WAT BENCHAMABOPHIT (THE MARBLE TEMPLE)
- Date: 15 July 1996 – 23 July 1996
- Air ticket: UA Award(I reserved the ticket on 8, May.)
- 7/15, 7/16 Bangkok Royal Orchid Sheraton2600B + Tax + Service by using Half price discount ticket of Millage Plus. After-tax and service charges added, it was 3061B, expensive. The room was a river view. It’s good. I took the 5B train from the airport and walked from the station to the hotel.
- 7/17 Ayutaya Old B.J. Guest HouseSingle 80B restroom & shower shared. I found a notice in Japanese, 「読み終えたら整理整頓」(Keep clean when finished to read) on the bookshelf under the stairway. I also found a note in which people stayed in writing comments that were almost written in Japanese. Yes, here seemed like an accumulating place for the Japanese backpackers. The atmosphere is good. But the music sounded to the night late, it was noisy. There were Japanese letters on the wall of the room. I stayed in a guest house of this type for the first time, but I don’t like it.
Old BJ Guest House
- 7/18, 7/19, 7/20 Khao yai N.P. Khao Yai Garden LodgeSingle 200B Restroom & Shower shared. Germany drove this hotel. It has Khao Yai N.P. Tours. It seemed most of the guests were from Germany. 200 Broom was the cheapest. There was a cottage with air conditioning and a hot shower for family use. I recommended this hotel.
- 7/21 Bangkok White LodgeSingle 400B w/Air Condition, Hot Shower wo/TV. In the block in front of MBK Center. The backside of Reno Hotel. As the name shows, the wall in a room is white. The room is clean. Good.
Sightseeing in Bangkok
7/16. It’s my third visit to Bangkok, and this time I stay a very good hotel. So, I want to spend time reading books at the poolside.
I rode a boat (6B) at the peer beside the Royal Orchid Sheraton, got off at Tha Tien, and went to Wat Poh (20B). I asked Thai Traditional Massage (180B). It’s a very good time.
I rode a boat again (1B) to go opposite side of the river, Wat Arun(20B). I found a crew of Japanese TV shows. I took a boat back and walked around the Palace. I saw the TV crew again. It was TV Asahi and I found Shinya Yamamoto, who is the caster of ‘Tonight’. I asked them the date on-air.
I went to Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple) by bus (6B).
I took a bus again to go to Isetan& ZEN. I got a cup of coffee and walked to Siam Square. I had lunch at the food center of MBK. I walk around MBK, bought a cap (210B), and went back to the hotel by bus (3.5B). At a hotel, I read books on the poolside.
Price of Water
During travel, I bought a bottle of water many times. The prices are very different according to the brand. A 900ml bottle I bought at Don-Muan station was 8B. A 500ml bottle I bought at the convenience store the next day was 19B. It was a Volbic-related brand. I found a cheaper one, but the bottle is not PET, but something like white plastic, and the cap was never closed if you open it once.
I bought Telephone Card for International calls. There were two choices, 250B and 500B. Even 250B, I could talk to Japan for a long time. I had to use the yellow public telephone which is dedicated to international calls. I found it around Sheraton Hotel and Siam Square, but I couldn’t find it at Airport. I also couldn’t find a yellow public telephone in Ayuthaya.
At the airport, I had to use a credit card telephone.
Most Post offices have a telephone calling service. I could use a credit card for payment.
Rambutan, Mangosteen, Dorian, Orange(Som), Mango, Longan, Banana
Dorian was better than the one I ate in Singapore, but I don’t like it.
Khao Yai National Park
The main purpose of this travel is to visit here. Khao Yai National Park is the first established NP in Thai. Thai people often come to this NP on weekends for camping. You can see elephants, tigers, monkeys, deer, and other wild animals. If you are lucky, you can meet a tiger.
In front of the Pak Chong station, I found an information counter at Khao Yai Garden Lodge, but it was closed. While thinking about how to go to the Khao Yai Garden Lodge, some guy came to me and took me there in his car. A guidebook says the Khao Yai Garden Lodge has free transfer from/to the station. The fee must be paid to the driver later.
After arriving at the lodge and I got a room, I asked about Khao Yai NP Tour. An owner of the lodge said one day and a half tour took 850B. But because it was low-season, the tour became very flexible. First, the owner said we went to a cave of bats this evening. Some staff said we started at 3 o’clock, but other staff said 5 o’clock. Eventually, we started at 5:30. The cave of bats is located at a top of a hill, and we had to walk 15 minutes to climb the hill. We reached the top at 6 o’clock and were waiting for coming the bats. The bats come out from the cave to hunt after the sunset. The number of bats was extraordinary. Around 6:30, a few bats came out from the cave, after that, the number increased, then a big amount of the bats came out. it was the hundreds of bats per second. It seemed like a 3 or 4-meter width flow of a river of flying bats.
Once back at the hotel, then we went on a night safari. It’s just going around in the park by car, I had excited a little because I might meet a wild tiger. But I didn’t. We searched using a searchlight from the car. I found many deer and squirrels only.
Happen to meet wild elephants
Happen to meet wild elephants
The first day was over, went back to the lodge.
The next day, we – a German family, a guide, and I – went to the park. We were walking in a jungle and arrived at the point of a very good view. Then we went to a visitor center in the park and see some exhibitions to learn about. After that, we walked to a suspension bridge. Back to the visitor center, then went to a big waterfall by car. while we had lunch at a parking near the big waterfall, it began to rain. It was very strong rain. After all, we gave up to go to the falls and going back to the hotel.
I had planned that I went back to Bangkok in the day and go to Kanchanaburi. But, the Owner of the lodge said “Not charged for tomorrow, you should go to Khao Yai tomorrow”. So I decided to stay there.
Third day. We walked in a forest for two hours along a riverside. It’s easy walking because it’s a downhill way. I had fun in the atmosphere that was like a jungle. After walking, we went to a waterfall and swam. The water was not clear and cold.
In the afternoon, we headed to the big waterfall that we had given up yesterday. But, it was raining when we reached the waterfall. We backed to the lodge with disappointment.
On the way to the lodge, we met wild elephants! Wao! The guide who was also excited, cried “Elephant!, Elephant!”. The elephants crossed the road. We couldn’t go near them, it’s a little far, but I shooted pictures.
Add to the elephants, we met monkeys. We threw food from a car, the monkeys came to near the car. We found the mother monkey with the baby and the child monkey.
They stayed at the same lodge in Khao Yai. A father, a mother, a son, and a daughter. The father was Reiner, the son was Paul, the daughter was Nena, and I forget the mother’s name. The father and the mother were both teachers. They had spent their three and half week summer holidays in Thai. They stayed in Bangkok for five days, Samui Island for two weeks, and they came to Kao Yai as their last stay. They went directly to Dong Muang Airport from the lodge and went back to Germany.
They stayed at a 400B room budget guesthouse near the Palace. The room had a hot shower. At Khao Yai Garden Lodge, they stayed in the most expensive room which takes 800B.
They had come back from Samui Island by train. They advised me that I should take the second class because the third class was noisy when I would go to Bangkok by train. I asked them what kind of food they had in Bangkok. They went to good restaurants including Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruising.
They were good travelers. They got comfortable life without spending much money.
By the way, the father and the mother drank much much beer! They drank one big bottle for a lunch and two or three bottles for a dinner.
My clothes had been dirty at Khao Yai, so I had to get a new shirt and pants. I got them at MBK center, 250B for a shirt and 500B for pants. I asked a woman from a shop to take up a hem, then she said, “OK. I’ll do”. She took a sewing kit, put some marks, and began sewing by hand. Hmm, great!
For souvenirs, I got two underpants made of silk (250B), cloth for wearing around a waist (300B), and four small square cloths made of cotton (480B).
I got a Clinique five lipstick box at a Duty-free shop located in the same building as ZEN Bangkok (1620B). I also found the same one on the plane back to Japan, it was cheaper ($48). I got a silk shirt (3100B) and a silk scarf (850B) from Jim Thompson.
I’m alone during this travel, so I ate at a coupon-style food center, fast food. Yoshinoya’s combo was very bad. Mr. Donuts’ coconut donuts were very good. I could have a good coffee in Bangkok.