Last May 22-25, Cate, Rona, Roselyn and I headed to Thailand to visit the elephants… err… I mean Chu. I bought my dream slim camera, a Canon ixus 80 IS in pink. In four days we were able to do a lot.
Cate and I stayed at Chu’s flat while Rona and Roselyn stayed at YHA hostel which charged only around 200 baht a night for a room that could accommodate 4 people. We could’ve stayed there, I guess, but we are firm believers in the saying: “the best things in life are free.” Thanks, Chu!
To scrimp on money and to give us more freedom to explore (and pose for pictures) on our own, we bought one of those Chao Phraya tourist boat one day river passes at around 120 baht, less than a third of the tour ones. We could hop on and hop off any of their boats at any of the stops along the length of the entire river, and following Chu’s instructions, checked out only these three stops: Grand Palace , Wat Pho, and Wat Arun.
The Grand Palace is a complex of majestic temples that served as the residence of kings in the past. It had an entrance fee of around 400 baht, and ladies are not allowed to wear anything that exposes too much skin unless they want to be forced to wear a long cloth as a skirt for the duration of their stay there, which was what happened to me.
From the Grand Palace , we rode a tuktuk to Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha.
Then we rode another boat to cross the river to get to Wat Arun, the temple of the dawn. Between these three, we saw enough temples (and take pictures of us with them) to last us a lifetime.
Samphran Elephant Show
We watched an elephant show and ride in one in Samphran. The entrance fee is 500 baht which already gave us access to a crocodile wrestling show, a humorous magic show, and an elephant theme show. The last one was the best of the lot, as the elephants showed off their tricks such as acrobatics, kicking soccer balls and twirling logs with their trunks, and there was an English narration explaining the role of the elephants in Thai history. For an extra fee, we were able to ride on real elephants.
Siam Ocean World
We got mesmerized by water creatures behind giant glass tanks in Siam Ocean World. The tickets cost us 450 baht each, and it already included a giant cup of Pepsi and a trip on the glass bottom boat.
Baiyoke Sky Hotel
We went up Baiyoke Sky Hotel, the tallest building in Bangkok, and had pictorials with the displays.
We went to Pattaya beach, this time personally guided by a local, Chu. Pattaya is actually a different city, but we reached it by bus in two hours at around 100 baht for a one way ticket. It did not have white sand, but the beach itself, though reminiscent of Miami with its proximity to skyscrapers, was not the reason why this was my favorite stop for this vacation, but the really cheap water sports – we spent 250 baht to parasail and 350 each to jetski.
I thought I’d get really scared parasailing, scared of heights as I am, but it felt like I was floating and it wasn’t scary like being on fast moving rides.
Jetskiing was also as fun as I dreamed it would be, except for the stinging in my eyes. I had to give up because I could no longer keep my eyes open. Next time, I would definitely wear goggles or shades.
Shopping, Eating, Etc.
We went shopping in Chatuchak weekend market, where I got lost twice, much to Chu’s utter consternation. I wasn’t able to buy much, though, because I thought their wares could also be found in Divisoria, and at cheaper rates, at that!
We also got to watch Indiana Jones in the cinema.
We ate lots of cheap and yummy Thai food. I especially loved the lansones and pomelo which we could buy at 20thb a pack.
My first non-work trip outside my country was definitely a great one! Thanks, Chu! 😀