Monday, May 26, 2014

Bangkok 2014: Planning for the trip

Hello! I returned from my 4 day trip to Bangkok from 3-6 May! Never expected another trip so soon after Hong Kong last year as I am not a frequent traveller. The main reason for this trip was because I won $200 vouchers from Singapore's Scoot Airline! :D

The vouchers will be expiring in June, so I have been checking the fares and promotions by Scoot very frequently since January. Decided not to go too far and the nearest destination run by Scoot is Bangkok. I am bringing my Mum there, she had been to Bangkok about 10 years back in a tour group, and me have never been to Bangkok before. This time we will be going free & easy. All the planning will be done by me! Actually I really enjoy planning for trips, like deciding the itinerary, checking the different hotels and reading all the travel blogs. I do them even though I am not going anywhere. Haha!

Finally in late March, I confirmed my booking for the air tickets at a promotional fare of $26.10 each way (taxes excluded). I added extra 15kg check-in baggage for 1 person both ways at $20 each way. After all the taxes plus processing fee of $36*, the total price is $342.80. Minus the $200 vouchers I received, I only paid $142.80 for the air tickets for 2 persons! Great deal! :)

* You can also pay at the SingPost within 24 hours to avoid the processing fee (if you pay online using credit/debit cards).

After confirming the date, I have about 1 month to plan for the 4 day trip. Before this I have totally no idea what to do in Bangkok. Spend an entire month to read all about Bangkok, mostly blogs.

Some of the very useful food and travel blogs I read are: (I discover this blog only after I returned)

If you can read Chinese, these 2 favourite travel blogs of mine are very informative too!

As my mum is a vegetarian, finding vegetarian food for her is also in part of my planning. HappyCow is a wonderful website where you can find vegetarian food all over the world. Easy access to vegetarian food is one of my considerations when choosing a hotel.

Then comes to the selection of hotel. After roughly knowing where I will be visiting, I am looking for a hotel at the Siam area and walking distance to BTS station. My budget is less than $100 per night as I do not want to spend too much on accommodation. Bangkok hotels are really cheap and we can get quite good rooms with less than $100. My first choice is actually at Mercure Bangkok Siam. I have been checking the rates almost daily at Agoda website, hehe! The rates are roughly $70-80. I wait and wait to see if there is better deals and then suddenly the price becomes $90+ and no breakfast. Waited too long! Then I switch my target to Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam which is just few steps away from Mercure. The photos of the rooms look pretty good! The price is about $70+ with breakfast included. Agoda and Tripadvisor rating is quite high too. So confirm my booking with Agoda for 3 nights at $221.13 after taxes.

After settling the air tickets and hotel booking, I read several blogs going to the Maeklong Railway Market featured on travel shows very frequently. Really wanted to go there for the experience. Luckily the deal from in still going on. The Half-Day Damnoen Saduak Floating Market & Maeklong Railway Market tour is only at $26 per person which includes picking up from and to hotel and all charges included. Make the booking quickly too!

As only me and Mum are going, she isn't very fussy about where we are visiting, so I plan a very relaxing trip itinerary. Afterall free & easy is supposed to be free & easy. We will not be squeezing too many places and activities. We are considering about health and safety too, so we are taking special care not to go places that are too crowded and too far away.

Last thing is to pray for safety due to the political unrest in Bangkok for the past few months. We are really hoping for peace over there.

Next: To the Land of Smiles