Wednesday 8 August 2012

Thailand: Bangkok

Sawadeeka Bangkok! Or rather Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

Day 1:

We took SCOOT for the first time and I was pleasantly surprised by how big the aircraft was! 3-4-3 seats in a row with ample leg room. And I really like the yellow airplane, such a cheerful colour! The flight met with quite a bit of turbulence at the start and we felt as if we were on a roller coaster ride, everyone going WOOOOH when the plane dipped. It was pretty hilarious though thank god we landed safely to laugh about it.

We stayed at On8 Sukhumvit hotel and it was FANTASTIC. All the hotel surfing and review browsing paid off! I think they upgraded us to a bigger corner room because one of our rooms was bigger than the other. And all their staff were beyond friendly, they were full of smiles and so willing to help!!! Plus it is located right next to Nana BTS, two stops from Central World/Platinum fashion mall. They provide you with the WiFi username and password when you check in, and their Wifi is pretty fast! :D I highly recommend this hotel! The only bad thing is that the door to the toilet doesn't close tightly.

After we dumped our luggage in our rooms, we went searching for dinner around our neighbourhood. There are a lot of pubs lining Sukhumvit lanes and of course they are mostly catered to Caucasians. I think during this trip, I've heard the most number of different European languages spoken around me. French, Spanish, German... and some of which I do not recognize. Our dinner was at Chilli Culture, Thai food to get us started! I was introduced to Changmai noodles by B and it was delicious! :d We dropped by 7-11 to get some essentials (the hotel doesn't provide toothbrush and toothpaste by the way) and we were super excited at the cheap prices hehe.

Day 2:

Started the second day with breakfast at our hotel cafe. Besides this spread, the waitress gives you a form where you can choose one type of egg (scrambled, poached, fried, boiled, etc) and as many sides as you wish (bacon, ham, sausage, mushroom, potato, tomato). The selection is pretty good, though it's the same everyday... And the mushrooms are straw mushrooms which was kind of strange to have for breakfast.

BTS became our daily transport. It is really convenient, fast and clean! I don't know why so many tourists take the cab in Bangkok when you have such efficient public transport. Though it's often pretty crowded at seemingly all timings of the day, it's better than being stuck in a jam (which happens quite often in Bangkok I believe).

First stop: Central World! We were absorbed into the world of pretty fabrics at NaRaYa. Exclamations of 'so cute!' were heard throughout the store in different languages while men sat at a corner, looking extremely bored hah! And ofcourse, we had to try the McPork burger.

Platinum fashion mall is like Far East x100. And surprise surprise, I met a friend there!

We headed to Big C to do some shopping and I saw my Korea guesthouse receptionist IN BANGKOK. LIKE WHUT? But he didn't recognize me aww. We had dinner in Big C and the food there was SO SPICY I could feel steam coming out from my ears..

Day 3:
Got up at the crack of dawn to take a van down to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We spent 1 hour on the road picking up various passengers and another 1.5 hours to get there green in the face.

When we got there, I was quite disappointed that this wasn't the market I saw in movies and Running Man but ah well! And it's a very commercialized floating market, you don't see any Thais, you see lots and lots and lots of tourists. And the things they sell there are all targeted at tourists. I was very tempted to buy a ukelele/guitar but I had no idea how to choose one, like the quality of strings/wood/etc. I made the mistake of asking how much and the owner of the ukelele dragged our boat back to his shop where he tried to sell me the ukelele at 900baht. But it didn't take very long before the price plunged to 250baht haha. I didn't get it in the end but it was quite an interesting experience. XD

Coconut ice cream was pretty good, considering I don't like coconut.

We headed back to the hotel and wanted to go to the Grand Palace but it closes at 3.30pm and it was almost 2.30pm after we showered and got ready. So we decided to go MBK for more shopping. But first! A very belated lunch plus early dinner at Soonbom seafood which a friend recommended.

The fried curry crab was REALLY GOOD. The sauce was heavenly with rice!! We practically polished the plate. And look at the mango sticky rice, have you ever seen so much mango accompanying the rice? Normally in Singapore it's rice > mango, but here it's the other way around! Very full and satisfying meal. :d

We got to MBK but before we stepped in, we were distracted by a sale and ended up spending about 3 hours in that section.So we didn't end up going MBK because it closed at 9pm. We were planning to go to a night market at Khao San road but we asked around and some said there's no night market there, some recommended us to go to another place and some said take a bus/taxi... To be safe, we decided to just call it a day and headed back to our hotel to have a cup noodle + Lays pajamas party while watching Olympics.

Day 4:
XL and I woke up earlier to go to the Grand Palace while the other two headed back to Big C to buy some stuff to bring back home. For me, travelling should include exploring the cultural aspect of a country/city. I don't want to just shop and shop and spend my days overseas in a shopping center. How's that different from shopping in Singapore except the difference in price and style? I want to see something unique to the country I'm in! I'm glad XL felt the same way so off we went~ :D

We reached Chao Phraya River by BTS to take a boat to Grand Palace. No, that's not the boat we took, I don't have a photo of it so I'm gonna steal one from the internet.

(Photo credit)
This was the one we took and it was really crowded! It costs 15baht per person and this lady walks around to collect it from you. No tickets/receipt given and if she missed you, then your ride is free I guess!

The Grand Palace is magnificent! Each building was so exquisitely built. Sadly, the Emerald Buddha chapel was closed :( X said maybe it's changing clothes because the Buddha has three sets of clothing for summer, rainy season and winter. We paid 400baht to enter and we didn't see the Emerald Buddha asfjkhsajkf but I didn't regret going at all! :) After that we walked to Wat Pho which is a Buddhist temple where the reclining Buddha lies (pun intended). I didn't take any photos here because I've heard that you are not supposed to take photos of the Buddha. The reclining Buddha is 30meters long and it was really grand.

(Photo credit)
Oh and we exchanged 20baht for 1cent coins to drop into these bronze bowls inside the temple. We actually have no idea what it symbolizes but it felt pretty significant because almost everyone was doing it so we did it too haha. According to Wiki, the 108 bronze bowls indicates 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. So I guess it's for good luck?

Went back to the hotel to meet the rest and headed to MBK to have lunch and buy some snacks and then Platinum mall again to speed walk through the second mall. SO MANY STORES AND SO MANY CLOTHES. 眼花缭乱 @__@

We didn't manage to finish the second mall cos we had to rush off for our massage appointment. Healthland Spa was SO luxurious! :O And it was not expensive either, they had a promotion so our Thai massage was only 450baht for 2 hours! But you are expected to give the masseurs a tip. The clothes they gave us to change into were SO COMFORTABLE I wanted to steal them home haha! Anyway, Thai massage hurts like mad! But I enjoyed it when they twisted my body and cracked the joints/spine. BUT my masseur didn't massage my feet at all so I went to a foot massage parlor near our hotel and got a foot massage. It wasn't that fantastic because she didn't use enough strength but I fell asleep within 10 minutes hahaha.

Day 5:

Went to Chatuchak in the morning! This place is just never ending... It's like Bugis Street x1000? I finished all my money here :p

We had lunch at Mos Burger at Terminal 21 before going back to Healthland Spa for foot massage because we couldn't get enough..? Haha. This one was so much better but I still fell asleep despite telling myself not to but I'm satisfied at last XD

Oh and Terminal 21 has like the prettiest toilet ever!!! I felt like I walked into a garden. :)

Last BTS ride back to our hotel and off we went to the airport. Oh yes, whenever the train announcer said Na Na, XL and I would giggle to ourselves haha because it sounded really cute! And we recorded her saying Na Na on the last day teehee. There was hardly any traffic so we had a smooth ride and reached the airport within half an hour.

Our last meal in Bangkok aww. The green curry had too much basil taste but the Changmai noodles were really good! I'm getting pretty addicted to this dish hehe.

And then it was Goodbye Bangkok and Hello Singapore! I really enjoyed my trip and the company I had was funtastic! We laughed a lot, ate a lot and shopped a lot (okay, mostly me. I went there with the lightest luggage and came back with the heaviest...).

I tried learning a few Thai phrases like asking for price and whether we can have it cheaper but I can't remember any of those now. The only ones I can remember are 'Where's the toilet?' and 'Toilet first' which we said to the masseur before starting our massage HAHA.

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