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The Land of Smiles – Thailand

“I’ll come back, Thailand!” I told myself a hundred times.

Thailand is one of the most visited countries in the world. This is because it is cheap yet fun and great. It offers exquisite foods, diverse cultures and astonishing destinations.

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Bangkok, Thailand at night.

It was a balmy 1st week of June in the year 2016 when we arrived at the bustling capital city of Thailand, Bangkok City. After hours of ride, we reached the border of Cambodia and Thailand via bus. We hired a ‘tuktuk’ from the border to get to Aranyaprathet, the train station and the border town in Eastern Thailand.
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We rode an open train to get to Bangkok, Thailand. There are two trains a day from Aranyaprathet going to Bangkok’s Hualamphong Train Station.
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We departed 1:05 PM and scheduled to arrive at 8:05 PM. It was very exciting, all of us (my sisters) experienced an open train ride for the first time in our lives. Due to too much excitement, we didn’t sleep or even blinked an eye for the whole 8-hour train ride, we were all eager and happy.

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The view from the open-train ride.

The train has different compartments, there was this one area (the end of the train) where you can only see monks separated from other passengers.
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Although all the trains are 3rd-class, which means no aircon (windows open for a substantial breeze), there are comfort rooms per compartment for the passenger’s convenience. The seats in the train are a mixture of padded and wooden benches.
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In every train stations, numerous locals will get in. And along the trip, there are many vendors that sell foods and drinks. My favorite was the spicy pork-rice meal, it was too spicy that I loved it so much.
We arrived past 8 in Bangkok, Thailand. Outside Hualamphong Train Station, there are plenty of taxi drivers asking you where to go. Eventually, we rode a taxi going to our hotel.
We had a hard time looking for our hotel, there are various streets which they call “soi“. Soi is the term used in Thailand for a side-street branching off a major street .We searched for our hotel without knowing that we went back and forth at the hotel’s exact location.
Upon our arrival at the hotel, we all fixed our things and freshened up. After that, we went out for dinner. It was very late, but Bangkok is still alive. You can see different shopes offering various services. Some of the shopes offer Thai massage, some are bars, restaurants and travel and tour agencies.
With so many choices we had, we ended up eating on a “street-food” style store. It was a store installed during night only. We tried the best-selling foods they have and it was all great.
After eating, we looked for a travel and tour agency that is still open, we were able to book a trip for tomorrow’s activity.

Day One:
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
This is the famous floating market known all over the world. This popular floating market is about 100 kilometers southwest of Bangkok in Ratchaburi province.
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The floating market is a very lively place and it is a busy place too, there are countless transactions between traders, vendors and visitors. It is colorful and tourist driven place.
We tried some of the goods that they sell. They were all delicious and appetizing. I would highly recommend the coconut ice cream and the sticky rice with mango.
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We looked around the floating market for an hour. The concept of a floating market was something new for us and we enjoyed it so much.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
We had a short stop at the war cemetery in Kanchanaburi that has almost 7,000 soldiers who died during the construction of the death railway. The cemetery was designed by Colin St Clair Oakes.
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The graves are immaculately kept. It is extremely maintained. The visit at this place was very sincere and moving. Admission to the cemetery is free.

JEATH War Museum
This is one of two war museums in Thailand about the Death Railway. It was built from 1942 to 1943. The museum was founded by the chief abbot of Wat Chaichumpol Venerable Phra Theppanyasuthee.
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JEATH is an acronym for the countries: Japan, England, Australia/USA, Thailand and Holland which were all involved in the construction of the railway.
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There are many artifacts, correspondence and artwork from former prisoners of the war that show how hard and harsh the life they had. There are also various personal effects and war relics, including an Allied bomb dropped to destroy the bridge that didn’t explode.
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The JEATH War Museum is located on the river near the rail bridge. Admission is 40 Baht (58.10 PHP).

Bridge over the River Kwai
Featured in books and films, the last stop we had on our day tour was the River Kwai Bridge in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.  This bridge is part of the infamous Death Railway.
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Our visit at the bridge is very interesting. Standing on the bridge while enjoying the view to the river is very nice and relaxing.

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The view from the River Kwai Bridge.

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There are train travels offered in this attraction or you can take a walk to cross the bridge on foot, too.
We waited for more than 30 minutes, so that the crowd of tourists disappear, it was worth the wait!
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This bridge and the Death Railway is now considered as an important symbol of peace, portraying that war is the great illusion that benefits no one.
At night time, we visited night markets and bought some “pasalubongs”. The pasalubongs we had bought was surprisingly cheap.
Night markets in Bangkok  are the most enjoyable way to spend the vibrant Bangkok at night.

Day Two:
Of course, we shouldn’t miss shopping when we go for a tour. And on our second day in Bangkok, we have visited shopping malls.
Siam Paragon is 3rd largest shopping mall in Thailand and is one of the biggest shopping centers in Asia.
Siam Paragon is on Rama I Road in Pathum Wan district, and is adjacent to other shopping areas. It is next door to Siam Center and Siam Discovery Center and opposite Siam Square.
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Bangkok Art and Culture Center
The Bangkok Art and Culture Center is a  midtown facility for the contemporary arts. Bangkok Art and Culture Center offers variety of art and culture, creativity, imagination and inspiration for all the guests visiting the place.
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The design of the interior has huge white curving facade and spiral walkways. It was very astounding. The center also includes bookshops, cafes, craft shops, commercial art galleries and an art library.
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There are 9 floors inside the building, each floor is designated to a particular gallery. Every year, the theme of the center changes. Isn’t that cool?
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Photos are allowed on the lower floors but are prohibited in the galleries on the higher floors. Admission is free and the center is open from 10:00 AM till 9:00 PM every day except Mondays.

Hello Kitty House Cafe
On our way to the place where we will eat dinner, we have came across the Hello Kitty House Cafe. I have seen many travel shows that featured this place, so we grabbed the chance to go and visit it.
The place is so cute. As you enter, you will stand in awe and feel you are in the Sanrio World. This place is very suitable for Hello Kitty fans or family with young children. There are 3 floors- the floor of the cafe, the spa and for Hello Kitty merchandise.
I wished my mom would come with us since Hello Kitty is her favorite cartoon character.
Unfortunately, we didn’t visit the Grand Palace anymore since we went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s Royal Palace. But the Grand Palace should be included in your itinerary while visiting Thailand.
Our last stop before our flight back home was, of course, FOOD! We met some of my eldest sister’s friends which are currently working in Thailand. We had an eat-all-you-can dinner for only 139 Baht (201.91 PHP)
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My Thailand experience was quite short but was very memorable. I’ll really come back, THAILAND.

 


When we visit a place, let us all adhere to the motto:
“Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time. Leave nothing but footprints.”
If you have questions, ask me and feel free to leave comment in the comment box.
Thank you for reading, please check my other blog entries too!

 

About the author

Aspiring to travel as much as she aspires to pursue her dreams, Hannah is fascinated with planned adventures and shares tidbits of her travel experiences and photographs on this website. Outside of travel, she mastered finishing an entire season of a TV series in one go or replenishes her soul by indulging herself in reading well-written novels and substantial non-fiction books.

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