Friday, March 27, 2009
breezin' thru bangkok
Our company's summer outing this year 2009 was in a neighboring country in South East Asia, Thailand. I heard so much about Thailand especially about the fantastic shopping, the yummy Thai food and the fascinating Thai culture.
All 20 of us took the sunday PAL flight to Bangkok. A first batch (11pax) left the day before. Everyone's excited, most- for the anticipated shopping; while for the first-time flyers- the experience alone is enough to make their day. I took dear hubby along since both of us have never been to Thailand.
What's nice about flying with one's national carrier, you don't immediately get assaulted with the smell of foreign nationals and taste of their local food. Think Malaysian Airlines or Emirates. Ewww! With Philippine Airlines, I can still speak Tagalog with the FAs and the food is still comfortably Pinoy.
Almost all countries in SouthEast Asia have new spanking huge airports. Philippines, I think, is not an exception, However, our new airports are still crowded! In Bangkok, their new airport is relatively big, with the requisite Travellators (horizontal elevators), which for me, is a mark of a big airport. There are also huge statues of one of their Hindu gods. i love airports that showcases their local culture, not like our bland new Centennial 2 and 3.
We were greeted by our local travel agent, Jitti; and a costumed-Thai lady who placed on our necks, a garland of purple orchids, a Thai symbol much like our sampaguita. There are several busloads of tourists in the airport. Thailand is really a major tourist destination worldwide.
Since it was a sunday, we did not get a welcome dose of the infamous Bangkok traffic. Also, because the airport is connected to the city with a winding Skyway, you don't get bothered by commuters. I wish our airport in Manila has that Skyway!
Our hotel is located at the heart of the shopping district in Bangkok, much like downtown Manila. It's called Centre Point Apartment along Petchburi Road. The famous bargain malls like Platinum Fashion Malls, Pratunam Center, and ITC, an electronics haven, are just a block-away from our hotel.
Our room is quite big, with 2 double beds, a small galley with utensils for eating, and a full-bath. There's plenty of room to maneuver around, luggages relegated to the closets. There's no significant view, but the cable tv will make up for it.
I was feeling famished (could be due to the state i was in, 7 weeks pregnant!) so i asked Ted that we get some of those famous Thai street foods. I'm often amazed at the variety of street foods in other countries, but i'm proud to say, that the most weird ones can only be found in our country. Hmm... sounds like a good article in the future!
In Thailand, the street foods are much like Indonesia's... fruits (guavas, strawberries, mangoes) that can be dipped in sugar with powdered chili; fish, pork, beef balls in chili sauces. The food. looks clean and the places have no flies flying about. I like Indonesian street food better!! Well, generally yes, I love the variety of Indonesian food compared with Thai food. While both are flaming hot. Indonesian are much more similar to ours, only hotter.
Our first night dinner in Thailand was held on a Cruise along the Chao Phraya River.
At 370 km, the Chao Phraya River is the longest river in Thailand. We start the cruise at a River Terminal, which also has nice shops for tourists.
Our reservations were at the upper deck near the dancefloor and void of any roof. We can see the beautiful Bangkok skyline. As soon as the boat leaves, the singer, who is incidentally, a Filipina, starts the grove. She was very versatile, greetings guests in their native languages, and singing their country's contemporary songs.
A river cruise in Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River gives the visitor an overview of the the history of Thailand. The historical monuments, grand palaces, temples and various communities on the riverbanks are sights to behold. At night, these are all well-lighted showing-off the glamour of Thai culture. In contrast also, we see the modern new structures like the Shangrila hotel. We passed under the huge suspension bridge named after King Rama VIII. The facade of the temples at night are so impressive.
The table is also loaded with an international buffet spread. As usual, we pinoys were the first in line. Good thing! It's hard to be sandwiched between Indians and Iranians. We enjoyed drinking and dancing until the cruise ended.
What a Perfect way to cap the evening on our 1st day in Bangkok!