Friday, 21 June 2013

Thailand, Bangkok

There was a hitch in my June holiday plans. I was already set to go to Sydney but my friend pulled out at the last minute. I had done all the travel research and it had came to nothing. Thank god, I had not booked any accommodation! I couldn't explain how pissed off I am right now. 

Sometimes, friendship really sucks but this episode had made me realized that nothing could stop my passion for travelling. I decided to go on a solo trip and change my itinerary to Bangkok, instead of Sydney. After researching on Bangkok, I mustered all my courage to book a flight via the Singapore Airlines (SIA). 

Absolutely, not going on a budget this time because I think I deserved a real break. And yeah, finally... I'm off to a great escapade.

My lunch on-board SIA. Ta-daa... 

This will at least keep me full for the next 5 hours. 

From the Suvarnabhumi Airport, I took the airport railway and transferred to the BTS train to get to the hotel. I love Bangkok. It was fun getting around on foot, and scanned the vendor carts lining up the streets. When tired, I found myself a nice bench or sat at a cafe and do some people watching. 

Here's the surrounding neighbourhood at Ratchathewi. I didn't take many photos as I wanted to blend with the Thais. I even passed off as a Thai because each time I came into contact with anyone, I was spoken to in Thai first. Unfortunately, my inadequacy in their language gave me away.

The intersection towards MBK was always busy with traffic. The reason why there was not much traffic in this photo is because it was taken at 9 am. I am an early riser, even when I am on holiday. I woke up automatically at 5.30 in the morning and couldn't go back to sleep. So I gave up sleeping and began my day. Well, the shops were still closed but it actually felt good to take a walk along the quiet streets.

I had quite an adrenaline rush on Sunday as I came face to face with an anti-government demonstration. Loud speakers were blaring political slogans. The large crowds which had gathered on the ground and on the bridge cheered whenever the political activists fired some powerful speech.  I just came out from MBK and my heart was drumming its own rapid tune. 

Every now and then, a patriotic song was played. The atmosphere was "electric". A couple of policemen were around as crowd control, but when the National song was played, they sang with the crowd.


Photo credit to
I didn't take this photo, but it's exactly the location where it happened on that day.

I crossed my fingers and prayed that it's not the Red Shirts. Fortunately, it's not. Their shirts were pink. Funny, how colour made a difference here. But what was more amusing was how my mind managed to convince me that these pink activists were less 'dangerous' than the reds! How ridiculous was that?!

There were a couple of Guy Fawkes masked men on the bridge too. They were dancing and teasing some people, who were watching the demonstration. I did not like the way they were acting so I hurriedly walked away. I didn't want to get myself involved in this political turmoil. 

Instead, I took the train and went to Chatuchak, where the atmosphere was more amicable and calm. I was looking forever for this clock tower because there were many Muslim food stalls around the area. But, I ended up not eating at any of the stalls. I bought some fruits to snack on since they looked more appetizing.

I bought this coconut ice cream too as it seemed like it was the latest craze if you go to Bangkok. This was one of the best presentation I found in one of the stalls. The stall owner also gave me a free cup of coconut drink to quench my thirst. The ice cream was a delightful treat. 

My trip to Thailand feels incomplete if I leave without eating the glutinous rice with mangoes. It's yummy and definitely one of my favourite Thai food.

On the whole, I find my solo trip liberating and reflective. A lot of times, I found myself ruminating about things that I wouldn't have given a second thought. I had been living in a fast paced life all along and it suddenly felt awkward to walk unhurriedly, chew my food properly, and enjoy my day without having any plans ahead. This must be amusing to some people but hey, you have got to try solo travelling to understand what I am trying to say.