Monday, June 20, 2016

Bangkok: Fly, stay, connect, to go, to eat and to do (Part 2)

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Bake Cheese tarts, EmQuartier

Took the BTS all the way just for the tarts and i think it was quite worth it. There is this huge craze in SG about these tarts and you have to queue at least 2 hours for it at Orchard Ion but as you can see from the photo, no queue at all. I loved the cheese (not too overpowering) and the crust was really nice. Not cheap though.

EmQuartier is basically a quite ATAS mall with international brands like H&M, just like our Orchard Ion. The overall design and concept of the mall is pretty interesting but if you want the whole “bangkok experience” with all the local food, cheap shopping etc, then you can probably give this mall a miss.

I just read online that they have another outlet at Central World, which is so much nearer and within walking distance.

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After you Dessert, Central World

It was Kelvin’s first time to BKK and i told him he must try After you toast so i brought him to the outlet at Central World. Had the Ferrero Rocher toast in baby size and he loved it! It was so good that we kinda regret not paying a bit more for the regular size. It’s not cheap in local context though, one of the more pricey dessert. Wanted to head back for another session but i forgot why we didn’t. Either we didn’t have the time to head back or we finished our money, LOL There are a few other outlets within BKK too.

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Mr. Jones Orphanage, Siam Paragon

Another one of my favourite cafe in BKK. The design of the cafe is so whimsical and they have a huge variety of desserts! Had their signature Kit Kat cake which is one of their more instagram-able dessert. I love their strawberries and cream waffle too!

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MBK Food Court

MBK is like a shopping mall but honestly there is nothing much to shop there. However if you are look for AAA quality of branded items, this is probably where you can find them. I was googling on where to eat in the area and apparently there are a lot of hidden gem inside MBK’s food court! 

Kelvin had their chicken basil rice (55 baht, SGD2.20!) and i had Stewed pork leg rice (60 baht, SGD2.40!) Everything is so cheap and good! Checkout this link on the 12 must eat dish at MBK by Ladyironchef ( Payment is made via contactless card so remember to get one from the counter before heading to the food stalls. Remaining value can be refunded at the end of the day.

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Coconut Ice Cream, Chatuchak market

I’m not sure about the coconut ice cream sold at other places but nothing beats a cool refreshing coconut ice cream during hot weather. I’m totally not a coconut person but the ones i tried at Chatuchak was really good. It even comes with free flow of toppings like sweet corn, attap seed, red bean etc. It comes in a coconut husk which you can scrape the flesh off after finishing the ice cream!

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Pla Thong Mookata, Victory Monument

Was thinking of what to have for dinner and we thought we should have authentic mookata since we are in BKK so i went to google on where to have mookata and i found out about Pla Thong Mookata which offer Mookata buffet at only 159 baht ($6.40) per person!!! It’s like the ultimate deal!

They offer fried items like french fries, nuggets etc, different types of raw meat and veggies, fruits and even free flow of coconut ice cream! Drinks are charged separately though and they cost almost as much as the buffet though, LOL (One large bottle of coke is about 120 baht) The place is huge and the crowd started to build up as it approaches dinner time. It gets a bit noisy but i guess it’s all about the authentic “mookata experience” in Bangkok, HAHA. Food is average but nothing to complain since it’s already so cheap.

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A&W, Pantip Plaza

Pantip plaza may sound unfamiliar to most of us but it’s basically just a couple malls away from Platinum mall. It’s like BKK’s version of our Sim Lim Square. A&W is not exactly a must eat in BKK but for those who miss their chicken, waffles or signature root beer float, it’s just a stone throw away from Platinum mall so why not?

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Roadside Zi Char Stall

If you walk from platinum mall towards Siam, you will definitely pass by this stretch of road side stalls with locals trying to push their menu into your hands and getting you and your friends to sit down for a meal. You will probably see their signature salt crusted fish and huge grill prawns along the way. Honestly the food is not bad and pretty cheap too.

As you can see from the above photo, we ordered a plate of stir fried kang kong, a plate of pineapple rice, roasted chicken, egg omelette and a plate of grilled prawns just for 2 person (i know we seriously over-ordered...) and the meal cost us about 900 baht, which is about SGD36. Slightly pricey in local context but we can never get the same amount of food in SG with just 36 bucks so i think it’s quite worth it, especially if you are sharing with a group of friends.

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Fitness First, Siam Paragon

I used to laugh at people who goes to the gym even when on holiday and i would comment loudly “where got time to go gym overseas, nothing else better to do meh” and now i’m officially one of those people, FML Anyway, being a local FF member gives you the privilege/ access to overseas FF gyms at countries like Hong Kong and Bangkok. All you have to do is get a “FF passport” which you have to register locally before bringing it overseas. (important!)

Was curiously how the FF gyms overseas are like, and how they conduct their class in thai so we went for a Bodypump class. As expected, classes were conducted in Thai and we had no idea what the trainer was saying but the regime was pretty much the same in SG so we had no issues following. It was honestly quite fun and entertaining, LOL

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No.1 Massage, Petchburi Soi 15 (image from google)

I think this place was recommended by Angie during the Cousin* BKK trip and apparently this massage place is really popular among singaporeans. It’s like Singaporeans will even take the tuk tuk all the way here just for their massage. Did their foot massage for 250 baht ($10) for an hour. After a whole day of walking and shopping, the least you could do is pamper your legs, LOL They provide free WIFI too!

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I used to bring only an empty luggage (and probably my toothbrush and toothpaste) to BKK because everything can be bought there, new apparels can be worn the following day and i will also end up getting another luggage because 1 wouldn’t be enough to fit everything but now, i tend to be more picky when it comes to quality and design. Plus i’m not so much into colourful and “flowery” apparels so it pretty much narrows my wardrobe to monochrome style, LOL This time i didn’t really buy much but i did bought a new luggage though (it’s in this chio gold shade omggg) Alright, that’s all i have to say for my 4 days 3 nights trip to BKK, hope you enjoyed reading this 2 part travelogue! I will definitely be back in the near future, hehe

Till the next post.


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!