Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand – 3 Countries in 10 days! What??? (Part 3)

This is a long overdue post. I got caught up lots of work and happenings these past few months so I had no time to sit and write. So here is the last installment…

(Thailand)

So we left Siem Reap via Nattakan Bus. I was quite excited about this trip because it is going to be my first time to cross a country border by land and of course, because of the festival in Thailand, LOY KRATHONG, that we really look forward to experiencing.

Nattakan Bus office in Siem Reap
Nattakan Bus office in Siem Reap

After about two hours into the ride, we arrived at the border where the bus conductor told us that we need to get off, take our luggage, head to the Immigration for the exit stamp, and they will wait for us to the other side.

So we did. There was a long queue and it took us about 30 mins to get stamped.  We then walked towards the Thailand side. Whenever I travel, especially when I am alone, I try not to look as if I am new to the place or that I am scared. I always pretend to know where I am going or what I am doing, out of the fear of being conned. That moment when we were crossing the border as we pull our suitcases and bags , I was a bit anxious, thinking there might be some people who would try to take advantage of us. There were a few guys at the gate who offered to carry our bags, but we refused. I also wanted to take a picture of the border, but I was quite hesitant to take out any of my gadgets, even my mobile phone. But it turns out, no one even tried to scam us and we arrived at the Thai immigration safe and sound.

So, after some 9 hours or so bus trip , we finally arrived in Mo Chit in BKK. It would have been less than 9 hours, if not for the long queue at the Thai immigration and  the traffic jam in the capital. It was rushed hour.  I called our hostel – Bed Station in Ratchathewi, to inform that we will be arriving late.  I was afraid they will think we won’t show up and cancel our reservations, and give the beds to walk-in guests.

Bed Station is a really nice hostel. The check-in was smooth and the staff are accommodating. I noticed some krathongs on the table by the reception. Actually their guests made those krathongs early that day/afternoon and we were told that after we secure our bags in our room, we can get one krathong each and  head to the nearby canal to release it.

Bed Station Hostel - indeed a best place to rest in BKK.
Bed Station Hostel – indeed a best place to rest in BKK.
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The reception
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Busy staff

And so we did. The canal was about 10-minute walk from the hostel and there were already some locals praying and releasing their krathongs. But it was nothing grand. I was expecting to see a sea of krathongs that night but I guess that’s in Chao Phraya river,  and it was raining and we were already tired to head there. So after the delicious dinner at Sabaitong Thai Restaurant, we headed back to our hostel to take some rest. I didn’t get to take pictures of the Thai food that we ate, but I have to say, it is the best I’ve had in this trip!

krathong
krathong
That's me, joining the locals celebrate Loy Krathong
That’s me with the krathong

The next day, we decided to go to Ayutthaya – the ancient city located outside Bangkok. We went to Hua Lamphong train station, as initially our plan is to take a train and bike around Ayutthaya, but we ended up renting a minivan for convenience ‘s sake.

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Hua Lamphong Train Station
Hua Lamphong Train Station
Passengers at the Hua Lamphong train station
Passengers at the Hua Lamphong train station
In Ayutthaya
In Ayutthaya
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One of the Buddhas in Ayutthaya ruins.
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Some of the Buddhas that were destroyed when Ayutthaya was invaded by the Burmese in 1767

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The Buddha head entwined in the roots of the tree in Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya. When the Burmese army invaded Ayutthaya, they destroyed the temple and the images of Buddha. The area remained abandoned until 1950s when the govt started its restoration. There were many theories of how the Buddha head ended up in that tree but no one’s really certain. But one thing is for sure, this site is now one of the famous places to see in Thailand.

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One of the Chedis in Wat Phra Si Sanphet in the ancient city of Ayutthaya.

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On the third day, we decided to roam around Bangkok. From our hostel, we took a boat ride from a nearby canal to go to the Golden Mount Temple. I don’t know if it was just a sheer coincidence, but on our last night in Siem Reap, we met a fellow Filipino in a coffee shop. He is based in Thailand actually and just went there to visit. Then that morning in Bangkok, when we were about to hopped onto the boat, we saw him again! He was heading also to the same direction we are going. We later learned that he goes to the company where we work in Manila as part of the Toast Master’s Club. Small world indeed! He was nice – told us about the places we can visit and gave us tips about BKK.

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344 Steps to reach the summit of the Golden Mount Temple.
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Before going up

 

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At the top of the Golden Mount
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View from the Golden Mount – Rama VI Bridge

Of course we went to  the popular spots too – The Grand Palace , Wat Pho… Well, not because tourists flock these areas, we would skip it. If we think the place is interesting, we would surely check it out. But I guess the best thing we did that day was instead of taking a tuktuk or taxi to go to those places, we took the boat and walked a lot  to get to those places. Yeah our feet were sore, but it allowed us to see more of Bangkok that day.  Later that night, we went to Chatuchak Weekend Market to shop. Love it there!

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Too many tourists inside the Grand Palace

grand palace

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The Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho.

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wat pho

The next day, two of our friends left earlier for Manila, while the five of us still have more than a day to explore. So we wasted no time, and went to Wat Traimit where the world’s largest solid gold Buddha is housed.

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Wat Traimit – Temple of the Golden Buddha. Located in Chinatown in Bangkok, this temple is home to the impressive 3 meters tall & 5.5 tons solid- gold Buddha, which was once covered in plaster as a disguise from the invaders. As most travelers and history buffs may have already known, the golden Buddha was only discovered in 1955 when it was being moved to its new location. The ropes lifting the statue broke and it fell on the ground causing the plaster to chip off, revealing the golden statue.
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The Golden Buddha

Then it was time to leave BKK the next morning and go back home.

It maybe just a quick trip and 10 days are surely not enough to spend in those 3 interestingly beautiful cities, let alone in 1 city, but given our limited vacation time, I would say it was worth it.

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