Banana Pancake Trail: Bangkok Day One

We stayed in Bangkok for 4 days and we had the most unusual arrival of all, on board a sleeper train!  First time on it and may not be the last!  Unusual only because we’ve never been on a sleeper train before this but we were all so excited.  It was our first time in the city.  Although we didn’t get to sleep like babies on the train,  we had this energy to counter the urge to just fall into bed from exhaustion.

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Our sleeper train tickets.

From Penang we rode a ferry to Butterworth to catch our KTM train to Padang Besar. It took us around two hours to reach Padang Besar where there is a platform that connects Malaysian and Thai services. This is where you change trains and go through customs and immigration process before crossing the border and getting on another train that would take you to Hualampong Train Station in Bangkok.

The border crossing is open from 6am to 10pm.

On board our sleeper train…

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Food is not included but the train offers meals. We didn’t get to try them as we bought packed dinner from another vendor. It was ok and cheap, too.

 

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This was dinner. Chicken cooked 2 ways plus plenty of rice and a huge slice of watermelon for dessert. Drinks not included.

 

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The train is clean but old. The sleeping berth is just right for one person. It is comfortable for Asians but I’m not entirely sure if it would offer the same comfort for Americans or Europeans as they’re taller. I chose the lower berth while my kid was just above me (upper berth). The train also has common toilets and sink. I didn’t see a shower area though.

 

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We arrived at the Hualamphong Station in Bangkok a little over 12 noon.

 

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We were exhausted and we still had to ride the BTS to take us to our condo in Phra Khanong. We hadn’t eaten lunch at this point.

Tired.

Smelly (no shower yet as last bath was before boarding the train 22 hours ago).

Hungry (no breakfast and it was already lunch when we arrived)

No baht (all we had were ringgits from Penang).

Clueless.

What a way to arrive in Bangkok!  But that didn’t dampen our spirits.  We were in a new city after all and the best we could do was enjoy it.

First impression?  Too crowded.  Too polluted.  Horrendous traffic.  Too hot and humid.  Noisy.  At this point, we were thinking we haven’t really left Manila.  But we loved it.  I personally love the chaos.  Although Bangkok was a big challenge for us, the city being fast-paced and busy and not many people speak or understand English, we embraced the whole situation fully.  That’s the only way you can get to know a city.  Just embrace it.

Our AirBnB Accommodation

Our host gave clear instructions on how to get to Qube Suites at Phra Khanong and we actually found it without any difficulty.  I informed her beforehand that we’d be coming from the train station.  You can use my code here to get a discount. If you ever plan to visit Bangkok, I highly recommend Pimpam’s condo.  It was a bit far from the city center (around 9 stops) but thanks to Bangkok’s train system, it really wasn’t that hard to reach it.  In Bangkok, as long as you’re near BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System), you’re good.  You can go anywhere and it’s easy to navigate the city.

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Our AirBnb condo has two bedrooms, 2 baths, living room, a fully equipped kitchen and dining area plus a fully automatic washer and dryer. It was a bargain at Php 2800/night. And there’s a pool, too!
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The bedroom with a huge closet and the bathroom has a bath tub. Nice, right?
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The living room with cable TV. Another person can sleep on the couch. The condo is big enough for 4 persons.

 

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Thank God for this bath tub. It was a personal sanctuary after a day of walking in the heat.
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The pool.

Day One

Day 1 was generally uneventful.  After dropping off our luggage at the condo, we went to Siam Paragon to have late lunch.  It was already 2pm and the food court was still packed.  There were so many choices but we chose the most authentic Thai dishes we could find.

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Before you could buy food from the Siam Paragon Food Hall, you must pick up a cash card and load it with enough money. This cash card is the only acceptable payment in the food hall. If you have money left, you can just as easily refund it at the customer service.

What we had for lunch.  Not the most authentic Thai dishes but we were hungry and we needed something to eat fast.

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Pad Thai. Not good. What can you expect? The mall food court is not the best place to eat authentic.

 

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Oyster Omelet. At least this was better than the Pad Thai. It could use a bit more oysters though.

After lunch, we did a bit of grocery shopping.  We bought coffee, eggs, some chips, water, and bread for breakfast the next day.  We wanted to be early for our temple hopping day so a proper breakfast in a cafe or retaurant was out of the equation.

And oh, we also bought bugs in the grocery.  A Bangkok vacation isn’t complete if you’ve not eaten bugs!

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Fried Acheta or crickets in different flavors. We got original, barbecue and spicy. I wish I bought more of this to bring home. It’s delicious!

And we also made a friend over lunch.  He accompanied us to the grocery and showed us where to exchange our dollars.  Thanks, Paul!  You’re the best.

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MG & Paul. What travel is all about. To meet people. Turning strangers to friends.

To follow along our Banana Pancake Trail and to view our full Indochina trip itinerary, go HERE!  We started in Kuala Lumpur, next was Penang before proceeding to Bangkok.

 

Not fond of DIY tours?  You can join one of these tours, and don’t forget to compare hotels, vacation rentalsrooms, or even homes for your trip before you go. And never leave home without Travel Insurance!

 

 

8 Comment

  1. Parts of it sounded pretty uncomfortable, but for the most part it sounded like a really great time. What an experience!

  2. I’d really love to visit Bangkok one day. Looks like you got great accommodations so I’ll have to keep that place in mind and hope it’s still available when I go

  3. Thanks for your very honest review of your trip! It sounds like you had both challenging and amazing times and that the really good adventures outweighed the not so good! I am not sure if I would love the very crowded and noisy environment but it would be wonderful to visit Bangkok…just to take in the culture!

  4. Neely Moldovan says: Reply

    How very cool. My husband would love to travel to asia its been on his list for a long time. Looking forward to more recaps!

  5. Christine Tatum says: Reply

    Thanks for your honest feedback. I can’t believe the size of the watermelon for dessert. All in all it sounds like you had a good time – even with some issues. I look forward to looking at the full itinerary.

  6. Eileen says: Reply

    Now that was what one would call an adventure! I would freak out if I were in that situation – having to take public transport in a different country. Thankfully, you were able to reach your destination. That was a lovely place to stay in! I have to check AirBnB the next time we travel.

  7. What a cool way to travel. I love trains and this kind of travel I enjoy a lot. Besides eating good food is also part of the adventure. Everything looks so good and fun =)

  8. Carrie says: Reply

    I’ve never been on a sleeper train before either but it sounds like a fun adventure. I definitely want to go to Thailand but I don’t know if I really want to go Bangkok I would much prefer somewhere not so crowded.

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