THE HUB OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN JOURNEY
The city of Bangkok is basically the hub where western people start their southeast journey. Some people love the city, some don’t, and I was really worried we might get into trouble after reading a lot of horrible scam stories in the city. It’s been a while since I’ve traveled out of the country as finishing my study was my parent’s priority, so when I was able to graduate college and get a job, my dad said that we go to Thailand.
My dad lived in Bangkok together with his cousins and uncle and grew up there. Partly, we traveled to Bangkok because my dad wants to see his close relatives; but it’s mostly a family vacation. From Manila, we arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport after 2 to 3 hours. Time difference between Philippines and Thailand is 1 hour, with Manila ahead.
YELLOW RIBBON HILLS IN SATHORN
We stayed at Yellow Ribbon Hills in Sathorn. It’s a hotel / apartment, not too far from the international airport, and the nearest BTS station is a walking distance. The neighborhood is quite and clean, and a 24/7 convenience store is just around the corner. There’s a Japanese restaurant on the ground floor, or you can eat local cuisine outside for a cheaper price.
Honestly, I was impressed with our room (and also the large-sized local yakult at the convenience store!).
It’s so spacious, and it felt really comfortable. The staff are pleasant and while language barrier can be a problem at times, they try their utmost best to accommodate and understand the needs of their visitors. It’s hard to find something bad about the place, and considering how much the rate per night is, it felt like we snagged a great deal. I wouldn’t mind staying here again if I get the chance to come back.
“Let’s go visit the four-faced god.”, my dad said after we checked in at the hotel.
Located at the Ratchaprasong intersection of Ratchadamri Road is a famous place where both locals and foreigners gather to visit the shrine of Phra Phron, the Thai representation of the Hindu god, Lord Brahma. Most commonly known as Erawan Shrine, it was built in 1956 in order to prevent continuous of unfortunate events from happening when the Grand Hyatt Erawan was under construction.
The four faces of Phra Phrom symbolizes the four directions. As Brahma god is said to be kind, merciful, and brings fortunes and success to those who ask, the statue symbolizes Phra Phrom able to protect and bless his worshippers in the north, south, east and west side of the world.
Outside the shrine, a line of vendors sell flower garlands, incense, and even birds, as offerings. Thai dancers perform on the side of the shrine in return to the prayers answered. The place looks alive as people come to say a little prayer, all while the aroma of incense and flowers fill the place.
At night, we decided to meet dad’s cousin, who he haven’t seen for ages, and went to Asiatique It’s one of the great places to hang out at night. I tried to capture some snapshots of the buildings and the sky from our room before we headed out. For our first day, Bangkok has been interesting. I knew, then, that I’d be one of the people who will love this city.
HOW TO GET TO ERAWAN SHRINE
BTS: Ride the BTS and alight at Chitlom Station. From the station, you will have to walk for a couple of minutes. Popular places near Erawan Shrine are Central World, Amarin Plaza, and Zen Department Store.
Taxi / Cab: You can hire a cab to take you to Erawan Shrine. Although, this is more costly, and traffic in Bangkok is also crazy like in Manila.