Arrived in Bangkok last Tuesday, a day before the conference. We had a couple of hours to kill so we went to Siam Center, which was two train stations away. We ended up spending more time in Siam Paragon, the high end mall next door. After a yummeh spicy dinner and some photo sessions outside Ocean World (imagine a huge aquarium inside a mall) and at the gorgeous mall steps, we went back to our hotel for the cocktail reception, where we met some of our colleagues from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing.
It was the official start of the conference. Yay. Important people gave presentations and stuff and we had breakout sessions/trainings. Most interesting though was the group photo. Imagine taking a group photo of about 300 people. They had this high tech camera that rotated to capture the entire group. I’m not sure how it works but it was pretty cool. Later at the gala dinner the Philippine contingent won 3rd place for our song and pseudo interpretative dance. Yay for us. After dinner we went shopping at Suan Lum Night Bazaar. I cannot haggle to save my life, but I’m pretty satisfied with the stuff I bought.
More talks and more breakout sessions. For dinner, we got to choose which boss’s table we wanted to sit at. I sat at the table of the guy from KL who was sort of the project manager of the whole event. The highlight of my dinner was finding out that the KL guy has been to my hometown CDO. Ain’t that cool? After dinner we went back to the night bazaar but I was just too tired to do any decent shopping. Okay fine, I was out of baht and I was saving my dollars for the weekend. :P
More talks and more breakout sessions, but it was the last day of the conference so we ended early. Our teammate’s friend who lives in Bangkok met us at the hotel to show us around. One of the highlights of the day was taking the commuter boat. The boat stops for about 5 to 10 seconds at each pier so you have to be a ninja when you get on or off or else you’ll fall in the black and stinky water. Another highlight was Khao Sarn road. We had a pretty good dinner at some cheap resto then had some San Mig towers at another bar. I had a blast just sitting near the street and having some beers while looking out at the throng of people walking around in Khao Sarn road. It reminded me of HK at night. I really love it when the streets are all lit up and there are crowds everywhere. I love chilling around while everything around me is a swirl. Anyway, third highlight was taking a tuk tuk back to the hotel. All 6 of us squeezed into the tiny taxi. It was late, there was no traffic, and our ride was flying. We were all screaming our heads off especially at the turns. It was a riot.
We checked out of our swanky company-sponsored hotel after having our last free breakfast buffet. I think we were supposed to go to Wat Pho but we spent too much time at the National Museum so we had to skip it. The guys checked in at their second hotel, which was near the area, and we headed to the Jatujak Weekend Market. Holy crap. It really is what they say it is. Everything under the sun is in Jatujak. One day is not enough, let alone one afternoon. After about 4 hours of walking around, we checked in at our (the girls’) hotel to rest for a bit. We had yummy street food for dinner then took a cab to Patpong for the ehem, cultural show. Unfortunately, they tend to con/overprice tourists so we decided not to go through with it. We ended up enjoying a few beers with two of our Singaporean colleagues.
We girls slept in and had breakfast at the hotel before heading to the airport. The guys visited Wat Pho early in the morning and met up with us at the airport. Next thing you know we were back in Philippine soil.
I thought the trip was a nice mix of business and pleasure. We were there for a 3-day regional meeting, but we were able to squeeze in a bit of shopping and sight-seeing. The meeting itself was an exciting event. It was interesting to meet our colleagues from the different Far East countries. I didn’t get to visit known tourist spots like the Grand Palace or Wat Pho, but I had a great time. Big thanks to our tour guide CJ for putting up with us, for the near-death moments, and for showing us sides of Bangkok that you don’t see in package tours. :P
I want to go back. This time purely for pleasure. I want to see more temples and I want to visit their beaches. Oh, and they have bungy jumping there too. Yeba.
*First 5 photos c/o tontaxston, last photo from moonpool. :)