Bangkok – Primate City of Thailand

At the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

At the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok reflects its position as Thailand’s center of wealth and modernization. I admire the culture preservation of the City. It is but one great destination for knowledge and culture enrichment.

Unfortunately, my excitement before I fly to Bangkok undermined when I stepped into Don Meuang International Airport, Bangkok’s old port catering most international flights then. It is hard to locate the paths, the comfort rooms and even exits of the airport. The airport was very unorganized. However, thanks to their new airport, Suvarnabhumi International Airport. My flight back to Manila was catered through this newly operated airport. It was way too better than Don Meuang, even better than NAIA (Manila’s international airport).

To my beloved countrymen, don’t hate me for this. I love our country – I love Manila. It’s just that there really is a need for a big improvement of a few of our operations and facilities. I bet we all have to agree with this.

In connection, Bangkok is relatively similar to Manila in most aspects – the people, the streets, modes of transportation and weather. Travelling from the airport (the old one I mean) to the hotel is a bit of a hassle. I had to take a long bus-ride and an express van in order to reach my hotel, located in Sukhumvit, which is also nearest to most of the city’s attractions.

The Churning of the Ocean Milk with Vishnu at the center of this Hinduism depictions at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport

The Churning of the Ocean Milk with Vishnu at the center of this Hinduism depictions at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport

Welcoming you at the airport with these structures above, sure you’ll get a glimpse of what to expect out of this country – cultural. Mistakenly, I have thought that these structures depict Buddhism which is the major religion in the country – but it is Hinduism instead, the religion of the minority in Thailand.

Thai doves welcomed me to the Chao Phraya River

Thai doves welcomed me to the Chao Phraya River

I only had two days to roam around Bangkok, and my travel adviser, Google, suggested the best way to see all of the city’s major attractions for a day – the Chao Phraya River express water buses. It’s like the Hop-On Hop-Off transit of Kuala Lumpur, but only on the water. So same method of the bus usage applies here. And as always, I availed of the 1-day unlimited pass here.

A view from inside the river express tourist ferry

A view from inside the river express tourist ferry

It was a tourist ferry that will sail you to the stops nearest each Bangkok tourist attraction. Majority of the ferries are untidy and the seats are uncomfortable to sit on. Also, most tourist guides on these ferries that day were irritable. I didn’t know if it was only because of a not-so-good weather or it’s intrinsic to them. I hope that it was the first one.

In addition, it had been hard to communicate with most Thais, including the tour guides, when you’re using the English language. I even noticed that whenever I approach most Thais, and I start an English conversation, they tend to avoid you. But in all fairness, there are still approachable ones – those willing to lend a hand.

A view of the Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) across Chao Phraya River

A view of the Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) across Chao Phraya River

Despite a few uncongenial Thais, Bangkok and its city collective embraces you with its warm and prosperous culture. (Get to see it on my other essay.)

Shopping around the world at Terminal 21

Shopping around the world at Terminal 21

Moreover, shopping is another must-do in Bangkok as they say. While I personally do not like shopping, I still grabbed the chance to situate myself to the shopping central of Thailand located in Bangkok – Mahboonkrong or also known as the MBK Center. With these eight-storey shopping center, you get to find cheap yet good buys – be it souvenirs, authentic items and all other goods you can imagine. To contextualize it Pinoy style, it’s more like our Divisoria – exactly its Thai copy.

On the other hand, there’s this one mall in Bangkok that seized my interest much – Terminal 21. Terminal 21 is a one floor, one theme shopping mall whose concept is market streets of the world. It is decorated based on well-known streets in cities such as Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London, Istanbul.

Just arrived at Terminal 21, Bangkok, Thailand

Just arrived at Terminal 21, Bangkok, Thailand

Underneath San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, Terminal 21, Bangkok, Thailand

Underneath San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Terminal 21, Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is truly one of the world’s top tourist destination cities, and I can personally attest to this. It is one city worth returning to in terms of cultural diversity and preservation. I must say that Bangkok is one city worth tagging “Truly and Proudly Asia.”

I’D forget: OLD AIRPORT
I’D NOT forget: CULTURE

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Kuala Lumpur – An Alpha World City of Malaysia

Getting ready for the next ride on KL's Hop-On Hop-Off

Getting ready for the next ride on KL’s Hop-On Hop-Off

Traveling from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to the hotel is a bit stressful. It is quite hard to locate a mode of transportation for you to get to the city proper where most hotels and all KL’s attractions are located. KLIA is situated within a 2-hour ride from the city proper, which makes it less attractive.

However, experiencing Kuala Lumpur’s attractions is made accessible and tourist-friendly through the city’s Hop-On Hop-Off Bus. Most of the bus line’s stations or stops are located to the nearest KL Tourist Attractions, making every tourist’s journey to this certified Alpha World City easy and fun.

KL Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket for 1-day Unlimited Ride
KL Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket for 1-day Unlimited Ride

KL’s Hop-On Hop-Off bus tickets are affordable. You get what you paid for. The bus line was truly established for tour backpackers. There are also tour guides, who know good English, inside every bus providing you bits of information about the city and the attractions you get to pass by. Plus, most of the bus passengers are foreigners so you get the feel of a real city traveler.

You can either avail tickets for on every ride or avail an unlimited-ride ticket which can be used all throughout the day on every ride. You just have to present your 1-day unlimited ticket en each bus.

Taking shots through a KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus Roof deck
Taking shots through a KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus roof deck
Did not get the chance to know what the amazing cultural structure on the background is

Did not get the chance to know what the amazing cultural structure on the background is

Because of the United Nations flags displayed in front of this building, I bet that this could be a government office in Malaysia. This is what you get as a free traveler – guessing game with yourself.

Leaning on Malaysia's  Twin Towers - Pettronas

Leaning on Malaysia’s Twin Towers – Petronas

And of course, your Malaysian visit would never be complete without having to see the Petronas Twin Towers.

Inside the Petronas...

Inside the Petronas…

I have got to see most of KL’s attractions, but personally my Petronas visit was the only good take-away I had from KL. It could be because I only get to roam around the city for a day and the hot temperature in KL exhausted me easily. However, compared to what we have in the Philippines for tourists to enjoy, I must say that Kuala Lumpur is more tourist-friendly because of the program they have for its tourism in terms of transportation and travel assistance.

Yes, my home country Philippines has got attractions way too more than what they have here in Malaysia, but still comfortable transportation modes and a good traffic condition greatly contributes to the positive experience of any city – and that’s the edge of Kuala Lumpur – it offers accessible and very convenient transportation like their network of trains which is really favorable considering that it is yet a developing city.

Waiting for the next train at Medan Tuanku Station, KL going to Berjaya Times Square

Waiting for the next train at Medan Tuanku Station, KL going to Berjaya Times Square

Ready for KL's MRT with these train tokens

Ready for KL’s MRT with these train tokens

Heard about the Berjaya Times Square in KL which is reviewed as NY Times Square in South-East Asia – and it’ll be great to see it for myself. And I must say that the square was overrated. The lights and sounds all over the square brought me the NY Times Square rush but due to the square’s location, which is along the main high way and underneath the KL MRT, my take on the Berjaya Square depleted.

Thanks to these street artists who brightened my night up after getting disappointed about the air and noise pollution I have taken away from the square.

Berjaya Square's street arists strike a pose with me

Berjaya Square’s street arists strike a pose with me

Over-all, I enjoyed my stay in this city. I might not choose to comeback but still I had a positive experience of Kuala Lumpur.

I’D forget about the city: FOOD.
I’D NOT forget about the city: TRAFFIC.