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Friday, February 12, 2010

Thai Trip Day 1 - From NAIA 3 to BKK

Finally, after hours and hours of waiting, my photos of the trip are finally uploaded in facebook. And my next to do task this weekend is writing this blog to document the fun and experience in Thailand! I'm not going out this weekend to complete these excercise so hopefully my weekend relaxation is worthwhile.

Okay, so we start of with our Day 1. Of course we all need to head to Terminal 3 of NAIA Airport. We are all excited of course. It's me, Kim, Icee and Sean getting ready.

I had a backpack full of my things and an extra hand bag as you can see. My Jansport backpack is so big I really look funny in it, but I don't care. At least I can carry my things comfortably rather then when I used to have duffle bag on either shoulders which gives me pain afterwards.

So we're flying with Cebu Pacific. We luckily got their 50% off promo on November 2009. I was so excited then that I didn't even realize there's more expenses than I thought. But what the heck it's the experience that made all worth it. And besides it wasn't too bad. You'll find out when I do our post travel accounting. Hehe!

So we checked in just in time. One thing you have to note is that liquids are not allowed in your handcarry. If you do, it should be no more than 100ml and should be in a clear plastic ziplock bag. I'm sure anyone would notice the signs before you enter the xray. So better put all the liquids in your check in luggage as I would usually do.

Also, there's something that would annoy you when you check in. We need to pay the travel tax at the other end of the floor and then go back to the check in counter to get your boarding pass. It's just so unreasonable and a waste of time right? Anyway, what can we do but to follow. So we got the boarding pass and paid the terminal fee. Yes, the quite overpriced terminal fee :(

We had to line up at the immigration counter which also took a while. I don't know what's taking too long but when me and my group had our turn, the immigration officer asked each one of us what job we do and if we have our company ids as proof. I had mine so no probs. But the rest didn't have theirs so the officer made some more questioning but finally stamped our passports and we made our way past his counter. So make sure to bring extra ids for identification. Although, we have our complete itinerary and booking papers to show, it's worth to bring those as well just in case.

TIP: Make sure you also bring your own ballpen. When filling up the departure cards some travelers were waiting to borrow pens it is another waste of time for them I'm sure. I didn't find any pens on the table so...just be ready.

This photo is with my sister. It's her first time to fly oveseas so she's excited and clueless about all the stuff. She's filling out her departure card and copying some details from mine.
After the immigration, we head on to the gate next to just wait for the boarding time. We didn't wait too long so it's good. And besides we are getting sleepy! But thankful the flight was just in time!

As usual everyone is excited! I can't wait too and see a different place like Thailand! So off we fly! Kim is quite nervous during the take off. I understand because in 2005 I had same experience. I was even reciting the rosary then.

After 3 hours in the air, we finally arrived in Bangkok. Thailand is 1 hour behind our time but I didn't adjust my watch, I want to stay in tune with my Manila time. LOL

Sauvarnabhumi Airport, I know its hard to pronounce and spell, is the name of the airport in Bangkok. It's a nice and huge airport too. But if I compare to HK airport, HK airport is still my top choice - its huge and has a train inside!
So we went through the immigration in Thailand. Nothing to worry because we passed through like a breeze.
We then got our luggages and found a money changing station. We exchanged our money for Thai Baht. We decided to do it in the airport instead, but knowing the exchange rate might be lower.

So here you see me queueing at the currency exchange station.
After that since it's too early to go to our next stop, we decided to stay up the airport lobby to rest and grab a few snacks. We are all sleepy but we didn't mind.

My first Thai food trip is that of a sausage we bought at 7 eleven inside the Airport.
At around 3.30 am we decided to head to the bus terminal, where we need to catch a bus to Ban Phe. Ban Phe is where we will catch the ferry to Koh Samet. As you may not know, we are heading to this island for our first day. Many would probably be familiar with Phuket. But Phuket is quite far from Bangkok - another flight or more than 10 hours by land would be too much for us if we are only in Thai for few days. So we have sufficed ourselves on a trip to a nearby island called Samet! In my pre travel researchers it seems a quieter beach than Phuket and known also as tourist spot so I don't think we made the wrong choice at all.

This is a photo while we head to the taxi ramp. We need to take a cab to Ekkamai station. And luckily we got the nice taxi driver with us. We don't know his name, or I just forgot, but he was friendly and gave us information we needed. Communication could somewhat be a problem when you reach Thailand. But they are nice and as long as you speak slowly and have the patience to repeat what you say, it shouldn't be too much issue.

We got the blue taxi to take us to the Bus station. Along the way, we noticed how Thailand could be so much like Philippines. We see some spots looking like Quiapo, Ortigas, EDSA, SLEX, Morayta...the driver was just smiling at us in awe.

We reached Ekkamai station shortly. Another strange experience awaited us. After unloading, a few barkers have lead us into taking the next bus to Ban Phe leaving at 4 am. We went and sit comfortably, when a lady got to us and asked us to pay the fare, she said its 330 I think. We were in doubt because its not what I expected it would cost for each. Myself and John got off and asked info at the counter, finally there's another bus at 5 am which costs 270 and with return ticket! So there you go! Haha. We went back to the bus and got the rest of the group. We bought our return tickets at the counter for Ban Phe and waited for 5 am. Good thing for us too that we had the chance to go back and confirm it with the counter.

The trip from Ekkamai Station is about 3.5 hours, so it's a help for us to get some rest inside the bus. One good thing too is that there's a free snack! Hehe! It's not the best but better have something than none. The snack is like a bread with stuffings inside and a bottled water.

My next blog is about our arrival in Ban Phe, catching the ferry and finally reaching Koh Samet.

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