A Travellerspoint blog

Water, Wats and the National Museum sortof

Or, our first day in Bangkok

sunny 34 °C
View Orientales on DanaGege's travel map.

So, we landed a little after 5 on Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. To our surprise out backpacks arrived on the luggage belt without trouble, despite the two delays. We had no problems at customs either and so around 6 we emerged onto the sky train platform. Just in time for the first train.

The Bangkok sky train is a modern, air-conditioned metro above ground, above the roads even, hence the name sky train.
A cab took us to our hostel from the nearest train station, but of course – it being 7 in the morning – the room was not ready yet. We were asked to come back around 11:30. So, we dumped our backpacks and decided to visit Wat Prah Kaew.

Yes, wat?
No, Wat?

A Wat is a Buddhist temple complex (the great majority of the Thai are Buddhists) and school (Buddhist boys still accept monkhood for a short period of time – used to be three months, now it’s around six weeks) in Thailand, Laos or Cambodia. It always consists of the following buildings: chedi (conical or bell-shaped building, containing relics of the Buddha), wihaan (meeting and prayer room), mondop (a usually open, square building with four arches and a pyramidal roof, used to worship religious texts or objects), sala (a pavilion for relaxation or miscellaneous activities), ubosoth (the holiest prayer room, also called the "ordination hall" as it is where new monks take their vows), bibiloteca, drum tower, bell tower and multipurpose hall.

Wat Phra Kaew is … glittery and it was hot, walking around in the glaring sun during the late morning.

Wat Phra Kaew Bell Tower

Wat Phra Kaew Bell Tower

Wat Phra Kaew overview of buildings

Wat Phra Kaew overview of buildings

Wat Phra Kaew Roof Colours

Wat Phra Kaew Roof Colours

So, to cool off, we decided to visit the National Museum, which was supposed to be mostly air-conditioned.

We were happily surprised to find the entrance free, on account of a national holiday, but less happy to hear that only two of the forty rooms were open. The national holiday was the Songkran festival, more about that later. We decided – since we were there and all – to visit one of the open rooms. This turned out to be the temple building (that National Museum is housed in one of the Kings’ old palaces). They had fans, so we sat down to ‘pray to Buddha’ for a bit. Now this comes with instructions: firstly, you must take off your shoes before entering the temple, secondly, do not step on the doorstep (this angers the house spirits) and thirdly, when you sit down, make sure you tuck your feet under you in a way that they are pointing away from the Buddha image. Needless to say, Thai have a thing against feet.
After staring at the golden image for a while (until we cooled down a bit) we wondered around the temple, but most of the murals were – unfortunately – completely indecipherable or, in other words, destroyed.

National Museum Temple

National Museum Temple

It was still too early to go back to the hostel, but too late to do anything useful, so we decided to visit one of the shopping centres - apparently a must-do here. We chose the Emporium shopping centre and – after the cabby drove us around in a very wide circle – were surprised by classical music on the doorstep and a doorman in a white uniform opening the door for us. The shopping centre was entirely what you would expect after that: Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton. According to Lonely Planet the food should be as cheap as the bags were expensive and in addition we found a nice supermarket. We acquired some water, fresh pineapple and weird Thai chips, because we’d noticed downstairs that Rio was playing in English in the cinema here and since this is supposed to be an experience in Thailand, we decided to go.

Emporium shopping centre Vuitton

Emporium shopping centre Vuitton

The movie was good, the chips were very weird and the cinema was freezing. They weren’t kidding when they said we’d need pullovers!
We picked up some take-out on our way out (curry with prawns for me, curry with chicken for Gege), which we ate in our hostel after taking a nice, refreshing shower (and a nap for me, I didn’t get to sleep much on the plane and was literally getting sick from lack of sleep).
We are staying in the Sivarin Guesthouse. The staff is very friendly and helpful, our room is spacious, clean and nicely decorated and the shower is fine as well.

We didn’t want to miss the change to see the last day of the Songkran festival, so we went out for an evening walk. Songkran is the Thai New Year. It basically entails getting each other wet, with water pistols, buckets, or even water guns. Take a look for yourself once we have the movie uploaded.

Since both of us were completely knackered, we turned in around 22.00.

Last but not least, if you speak Hungarian, or want to see other pictures, check Gege's blog: http://vandorsun.blog.hu.

Time spent in Asia: 1 day
Number of sights seen: 2 and a bit

Posted by DanaGege 23:35 Archived in Thailand Tagged bangkok sights Comments (2)

Hello Bangkok!

Goodbye shoes

semi-overcast 36 °C
View Orientales on DanaGege's travel map.

This morning, at the ungodly hour of 5.06 am we landed in Bangkok. But before I tell you how we struggled with jetlag, sweltering heat and amazing sites, our packing list. Between the two of us we carry around 30 kilos of luggage, of which I'm rather proud to be honest. I carry a 60+10 litre backpack and a small, very small baby backpack. Gege has a 70+10 litre backpack and a day backpack than can take enough stuff for a weekend stay-over. Here's what added up to the 30 kilos:

• memory/contact book (gift from colleagues)
• leather notebook, 2 pens
• deodorant
• Lowa Tyro GTX Mid walking shoes
• Kilimandjaro sandals
• 4 pairs of glasses (presciption glasses, spare glasses, sunglasses with prescription, sunglasses without prescription)
• 2 zip-off pants
• washing mitt
• 1 one piece swimsuit
• 1 bikini
• 4 short sleeved shirts
• 2 long sleeved shirt
• 3 bra's
• 1 sport bra
• 6 panties
• 1 hoodie
• 1 headscarf
• 1 inflatable neck pillow
• Razor, spare blades
• Eyedrops
• Tampons
• Contact lenses
• Body lotion
• Lip balm
• Raincoat
• Baseball cap
• Intimate soap
• Swimming goggles
• Day cream
• Night cream
• Hungarian language book
• beach dress
• Moneybelt
• Netbank identifier
• Headset
• Netbook and shock resistant case
• Facial soap and tonic (2 in 1)
• Sony X8 phone
• USB stick
• Hairbands
• 1 pair of flip flops

• 1 hoodie
• 1 pair of shorts
• 1 zip off pants
• 1 pair of Teva sandals
• 1 pair of TNF Hedgehog GTX Mid walking shoes
• Dutch language book
• 5 short sleeved shirts
• 5 pair of socks
• 5 boxers
• 1 long sleeved shirt
• 1 swimming trunks
• 2 pairs of prescription glasses
• 1 foldable hat
• 1 Sony X1 phone
• 1 rain coat
• Shampoo
• Razor, foam, blades, aftershave
• Neck pouch
• Contact lenses
• Work laptop
• Samsonite laptop bag
• Headset

• 1 plush hedgehog
• Plastic bags
• Baby powder
• Headset splitter
• Universal plug set
• Sewing kit
• 2 sporks
• 2 sleeping bag covers
• 2 travel towels
• 1 Swiss army knife
• 1 liter washing fluid
• 30 SPF sun cream
• After-sun cream
• Small binoculars
• Sanyo Xacti camcorder, waterproof
• Olympus E-510 camera, kit optics, polar filter, bag, cleaning stick, etc
• Bit of rope
• Lonely Planet Thailand
• Lonely Planet Malaysia
• 1 headlamp
• 2 small bike locks
• Nailfile
• Nailclipper
• 1 hairbrush
• Anti mosquito plug
• Plane tickets, insurance papers, passport photos, passport copies, inoculation books, international driving license

• Earplugs
• 12 boxes of Malarone (anti malaria)
• Dental floss
• Daedalon against travel sickness
• Aspirin
• Augmentin antibiotics
• Vitamins
• Cranberry pills
• Rehydration powder
• Diclophenac (painkiller)
• Cataflam (painkiller)
• Mebucain (throat disinfectant)
• Voltaren gel
• Calcium for allergies
• Nasivin nose drops
• Cotton balls
• Ben’s 30% DET mosquito repellent
• Bandages
• Stretch bandage for twisted ankles
• Gauze
• Ear picks
• Tweezers
• Toothbrush, toothpaste
• Myconafine (anti fungus)
• Imodium (anti diarrhea)
• Hankies
• Toilet paper
• Bolus Astringens (anti diarrhea)
• Betadine wound cleaning solution
• Flemac (painkiller)
• Ibuprofen (painkillers)
• Advil (painkillers)
• Thermometer
• Canesten (anti fungus)
• Nizoral (anti fungus)
• Blister patches
• Spiritus salicylatus
• Lactoprotect for after a diarrhea
• Zyrtec antibiotics
• Maxalt-smelt migraine medication
• Batrafen (anti fungus)
• Septofort throat sanitizer
• Enterobene (laxative)
• Irix spray for burns
• Leflokin antibiotics
• Prevalin for allergies

Phew, that's quite a list! To get an idea of how much it is, take a look at our medicine pile:
Medicine stack

Medicine stack

Tomorrow, I will let you know more about our first day in Bangkok, right now, we are both tired and we want to get up early tomorrow, so: good night!

Traveltime: 1 day

Posted by DanaGege 20:06 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand bangkok packing luggage preparations list Comments (4)

Video camera and netbook acquired and tested

Electricity, meet water...

sunny 10 °C
View Orientales on DanaGege's travel map.

Last week, my netbook and our video camera arrived. Let me first say it's good to live in this age of modern technology where you can keep in touch with everybody at (almost) all times. Then let me explain the frightening experience of testing the video camera.

You see, it's an underwater camera (up to 1,5 meters and for 60 minutes, but still), so we felt we needed to test it in the bath tub. And that's where our heritage from the electronic age reared it's head: you do not mix electrical appliances and water, ever! And boy is that indoctrinated into us, because it was surprisingly scary to put the camera under water. So imagine our shock when, once under, the LCD screen went black.
Of course this was just because it had taken us so long to muster the courage to dunk the camera that it went to sleep - which we soon found out - but still, we freaked out for a second.

Anyway, the camera works fine. Once we get over the fear of bathing it, we might actually use it underwater ;).

The netbook is awesome too. I'm installing programs left and right of course and copying important files, so it's not in full use yet, but so far, I love it. Lets see how it holds up under travel stress.

Countdown: 23 days until take off

Posted by DanaGege 09:03 Archived in Hungary Tagged camera preparation netbook Comments (2)

Thai visa acquired

Without much effort too

snow -2 °C

We acquired out Thai visa quite easily: it really was a matter of bringing the required papers and leaving some money behind. The only slight glitch was that we couldn't give the place where we planned to stay in Thailand, for the simple reason that we haven't booked a hostel yet. We had to fill in something anyway, so had a friend give us the address of the first Bangkok hotel he could find. Turned out to be a five star hotel, but oh well, as long as we have our visa, nobody will know if we ever stayed there or not.
The Indonesian visa will be more complicated as we have no place to stay ánd no flight tickets to show (we plan on hopping over by boat from Maleisia). Will let you know how that goes.

Countdown: 45 days until take off

Posted by DanaGege 22:00 Archived in Hungary Tagged travel thailand bangkok visa preparation Comments (0)

Tickets, we have tickets!

The start of our Asian adventure

snow 0 °C
View Orientales on DanaGege's travel map.

We both wanted to travel, preferably for an extended period of time and around the world, since we were teenagers. For different reasons we never did. We discussed it at length when we got together and decided that if we had the chance, we would travel through Asia for as long as possible together. And now we have that chance. We saved up enough money for at least half a year of travel and we're willing to work on the road to prolong our trip. We researched the monsoons, malaria and ticket prices and on February the 15th, we finally booked our tickets. If all goes well, we will take off from Budapest Ferihegy airport on April 14 at 8:40. After a stopover on Borispol Airport in Kiev of 2,5 hours, we should arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand on April 15, around 3:30. I'm very, very excited.

Countdown: 56 days until take off.

Posted by DanaGege 17:13 Archived in Hungary Tagged travel thailand bangkok preparation tickets Comments (0)

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