Monday, June 13, 2016

Bangkok: Fly, stay, connect, to go, to eat and to do (Part 1)

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BKK is like the ultimate shopping paradise especially for Singaporeans. No doubt prices have increased throughout the years but generally the things there are still really cheap - be it food, apparels and basically everything else. Thanks to our strong currency, we get about 25baht for every SGD1, which also makes it easy for us to do conversion on the spot - 100 baht = $4, and we singaporeans love bargaining (did i hear someone say wholesale price? LOL) We get that cheap thrill when we get the slightest discount and after we convert the discount back to SGD, we laugh over how we got that few cents to a dollar discount! HAHAHA 

Ever since i went to BKK for the very first time few years back, i told myself i must make a trip back every year, mainly for the shopping and food. Broke the chain last year because i traveled too much to other places. (Let me see… twice to HK, Surabaya Mt ijen, Batam, Aussie for work and Vietnam) This year, i jumped at the Jetstar promo and went to BKK last month. (I ended up booking a flight to KL in July and Bali in October, opps.) Anyway, this blog post is not gonna be the typical BKK travelogue like what i did on Day 1, Day 2 blah blah blah but i’m just gonna write about the places i went in general and what i feel about them. Without further ado, let me start with...

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Like i mentioned previously, i took Jetstar because there was a promo where the return flight is FREE! I only had to pay the one way and get the return free. Paid about $130 after baggage add on which i thought was pretty cheap. When looking for cheap airfare, you should always use websites like Skyscanner to compare fares or keep a lookout for airline promotions by subscribing to the newsletter or following their facebook page. Typically Jetstar will have their “Friday Fare Frenzy” on Fridays (duh!), Scoot promo are on Tuesdays i think. 

Short trips to nearby countries is pretty much bearable on budget airlines but if you are intending to go further countries like Japan, Korea, Aussie etc, i would recommend paying more for the comfort. Tip: Don’t just look at budget airlines for nearby destinations, you will be surprised how some economy airlines can match their prices! Few years back i was planning for a trip to Hong Kong, and i paid less than $100 more to fly SQ in the new A380! Imagine the all-in comfort, baggage, food and service. Definitely worth it!

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Typically the hotels in BKK is about $60 to $300 per night depending on the location as well as rating. Honestly, don’t bother staying at fancy hotels because you will probably be out most of the time and only return at night to rest. I always wanted to try GLOW pratunam or Lemon Tea but they are always fully booked, damn. Recommended area to stay would be around Platinum mall or Siam area because they are the more "central" and easy to travel out area.

This time, i stayed at Vince Hotel. SGD 216.39 for 3 nights so average of $72 per night with breakfast daily. Not exactly located at the most accessible area, about 10 to 15 mins walk to Platinum mall or BTS and 5 to 8 mins to Pratunam market. But what i like about this hotel is the overall retro chic themed design and the room is spacious and clean. Nearest BTS: Phaya Thai which links directly to the airport line.

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Nowadays when we arrive at our destination, the first thing we look for is not the direction to take transport, not the food no matter how hungry you are after the flight but instead, where to get a sim card so we can stay connected. At BKK xxx airport, you would be pleased to know that now there is a sim card vending machine so you can either queue at the counter to purchase your sim card and get the counter guy to activate it for you or simply grab one from the vending machine and DIY.

Choose your data package, scan your passport, insert money and there you have it! Only then your mind will be finally at ease to continue the rest of the trip, LOL You probably would make use of the data and post a status on facebook or a photo on instagram about how the vending machine saved your life, HAHAHA

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Most places within BKK are accessible via their BTS and you can purchase tickets directly at the station via their machine. Considering the traffic jam throughout the day, taking the BTS might be an option. Alternatively, you can take a cab or tuk tuk. I heard there is also GrabCar in BKK now but i'm not sure how it works and how are you going to put in the address so i guess you have to figure it yourself if you wanna try GrabCar. How they charge and safe anot ah?

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Platinum Mall 

Need i say more about this mall? Even though there is only 1 level catered for guys, i can easily spend 3 or 4 hours shopping and typically if you get 2 pieces or more, you get their “wholesale” price. LOL I think majority of my shopping was done inside this mall. The mall is so huge that if you see something that you like (and it’s within your spending range) you probably should get it because it might not be easy to find back the same store. HAHAHA

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Chatuchak Weekend Market 

Another popular tourist area which is a must go for most of us. Despite the weather, i always make it a point to visit Chatuchak because i love the wide variety of stuff they have there! The area is so huge that once you see something you like, you should probably just get it. The market is divided into different sections such as furniture, pets, arts etc and they are all very interesting and they are all mostly sold at cheap and attractive prices!

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Rod Fai Train Market 

Wanted to go but… didn't know it’s only opened only from Thursday to Sunday (5pm to midnight) Read so much about these interesting night markets and always wanted to visit them, oh wells. I will definitely make a trip down the next time i'm in BKK!

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Siam Night Market

I usually end up at the siam area because either i'm having my dinner there or i was shopping there. Located just right opposite siam shopping malls is the Siam night market which only appears in the night. In the day, it's just a plain normal looking pavement but when in the evening, stall owners will start setting up their makeshift stalls and it stretches a really really long way! From apparels to electronics, it's pretty interesting to see what they have to offer.

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Terminal 21 

Two words - Don’t bother. I used to hear from people how nice the mall is designed with the different country theme for each level, this one i agree. But other than that, i couldn’t see myself staying in the mall for more than 30 mins. It’s like other than food, what else is there to do and shop??? There is nothing much to buy and the stuff are not exactly very nice. Someone please enlighten me and correct me.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on what to eat and what to do!