December 14, 2010
Senne’s Summary: We flew from Puerto Princesa to Bangkok, Thailand, which basically took the whole day. (Scan down… who knew I could ramble on for that long when really all that happened was us flying to Thailand???) 🙂
This morning we left our hotel bright and early (8:00 AM) for our trip to Thailand. The Puerto Princesa airport is small, and therefore easy to use… just be aware that you will have to pay 40 PHP each to depart from this airport. It is not included in your ticket price; you pay it after you check in and before you enter the gate area.
I have to give Philippine Airlines credit, their economy class seating seems to have more leg room than most flights we’ve been on.
When we arrived in Manila we attempted to trade our Philippine Pesos for Thai Bhat (do it before you go through security, there is no money exchange after security!), but they only had about $50 worth of Bhats between the two exchanges. So we ended up changing it for US dollars. We were worried that once we left the country they wouldn’t take the Philippine Pesos and we had a fair bit left over because we took too much to El Nido. When we arrived in the Philippines we had some Vietnamese Dong left and they wouldn’t accept Dong at the exchange… fool me once. 🙂
Before going through security you also have to pay a Departure Tax for this airport. It’s 1500 PHP a person… so save some cash for that too! Going through security was easy… and then… we were on the other side… with lots and lots and lots of time to spare before our next flight! We got some lunch, watched some movies on the computer and waited. Just so you know there isn’t much to do once you cross through… it’s a pretty small area. The best spot to eat looked like the smoking lounge… but we didn’t want to be trapped in a glass room with a bunch of cigarette smoke so chose the less attractive looking food in the smoke-free section 🙂 (Did I mention they made my lasagne with Cheese Whiz???)
As we waited we watched the secondary screening they had going for flights to the US. It was heavy duty. After regular security you had to go through another screening. They went through everyone’s hand baggage (including unwrapping souvenirs from their paper), took off their shoes and dusted them with something and frisked everyone (even the kids!). This appeared to only be on flights to the US, as we were not subjected to the same scrutiny for our flight.
At last it was our turn and we had another good flight, with lots of leg room, to Bangkok. When we arrived it was about 10 PM (It’s been a long day!) but the airport was absolutely packed with people! So different from the Manila airport! The other thing that was different were the shops and restaurants. Steve was practically drooling with all the choices for restaurants and shopping… I know some of you will think this is a bad thing but they even had a Starbucks!!!
We exchanged all of our American money for Bhats (another strange conversion to wrap my head around!) and then we met our driver (by the Starbucks :)) and headed out into the Bangkok traffic. Wow! It was extremely busy even at 10:30 at night. Sometimes so busy that the cars were not even moving! I guess with 11 million people the roads just can’t cope with all the traffic. We were surprised at how developed the city actually seems… much more developed than we expected… or have seen in the last three months.
At this point we were pretty much exhausted (who knows why… apparently waiting around is very tiring!) and after we checked into our hotel (and marveled at how modern it is!) we quickly fell asleep!
Side note: Our room at the Key Bangkok is very nice and relatively cheap (keeping in mind that we are staying at midrange places… not those crazy places you get for 5 bucks a night where you have to share a bathroom!!!!). We would definitely recommend this place. If you do decide to stay here we got the best rate by using Agoda.