August 1, 2014

Sawadee Ka Bangkok! : Here Again

Continuation from here...

Days before my departure to Bangkok, Wisma Putra issued travel advisory to the capital due to the worsening of the 'Bangkok Shutdown', the anti-government movement protestors. Malaysians were advised to postpone or avoid visiting the capital. Oh noooo!!!



I was weighing down my options;
Fly direct to Vientiane?
Re-route the whole trip?
Cancel the trip and just stay at home?
when a friend who's working in the capital shared a write up on FB, on how the locals said life was pretty normal and the condition there wasn't as bad as reported in the media. He's been there for a few months as well so I counted on him to update me the real condition. Well you know la sometimes the media tends to exaggerate something, right?

Believing my friend, I made the decision to proceed with my plan. I should be fine as long as I avoided the protest areas, and always be on alert. Insya Allah.

As soon as I arrived in Hua Lamphong railway station, I contacted my friend to get direction to his house. Turned out he waited for me at the train station since afternoon. Haiyooo... so kesian!

I got a local simcard for data plan then, easier for me to upload gambar on FB/IG get connected to the world.



Happy Tourist Sim from Dtac. Only 49 baht which is really cheap OK. You can buy it from the many 7-11 stores in the city. If you're arriving at the Hua Lamphong railway station, you'll find a 7-11 across the road from the main entrance.

I needed to top up a bit to subscribe to data plan but still, it saved me a lot! For unlimited Internet usage, I paid 49 baht per day. That's less than RM 5 per day! Compared to using the international data roaming, it's at least RM 32 per day.

It's very easy if you arrive in Bangkok via Hua Lamphong cos the station is connected by an underground passage to the MRT subway system.







The station has a surau as well as cafetaria with halal counter. Great!


If you need to leave your luggage, you can do so at the luggage storage located near the main entrance. The rate is rather cheap I reckon.




storase? dolation? starge? hahaha...

Upon arriving, I headed to the ticket booths to secure my ticket to Vientiane.


 
The process was quite smooth, and I got my ticket within minutes. Train from Bangkok to Vientiane departs at 8 pm daily but I wasn't in a rush, gonna enjoy Bangkok for a while...   
 
From the MRT, I could see a few protests areas. It was massive, with the protesters piling the main intersections in the capital, forcing roads to be closed.
 
 
 
They even set up tents along the roads to camp overnight..
 
 
 
Crazy!
 
 
I visited the protest areas at Siam Interchange and Central World since I happened to be there. I knew it was dangerous but couldn't avoid the area since all the shopping malls that I wanted to go - Siam Paragon, Siam Center, MBK Center, Central World Plaza, Platinum Shopping Mall, Pratunam Market are all within the area.
 
 
 
I was hesitant to go near at first but the curious cat in me wanted to get a feel for what's happening and what the feeling is on the ground cos I've never joined Bersih in Malaysia. haha..
 
What surprised me was that the surrounding protest areas was turning into carnival-like atmosphere.
 
 
 
 
Like a street market.
 
 


Overall, I was glad I proceeded with the trip. Being there myself, I found the situation was under control it's not necessary to avoid the capital. But then again, I might be lucky that I didn't encounter anything bad during my stay there.

As for now, Thailand's military has taken control of the government and has suspended the constitution but from what I read in the travel forums, it's safe to visit the capital.

2 comments:

BIBIE KARIM said...

I was there on the 1st of Ramadhan. Nothing bad happened alhamdulillah. Didnt encounter anything like u saw. Maybe protestors have moved to other place kot. I feel safe regardless news saying the capital xboleh dilawat.

rara said...

@Bibie: Alhamdulillah nothing bad happened. I rasa condition kat sana dah ok sikit. no more protest tgh2 jalan tu..