I have never been anywhere outside my country.
I have been to Aceh and Papua (which is located each in west and east side of Indonesia) but I have never crossed the border and going abroad.
Which is why when my friends (Alis, Irma and Catri) ask me to join them traveling to Bangkok, I answered “Yes!” directly without having a second thought.
At that time, news spread that Bangkok is flooded badly because of continuous rain for a few days.
Fortunately, Irma keep us updated and assure us that Bangkok is fine for us travel.
Because my work schedule is quite tight and my office is located quite far from my friends’ office, I can’t join them preparing the trip (so sorry, friends). Starting from booking the airplane’s ticket, arranging itinerary and also looking for accommodation in Bangkok. I just go with everything they decide without knowing anything about the trip. And that what makes my boyfriend worried at the departure day.
“Which airplane are you taking?”
“What time it takes off?”
“Where do you stay?”
“Are you sure you’re going traveling to Bangkok?!”
I had just unpacked my luggage from 4 days work trip in Manado but I have to pack again for my Bangkok trip.
Little bit tired but very excited!
At Saturday noon, we gather at Terminal 3, Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Jakarta. This is a new terminal used by all Air Asia flight (domestic and international) and Irma says that this is also Hajj Terminal. No wonder the building design is so fresh, mostly in blue and green color.
We passed through the immigration to get our passport checked and stamped, then for the last time, our backpack scanned. A woman stopped Irma and ask her to unpack her backpack. She finds a 250 ml shower gel and told Irma that it is forbidden to bring that in flight. Then I realize that I bring the same size shower gel like Irma so I give it away voluntarily to avoid further commotion in Bangkok Airport.
It is already past our scheduled take off time but there is still no announcement of flight to Bangkok, so we ask someone there and he told us that our plane had just landed. After we asked, another woman ask the same thing and get the same answer, too. A few minutes later, announcement told us that it is boarding time for flight to Bangkok.
Because we checked-in online, our seat is scattered quite far. Irma is alone in the front side while Catri, Alis and me in the back side. The flight attendant announce every word in a flash, like he’s been chased by a dog -__- I think it’s because our flight is 30 minutes late.
So, here we go, 3.5 hours flight to Bangkok!!
When I look around, I realize that there are a lot of Thailand’s people in this plane. One of them try to record safety demonstration with his pocket camera and the flight attendant told him directly to stop it, haha.. There are always some kampungan (?) people in every nation.
After 2 hours, I also realize that this is the noisiest flight I’ve ever had. They gather in the back side of plane talking and laughing in a high-pitch voice. So disturbing.
So I just put on my iPod then.
Finally, at 08.30 PM, we arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok. This awesome airport is even more beautiful at night. I also notice that the color of waiting room seats is varied every zone.
We spend some time to take pictures in turn before heading to immigration board.
I have no time to exchange my money to Baht in Jakarta, so I exchange my $300 (± Rp 2.800.000) here in airport and get about 6.000 Baht. This is why we should have Rupiah redenominated.
Then I have my passport checked and stamped. The immigration man says “Selamat Datang (Welcome)” to me after noticing that I’m Indonesian. Quite surprised, but then I reply “Kob khun ka (Thank you)” and his eyes turn bigger and his mouth opened a bit. Now he’s the one that quite surprised.
Catri says that we have to take the sky train from airport to Makkasan which is located near our ho(s)tel. So we pay 90 Baht each and waiting for the next train while in turn having ourselves posed beside Suvarnabhumi Airport Station mark. This Airport Rail Link opened in 23 August 2010 and since then becomes the main transportation to and from airport in Thailand. Wow, this train is still 2 months old!!
11 minutes later, the train comes and we’re amazed. The train is SUPERB! Clean, exclusive, neat and all. Aaah, very satisfied..
It takes about 40 minutes to Makkasan Station. After arriving in Makkasan Station, we take a few hundred meters walk to Makkasan Subway Station. We buy 4 tickets to Sukhumvit Station from an automatic machine and get 4 black tokens to pass the gate. The subway is awesome, too, there is an indicator above the door that shows every station with lights. Too amazed to take some pictures, though. Sorry.
After a while..
Sukhumvit Station! Time to get off.
We head to the exit and find ourselves in an unknown city. Catri take a map out and try to figure out our way to ho(s)tel in Sukhumvit 11 Road.
Ok! To the left, to the left!
Asking some people (waitress, 7-11 cashier, ojek-man(?), guard, police), but they clueless, too (either because we ask them in English or they really clueless, we don’t know). So, for about 2 hours at midnight we keep walking at the same place until we find out (after asking on and on) that Sukhumvit 11 is a small road between Sukhumvit 9 and Sukhumvit 13.
It’s already past 10PM and we’re hungry. So we stopped by in McDonalds, have chicken wings, french fries and cola for our dinner. The taste of chicken is a little bit strange for our Indonesian tongues. It’s a little bit sour like orange or tamarind but delicious. I guess we find it delicious because we’re too exhausted.
While eating, I notice some weird people walking inside and out McDonalds. Long legs, long black hair, hot pants and t-shirt but manly face. Oh my God! They are the Thailand’s famous transsexuals.
Now that our stomach stuffed with enough food, we continue searching for our ho(s)tel.
“What is the hotel’s name, Cat? We already booked it, right?”
“I only have its address, I haven’t booked it yet”
It’s all coming back to my senses now. It’s a hostel for backpacker. We need to come first.
Sukhumvit 11 Road is a very crowded road at night. European tourists are everywhere. Small bar cars selling alcohol are also everywhere. So do (beautiful and sexy) transsexuals. It is almost like Kuta Bali in Indonesia (except for the transsexuals part).
Ok, back to the adventure. Now that we have found Sukhumvit 11 Road, the next thing to ask is the location of the hostel. Again, we’re asking everyone (fruit seller, 7-11 cashier, guard, etc) and everyone is still clueless.
I don’t know what’s wrong with the address, why is everyone so clueless?!!! *desperate and tired*
So, again, we keep walking at Sukhumvit 11 Road for another hour while asking everyone there. Someone in front of 7-11 finally told us that maybe the hostel is located in a smaller road either beside 7-11 or the smaller road after.
There is a ‘Suk 11’ note placed in a becak beside 7-11, so I thought maybe we should go in to check. But the road is also full of foreigners drinking, so I think maybe it is the name of a café. Doesn’t seem to be a hostel there.
We go to next smaller road and find ourselves in a parking lot. We ask the guards but they don’t seem to understand us at all. 2 foreigners woman in a white car headed out and laughing without any reason. We go back to 7-11 (still clueless) and Catri realizing something.
“Hey, do you realize that those 2 woman back there laughing at us?”
“Really? What did they say?”
“They called us ‘Big Bag'”
Back to 7-11 (again).
“Hey, why don’t we try to call the hostel with payphones here? You have the hostel phone number, right?” I suggest an idea.
“And then saying what? Maybe they don’t speak English.”
“I don’t know, why don’t we try it out first?”
“Ok, you talk then.”
I don’t know why the payphone don’t work, but we are desperate again.
Until I saw 3 woman come to 7-11. I recall that I seem to have seen one of them somewhere before. Oh! She’s the woman that asking the same thing (about the plane) with us in airport waiting room back then!
“Hey! That woman took the same plane with us from Jakarta!”
“Really? How could you still remember?”
“Hey, I think I saw her before, too.”
When she’s outside, I stop them for a while.
“Excuse me, orang Indonesia ya? Kita kayanya sepesawat tadi dari Jakarta.” I greet them happily.
“Oh! Iya ya?” They surprised, too.
“Kita daritadi nyari hotel tapi ngga ketemu2 nih, pada nginep dimana yah?”
“Ooh, kalo kita sih nginep di Grand President sini.”
“…” We remain silent. Seems unaffordable for us.
“Masih ada kamar kosong ngga ya? Kita udah capek daritadi nyari ngga ketemu2.” I think Irma just trying to keep the conversation forward.
“Coba aja tanya dulu ke hotelnya, deket ko dari sini.”
“Oke deh, makasih banyak yah.”
Meeting another Indonesians boost up our mood a bit. There is still hope!! *lebayatun (??)* *wiping out sweats*
At Grand President lobby..
“Hello, we are looking for this address. Can you help us?” says Irma to a woman and a man in front office.
“Please wait for a while, there is a phone number here…” says the man.
Oooh, wait, he would tell us to call the number again.
“We’ve already tried to call..”
“… Do you want me to call this number for you?”
Catri and I surprised.
“Ok, then. (calling the number, speaking in Thailand)”
“Please ask the name of the hostel.”
“How much is it for a night here?…” Irma and Alis asking the different theme to the woman. “… Do you have a cheapest room?”
“Let me check it for you.” The woman reply kindly. “How long are you going to stay?”
“Ok, it is about 7.000 Baht for 2 nights.” It costs more than the Baht I have.
“Is it ok if 4 of us stay in one room?”
The woman considering..
“Ok then, since it’s low season now.” Maybe she feels pity for us who bring a big backpack each with an exhausted and covered in sweats-face.
Irma and Alis seem to have reach a decision about where to stay in Bangkok.
Back to me and Catri..
“The hostel name is Suk 11.” the man has just finished his helpful phone call.
“Wait, I know where it is. I think I know where it is.” I feel quite sure now. Catri seems to remember something, too.
“How about we stay here? We are too exhausted.” Irma and Alis suggesting an expensive idea.
“How much does it cost, Cat? Isn’t it too expensive? Do we have enough money?” I ask Catri as the financial manager.
“Mm, we have enough but it will tighten our daily life cost until Monday.”
“So? We take it or not? I think it’s quite comfortable here.”
We are all too exhausted to imagine that we have to go through the same route again looking for the hostel. So we decided to take a room at Grand President.
“The breakfast is for two. Your room is in 1503.”
“Thank you very much.”
We’re heading to 15th floor and find out that our room is really satisfying!!
There is a living room, kitchen (with microwave, fridge, some spoons and forks), 2 televisions, comfy sofa, table to eat and free wi-fi!!
We’re laughing very hard.
“This is nothing closer to backpacking!!! Hahaha…”
“Maybe we have to substitute the hostel name into Sucks 11 cause it’s very hard to find.”
Day 1 End.