สวัสดี! Sawasdee! (pronounced as sah-wah-dee)
Among the cities in the Indochina region, Bangkok is considered the busiest one with two International Airports: Suvarnabhumi (BKK) Airport and Don Mueang (DMK) International Airport. Between the two, BKK is the main airport that is 25 KM closest to the city area that is used by the majority of the airlines while DMK is used by many low-cost airlines.
Reaching Bangkok is easy especially if coming from Manila due to the daily flights from via Cebu Pacific, PAL, Air Asia, and Thai Airways. Scoring the cheapest flights would depend on the season and seat sale which can go as low as Php 2,500 net RT for one person!
As an ASEAN member state, Philippine passport holders can enjoy 30 days visa-free if the Filipino citizen has entered the country via an International airport and only 15 days visa-free if entered through a land-border route from a neighboring country such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar)
PROOF OF FUNDS
Recently, the Thai government has issued a memo regarding proof of funds for its foreign visitors because of the increasing “begpackers” (backpackers-who-beg-for-travel). Although not everyone will be asked about it at the Immigration border, but in order to be safe, make sure that you have at least 10,000 THB (Php 16,400 or $ 305) per person or 20,000 THB (Php 32,850 or $ 610) per family as proof of accommodation and funds in case you’ll be asked.
Thailand is part of Indochina (GMT +7) that is 1 hour behind Manila Time (GMT+8).
Thai Baht is the official currency of Thailand Baht and even though US Dollars is also widely used, it is highly advisable to exchange currency (from USD to THB) before buying anything. It’s ok to do your money exchange within the airport because the rates are almost the same as compared when you do it outside. We did ours near the Klook booth.
$1 = 32.72 Thai Baht
Php 1 = 0.60 Thai Baht
Thai is the official language spoken in Thailand but English is also widely spoken since Bangkok is known as a tourist hotspot.
Known for being a very open city, there is no dress code restriction in Bangkok or any part of Thailand, however, it is advisable to wear decent clothing especially when entering religious areas such as sleeveless, shorts or knee-length skirts.
There are lots of Wifi hotspots around the City and it’s also a good idea to buy wifi modems from telecom shops but since we will only be in Bangkok for a few days, the cheapest offer was getting a sim card so we bought one from Klook (4G Sim Card) for Php 244 ($4.52 or 147 THB) that we picked up at the BKK airport.
Since Bangkok is pretty big, your choice of accommodation would vary depending on the area you’d want to stay. The rule of thumb when traveling is: the nearer you are to the most touristic spots, the expensive the rates will be. This is actually typical for Bangkok accommodations, but thanks to third party websites such as Agoda, Booking, Hostel or even AirBnb, travelers have more options than before!
In our case, since we want to explore the rich temple culture of Thailand, we opted to stay near the touristic areas of the Chao Phraya river. But when you think of Chao Phraya, one would automatically think of expensive 5-star hotels in the area, which it was famous for. For travelers like us on a budget who wanted to at least experience a bit of luxury, this is crucial since we don’t want to overspend. Among the 8 most popular areas to stay in Bangkok, we wanted to stay close to the Riverside among the top hotels in the City, near the awesome temples, but still have easy access to the Metro, Restaurants, BKK Airport etc. We used this site by Nerdnomads and a very helpful tip from a NAW acquaintance Ms. Alynn that he who is based in Bangkok who helped us pick the best area for our stay according to our preference.
By luck, we found Oriental Heritage Residence, a boutique 3-star hotel located at 1180 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Bang Rak, Khet Bang Rak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon around 25-35 mins away from the airport depending on traffic. Aside from its rave reviews on Tripadvisor, the hotel is fairly new, cozy and really stylish! What’s more interesting is that it is walking distance from the River City Mall (where the Chao Phraya Cruise docks), Sky Bar, Robinson’s Mall, Jewelry stores, Foot massages, Saphan Taksin BTS Station, and Sathorn Pier (Central Pier)! It’s a great alternative if you can’t afford to stay at 5-star hotels that lines the Chao Praya river!
Thai food is life! Need I say more?
So far, the best authentic Thai food that we had other than the ones that we get from our hotel, the local restaurants that we went to both in Bangkok and in Ayutthaya, the best place that we went to that fits our budget (but serves gourmet-ish dishes!) was Chilli Thai Restaurant located at Siam Paragon. Rates vary depending on your meal since they serve ala carte, but think about spending max Php 3,000 per couple for a very decent authentic Thai meal. You wouldn’t really want to miss it!
Bangkok especially around Chao Praya, Charoenkrung and Siam Paragon area (including Ayutthaya) is a safe place to stay. Although we didn’t notice any CCTVs around the area during our strolls, we would normally see police cars roaming around. We’re not sure if it’s the same with the other neighborhood but this is what we have experienced so far.
A helpful tip would be to at least be cautious wherever you go!
- Depart from Yangon International Airport via Myanmar Airlines
- Arrival at BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport
- Check-in at Oriental Residence for Deluxe Double Room for 2pax (Php 9,868 or $ or THB) all-in for 4D/3N including taxes and buffet breakfast. Airport transfer costs Php 1,211 per way via Klook for a private car for 4 pax including toll fees and free water bottles
- DIY Tour around Charoen Krung Road and Chao Praya River
- Although we had the option to buy separate boat tickets per way, we preferred to buy the unlimited Chao Phraya One-Day River Cruise boat pass for tourists that cost 180 THB or Php 301 each just for experience’s sake. We got the 330 THB promo for two and saved 30 THB. Just be sure that when you want to but this 1-day pass, you will buy at the main ticket outlet and not at private boat transfers. Be sure to look for the Chao Praya Tourist Boat name.
- With the One-Dary River Cruise Pass, it is easy to see the famous temples around the area:
- Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
- The Grand Palace
- Wat Phra Keaw which is found inside The Grand Palace and is known to enshrine the Phra Kaew Morakot (Emerald Buddha)
- Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
- We boarded the BTS Skytrain at Saphan Taksin station located on the Sathorn Pier, changed trains and alighted at Siam Station. Just follow the BTS map and ask if you feel you’re lost.
- Ayutthaya Full Day Tour
- We booked our tour online through Klook for a private car charter (Oriental Holiday) for Php 5,892 ($109.11 or 3,567 THB) and a separate English speaking tour guide for Php 3,238 ($59.96 or 1,960 THB) since we wanted to know more about the historical aspect of the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Our tour guide, Ms. Siriporn together with the driver, Mr. Moon arrived on time. They were both polite, attentive and informative about the important historical sites of Ancient Bagan. Since we finished early, we were also able to go to other non-touristy sites other than what we have on the list.
- Wat Mahathat
- Ayutthaya Historical Park
- Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
- Wat Phra Sri Sanphet
- Wat Thammikarat
- Wat Chaiwatthanaram
- Wat Ratchaburana
- Bang Pa-In Palace
- Elephant Stay
- Chill day at the hotel after Breakfast
- Depart BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport and back to NAIA
Overall expenses for 4D/3N Bangkok and Ayutthaya, Thailand Tour (excluding airfare, food, and souvenirs)
- 4G Sim Card: Php 244
- Hotel: Php 9,868
- Airport Transfer 2 way: Php 2,422
- Chao Praya 1 Day Unlimited River Pass for 2pax: Php 602 (thb 180 each)
- Wat Arun Entrance Fee: Php 161.67 (50 thb each)
- Wat Pho Entrance Fee: Php 323.34 (100 thb each)
- The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Entrance Fee: Php 1,616 (500 thb each)
- Private Car Charter to Ayutthaya: Php 5,892
- Ayutthaya English Tour Guide: Php 3,238
OVERALL TOTAL for Two Pax : Php 24,367.01 (US $ 477 ~)
Note: The cost of airfare, souvenirs, and food expenses have been excluded in the overall expenses computation because of the seasonal rate and promo that we were able to get as well as the food preference of the travelers.
ADDITIONAL ADD-ONS FOR THAT LUXURIOUS TREAT
In our case, we chose to spend on a memorable dinner at the Chilli Thai Restaurant and Chao Praya Princess Cruise other than our usual 7Eleven ready-to-eat meals that would only cost from Php 40 each or the usual budgeted Cup Noodles!
- Food: Php 3,000
- Chao Praya Princess Cruise Dinner,Upper Deck: Php 3,076 ($56)
TOTAL for Two Pax: Php 6,076 (US $119 ~)
OVERALL TOTAL for Two Pax including the Luxury Treat Dinners : Php 30,443.01 (US $ 596 ~)