August 24, 2008

Bangkok, Day 1

It was raining when the Cebu Pacific A320 landed in Suvarnabhumi Airport, around 11:30 pm local time. First impression when I landed: the terminal is HUGE and very modern, but despite its size, I did not get lost or anything. After going through immigration and exchanging some dollars to baht, I went out to find a taxi, and I arrived at my hostel - Big John's, in Sukhumvit Soi 55, Thonglor Soi 9 (Sukhumvit is like EDSA, the main thoroughfare, and the hostel is just a few blocks from the Thonglor Station of the Ski Train). I'm not quite sure if the taxi driver really got lost, but it took him some time to locate the street, and I have to call somebody (thank God for roaming) in the hostel to open the door and check me in. The room is sparse but adequate. There's free internet access and WiFi, but facilities, such as the shower, are shared with other guests.

It was about noon when I woke up and I called a friend of mine - Bong, who also arrived in Bangkok just a few hours before - to meet me in a mall for lunch. We decided to meet in Siam Paragon. The mall is upscale - somewhat like Rockwell or Podium, but not as large as Megamall or Mall of Asia. We had lunch in Asian Cuisine, located in the food court, and I had my first Thai food - tom yum and jasmine rice.

After lunch I purchased a stored-value Sky Train card, and a SIM (as roaming charges are quite expensive), and Bong and I went to Chatuchak, where the weekend market is. The market is huge, with thousands of stalls selling all sorts of bric-a-bracs, exotic food and what-have-you. I did bought a few things, pasalubong for the folks back home, and a sculpture of Bobba Fett, made from recycled metal parts.

After Chatuchak, we separated - Bong went to the gym, and I went back to the hostel to rest a bit. In the early evening I went back to Paragon to eat dinner and shop (the Calvin Klein underwear is quite a bargain I think, considering how much those cost in Manila :p) I wanted to see the Siam Ocean World, a big aquarium located at the basement of the mall but there was no time (maybe tomorrow?). Bong arrived around nine, and he took me to a seedy section of the city to get, uhm, entertained. And entertained I was, until about 2 am.

It's 5 am now but I can't sleep so I blogged instead. I'm considering which places to visit later. Maybe Grand Palace and Wat Pho in the afternoon, and Silom and Patpong in the evening for another round of "entertainment."

pics: arrival area of the airport; at the Sky Train; farangs at the Chatuchak market; katoey sideshow

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