Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bangkok Trip + travel tips ♥

Sawadee ka! 
(Just realise my shorts camouflage pattern actually look very similar to Thai army's Lol Lol)


Just came back from a 8 days 7 night Bangkok trip with my besties Joey and Jacqueline! ♥ ♥  It is definitely a very memorable trip for us, being our 1st trip together out of the country and also our graduation trip to celebrate our completion of the Physiotherapy degree and our friendship. This trip almost got cancelled cause many people were worried for us since Thailand is under martial law
right now (declared on May 20) and local news had been bombarding us with worrisome news. Malaysia embassy's advise on re-consider travelling to Thailand during this time doesn't help either. However, after much consideration and research, we decided that we'll continue on our plan with some adjustments. We are quite proud of how extensive our research were (LOL thanks to Uncle Google) and here in this post I'll also share tips on travelling to Bangkok especially during this period IF you insist on continue on with your trip. **** (Check end of post for travel tips!)


Air Asia flights had officially moved to KLIA2 on 9th May. However, we still can travel to KLIA2 with good ol' Sky bus. As usual, travellers can take Sky Bus from either KL Sentral or One Utama. Since we stayed at Joey's place the day before the trip, One Utama which is nearer become our best choice to travel. Bus ticket from One Utama is RM15 per trip.

The bus dropped us of KLIA2 at a very errrr... Sad looking location. It did not stop at the main entrance, rather it stopped at a deserted-unloading-area looking place, and since it was still really early (6am+) and there's a lack of clear signs, we felt a bit uneasy being there. Can't imagine how foreign travellers felt if they're dropped off that location middle of the night/early in the morning.


The 1st place we came across when we enter the building is this area where they sell bus tickets (left picture). As you can see there's a lack of clear signs on how to go to the lobby/departure area, which is definitely something that needs to be improved ASAP.



Luckily there are helpful staffs around in the main lobby area to help lost travellers like us.

Sleep deprived zombies.

Be ready for some exercises as the departure gates are quite a distance away from the check in area! Didn't keep track of the time since we were super early but it felt like more than 15/20 minute walk from the departure entrance to the gate.


Wheeeeee!


Finally arrived!


Since internet is a part of our lives now, the 1st thing we did at Don Mueng airport is to get a data plan. And we were lucky that there's this shop right at the airport that sells different types of plans with promoters that speaks English! In the end we bought this 'Freedom Facebook Sim' under AIS, which gives us 7 days unlimited internet data for 310 Bahts (Approx RM32). Fair enough!

Light noms at the airport while we were texting our loved ones after getting data plans lol


From the airport, we wanted to take the Airport Railway Link to Phaya Thai BTS station but after seeking assistance from the airport information counter, they suggested otherwise. We instead took a bus (bus A1) to BTS Mochit station and from there we can assess to BTS or MRT depending on where we are heading to.

Bus cost around 40 Baht (Or 35?) and they give you super traditional bus ticket =O



Our 1st stop will be Lub D Silom hostel so we took a train at BTS Mochit, interchanged at BTS Siam station (practically our KL Sentral) and got onto Silom line to BTS Chong Nonsi. Just need to refer to the station you are heading to, see the price to the station, and buy the ticket accordingly. Not enough change? Just change at the counter nearby. Easy enough!

Prices for the train ticket are more pricey than KL's though. Price ranges from 15 Baht- 52 Bahts whereas in KL it'll be just around RM1-RM3.50 for the train ride?

***********
Tips Tips Tips

For those who're wondering what is martial law, it is a low that grants the military army a wide array of power that overwrites the government (including legislative and judicial branches =O). Basically means the army is almighty and free to do whatever to restore peace in Thailand. Yes, they can detail citizens that are not corporative too!

During this period, the military army also enforced a curfew (people are not allowed out during 10PM-5AM, while later loosen to 12AM-4AM on 28 May) and people who disobey this can be detained or fined as much as 40000 Baht. Sounding scary as it is, it's still good to have the army keeping the nation under control as the protests can be dangerous and unpredictable at times. Although it may not be convenient for travellers (especially those who wanted to party in BKK), it does make us feel safer during our stay over there.


Tips for travelling in Bangkok/Thailand:
1. Be aware of overly helpful people
Thai people are generally very polite and helpful, but when you so happen to meet someone who offered more help than you need (usually comes with the ability of speaking Mandarin/English better than average random street vendors), they might be trying to sell you expensive touristy tour packages/trick you into spending/bring you to overpriced gem stores. Don't take/follow them anywhere until you are sure it's not a scam.

Eg, where are you going? Wat Pho? It's not opened yet. Here, let me show you where you can go before that....

2. Take metered taxi/cabs
Like Malaysia, taxi/cabs come with fare meters. However, in tourist areas some will offer you rides at a fixed price without a meter. If possible, don't take those taxis as more of them are overpriced.

3. Keep your valuables properly
A general travel advise for everyone going everywhere in the world. More tourist = more people = higher risk of getting pick pocketed. Just take precautions and you'll be fine.

4. Keep hydrated, and apply sun protection
You can guess how hot is Bangkok from what tourist wear there. Especially when we need to walk in crowded places like Chatuchak weekend market and walk around Bangkok. Remember to drink more water and put on your sun screen/summer hats if you don't wanna turn into cooked lobster there.


Tips for travelling during Thailand's coup:

1. Avoid gatherings and protest marches
However tempting you want to see the protest or however much you want to visit the area, just swallow the temptation down. It's no fun to get caught in a mass protest crowd during a vacation, especially when you don't know when it'll turn messy. Roads around the protest area will be blocked as well and trains may not stop at the station in affected areas. Bear in mind that if you get involved in political gathering, you may be deported back to your home country. Say bye to your short lived vacation then!

We planned to try boat noodle at Victory Monument area but sadly they had daily protest around the area. Had to drop the plan then.

2. Avoid wearing red and yellow
I know red could be your lucky colour and yellow looks flattering on you. But please just keep those clothes at home. You don't want to be misunderstood as taking sides in their political affairs during your vacation do you? Red are worn by Thaksin's supporters and yellow by his opponent Yingluck's government. Do double check what colour are you wearing before heading out.

3. Adhere to the curfew
ESPECIALLY in Bangkok. I heard the curfew is less strict in certain places (like Pattaya or Chiang Mai) but bear in mind that breaking the curfew can cost you 2 years in jail or a fine of 40000 Baht. Shops will be closed earlier following the curfew anyway. Eg, 7-eleven will close around 10pm, BTS and MRT operated until 11pm (updated on 28/5/2014).

If you need some alcohol fix or midnight snacks, stay at your hotel bar/buy back food earlier from street vendors/7-eleven before the curfew.

4. Bring your passport with you
Applies especially for those who go out late. It will be helpful just in case you are blocked by military army to prove you're a tourist.

5. Late arrival in Bangkok? Ask for help.
If your flight lands in Bangkok during the curfew hours, don't panic. Seek help from airport information counters. They'll do their best to help tourists to get to their hotels/hostels.

6. Go out of the city
Still worried but don't want to throw away/change dates for the tickets? How bout travel out of the city to places like Pattaya and Hua Hin? Nice beaches, less strict curfew and further away from protest crowd.

7. Get updated on news everyday
Hotels/hostels usually will provide newspapers. You can also ask the counter for informations on the protest areas of the day. For more updates, follow @richardbarrow on twitter as he updates daily on Thailand's coup. I Love Bangkok and Fun Life in Thailand also updates regularly on the coup related news.

8. Save important numbers
These numbers can be a life saver!


Useful numbers for tourists:
Tourist Police 1155
Airport 1722
Train 1690
Inter-Provincial Bus 1490

Malaysia Embassy in Thailand
33-35 South Sathorn Road
Tungmahamek
Sathorn Road
10120
Bangkok 

Operational Hours:
Monday – Friday: 8.00 a.m – 4.00 p.m
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday: Closed
Telephone:
+66-2-629 6808 (for Consular matters during working hours)
+66-87-028 4659 (after office hours and on weekends/public holidays)

Singapore Embassy in Thailand
129 South Sathorn Road
Bangkok 10120


Operational Hours:
Monday to Friday: 9.00 am – 12 noon and 1.00 pm – 5.00 pm 
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday: Closed
Telephone: 001-66-(2) 286-2111 (during office hours)
Email: singemb_bkk@sgmfa.gov.sg


Hope it helps! =D 

20 comments:

  1. leng lui~ thx for the tips yeh~ XD

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  2. ohhh.. can snap picture with the army??? cool

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