Friday, December 05, 2014

Oh Hi
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

G9 Bangkok Hotel is located in Chatuchak and is chucked at the back of the main road, just behind the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTS) Public Company Limited. It is very convenient if you walk from either Chatuchak Park MRT or Mochit BTS; it is just 5 minutes away! But if you are to take cab, it is just damn hard to describe the location! Luckily, I was smart enough to identify a very famous landmark - G9 is also diagonally opposite BBTV. When it comes to walking back to the hotel from the MRT or BTS station at night, the path is quite dark & I felt it wasnt safe enough for ladies walking alone. Cab fare from Central World to G9 will cost approximately THB100 (after bargain).

 The hotel itself is simple - it has both private rooms and dormitory. Our private room, which cost SGD144 for 4N, has an attached toilet with hot shower, television with basic Thai channels, king size bed, wardrobe, dressing table, 2 side tables and complimentary tea/coffee. Drinking water is however supplied by dispenser placed at the lift lobby. Breakfast cost SGD2 per day, if booked with room. Simple toast, hotdog and sunny-side ups.

Day 1
Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport, we took the City Line to Praya Thai, where we transferred to BTS to Mochit. It was an approximate 1 hour journey. We checked in at G9 and then went out again to Chinatown. Took the MRT to Hualamphong and walked along the old town.

Amidst, it started to rain heavily! Bff wanted to go there to make some orders for her business and I just followed. I was then very surprised to know that, there is a wholesale area (somewhere near Yaowarat) selling jewellery, soft toys, home decor, shopping bags, caps, table ware, etc. As I am going to have a big event after I return from Bangkok and I needed to make gift bags, this place was almost heaven. I bought 44 pouches at only SGD0.60 each! If I am not wrong, similar pouches selling at Minitoons would cost SGD4!! What a steal!

Sorry, no photo of that place because it was crowded and raining. People were pushing to stay dry and mobile food bikes were seeping in gaps among the crowd. Not a place to visit if you are bringing kids.

Around evening, we took a cab back to Chatuchak. We had to pay THB50 toll fees to get onto the expressway - I handed the driver a THB100 note. The car was still rolling and the moment he opened his window, the note flew out!!! Bff and I looked in awe. Cab driver went back to pick up but couldnt find it. He had no choice but to pay THB50 to the officer and THB50 back to me. At the end of the trip, the total fare cost THB170. I bet the cab driver was swearing in his heart for picking us up, giving us a 'free' trip. Of course, both bff & I are nice ladies. We paid him THB200.

Chatuchak weekend market doesnt exactly open only on weekends. It, in fact, opens every Wednesday for plants sales, every Friday for home decor, every Saturday & Sunday for everything. I had been to Chatuchak weekend market once, 4 years ago and it was mad crowded and hot. Too much things to see but no time. This time, I had all the time to look at the plants and home decor because I dont get distracted by other stores!

Chatuchak market starts selling on a Tuesday evening. This place is filled with plants; it is like having 200 stores of Far East Flora selling all species under Kingdom Plantae, from the almost microscopic bryozoan to largest tracheophytes. 

I was so impressed! I am not a botanist but seeing specific plants like ferns, orchids, succulents already makes me excited! (I am somehow a abit-of-this-&-that plant person)

After having spent 3 hours there with bff & some of her plant fanatic friends, her local Thai friends were kind enough to bring us to this really cool place - V24 to have a late dinner. The place was decorated using race car theme and food was omg-yummy. We had this special soup (that bowl of red liquid there) made of fermented beancurd and jellyfish!!
 [GPS Coordinate: 13.811059, 100.559608]

Dead tired after dinner. Hung out for a while more before we returned to G9 & turned ourselves to sleeping beauties.

Day 2

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]

This place sells lots of local handicrafts at affordable and reasonable prices. I bought 4 pieces of handmade soap at THB100. The other day I saw similar selling at 3 for THB100. 

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]

I dont know much about the Thai history to do a proper introduction of the place so you have do some reading yourself.  This place is massive. If you dont have much time to waste, rent a buggy at THB400 for 1.5hours.

If one is wearing shorts, you have to pay a THB200 deposit to wrap yourself in sarong, out of respect to the royalty.

It has many 'houses' for every single family member. The main attraction is the King's palace which is characterised by its ancient Chinese design. Even the interior were similar to those seen on TV featuring Qing dynasty. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed so the only thing I could show is these antique tiles which I feel in love with.... 

According to Y, somewhen, the King got influenced by the Western culture and so Rome-lookalike houses started to appear. This was indeed when West meets East or vice versa.

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.

It has a really steep flight of stairs with highly eroded steps. I saw some ladies climbing up & down in high heels! I was speechless.

I was just half way up the steps!
Thai meow sleeping very peacefully

Wat Maha That
[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?


Y told us the myth of this buddha. According to Y, this buddha was meditating under this tree and birds resting defecated around it. The roots of the tree then grew so well in response of the nutrients and eventually 'combine' to become one.

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.

Baan PuengChom

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!

No comments: