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Guide to Bangkok Free and Easy Part 1

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

My family and I usually go on package tours because everyone's so busy that package tour seems to be a good option for us! Initially, our plan wasn't Bangkok. However, our package tour dates got delayed and my sister's leave couldn't match the delayed dates, thus, we decide to cancel it and opted for Free and Easy to Bangkok, Thailand!


I have been to Bangkok when I was very young. Where I haven't heard much about Chatuchak. Think my family went on package tour. I was around Primary School age. Thus, I can say this is really a new refreshing time to go Bangkok for a holiday! Because everyone was so busy, I did the research for Bangkok. Really alot of informative informations online however, it's not sufficient as compared to first hand info. It's not as detailed. So here I am trying to give as much details as I can for First-Timers like us!



I'll do this guide in Parts because I realise there's so many info to provide to you guys! I went on this trip from 21 December 2012 to 26 December 2012 (Friday to Wednesday). Why I provide the dates is for you guys to see how recent this information is because I'm sure there may be people who googled and find this guide like 1 year later? So I believe this could help you guys :) The guide will go according to the flow of the dates and events occured from start of trip to end. Hope it could help you all out :)


Disclaimers: Anything that I'm recommending or promoting, I'm not given any commission or special price or promotion or any sorts. I'm just like everyone of you going on the trip! Just thought it would be good to share and help others who plan to go especially first timers! What to look out for and who to approach! 



Airline taken: Thai Airways
Hotel stayed: Centre Point Petchburi Hotel (Awesomeness!!)


Airline

Through the recommendation of my friend, and debating between budget airline and economic airlines, we decided on Thai Airways as my friend, Jiamin, said that if you are going to buy alot of stuffs, then it's more recommended to sit Thai Airways due to baggage allowance! True enough, luckily we did! If you are on a budget tour with your friends, go ahead to take budget airlines because it's really really a short flight to Bangkok. It was about 2 hours flight, very fast. 


Meal was served almost immediately after the plane took off. Upon taking off, the air stewardess will pass you VISA forms for those foreigners (those not holding Thai Passport) like us, you must take them and fill up. This is the arrival to and departure from Bangkok! 


On the way there, the service was so rushing that they did not attend to me at my request for extra VISA form as I wrote wrongly at the "departure" flight number. It's not the same. End up I cancel and write the correct one at the side. I'm able to come back safely. So I guess if you write the form wrongly, just cancel it neatly and write the correct one at the side. 



On plane food. Fried Rice with Chicken.



Thai prawns with salted eggs and rice!


Advice to all: Always choose the Thai Food (ie the Thai Prawns with rice, or curry chicken with rice etc). The Thai Food option is always nicer. 

Service back to Singapore was good and the stewardess and steward was smiling. I understand it's only a 2 hours flight thus it's was so rushing for them to attend to everyone's request. The flight way back doesn't have a screen to watch movies. The only option is to listen to music by putting on headphones provided or just plug in your own ear piece at the side of the arm rest! I had curry chicken with rice on the way back! Their desserts are nice :) 

So it's board plane-get VISA form from stewardess when they come by offering to everyone-fill up-choose dish-enjoy flight. Note: Always bring a pen along. It's really hard to get the stewardess/steward to give you a pen. 


Note: When plane is arriving to Bangkok International Airport, do note the announcement. They will tell you which belt to collect your luggage. You can also check at the screens once you arrive in the airport. 



When the plane landed, collect all your things, remember not to leave anything behind. Do rush a little as the airport is so big, that we got off the plane to the ground level to take a bus around the airport to the entrance where you can walk to the immigration counter. So it's plane land-go down steps and stairs-chiong for bus-sit for a few mins ride-enter in-pass by duty free stores-immigration counters


Photo below shows the view while on the bus. Really takes few minutes! It depends where your plane lands. If it lands near the entrance where you're suppose to get in, then you do not need to take the bus. 

               


Upon arrival, my friend told me to rush for the immigration counter as there would be alot of people and queue would be long. We did as we were told. However queue was short and very fast. Alot counters were opened! If you are not in a rush, den just take your time. 


Just follow the crowd and you'll be able to find your immigration counter. After which, follow the crowd, see the sign above to see which belt you are at, go there and find your luggage. My family didn't take a trolley because everyone has 1 luggage, it's easier to just grab your luggage and just go instead of pushing it on a trolley as you will need to go down one level taking cab. 


Below is the first thing you'll see once you get your luggage and come out. Just go all the way straight if you do not have any limousine/booked cab or van/or friends waiting for you. There will be a lot people holding billboards, cards, etc with your names along the way if you do have special arrangement. 


For us, we don't. Because taking cab to the hotel cost at most 350B. (Average around 250B). Special arrangement for 6 of us in a comfortable van would cost 1200B. And we had the van arrangement when going back to the airport on our last day because cab/taxi in Bangkok really gives us headache sometimes and we wanted no more trouble/problems on the last day.


The arrangement of airport transfer through van is very good. It's from Mana, a Chinese Thai skinny man who has a lovely family. I would recommend you to engage his service if you are not on a budget trip. I will update on his day tour services later on! His english is very very good! Honest, goes the extra mile, attentive, patient, and helps you snap alot of photos during our day tour which he will email you. We were so thankful as both of our cameras are facing no-battery-power problem. 




So, important topic, how to get the public cab. Through research and my friend, I know it's on level one. However, the thing is, we do not know which level we are on upon arriving (photo shown above). (FYI: We are on level 2, so public cab is a level down) Thus, we had to slowly walk and see the sign boards around and follow the signs. Yes, the signs are able to direct you. 


But I'm gonna spoonfeed all of you because I would really appreciate if someone does that for me as well! We are in a foreign country! But before getting a cab, you need to do something (my friend, Klifferd helped me alot during this bangkok trip by providing me with alot info through whatsapp).


Walk all the way straight slight left of the photo above, and straight all the way (almost to the end). You can see on the right there's a 7-11. Buy a prepaid card. It's by DTAC (iirc) which provides 100 mins and 3G for 7 days! It's really useful. It cost 290B. We gotten 2 cards. 


Another tip, those who has autoroaming in their own phones, bring an extra smart phone so that you can utilise one for receiving important messages and calls, and other phone for the prepaid card to call them back / message them back! Because once you changed the sim card of your phone, you can't receive message or calls from your local (own country's) number. This is exceptionally important for adults who do business, someone who has online business, or important matters at home that may happen, or emergency uses back home or expecting an important call or message. Unless you do not have autoroam or no one will contact you or other reasons, then you just bring along your phone. Don't worry about iPhone 4/4s having smaller sim card. They have 2 sizes in the standard template. Just break accordingly!


Important: Adaptor is needed. You can use the european/usa kind of adaptor. If you do not have, you can just buy from 7-11. It's hanging at one of the shelves facing the cashier of 7-11. Hotels do not provide adaptors (mine doesn't) so just get from 7-11. It's reasonably priced. 

(Photo adapted from: http://www.tonguechic.com/wp-content/uploads/0009/8359/plug_std.jpg)



(Photo adapted from: http://www.thailand-holidays-tips.com/images/thailand_plug_adapter.jpg)


After all your power-ups and buys, go straight down the escalator just beside 7-11. That will lead you to the public cabs. 


Walk straight after the escalator, and out the glass door. And go left, then straight. You can see railings and ladies sitting down behind a small counter. Yes, nowadays taxi go by meter. But ALWAYS remind and enforce before getting in the cab, that you want on meter, and make sure he pressed it. Some taxis pressed immediately. 


Some has the cunning look /facial expressions you can look out for. It's very obvious. We sat once before from Platinum Mall and this guy wanted bring us to some commission jewellery shop before bringing us to Chatuchak which is obviously a scammed. We forcefully got down the cab and hopped on another one. 


Tell the ladies where you wanna go. The hotel name. I recommend you to research on your hotel. Print out the full address, map of it (I printed from google maps click here) and it really helps because they don't really understand when we said Centre Point Petchburi Hotel due to the pronunciation and there are other Centre Point Hotels in Thailand. Ours is at Petchburi 15 which we showed the lady the address we printed out. She recommended us the 7 seater at 700B and no additional charge incurred. We agreed. But it was a major wrong decision. Because of 6 luggages we had, the 3rd row of seats have to be folded down to sit our luggages, and 5 of us squeezed at the back of the cab which is very uncomfortable. The cab driver was also shocked and almost didn't want to ferry us. But he did for the $$. A mistake we did was to not confirm that all charges included in the 700B because when we did confirm, we were a distance away from the airport and the driver wants to charge us additional 70B for the toll (same as malaysia) at the highway. Note: Toll for cabs/cars cost only 25B. We insisted on only 700B. End up he said 25B, we agreed because we were too tired. The toll gate showed 25B for cars/cabs. And 70B was actually for huge vehicles!! See almost got scammed. Literally we actually did cos 700B to get squashed in a small space. Not worth. Always split up if you are going in big groups! 


The lady at the counter will write your address on a taxi voucher. Keep it with you ALL THE TIME. DO NOT pass to the cab driver until you've reached your destination safely with all your things out. Pay the driver and pass him the voucher once you have reached safely, out of the cab with your things out (especially if you're travelling alone or in twos). It's always better to be extra careful! 



Summary: print out hotel address, if possible, map too. Get to counter, show the address, split cabs if big group. Max 4 per cab unless you don't mind squeezing. It's about 1 hour journey due to the massive jam in Bangkok. Max 350B including everything but go by meter. Meter jumps very slowly in Bangkok and doesn't jump when cab is stationary unlike Singapore. Hold on to your voucher till you've arrive at your destination. I actually took a picture of the cab's license just in case. Too afraid already. At least our driver didn't bring us to some other places asides our destination. 


Last but not least, I'll introduce you to our lovely one-day trip guide that we had him on Monday! For those going Bangkok, I really recommend you to get his airport transfers because it's safe, efficient, trouble-free, and on-time! 


Mana is really a very very good guide and his fees are very reasonable. I have googled for other guides available and compared the prices, Mana and his team are really the best! Very reasonably priced! Airport Transfers cost around 1200B for 6-9 people in a very spacious and comfortable van! It's so comfortable that we kept snoozing off in the van! Super spacious. If you have smaller amount of people lets say 3-4. It would be a toyota car vios or altis if I'm not wrong. and it would be cheaper of cos. Our one-day trip cost 4500B excluding extrance fee. I'll explain in the later parts of the guide that I would be doing (as I haven't got the pictures from the camera :S) He bought us bananas, met us at the hotel, even have ice water for us! And sweets! Super thoughtful guy! His name card is a picture of him and his adorable son! Really nice guy. 


The email of the pictures he sent my mum after our trip! See when he sent? We came back on 26, he sent on the 31! So efficient! Moreover it's new year's eve! He still made a point to do up everything! His customer service is really really good! Many pictures of us available! I would definitely elaborate more. I enjoyed this day-trip very very much! Super loads! If I were to go back again, I would go on the same tour again and bring something like our own local delicacies for Mana and his family! He's really such a nice guy!


(click to enlarge images)



Mana is his short form name. You can call him Mana. To contact him, just email him and ask him about his packages. I love the railway market and floating market package and would recommend that! 


Mana - Phisitchai Thongkhamphant



Mobile phone +66 81 400 0023 





Part 1 would serve as an efficient guide for you to get to your hotel. Do look out for Part 2 soon. 

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Love, Charisse | 3:23 PM | 2 Comments | Direct Post Link




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