Sunday, June 14, 2015

Day 7 - Bangkok, Thailand

click "here" here for Day 1

This morning trip topped it all off! We were finally able to visit temples including Wat Pho, where the reclining buddha lies. I was in awe of how these temples were designed. They all had such intricate details with vibrant colors. I don't think I'll be over to get over this easily. Enjoy the eye feast, everyone!

One big reclining buddha up close

Day 6 - Bangkok, Thailand

click "here" here for Day 5
click "here" here for Day 7

Ease Cafe inside Impact Convention Center was my home for the day. Since I was just a tag-along and my parents together with everyone else in the trip had a training to prioritize, I had to find ways not to get bored while I was waiting. Good thing Impact provides wifi cards so I bought one that could last me 7 days even if we were already leaving for Manila after two days (50 baht for one day and 90 baht for two days? I would also be doing this tomorrow so why not spend 90 than spending 100, makes sense??)

Ease Cafe

Day 5 - Bangkok, Thailand

click "here" here for Day 4
click "here" here for Day 6

Tip #2: don't forget to buy a mobile sim with internet while you're still inside the airport! It's the best option there is if you don't want to end up like me in the morning of Day 5. On my lap were 2 phones, 2 sims, and 2 manuals with only one page written in English. Great. I tried configuring everything by myself with a little help from some people (who, lucky for them, already got their sims configured in the airport) but I eventually gave up. I went to the hotel information area and the lady did help a lot. Tip #3: don't hesitate to ask help! The sim was already working (for texts and calls) and I was already able to explore Bangkok with Ate Aika while my parents are having their training in Impact Convention Center, sadly though, still no internet for me.

Day 4 - Bangkok, Thailand

click "here" here for Day 3
click "here" here for Day 5

Left Pattaya at around 12nn and arrived at our hotel at 2pm. I found Bangkok really similar to Manila; the traffic, the houses, the type of cars used, the city life, and a lot more. The adjustment I found the hardest was that the conversations I had with the locals were really limited since there's a language barrier. Nevertheless, I still tried: "Tao rai ka" means how much, "Lot nai mai" means discount, "Hong nam" means toilet, and "Mai pet" means no spice.

Asia Hotel

Our first day in Bangkok was mostly composed of shopping. I couldn't let myself miss the opportunity to get some good buys. Nope, no holds barred! I remember buying jeans from online shops for 650 to 750 pesos... I saw the same brand in Pratunam market for only 180 baht! (288 pesos!!) I swear, I was enjoying too much. Tip #1: always convert your peso to dollars first, then exchange the dollars to baht, it would save you more money. Also, 100 dollars is more than enough for your ultimate shopping experience! I got 17 pieces, and I still have cash left. 

Pratunam Market

First time to ride a tuktuk 

After the tiresome (but fulfilling) experience, we treated ourselves with Thai cuisine in a restaurant named "Friends" near our hotel.

Day 3 - Pattaya, Thailand

click "here" here for Day 2
click "here" here for Day 4

For Day 3, we went to Nongnooch Tropical Garden. The first agenda was to watch the cultural show

Thai cultural show

A performance showing traditional Muay Thai

one of their national dances also include what we Filipinos call "Tinikling". Interesting!!

A portrayal of the elephants' role in royal wars back in the days

Second agenda: Elephant show. I must admit, I didn't quite enjoy this as much as most of the people in Nongnooch did. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see elephants, but I would enjoy watching them more in their natural habitat and not inside arenas for human entertainment. I may not be in the right position to say this and I may not have the sufficient facts to support my claim, but I believe they deserve the freedom to do whatever they want and not what people would command them to. During the show, they painted, played different sports, rode bicycles, danced like human beings and somehow, some people consider that entertaining. I beg to differ, and I don't think I'd have to explain myself any further. 

Since we don't have a tour guide to walk with us around the area, we had to rely on mom's memory from the last time she was here and we had to explore the place out on our own. We found ourselves in a beautifully crafted garden. 

With a touch of  "victorian" elements. Lovely!!
We bumped into Tita Miles and she told us to go straight ahead from Butterfly Hill, and that we wouldn't regret it. 

Butterfly Hill

a tower of corns for the birds. There's a lot for everyone lol
This place is huge! It's a 500 acre tropical garden with different types of plants uniquely shaped which makes it more of a bizarre tourist spot. 

As we reached the near end of the path we were following, here's what made us drop our jaws.  


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day 2 - Pattaya, Thailand

click "here" here for Day 1
click "here" here for Day 3

Despite my lack of sleep, I was still able to wake up early for Day 2. I actually had a good sleep, and boy was I excited for today! The weather was so much better.

We left at around 10 am. We were to go to the port where we would ride a boat that would take us to Uncle Joost's yacht. The plan was to visit a resort and we would spend the night there. 

Stop over

The port
I remember my mom telling me about the yacht since it was already her second time cruising in it. I believe it's one of the best parts of this trip. We sailed for quite a few hours, enjoying fresh lansones, rambutans, and lychees. Ninang Arlene, mom and Tita Annie also prepared fresh salads and adobo for everyone. I mean, could you believe it? All 60 of us fit in his yacht!

Chilling on the trampoline

The first island we went to was Koh Samed. We weren't dropped off at the shore, instead we just anchored there near the island and enjoyed the sea. Some of mom's friends took a dive while uncle Joost was cleaning the propellers. 

After almost an hour, we continued to sail. Good thing Tito Junny, one of the company distributors, knew how to play the guitar. He sang some classics from the Beatles, and at that moment, I knew I was having the best time.

"Comfort is one good adventure thief"
The next destination was a resort with fine white sand and crystal clear water. Even at 4 feet, I was still able to see the rest of my body that was submerged, from my torso to what I was stepping on. Yup, that's how majestic it was. 

We decided not to stay for the night since we learned that a villa costs 10,000 Baht a night which is around 13,000 in Philippine peso. 


Even though we weren't able to stay in the paradise much longer, the sail back to the port was undeniably surreal. I was just looking ahead at the port light blinking and the rest of the lights in the city proper when I suddenly noticed that we were already under a blanket of stars, probably the most I have seen in my whole life. It seemed like we were in a dome, like I was finally able to see the roundness (oblique spheroid-ness?) of this planet I live in. Unlike in the city, the sky only seemed like a flat out ceiling, an illusion made by too much visual distractions. In the city, majority of what we would be seeing when you look up would be buildings, electrical wires, or smogs. Right there in the ocean, in the vast darkness as we were sailing back, the stars were countless and they were much alive than anywhere else I have been. I had a hard time with believing what was right in front of my eyes. Too bad I wasn't able to photograph it, apparently iphones aren't made to do the job and I didn't know how to utilize my camera for it.

You know how people separated by long distance would tell each other to just look at the sky believing they're just under the same one? That's probably true. But during that mesmerizing night sail, I wasn't convinced. It felt like the sky was just for us, that we were in the center of everything and that was all that really mattered. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Day 1 - Pattaya, Thailand

click "here" here for Day 2

While I can still manage to not doze off (it's already 10pm here and I have stayed awake for 24 hours), here is a recap of my day 1 in Pattaya, Thailand. It isn't much of a winner but it's a good one to jump start my week-long stay. Also, no self portraits for Day 1! Now that's new. 

Flight at 6am and we had to leave the house at 2am, totally regretting it that I didn't even sleep. I love the taking off and the descending part of riding a plane (except for the ear pressure), because I could witness how the houses would turn into tiny boxes and vice versa. I could also see what all these geography textbooks are talking about, proving that they aren't just pictures. You don't just see that while riding a car now do you? Arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. The weather isn't that different from Manila's, it was slightly drizzling but I was still expecting humidity in the afternoon (I've gotten used to this already, the weather in Manila is always so indecisive)

All it took was a 2-hour drive to get to Uncle Joost's place in Siam Royal View, Soi Khao Talo. It was still drizzling though it's lighty colder in Pattaya. Absolutely fell in love with this house in an instant.

Yup, that's his pool

The front porch. Look at all those plants welcoming you inside.

This is Happy. He's such a nice goldie!!! 

Finally had an itinerary for the day. We drove a bus to Central Festival Mall. The mall is literally facing the beach, talk about meeting both ends! 

We ambled for a short while inside, looked through some stores and ate at the food court. We waited for a really long time before the bus could fetch us again. We were all so tired that we had to sit on the staircases to catch sneaky zzz's. 

The bus ride back to uncle Joost's place was a relief. Napping would be great, but instead I was looking at Pattaya's night life through the window. There were tons of tourists along the streets and inside hot pink lighted bars. It was also interesting how they have see-through massage spas. I don't think I'd be relaxed that way, but I also think people just eventually get used to it.

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