Thursday, February 05, 2015
Friday, January 02, 2015
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Maeklong Railway Market
[GPS Coordinates: 13.407571, 99.998380]
I am an avid audience of travelogues. After see Maeklong Railway Market from TV, I was so anticipated to take a walk. Comon, Bangkok is not just about shopping. I am sure there are more things to do! So on Day 3, both bff & I went to the Maeklong railway market.
It is a very popular tourist attraction and it only take a 2hrs drive to reach there. One can simply get a minivan at 70THB just right outside this shopping mall at Victory Monument. There is only 1 store that sells ticket to Maeklong, so there is no need to ask around for cheaper options.
The ride is pretty smooth, all the way along the expressway. Upon arrival, it is just like any small town and it has a bit of Chinatown feel. What is interesting about this place is that, there is this particular wet market that cuts across the railway track.
This railway track is still active! Both bff and I walked across the market and purposely walked on the railway track. We also took photos at the train station non-stop and kept asking the locals what time will the train arrive. Unfortunately, because I went to check out for cheaper minivan tickets, we missed the earlier ride, which could probably have let us see the train on time! Oh well... so we waited for the next train, which is 3 hours later!!
To kill time, we went to this gold shop. Bff said that the last time she came Thailand, she bought really cheap gold earrings. So why not? The moment we stepped in, this female staff kept saying "Bu mai! Bu mai!" I didnt take into consideration.... thinking, "did she meant 'Welcome'?" But as I looked across the shop, everyone had this stare at us. Then the female staff said:" No Chinese". Bff responded almost immediately "Wo men bu shi zhong guo ren! (We are not China Chinese)" while I was still trying to recognise the language. The female staff meant "Not selling".
Oh geez...This is unbelievable. They hate China Chinese so much? So...seriously, this discrimination is really worldwide! We just walked out and walked along the street to another gold shop. This time, the staff is much friendlier. We chatted, bought some gold and played with their dog.
After lunch at this famous wanton mee stall, we went back to the railway market and waited. Damn! This time, the train is delayed...so that meant more waiting time! I was in fact getting abit impatient and wanted to just leave and not waste anymore time as I wanted to go to another place. Luckily, the announcement bell came and the train is coming!!!
We witnessed how the locals kept the tents and stores within minutes and the train passed.
The locals know just how much allowance is needed between the train and the gaps! The train is so close! Seriously, if you are caught unaware, you'd probably lose your nose.
So for that, we spent 6hours at Maeklong just for that 30 seconds experience. But I must say, this is really something awesome!
Amphawa Floating Market
[GPS Coordinate: 13.425588, 99.954283]
We then left for Amphawa floating market, which is only 10mins away from Maeklong. By the way, most tours will cover these 2 places of interest and generally cost alot. If you are adventurous enough, a DIY trip will just do it. We walked to the back of the market and took the local bus to Amphawa, which only cost 5THB. I swear this is the cheapest transport I have ever taken.
Fast enough, we reached Amphawa. One will definitely NOT miss this place because it is so crowded that you know you are in the right place! Fearing that we will miss the last bus back Bangkok, we bought the ticket prior to entering the floating market.
We passed by this grilled seafood store. The aroma of the shellfishes were so tempting that we were hesitating to have some. In the end, we couldnt resist and ordered some grilled scallopes. To our surprise, the store owner gave us 2 free dishes of grilled clams and mussels too! These all sum up to only 150THB!
Frankly speaking, Amphawa floating market sounded very attractive to visit. But while I was there, it feels like a combination of Tai O, Hong Kong and Malacca, Malaysia. We didnt walked much due to the lack of time, but at least, it is a 'Been there seen it' trip.
At around evening, we returned Bangkok. The return journey is slightly longer as there are lots of vans causing long queues at the petrol kiosks. Plus, it was raining.... safety first!
At around 830pm, we reached Bangkok.
Bff isnt free on this day, so I wandered Bangkok alone!! Wow, I couldnt believe I was this brave, come to think about it.
In the morning, I went to Chatuchak market to take a look. Although not many shops are opened, the shops which sells items which I wanted to get were opened! Lucky me! I absolutely love tribal products and I bought 3 bags. Duhz. Abit pricey but I like! It wasnt crowded at all so it made shopping very easy. I also bought 3 vintage blouses - something I thought I will never buy but because it only cost 100THB each, so why not? I am a sucker for cheap yet good quality stuff.
Bff told me about this JJ Mall, which is situated next to Chatuchak Market & so I went to take a look. It is almost like any shopping mall but sells things like Chatuchak Market and it is air con!! The price is still affordable despite probably higher rental, but this is much more walkable without having to wipe your dripping perspiration.
After 2 hours, I have lots to lug in my arms and I decided to return to the hotel to put them, since the hotel is so near. I also packed my luggage for my departure the next day, rested a while and left for part 2 of the day.
After hearing so much from friends on FB about this place, I took the BTS to Saphan Taksin, took a free ferry at Sathom Pier to Asiatique [GPS Coordinate: 13.704290, 100.504147]. The trip is just funny. I could hear HKers everywhere as I travelled to Asiatique and at some point of time, I thought I was in Hong Kong. Hahaha.
It was approximately 4pm when I got there. The sun was already setting, making the scenery very enjoyable. There are alot of catfish in the river! All of them jumped out of the water as the ferry navigated by.
Asiatique disappointed me slightly. It is just another night market. There are restaurants around, which I believe is kinda pricey and I didnt eat there, though my usual travel habit is to splurge on my last night. I chose to have Pad Thai instead and it cost 50THB! I couldnt complain more because I was just sitting underneath the ferries wheel and it was amazing!
Night fell soon after. Everywhere was lit up.
I left Asiatique at 7pm, a time where huge crowds kept landing from the ferry. I then took the BTS to Siam station hoping to grab food. I couldnt remember how Siam Paragon was when I visited 4 years ago. I thought I could find food there... but sadly no. Too pricey! I then headed to Central World, which took me approximately 20mins to reach, crossing another night market and I almost drowned myself in the food aroma. My tummy was also rumbling as I walked past!
I finally reached Central World and I went to eat Macdonalds. DUHZ! But really, who could resist a McSpicy meal at 199THB?!?!?!?!?! I know I am a failure... come Thailand also must eat Macdonalds...sigh.
How can one forget to go to local supermarket to buy food back? My usual loot - Lays potato chips, Pretz, Pocky and some Thai milk tea.
So my days in Thailand were almost over. Day 5 was a nothing because we took the 8am flight back. Or maybe, if you consider watching sunrise along the way to the airport as something interesting?
I enjoyed this Thai trip very much. Trust me, I will be back.
Friday, December 05, 2014
It was a random Thursday
& suddenly, I felt like going to the farms
As it is school holidays too
I brought my niece and nephew along
Our first stop was to Hays dairy farm
The only local farm that supplies fresh goat's milk
The farm is open to public
There used to be feeding sessions but lately, AVA had ordered to stop human-animal interaction in fear of possible virus spread
But this didnt stop most visitors from enjoying their day there
The farm is open every day except Tuesday
& viewing of milking is available from 9am to 11am
We arrived Hays at 1040am
But we missed the last batch
They had kept all goats & were washing the equipments already
We had a walk around the pens
Imitated how the goats 'meeehhhh'
Which surprisingly, some 'mmmeeehhh'-ed back
Bought a small bottle of goat's milk to try - plain & chocolate flavour
I was very surprised it didnt have any goat's taste & i finished half of the bottle!
Niece & nephew enjoyed it too
I am back
From a really long hiatus since 2012
Other than having become fatter
My life had also been really challenging
Even more thrilling than riding on Battlestar Galactica blindfolded
I had a job in the ex-World's Largest Aquarium
Could simply say that it was my dream job to be working there
but I quit
No prizes for guessing the correct reason
I needed a goddamn break the very moment I left my job
I really needed a deep breath to release everything
Thank God for my bff
I tagged along to Bangkok with her
As she was going there for business
& I didnt mind doing solo travel
So I planned a complete 5D4N itinerary including places I was dying to visit
This trip to Bangkok was indeed different & special to me
Because I am not going with my family
& this is my first trip after 2 years with friend alone
& I didnt bring much money
& I just let my whole self go
I didnt want to pick the slightest impossibility to make it possible
I just want to spend my time well
Some basic logisitics to share:
Airline: Thai Airways
Hotel: G9 Bangkok Hotel [GPS Coordinates: 13.803548, 100.556819]
Dead tired after dinner. Hung out for a while more before we returned to G9 & turned ourselves to sleeping beauties.
Ayutthaya is the place we were going the next day. After hearing my friend talking about it as a UNESCO site (I must at least visit a UNESCO site or damn popular place when I travel) and how other travel bloggers were highlighting it, it was on my 'to-go' list. While in Singapore, thinking that I will be solo traveling since bbf would probably be unavailable, I did intensive research on 'How to get to Ayutthaya' from various blogs & guess what? Bff's local Thai friend accompanied us and brought us around the area! Woohoo! We only paid THB240 (less than SGD10) for a cab ride from Chatuchak to Rangsit, where we met him. It was a really scenic, seeing all those rice padi fields flocked with egrets feeding. But I read that taking a train ride up to Ayutthaya is more scenic - I might probably try it again when I have more time.
Thanks to Y, bff's local thai friend. He did a bit of tour guiding telling us what the places are about. Although I have pinned the temples I wanted to visit on my Google map, I cant figure out where I was as he drove. Nonetheless, some places that we went were:
The Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand
[GPS Coordinates: 14.149604, 100.523739]
It also has a exhibition hall which shows how some of the Thai handicrafts are made and portraits of 'Masters' and 'Professors' of handicrafts were also displayed!
North of Chao Phraya River:
For a moment, I thought I was in Vietnam. This is so NOT Bangkok, if you know what I meant. I smell fresh air evaporating from the river. By the way, if one isnt afraid of being scorched, one can actually reach Ayutthaya from Bangkok on river cruises via this water channel.
We then had lunch at a floating restaurant nearby . No idea what is its name but Y said it is quite famous in that area. Its special dish is the river prawns and they are not cheap though! Approximately THB2400 for 6 prawns! As the restaurant is on the water, there are many catfishes, knifefishes and tilapia just underneath it. Everyone throws food down, no wonder why they are huge! I threw chilli padi down too and they gulped. Omnivorous to the max!
Bang Pa-In Royal Palace
[GPS Coordinates: 14.232728, 100.579350]
If one is wearing shorts, you have to pay a THB200 deposit to wrap yourself in sarong, out of respect to the royalty.
The palace is so clean and green that even monitor lizards come & stay!
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
[GPS Coordinates: 14.345548, 100.592430]
There were several temples which I'd specifically wanted to go but we didnt have enough time to visit all since I was meeting my friend back in Bangkok for dinner. We headed to Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, which was famous for its sleeping buddha statue.
|I was just half way up the steps!|
|Thai meow sleeping very peacefully|
[GPS Coordinates: 14.357030, 100.567514]
Just within a 5 minutes drive, we reached Wat Maha That. The very first question I asked as I walked in was... where is the temple? It was only within a snap second that it occurred to me that, Wat Maha That is the remain of the temple ruin. It is totally different from what I had expected from Wat Yai Chai Mongkol. I was even more anticipated to walk around and find out more about the history of this place. But why was this temple one of my selected specific temple to visit?
A brief walk around...
It was almost evening & I had to rush back to Bangkok. Abit sad that I didnt manage to complete my Ayutthaya itinerary but this gave me a chance to re-visit.
This restaurant is located near Ari BTS and its ambience is sooooooo welcoming. If one had been to the old Villa Bali that used to be at Gillman in Singapore, it is almost similar & I LOVE this type of eating places, albeit the mosquito bites. The food is special and delicious. Do try this vermicelli salad with cha-om and omelette.
This is a really long post after a long hiatus! & probably too much to digest! Day 3 & 4 will be up next!