Monday, January 4, 2010

Bangkok (1) The idea to go

Day 1: Tuesday, December 29 2009

Since November 2009, I'd been wondering where I'd be and what I'd be doing on Christmas / New Years Eve. A lot of my friends had plans with their boyfriends/girlfriends or family. I was dreading the thought of being alone in my apartment or sleeping through the New Year countdown alone. I figured I'd rather go away and be in a new place alone than being here at 'home' (Korea) alone.

Image taken from Google Images

I decided to go to Bangkok - for two reasons. 1) Thailand is visa-free with my passport and 2) I thought it would be nice to get away from the freezing weather for a few days.

However, I wasn't lucky with tickets and the only available ones were in business class. I stayed in Korea over Christmas and spent Christmas Eve with my friend Hye-jin and her family. That Saturday I met a university friend in Insa-dong. So the week-end wasn't that bad. I still had time off the following week and I had to go somewhere. My travel agent said there were no tickets. Hye-jin even asked her agent, who found a ticket for me but it seemed a bit pricey.

I always remember my friend Brian who is my inspiration for travel. We traveled to Hong Kong together last year, and when we arrived back in Korea he said, "You must use any free days to travel. You can always make the money again, but you won't get that time back."

I asked No-su (My Korean brother) for advice, and he went online and found a ticket for me - just like that!
We booked it and the next day it was paid for. The next thing I had to organize was accommodation. A few people suggested some backpacker places, but I prefer staying in a hotel. And so my nightmare began. First, I had to familiarize myself with Bangkok as a city and get to know the areas and where the main attractions are. From there, I'd decide on which hotel to stay at.

I got a few suggestions from friends, but unfortunately those hotels were fully booked. I was looking for a 4 or 5 star hotel for 3 nights. I made a number of calls to various places. I had a bit of a rough time understanding the accent over the phone. Finally, I came across "boutique hotels" and I found one called P2 Boutique. I called them up and they were very friendly and helpful. They had a room for me, so I made a booking online.

The first thing that attracted me to the place was that the website was easy to navigate. They had all the information I needed on there, and the rooms seemed to be fairly new and clean (very important for me). I did extra research on the place, and all seemed to be OK. It was in close proximity to the main shopping areas, the price was very reasonable and best of all - there was FREE Wi-Fi in the rooms! It couldn't get better than that. I'm not a very big shopper when I am on holiday somewhere. I'd much rather take photographs, but I'd been told that the shopping in Bangkok was "to die for".

So I was all set for my New Years week-end away in Bangkok, Thailand! I did a fair amount of reading on the city, history, attractions and so on. The recommendations from online friends got me very excited. I even thought, "Will I have enough time to do everything?" I felt very positive about going away and wasn't at all phased that I was doing this trip alone - not my first vacation by myself.

Everyone, including teachers at my school looked at me with big eyes when I said I was going alone. I didn't know it was that big of a deal.

Bangkok (2) Adios Snowy Korea

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