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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Carmen Sandiego Sightings: THAILAND

By:  Brittany S

Out of all the countries I have visited, Thailand is my favorite!  From the food to entertainment to general affordability of everything, Thailand is a wonderful place to be!


agoda.com!  You can find amazing deals... (Amora Hotel)

We couldn't afford the other place soooo...

Our second place...like a 1/3 of the price but in the same neighborhood.

Well I guess THAT idea is out the window... -_-

WHEN:  July 2011, 5 days

WITH:  My Korean-American "little brother!"

WHY:  Well...you've seen "The Hangover 2" right?

HOW:  Cebupacificair.com


This was the second leg of my 3-country trip (Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam).  The original plan was that there are 3 of us traveling 4 countries that we wanted to visit (but my friend lived in the last one), so we each would plan one.  I planned the Philippines, my friend "Ann" was going to plan Thailand, "Cam" Laos, and my friend residing in Vietnam would show us around there.  Well that plan quickly fell apart.

While we were in the Philippines, Ann backed out of the rest of the trip because she was unable to access her money from her Korean bank account.  We were very sorry to hear this and tried our best to accommodate her, but we were unsuccessful.  This forced Cam and I to figure out a new game plan on the spot.  Not only did we have to cancel Laos (because we could no longer afford it with only two people), but Ann didn't have anything mapped out for us to do in Thailand. :-(  So, after Cam and I bought a last minute plane ticket from Thailand to Vietnam (money that wasn't in our original budget), we said goodbye to Ann (who decided to stay in the Philippines a few more days) and headed to Thailand.

While we were at the airport, we made a new friend.  "Brandon" was on his way to Thailand to have a few suits made for his brother's upcoming wedding.  He was quite familiar with Bangkok and helped us to feel a little bit more at ease about going there.  When we arrived in Bangkok, we shared a taxi with Brandon to his hotel.  Unfortunately by now it is after midnight and we don't have a place to stay.  We searched around the area and every place was in the $100s USD or all booked up.  We eventually returned to Amora Hotel and stayed the night.  Brandon told us about agoda.com and he was able to book the room we paid about $80 USD for about $40/night.  What a steal!  But, since we had to pay full price (and now only with two people), we couldn't stay there a second night.

The next morning, Cam and I set out for a PC room so we could search for things to do.  Now that we were not going to Laos, we needed to stay in Thailand for five days.  We spent at least a day of it trying to figure out what to do. :-(

We spent a lot of time walking around our area discovering new things and taking in the sights.

Just walking down the street drinking from a coconut...no biggie.

Near where we were staying...somewhere in downtown.

We eventually found another place to stay that was about 3 minutes (driving) from Amora Hotel but sooooo much cheaper (see top.)  We also figured out the light rail transportation system.

Would you like to have a seat?

My Korean-American friend was mistaken for the locals in EVERY Asian country we visited.

We lucked up and stumbled upon an AMAZING show called "Siam Niramit."  It is by far the best live performance I have seen that did not involve words.  We were able to:

  • walk around a traditional Thai Village.
  • interact with and ride elephants.
  • shop for souvenirs in unique craft stores.
  • take pictures with people in costume.
  • enjoy a pre-show performance in the courtyard.
  • enjoy a 5-star buffet.
  • enjoy entertainment during our meal.
  • sit in VIP seats.
  • and of course, enjoy the show!

All of this was for about $70 USD!  WOW.  I am so glad we found that and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who decides to go to Bangkok.

This elephant kept following me around the facility!  This is WITHOUT zoom.

Just hanging out on an elephant...la la la...

Live entertainment before the show.
5 Star Meal included with my ticket!

More pre-show entertainment.

Mmm...something is strange here.

Our little "Taste of Home" was not so familiar...


We shopped at MBK Center and Siam Paragon...with Brandon!  Cam ended up getting a couple of suits made from Brandon's tailor.  We also ended up having a drink and dessert with him and riding in a tuk tuk.  He told us that it is fun to get in two different ones and tuk tuk race.  If you saw the traffic and the size of the tuk tuks, I don't think you would try it.

Riding in a Tuk Tuk!

I love when traditional and modern exist in the same space.

Mango Sticky Rice:  one of the most simplistic and delicious desserts I have had in a long time.

Our new friend recommended this to us!  Thanks!

Thailand is famous for its "LadyBoy" population.  I am sure you can figure out what that name implies.  We attended the "Calypso Ladyboy Show," a late night cabaret. 

Beautiful isn't she?  She is a "Ladyboy"
My fav act of the night...quite the sense of humor.


Well if you think he's still alive, now you know where to find him.

We visited another spa (sorry I can't remember the name of the spa, but it was wonderful!), but while I was there, I found a few bites on me.  Something about the tropical weather, or sleeping in cheap motels, or SOMETHING.  I got bit and didn't even know.  Oh well.  It wasn't deadly.

Sometimes you find mysterious bites on your back. -_-

We decided to end our trip by spending time at a Jazz Bar for dinner and drinks.

Live jazz!

So I had ONE drink and was giggly.  Darn Blue Hawaii.

  • Had some type of plan--as I said, my friend bailed and we had nothing.  We spent half the trip trying to map out what to do and how to do it.  I guess if you want to make sure everything is taken care of, you should have your own plans just in case.
  • Piggybacking off the previous one, we took tuk tuks and taxis to places (super expensive) that we could have taken the MRT (metro) to instead (super cheap).  Lesson learned.

  • Make sure that you know if your credit card works in the other country.  Sometimes your cards are only national, regional, or fully international.  DOUBLE CHECK.  Also, let your bank know you will be traveling abroad so they don't lock your card.
  • Check the weather.  The last day we were there, it poured down a lot.  The day we left, it flooded.  The same thing happened in the Philippines.  Know what kind of weather to expect and pack/plan accordingly.
  • Know how to barter.  A lot of the souvenir purchases (Thai pants, elephants, etc) are sold at stands on the streets or in little booths in malls.  They always mark up the price.  Shop around to different stalls and make them compete against each other.

OTHER COUNTRIES VISITED (click the links to read about my journeys):  The Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan (Tokyo), Thailand (Phuket), Singapore, Malaysia, Japan (Okinawa)

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