After several trips to China, I decided to share these few tips that might be useful to know if you planning to visit China.
Capital City: Beijing
Currency: Renminbi (RMB, ¥)
Timezone: GMT +8
Language: Mandarin (official) & countless regional dialects
Visa: Required (A MUST!). Please check on the validity period and entry frequency (multiple or 2 times, etc.) before going to China.
Weather:China is one of the countries that have climatic conditions that resemble those of regions in the northern hemisphere. The best season to visit china is in autumn or spring since the weather is very conducive.
- Please make sure to keep your boarding pass with the luggage tag/sticker if you have checked-in luggage because the authority at the airport will check upon exit to make sure people are taking the correct luggage.
- If you are planning to visit several places within China by train, you can purchase the train ticket online. Make sure to book it earlier and if possible do take first class.
- If you are on a work trip and need to claim back your money, ask for ‘invoice’ instead of ‘receipt’ because most of them use the terms invoice instead of receipt (easier for them to understand). For some places (especially outside city center), the receptionist might not understand English so use this word ‘Fāpiào’ (means invoice in Mandarin)
ABOUT BANGKOK, THAILAND
Timezone : UTC+07:00
Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
Visa: Not required for Malaysian
Went to Bangkok by Air Asia. The flight will take you from LCCT Kuala Lumpur (starting 9 May 2014 will be from KLIA2) to Don Muang International Airport, or Suvarnabumi Airport if you are taking Malaysia Airlines.
From Don Muang Inernational Airport to Khao San Road (or anywhere within Bangkok), you can take a van or taxi. I took a taxi and bought the ticket at one of the counter inside the airport. Can’t really remember how much I paid for it.
When flying back from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, there is no airport departure tax. However this time I didn’t fly back to Kuala Lumpur but instead I continue on with another adventure in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Click on the link to read about Ho Chi Minh City)
Booked a room through Agoda.com as usual. This time, I wanted to experience different surroundings, so I stayed in 2 different hotels, in 2 different locations.
- Rambuttri Village Inn & Plaza – Located ni Soi Rambuttri. Very close to Khao San Road and Banglamphu, which is a heaven for backpackers. Since it is not really on the street of Khao San, you can still get a good night sleep, without the noise that you might experience if you stay in the middle of Khao San Road. The hotel is quite nice and the most important thing is that they provide free wi-fi! Here you can enjoy the life as of a backpacker!
- Tune Hotels, Asoke – Located close to Asok BTS and Sukhumvit MRT station. Quite convenient to go to places within the city center just by taking the BTS or MRT. Here you can enjoy staying in the middle of the city of Bangkok!
PS: I prefer staying at the backpackers area since I can still wander and enjoy the shops and massage center until late night (since I can just walk within the area and enjoy the nightlife)
It’s quite easy to move around Bangkok. You can either take the skytrain a.k.a BTS, MRT, Taxi (make sure to ask the driver to turn on the meter), Tuk Tuk (make sure to confirm on the price before going in), Chao Phraya Express Boat or walking especially in Khao San area depending on the area you are at since some of the mode of transport, like BTS and express boat does not cover the whole Bangkok. Please take note of the last train or boat service.
KHAO SAN ROAD
A place where backpackers around the world gather. Hotels around this area are quite cheap and same goes to foods and shopping. It is very close to Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and other ‘must visit’ places. By the way, do not forget to visit Khao San Night Market!
It is located in the middle of Bangkok city center, where you can find all those big hotels and shopping malls.
There are so many tours that you can choose from and there are a lot of tour agencies that you can go to. For me, I just went to the one quite close to where I’m staying – Mr. Thai Tour Agency near Rambuttri Village & Inn. Paid for 2 tours:
- FLOATING MARKET (DAMNOEN SADUAK)
** tips: if you want to buy cheaper souvenir, walk towards the end to Paew Souvenir
- DINNER RIVER CRUISE
- GRAND PALACE : Inside Grand Palace compound, there are also Temple of Emerald Budda (also known as Wat Phra Kaew), The Golden Stupa and Mini Angkor Wat. (Entrance fee 400 Baht)
- WAT PHO + THAI MASSAGE : Wat Pho, also known as the temple of reclining buddha. If you are visiting, don’t forget to try out their massage since there is also Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School, where they provide massage service (but you need to pay). (Entrance fee 50 Baht)
- WAT ARUN : Also known as Temple of the Dawn. (Entrance fee 50 Baht)
You can shop like crazy in Bangkok!! From high end shopping mall to a simple night market, it’s just a matter of whether you have time to visit all! Also do not forget to visit Chatuchak market if you are in Bangkok on weekend! It is a must place to visit!
- KHAO SAN NIGHT MARKET
- BANGLAMPHU MARKET
- CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET; Open only on Saturday & Sunday, 6 am – 6 pm. Take a BTS to Mo Chit and walk around 5 minutes. (Just follow the crowd if you don’t know the way. Most of them are going to chatuchak market). If you are feeling hungry, there’s plenty of places to eat including those selling Halal food 😉
- ASIATIQUE; a combination of indoor & outdoor shops. To go here, take BTS to Saphan Taksin and jump on the free shuttle boat at the end of the pier.
- CHINA TOWN
- LITTLE INDIA
- PAK KLONG TALAT/ FLOWER MARKET
- SILOM NIGHT MARKET & PATPONG
- SOI COWBOY NIGHT MARKET
- MBK – must visit!
- SIAM DISCOVERY CENTER
- SIAM CENTER
- SIAM PARAGON
- CENTRAL WORLD
- CENTRAL CHIDLOM
- THE EMPORIUM
- TERMINAL 21 – this mall is so cute!
- PLATINUM SHOPPING MALL; an indoor version of Chatuchak Market
* Most of the shopping malls are accessible via train. You can also walk from one mall to another (for some of the malls) if you don’t mind walking
You can find food everywhereee!! But for Halal food, it is quite difficult. However here are some places that I went to:
- Aishah Rosdi, Banglamphu Market, near the big roundabout & opposite 7-11. If you cannot find it, you may ask the information counter (that’s what I did). Just ask for ‘Halal food or Muslim food’ and they might be able to help you.
- Street food
MORE READINGS ON BANGKOK: