Electric blues ruled the twilight sky. Across the Chao Phraya River, from where we were sitting, the graceful temple of Wat Arun shines; an ancient tower puncturing the cool hues of the early evening with its golden glow.
It was dinner time in Bangkok and our host couldn’t have picked a better place to have our first Thai meal.
Five hours earlier, I was watching a movie on one of the most comfortable airline seat I’ve ever set my behind on. I usually hate flying, but this airbus is really, really nice. Good food, extensive inline entertainment, roomy seats and yes, beautiful Thai flight attendants. LOL.
Together with TCEB (Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau), THAI Airways made it possible for two Filipino bloggers to travel to Thailand and be part of the Thailand Connect: Hip & Heritage Business Events, a familiarization tour aimed at attracting more international business events in the country through the unique aspects of major MICE cities.
Err… MICE what?
Meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibition. MICE tourism often comprises of large groups of individuals brought to a particular place for a particular purpose. More often than not, tourism secondary only to its main purpose; think conventions and you got it nailed.
After a surprisingly comfortable four-hour flight from Manila, we were fetched by the guys from The Amiris at the Suvarnabhumi Airport who led us through the MICE Lane; an airport service provided by TCEB to fast-track tedious immigration processes for MICE Travelers.
Like a boss, we went through immigrations and all the fussy airport stuff with breeze. We were out of the airport in no time and were soon roaring through Thailand’s highway, complete with a police escort. Whoa.
Our home for the night would be The Siam Hotel, a King Rama V-era inspired boutique hotel found in Bangkok.
I cannot tell you how speechless we were when we first saw our rooms; it definitely deserves a separate article. Unfortunately, we have to postpone our amazement since we still have to catch the sunset at the Chao Phraya River.
So after a quick luggage drop and some freshening up, we were racing across Bangkok’s roadways once more.
From the Chinatown-Pahurat area, we entered an alley that runs perpendicular to the Chao Phraya River, a major waterway that traverses the city’s capital. A short walk later and we were entering the easy snazzy dining hall of Eat Sight Story or ESS for short.
It was unanimously agreed that we dine outside. I mean, why eat beside a river if you’re simply gonna stay inside, right? Right. So off we went to a table nearest the water.
Eat Sight Story is a fusion restaurant that definitely got its name right. Eat, see the sights and share a story.
I lost count of how many dishes were laid down our table that afternoon, but I distinctly remember liking each one on first bite. Thai food is extremely popular around the globe compared to our Filipino cuisine, but I can see and taste some definite point of similarities between the two.
And while they have no Red Horse in Thailand, they do have Singha. My first encounter with the said beer was from a night out in Phuket’s Bangla Road a year or so ago. It’s still as good as I remembered it to be.
After some introductions and a few drinks, stories started to flow.
Conversations blossomed as the afternoon started to fade into twilight and the sky warmed with yellows. Across the Chao Phraya River, boats hurriedly pass by, seemingly indifferent to the beautiful glow up above. And right across from where we were sitting, the Wat Arun was suddenly bathed with lights, a sight to definitely behold.
A feeling of sudden excitement filled me right then. An excitement for the revelations of the coming days. An excitement to explore more of Thailand.