Khao San Road. We had our late lunch there before heading to Wat Arun.

I would never miss riding Thailand’s colorful Tuktuks. 
I was glad to be Billy’s ‘tour guide’ on his first trip abroad

After eating lunch at Khao San Road, Billy and I walked a little further down the adjacent street so we can feel more of daytime Bangkok, and to let him savor that he really was in Bangkok! We exchanged commentaries on how similar Bangkok is to Manila, sans the former’s expanding transport system (unlike ours sadly). He fell in love with Pad Thai while I fell in love with Bangkok for the first time. <3

Coin Museum

Our little walking adventure led us to discovering Coin Museum. It was not far from where Khao San Road was located. We inquired and we gladly entered upon learning that entrance is free (it’s the magic word, haha).

The museum was small but it was very informative. It showcases the life of Thailand’s beloved late King Bhumibol and the evolution of Thailand’s money. It was amazing to discover how early Thai people utilized different forms of currency: from sea shells to the present day coins and bank notes. It’s worth a quick round-up for a history enthusiast like me.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun, also known as Temple of Dawn, was our last destination for the day. It is built along the banks of Chao Praya River. However, Billy and I were unable to fully admire the temple as it was closed for Buddhist services.

We were a bit disappointed upon learning we can not enter the main temple. We just spent the afternoon near the river and took many photos of ourselves. We were in awe when we saw large fish swimming near the edge of the waters and wondered if they can be caught and eaten. But no, I wasn’t hungry when I thought of that! Promise.

I want to experience riding this next time

Billy and I headed back to Hua Lumphong station at around 5 PM. Our train ride to Chiang Mai wasn’t until 7:30 PM. We retrieved our bags from the luggage counter, found a seat and ate take-out Pad Thai for dinner. I asked him how he felt after our day and I shared how I was looking forward to sleeping in a train again. We had zero sleep the day prior and we had to keep talking to fight off our weariness.

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