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Monday, August 8, 2011

Bangkok : The Trip that Started it All (Part 1)


Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya, Thailand

The start of 2008 wasn’t that good to me. It was the peak of my workaholic life. 2008 was also the year that I didn’t get into law school. In an attempt to leave the finance industry and explore other opportunities, I tried getting into law school. But it wasn’t successful. I also lost my so-called-assets at the start of the year.

And I almost drowned, along with ten other friends, during a trip to Anawagin Cove due to an underwater current. I believed it happened for only less than ten minutes. But it was the scariest and at one point the most peaceful ten minutes of my life. But it was a wake-up call for me. It was the day I realized that I gave too much importance and attention to the material things I lost. I didn't value enough those that really matter. What happened during that ten minutes made me realize that life can be better.

And then good things, great things, and experiences happened to me after.

I got a call from my tita who offered to give me a free trip to Bangkok, all I had to worry about was my pocket money. It was my first airplane ride, an out-of-Luzon, out-of-the-country trip. It was an amazing experience. I was fascinated by their history and culture.

And I discovered my love for travel and photography.

I remember getting so scared after stepping out of the airplane. I panicked after realizing that my parents were so far away from me. An hour later, and after realizing that I was in another country, I knew I was going to enjoy the trip.

Ayutthaya 02

First day was spent walking around the city. Taking in the food and the sights.

Bangkok

The second day was spent walking around Silom Road with my cousin. Since I was a little bit scared to take the train with her (well more of scared to get lost since she's my responsibility), we just visited the closest tourist site in the area - the Lumpini Park.

Floating Market

It’s Bangkok’s largest park where the city-dwellers can experience nature and quiet walks, or jog and cycle around. It also has a man-made lake where people can rent boats.

Lumpini Park 02


But it’s also a jungle. Yes, you read it right. Well sort-of. While walking around the park, we chanced upon (well during that time we were a little bit shocked and worried at first) this reptile, a cross between a crocodile and a huge lizard crossing the street (after researching in the internet, the reptile is called a water monitor lizard).

Lumpini Park 03

And the Thais jogging around were just nonchalant about it. Apparently, these reptiles are considered permanent inhabitants of the park. Yes, that’s Bangkok for you. ;)

Floating Market

Third day we visited the Floating Market where I very much enjoyed taking photos of the place and especially of the warm and really nice Thais like this one.

Floating Market 02
He smiled for my camera. :)

And this very nice lady:

Floating Market 03

More photos of the Floating Market:

Floating Market 05

Floating Market 07

Floating Market 08

Floating Market 09

Floating Market 10
Yes, I was a very happy first-time traveler. :)

Third day was shopping in Chatuchak Weekend Market and meeting our very hospitable and Efren Bata Reyes look-a-like tuktuk driver.

Chatuchak


Fourth day was spent visiting the Royals' Grand Palace.

Grand Palace
And of course Ayuthaya, where my quest to visit more UNESCO World Heritage sites started. It deserves another blog post.

How about you? What was that first trip that inspired you to travel more?