People usually put shopping on the last day of their trips, but not us. It was actually the first thing we did in Bangkok―go shopping at Jatujak Market. Well, second if you count sleeping the whole day the previous day as an activity. Yeah, we snoozed the whole afternoon and when we did go out we only explored the area where our hostel was situated and we just checked out places where we could buy groceries, eat cheaply, and exchange currencies.
So our first order of business for today was to go to Mochit 2 (Northeastern) Bus Terminal, and buy tickets and reserve seats for our planned border crossing over to Cambodia a few days later. The staff at Everyday Bangkok Hostel was helpful and answered all my questions, and they even gave us a piece of paper that contained complete directions written in English to make sure we wouldn’t get lost (thank you!).
We initially wanted to do what hardcore backpackers have done and take the train going to the Aranyaprathet border then wing it and figure out how we are going to haul our asses to the border and make our way from Poipet to Siem Reap. It sounds like a great adventure, but after reading most of their accounts (not really encouraging, I’m telling you) and especially after my initial experience crossing the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border back in 2012―which was extremely confusing because we were asked to get off the bus in Poipet and then we were ushered inside a van when we crossed over to Aranyaprathet―I changed my mind and convinced The Actress that we should just make our lives easier by taking the direct bus.
By direct bus it means that you don’t have to transfer vehicles; you don’t have to tow your spinal cord-rearranging luggage from Thailand to Cambodia by foot. The bus will cross the border with you, so you and your fellow passengers won’t waste time trying to figure out who in the bloody hell you should look for once the Cambodian immigration clears you to step foot on their territory. Get your passports stamped, hop back inside the bus and continue on with your journey―it’s that simple. Since we are talking about convenience here, of course, you will have to pay extra (as always) compared to other transportation options, but then again you wouldn’t have to deal with border scammers so it’s a win-win arrangement, to be honest.
Where to buy tickets for the Bangkok-Siem Reap direct bus
Okay, if you plan on taking the direct bus, go to Mochit 2 like what we did and look for The Transport Co. Ltd. ticketing booth. It’s pretty easy to locate because the booth is smacked in front of the waiting area and it’s just below the screen where they flash the current date and time and some Thai letters I have no idea what they mean. The staff is not very good in English so make sure you check and recheck that they got your preferred schedule correctly before handing your payments; they will also ask for your passports. Funny thing is that they only put our fist names and the first letter of our surnames on our tickets. I think they got stressed out when they saw how long our given names are, and with our hard-to-pronounce-correctly Spanish surnames. You just gotta love how we Filipinos name our children.
For a full guide on how to book tickets and cross the Aranyaprathet-Poipet Border, you can view the blog post right here.
Buying Souvenirs at Jatujak Market
It didn’t take long to make our reservations and after a few minutes, The Actress and I were on board a bus heading for Jatujak Market. Since it was a Saturday, everything was open and the place was bustling with vendors, shoppers and tourists. Jatujak Market can be pretty congested so make sure you keep watch of your belongings―that includes your companion―lest you risk losing them.
It was summer; it was a hot and humid day (not really surprising when you’re in Southeast Asia) and the first thing I did upon entering Jatujak Market was head on over to the nearest stall selling fruit shakes. The stall I chose had a table that was lined with cups full of strawberries; that was what I ordered, naturally. Okay, the strawberries were not that delicious compared to the ones we have in Baguio, but then again, you won’t see any establishment back in the Philippines that would sell shakes with that kind of serving of strawberries at less than 60 pesos so I restrained my taste buds from complaining.
The Actress and I spent the better part of the afternoon going around and looking for souvenirs we can bring home for ourselves, our families and some of our friends. Jatujak Market is also full of affordable clothes and accessories so if you’re a very kikay lady like my travel companion, this is a place you shouldn’t scrap off from your itinerary when going to Bangkok. Me? I just bought those small plates that had engraved images of Thailand’s famous tourist spots and a few ref magnets for me and for my cousins because I think I forgot to buy some the last time I was in Bangkok. I mostly bought food at Jatujak. Yeah, yeah, I know; I can be very patay gutom most of the time.
So, we just spent the whole afternoon going around Jatujak Market. We were supposed to go to Khao San Road and have dinner there, but a downpour started by early evening so The Actress and I decided to stay put at the hostel instead. She went to sleep early while I had a few minutes with the Xbox before calling it a night.