Let me start this entry by expressing my gratitude to my friend, Leah and Donnie, for without these guys, I wouldn’t get the chance to travel outside of the Philippines. Hope we get to travel soon!
One day, while I was trying to check for promo fares at Cebu Pacific I told Donnie-Lee that we should book a flight to wherever. Our first bet was Palawan since we haven’t been to that place yet. But when we consulted our other friend, Leah, she immediately said we should go to Cambodia via Bangkok. Cambodia – to see the place where Tomb Raider was filmed and Bangkok, for Donnie’s benefit – will tell you later about this. :lo:
And the rest was history. I booked our tickets online last January 17, 2008 and paid Php 15,354.00 (Php 5,118.00 each) for the Manila-Bangkok-Manila trip. We also paid Php 5,535.04 (Php 2,767.52) for the Cebu-Manila-Cebu trip. In total, Leah and I spent Php 7,885.52 for our round trip fares from Cebu to Bangkok. Donnie only spent Php 5,118.00 since he was Manila-based.
A month after, we found ourselves having the most difficult converstaions we had in our entire life when we asked some local Thais how to get to the train station. Then we also enjoyed the really long and bumpy ride going to Siem Reap from Poipet.
I had no idea what to expect from that trip. I’ve never been out of the country before. Recalling that day, I don’t think I even felt excited about the whole trip at all. It’s just like “Ok, we’re going to Bangkok. Fine”. – type of thing.
And then people started asking why Cambodia. Leah’s reply was always “Why not?”. Mine was “That’s what my other 2 companions wanted.”
Honestly, I was never into travelling until I saw this All Inclusive Holidays package. Although I liked to travel a lot, my work prevented me from doing so. So this trip sort of awakened my “travelling chi” for now all I can think of is to travel and travel and travel. I’m actually the shy type so you wouldn’t catch me making the first move at open up conversations. Not really an ideal traveller’s attitude. But what the heck. I really love to travel. Riding those planes, boats, trains – less the accidents that could happen anytime, I really love to travel! So if ever you happen to bump on me along the way, please don’t get the wrong impression of me being strict and a snob.
Now back to the trip!
Feb 27th was the day that we flew to Manila on our way to Bangkok. We hadn’t changed our money to dollars that morning yet so we had to go to the BDO Fuente Branch in Cebu to buy some dollars before our flight. I’m OC in this aspect so I didn’t agree to go to the black market to have our peso changed. With this move, I am sure that 1) my dollar isn’t fake and 2) I have the best deal in terms of the exchange rate. But I’m still not sure which (bank or black market) offers the best exchange rate. The bad thing is I had to photocopy my passport, vaild IDs and plane tickets before I can buy US dollars. This was really a hassle. I had no choice but to comply.
Leah driving on our way to BDO; me with fences still
we $500 dollars richer that day! wohooo!
Recalling that day now makes me wonder how stupid it was to exchange for dollars on the day of our flight Our flight to Manila was scheduled at 11:55 am and yet we were still heading to the BDO branch in Fuente, which opens at around 9am, to buy dollars. If there was a heavy flow of traffic that morning, we could have missed our flight! Geesh!
Leah, boarding the aircraft
Our flight to Manila got delayed. When the plane landed, we went straight to the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) to kill time since our flight to Bangkok was scheduled at 10:05 pm. We watched “My Big Love” then had dinner before heading to Teminal 1 of NAIA.
Leah was still a vegetarian at that time so we bought bread at French Baker to feed our hungry stomach during the trip. Leah’s also a sucker for bread and pastries so you could just imagine those eyes getting bigger at the sight of all those nice-smelling freshly baked breads.
Since we were kinda on a budget, we just bought this Raisin Bonnet. The label says “Buy 8 for only P85.00 and save P11.00. I forgot how this one tasted. I think the bread was stuffed and hard. hehehe
If I am not mistaken, our other friend, Donnie, was already in the airport waiting for us. Our flight to Bangkok was again delayed by an hour, I think, and we arrived in Bangkok at around 2:30 am.
It was chaotic at the airport terminal. There was a long line at the check in luggage and since we were all first-timers, we had to ask where we need to go, what we need to fill up and pay. We paid the international travel taxes and also got forms for the immigration. We checked in our backpacks and also bought Thai Baht at the currency exchange counter in the airport. If I’m not mistaken, the exchange rate was at 1.40 Thai Baht per peso (or was it more expensive?). Anyway, we did this since we knew we had to have Thai’s currency when we arrive in Bangkok to pay for our taxi fares.
Donnie and Leah striking a pose while waiting for our turn in the immigration counter
Leah, trying to convince the immigration officer to allow her to travel to Bangkok
Since our flight was again delayed, we managed to steal a couple of photos while we patiently wait for our aircraft amidst the cold temperature inside the waiting area of the airport terminal.
To be continued….
This is a series of blog posts documenting my trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap and back in January of 2011. If you haven’t read the first posts, please check on the links below:
** Off to Bangkok and Siem Reap
#1 – The Accidental Trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap in 2011
#2 – Trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap: The Planning Stage
#3 – How to Create Your Bangkok to Siem Reap Itinerary
#4 – Arriving 5 Minutes Late on our Connecting Flight to Bangkok
#5 – En Route: Clark to Bangkok
#6 – Touchdown Bangkok!
#7 – Suvarnabhumi Airport a.k.a. Bangkok International Airport
#8 – Bangkok Train Station: Waiting for our Train Ride to Aranyaprathet
#9 – My First Taste of Authentic Thai Food