Bangkok – so near and yet so far
Bangkok was so near to Singapore and a relatively inexpensive place to visit and yet we never considered visiting it till now. This trip we were going with our daughter who did not have many days of leave to spare. Going somewhere far would mean two lost days, a day of getting there and another days of getting back. So our only option was to visit somewhere near like Bangkok.
We had eight days for Bangkok and our itinerary included shopping at weekend markets, dining on an evening cruise sailing on Chao Phraya river, chilling out at a Corgi Cafe, escaping to Khao Yai Nature Park, discovering exotic ruins of Ayutthaya, trekking the exciting train market and tracing two colorful floating markets. This trip was meant to be a relaxing getaway so there would be time for food and coffee.
Getting our data sim card
One of the most important things we needed for every trip was 24/7 data. Internet access gave us the confidence to travel freely and independently on our own. This time the cheapest data plan was a $5 sim card with 1.5Gb for 7 days. Once the 1.5Gb was used up the data speed would crawl but essentially we still had internet.
We ordered the two data sim cards online at “Changi Recommends” website two days ago and picked up the cards at the terminal before checking in on our flight to Bangkok.
It was a nice surprise as instead of 1.5Gb for 7 days it was 3Gb and the price was still $5 per card. We confirmed with the staff that 7 days meant 7 calendar days and not 7 sets of 24 hours.
Dinner after crossing the custom
Every good start to a trip began with a nice meal, that was our “motto” especially for me who could not stomach plane food. We had our dinner at “The Green Market” located in the departure hall (after the custom) of terminal 2. It was one of our favourite restaurants.
After dinner we were off to Ambassandor Transit Lounge for coffee and snacks. The lounge offered simple dinner buffet style, but since we had our dinner at TGM we were at the Lounge just to relax and be comfortable before flight.
Flying on Scoot into Bangkok
The return flight on Scoot to Bangkok costed $231 per person, the tickets were bought just five days before departure. At purchase time we could have gotten cheaper tickets at about $160 per person on Lion Air. But with the recent air accident involving a Lion Air plane it kind of felt “not so right” to fly Lion Air..
In the recent news there were some bad publicity about Scoot Airlines so we were not expecting much. Surprising the plane was rather new and spacious definitely better than our expectation. Our flight started just after 6 pm and soon we were able to see the sun setting over the horizon and it was pretty spectacular.
The most amazing occurrence was on one side of the window we saw the setting sun and on the other side of the window we saw the moon. And it was a lunar moon!
Picking up a car from Hertz
We touched down in Suvarnabhumi International Airport at about local time 7.25pm after 2.25hr flight time. Bangkok time was an hour behind Singapore’s. It was a huge and modern airport and in about 40 minutes we picked up our luggage, cleared custom and walk into the arrival hall.
We had booked a Hertz car for our entire stay (7days) to be picked up at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and returned at Donmuang Airport. The were no one way charges and zero fee to include a 2nd driver. The entire cost was 5003.32Baht which worked up to $217(SGD) or $30 (SGD) per day for four persons, which was a pretty good deal.
Hertz had a counter in the arrival hall (2nd floor), we found it easily and completed the payment procedure very quickly. We walked out to the road outside the arrival hall and our car was already there waiting for us. We carefully inspected the car, documenting every scratch big and small on the documentation before signing off. Our CDW had a non-waiverable sum of 2000-10000baht so it was very crucial to have all scratches documented to avoid being made to pay for repair of “scratches” that existed before pickup.
We plugged in our own GPS which already had all our Thailand destinations stored and off we go to our first destination, our stay for the next three nights while we were in Bangkok.
Our Stay in Bangkok – Citadine Sukhumvit 16
Our three nights stay in Bangkok was at Citadine Sukhumvit 16 Bangkok, an apartment hotel. We had selected this Citadine because it was near to Sukhumvit Terminal 21 and a major interchange of MRT and Skytrain. From the interchange we would be able to get to all our Bangkok destination. And Terminal 21 which was a nine floors complex housing some 600 shops, a Cineplex, Gourmet Market (supermarket) and a food court with all kinds of mouthwatering Thai and international fare would be a “backup place” for our food and shopping.
It was an easy drive from the airport to Citadine Sukhumvit 16 and in the evening (at about 9pm) the journey was pretty smooth going. In about 35 minutes we reached our stay for the night.
The apartment hotel had a guarded onsite carpark and parking was free for customers. We booked our Studio room on Agoda for 5281 baht ($225 SGD) for three nights and that was for only two persons. For the third person we had to pay an addition of 2253 baht ($97 SGD) for three nights and it came with an additional bed.
Our studio apartment was a huge room with a sliding door that partition the “bedroom” from the “sitting room cum kitchen”, The place was pretty spacious for two but a bit cramp for three especially when an additional bed was added into the “bedroom side”. At the “kitchen” side there was a mini fridge, a microwave, a water kettle, an induction stove top and a hob. In the cabinets were pots and pans, crockery and utensil. Good enough for simple meal.
After checking in and putting down our bags it was already about 10.30 pm. We were not ready to end the day so we went out for a walk. We were surprised to find out from our hotel receptionist that shops around Sukhumvit terminal 21 would already be closed for the day. Luckily there was a 24 hour restaurant/foodcourt and supermarket further down the road about 200 meters from our hotel.
We ordered a noodle and a salad and it come up to 166baht ($7.70 SGD). At the supermarket we bought a eggs and hams for breakfast the next day.