28 December, Sunday
On top of our itinerary for the day was leaving the house an hour earlier than planned since we needed to drop the SUV off at Park ‘N Fly before flying to Bangkok. We were shuttled to the airport 30 minutes later, but were too early for actual baggage check-in.
The airport marshals told us to wait aside until our flight’s called in. We noticed that a lady with two suitcases and a backpack had already queued before us. We assumed that she’s on the same flight as ours, and likewise too early for the trip. Dad, the two boys and myself were left to attend to our luggage while Mom and Aunt Marie stayed in the waiting area.
Dad and I made small talk with the lady in front of us because she seemed oddly familiar with some of the airport marshals. Five minutes into our conversation we learned two things: first, her name’s Pinky; second, that she’s flying to and from Thailand every other month because of her job.
Pinky seemed to be a very jolly and accommodating person; she even offered to provide some tips on getting around the city. In our conversation, we mentioned that we’re going to stay somewhere in Pratunam. Equipped with a pen and paper, she gladly drew the map of Pratunam Market from her memory, and described each shopping center on what it’s known for. Pinky even listed some of the food and restaurants to try out while we’re there.
We conveniently checked ourselves in online 24 hours before our flight as per Dad’s advice. Not only were we the first ones in line, baggage check-in and issuance of boarding passes went well. We also managed to have our tail-end seats switched to those in the midsection of the plane.
Our flight was delayed by an hour, but it didn’t really matter. We made ourselves comfortable in the lounge area by randomly taking groufies, napping and talking until there’s nothing left to talk about.
It wasn’t my first time to fly with Thai Airways, and of course, they did not disappoint. I’m not a frequent flyer, so I’m naturally scared of flights. I finally got to watch If I Stay on-board, which somehow made me forget that we’re airborne.
As per usual, they served a delectable meal; a first for my brothers because meal was not inclusive when we flew to Singapore before with another airline. They were rather comical during the entire flight. Flying with Thai Airways had been nothing short of convenient.
We arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport three hours later. We had a good landing (props to The Captain!); I almost applauded in my seat. The airport was exactly the same as I had remembered. I know I haven’t been to many countries [yet], but I still think that Suvarnabhumi Airport is one of the best one I’ve been at.
We took a quick trip to a foreign cash exchange booth and ATM to have some Thai Baht in hand [just in case]. It took a while for us to pass through immigration clearance due to the volume of people arriving from different countries. We were worried because the hotel driver will pick us up only within 90 minutes from actual arrival time.
After retrieving our suitcases, it got us a little worried when we couldn’t find the driver at the pick-up station. Dad had to ask the others if they’ve seen the one from our hotel. Fifteen minutes later, we were being ushered into our van and on our way to our hotel.
We arrived at My Hotel Pratunam, our home for the next six days. I have to be completely honest; it was not the place we had in mind… More on that later.
When we’d settled our things in our rooms, we decided to go out to look for a place to have dinner at. A 30-minute walk led us to a restaurant called Seafood and Hot Soup along Phetchaburi Road. For our first meal in Bangkok, we had a platter of Pad Thai (Thai-style Fried Noodles), Khao Pad (Fried Rice), Pak Boong (Morning Glory), and Kai Med Ma Muang (Chicken with Cashew Nuts). Most establishments were already closing when we finished dinner, so we retreated to our hotel instead. Oh, did I mention that the weather was a lot like Manila, only less humid (read: better)?