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A glimpse of Bangkok

One of my dreams for 2019 was to travel again to South East Asia and as Paulo Coelho puts it in "The Alchemist", when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. Now I live my dream during the next three weeks backpacking through Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
This time it will be different from my previous journey in Indonesia and Singapore because the entire itinerary is already set. With a group is difficult to do free style.
Our journey begins in Bangkok. No matter if you chose a direct flight or a connecting one, you can't beat time, or at least I can't (when traveling from west to east). But it's worth it!
Some logistic tips before traveling to Thailand:
- you must have a passport valid at least 6 months from the day of arrival
- for some countries you can apply for a visa on arrival and until April 30, 2020 you are exempted from paying the 2000 BHT fee (~61USD).
Getting the visa on arrival was a good exercise to practice patience after a long night/day of flight(s). It took us around ~3h to leave the airport after landing (we didn't have to wait for any luggage). We learned too late there is a possibility to apply for a eVOA (eVisa on Arrival).

If you have only 48h to spend in Bangkok...

Bangkok is a big city and getting from one point to another can take you a lot of time. Here are some places and experiences I have tried while there and I recommend trying them if you have a short layover in this bustling city.

Lumpini park is a beautiful green gem in central Bangkok
I was passing by and stopped admiring the city sky scrappers. Watch out for the monitor lizards. I spotted one while I was resting on the bench. 
Taking the metro is a good solution to cool down. And that's what I've done. From Lumpini park I just wanted to take the metro any direction just to get to AC. My luck was to reach the blue line which is the newest one. Each station has a specific style representative for the nearby landmarks.
Passage to the past - Sanam Chai MRT
For example Sanam Chai is in the heart of Bangkok Old Town, walking distance from The Grand Palace or Wat Pho. In China Town there is Wat Mangkon which is decorated according to its neighbourhood. 
From Sanam Chai, Pak Khlong flower market is just a few minutes away.
Pak Khlong flower market is Thailand's largest wholesale flower market  
I am starting to love the AC. Another solution to cool down are the malls. In the same area I came across the Old Siam Plaza, one of Bangkok's original mall shopping.
Old Siam Plaza
At the ground floor most of the vendors are selling traditional Thai deserts. At the first floor you will find a great selection of silk and tailoring shops.
Staying on shopping malls subject, on the other extreme there is Icon Siam mall, "Mother of all Malls", Bangkok newest and biggest luxury shopping mall. 

Icon Siam - a showcase of Thai cultural heritages such as culinary, art, handicraft, medicine, performing art, play and all kinds of local wisdom. 
China Town - bustling street market
From Icon Siam pier there is a free public boat which takes you to China Town. I have never experienced anything like this. We went on Sunday evening and the road was closed and on one side of the street and the other there were different vendors selling street food, clothes, or who knows what. You can find there also the traditional Thai insects food. I was not curious to try any. 
We also stayed for dinner at one of the many street food stalls and the food was delicious.
And from China Town we went directly to a sky bar recommended by a friend of Ioana. 


Bangkok skyline viewed from Vertigo sky bar
Many sky bars require a strict dressing code. I am back packing and trying to keep things simple and I don't have any high heels or fancy dresses. Luckily, Vertigo, Octave, Above Eleven are one of the many were they allow a more casual wearing. 
Speaking of dressing codes, at the Grand Palace and some of the temples they are very strict: for women, no shorts, the dress/skirt needs to cover the knees, no cleavage, no sleeveless tops/dresses, and the scarf is not allowed to cover your upper body; for men, no shorts, long pants, no sleeveless shirts. Unless you want to buy a T-shirt or long pants from the palace souvenir's shop.
I wouldn't recommend visiting the Grand Place. It's crowded and there are a lot of loudly Chinese tour groups. After experiencing this we went to Wat Suthat Thepwararam temple which was more tranquil.   

Wat Suthat Thepwararam is one of the oldest and most impressive Buddhist temples in Bangkok.
Inside there is a 13th-century bronze Buddah sculpture and the cloistered courtyard surrounding the main prayer hall has around 156 Buddha images.


And if you have the bad luck to rain, you can indulge yourself with a foot massage to relief your tired feet after a long day walking. We were in China Town when the rain caught us and we asked one of the waiters from the restaurant were we ate where would he recommend to go for massage and luckily it was one just across the street. 
We continue our trip in Phi Phi island for the next nights. 

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