Saturday, February 27, 2016

Jom Bangkok!

Jom Bangkok!
(09/01/2016 - 12/01/2016)

Travel Agency:Personal
Airline:Air Asia
Total Package:RM644.16 for 2 persons (Return flight with meals)
Hotel :RM693.42 for 2 persons, 1 room, 3 nights at The Ambassador Hotel with Halal breakfast
Currency Rate:RM1 = THB8.13 (Thai Baht)
Total Expenses:RM1,050 for 2. Advisable to prepare RM1,000 per person. (Refer the expenses sheet here)
Time Difference:UTC+7:00 (-1 hour from Kuala Lumpur)

This can be considered as my birthday treat. 8th of January 2016 was my 30++ birthday. No need to tell you exactly my age because nobody would like to know it anyway. Haha.. So lets go to this tourism city, or also known as Tom Yam country that makes me never want to stop eating. Food heaven if you like.

Day 1 : 09/01/2016

Main Destination:Bangkok, Thailand
Depart:Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) at 12.45am
Arrive:Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) at 13.50pm
Ambient Temperature:40oC
Total Expenses:THB1,952 (Transport, Meal, Shopping)

Basically, we plan for only a city tour this time. Nothing much about sight seeing, although that is the main attraction if you come to Bangkok. I always heard that nightlife in Bangkok is much happening compare to KL and Singapore. So, this is it. Here we are to see it on our own.

So we arrived at DMK at around 2.00pm and finding our ways to The Ambassador Hotel, Bangkok. We thought of using the MRT, from Suvarnabumi Airport but unfortunately, the shuttle bus available from the DMK airport is only for those who will need to travel by flight using Suvarnabumi Airport. Owh, yes..They need your proof of travel such as boarding pass or travel itinerary for them to check. If not, you are not allowed to use the shuttle.

Arrival at DMK Airport

So we went straight to the Taxi counter. Booking a taxi to head straight to Soi 11, Sukhumvit Road, where the hotel is located. Then, the taxi driver helped us to his taxi and we started to have a ride.

Que for taxi

Inside the taxi

Scenery from inside the taxi at highway road

So bear in mind that you need to pay for the toll incurred during the journey. It is better to use highway to avoid heavy traffic, which may interrupt your mood. Fo us, the total to be paid was THB340, which includes 2 tolls and metered journey. The toll was not so expensive. Around 70 baht only.

We only need about 20 minutes to arrive at the hotel. We find the hotel through Trivago. Quite disappointed when we realised that the price is cheaper if we book through Air Asia. About RM30 difference and this amount means a lot to us.

Arriving at the hotel, the environment was so nice. I believe that this is an old hotel, due to the old kind of smell. But still, they are quite welcoming.

At the hotel lobby

At the hotel lobby
At the corridor

Our room

Our room (another angle)

After checked-in, we head straight to the Arab Street at Soi 3 of Sukhumvit Road. It was a fascinated moment when we realised that there were a lot of Arabs that actually lived in Bangkok. So we had our nice Bakhlava (which originally from Turkey) and also a very nice dinner of Naan, Lamb Soup and Kebab at Al-Hussain Restaurant.

The Arab Street

Stores and restaurants at the Arab Street

Where we bought our Bakhlava for THB260 for 6 pcs 

Al-Hussain restaurant. Dinner at about THB840.

Some of our dinner. I had finisehd my chai karak and meat shawarma.

Had some Kunefe

The restaurant for the night.
Then we went straight to National Stadium Station from Nana Station to go to one of Bangkok-must-go-places, called MBK. So basically, MBK is just one of the main shopping mall in Bangkok, other than Siam Square.

At the bridge in front of MBK

At the walkway of MBK

As we went on Saturday, there were so many booths and kiosks, opened to sell lots of things. From foods to hair bands, just name it. From here, we walked through the MRT line and headed to Siam Station, which located the Siam Centre, Siam Square, Siam Paragon. It was about 30 minutes walking distance, with addition of stops at the street markets.

Arriving at Siam area, the environment was much more hectic. Lots of peoples walk in and out of every inch of the malls available at the area. And yes, I can finally say the environment was much more lively than in Bukit Bintang, KL or Orchard Road, Singapore. Obviously, this will happened only on holidays eve. So if you walk around here on Sunday, it will just be so empty. Luckily we planned to arrive here on Saturday.

Siam Centre

Siam Paragon

Night street market near Siam Square

So make sure to arrive during weekend so you can enjoy the night life in Bangkok. In addition, the shopping area in Chatuchak Market, Floating Markets and many other tourist attractions are only operating during weekends.

That's it for today. We then went back straight at the Nana Station from Siam Station. We're surprised to see that our hotel area was also having lots of kiosks, opening at the street. So, just enjoy the night and finally had a tiring sleep.

Day 2: 10/09/2016

Main Destination:Chatuchak Market and Jim Thompson House
Ambient Temperature:41oC
Total Expenses:THB3,324 (Shopping, Transport, Meal, Ticket)

Our second day was named leisure day. 2 of the main attractions in Bangkok are Chatuchak and Jim Thompson House, which I can consider as compulsory to go. This is because it is still in the city of Bangkok. 

So start with our breakfast at The Ambassador Hotel, Bangkok. For your information, this hotel is also serving halal food for Muslim visitor. However, most of their halal menu consist of Indian cuisine. So for those who loves spicy, curry foods, you will definitely love to have your breakfast here at this hotel.

Start our day with chicken curry and meatball

Our first destination is Chatuchak. To reach here, we have to take the train from BTS Nana Station to BTS Mo Chit Station, which is the final station of BTS. You can easily find Chatuchak from Mo Chit station just by following the crowd. I can say that 80% of the passengers are going to Chatuchak. So, no need to worry, just follow the sign or even the walkers.

From Nana Station

Outside of Chatuchak Market
Entrance of Chatuchak Market
There were many visitors at Chatuchak Market. As advised, please ensure to be in Bangkok on both weekend, which is Saturday and Sunday. This is because Chatuchak is also one of the attraction that will only open during weekend for miscellaneous items from 6am to 6pm. For Wednesday until Friday, only specific items such as flowers, plants and wholesale like shirts and dress are  being sold. So don't missed out!

Chatuchak Market

The Originak Coconut Ice Cream

The yummy coconut ice cream
Inside of Chatuchak Market, you can find a lot of items for you to shop. Flowers, soaps, shirts, dresses, bags, kitchen wear, gifts, wedding cards printing service and many more. There are like hundred streets for you to go through and more than thousand shops for you to surf. The prices shown are quite affordable compared to the streets market in Bangkok. But still, it will depend on your negotiation skills and you may get cheaper at the street outside of Chatuchak.

Inside of Chatuchak

Take a break at the foot massage

There are few halal restaurants inside Chatuchak. One of the famous is Saman Islam. So we had our lunch here with the nice iced milk tea, green milk tea, pad thai and tom yum kung. The total spent for this lunch is about THB600.

Menu at Saman Islam

Pad thai (left), tom yum kung (right), iced milk tea and
green milk tea 

After lunch, we headed back to National Stadium to go to Jim Thompson House. From the BTS National Stadium Station, you have to walk in 5 minutes to arrive at the Yamaha big office. So you can wait for 15 minutes to get onto the shuttle service prepared by the Jim Thompson House to ride you. For me, we took a walk about 20 minutes to arrive at the house. Obviously, we were too tired once there.

Yamaha building. Just ignore the spiderman. Haha..

Our walk to Jim Thompson House

The Jim Thompson Art Centre

So who is this man actually? What is his contribution to Thailand economy? Wow...I don't want to be so academic here. But basically, he is an American businessman renowned for his Thai Silk Company, who moved to Thailand after the World War II. He was famous with his amazing Buddhist collection from around Asean especially Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma. These collections were wonderfully arranged for 25 years with a big and fascinated wonderful house consists of more than 8 rooms. The legend was when he had went for a holiday in 1958 to Cameron Highland (in Malaysia) and never returned.

The entrance fees is THB150 per person. You will be asked to choose the preferred language for the complimentary tour. Most language offered are English, French, Japanese and Mandarin. Apparently, we choose English because that is the only language offered that we understand. Luckily..So our tour has been scheduled to start at 3.00pm.

While waiting for the tour

The surrounding area of Jim Thompson House

Some of his collections

Vases, paintings, sculptures

The gardens

Simulation of waiving the thai silk

Samples of the cocoons

The tour lasts for 45 minutes. Then you are allowed to walk around the house for some pictures, except for some specific areas. Then, we headed back to National Stadium station using the shuttle service prepared by them.

Inside the shuttle tuk tuk

As we arrived at BTS National Stadium Station, we headed straight to MBK and had some refreshments at their food court. If you think you may want to have some food, Yana Restaurant, which served delicious foods is just in front of the food court. We just don't have the chance since we are still full. Right after that, we rush back to hotel for our Salah. It is more comfortable than to find the praying area that we couldn't find around the MBK.

Inside the MBK

Day 3: 11/01/2016

Main Destination:The Grand Palace
Ambient Temperature:42oC
Total Expenses:THB2,354 (Transport, Meal, Ticket)

Our main destination Day 3 was The Grand Palace. Right after our breakfast, we moved to BTS Nana Station and headed to Siam Station to change our route to Saphan Thanksin Station. From here, we took a 5-minute walk to Santhro Pier (Central Pier) for a different transportation service. We were using boat to another pier (station) and walk through the street to The Grand Palace.

Some advice for you who plan to use boats. There were 4 lines available. Blue, Orange, Red and Yellow. We had made our mistake by taking the Blue line, which is the Tourist Boat. But one thing that is good when you take this line, you will be explained of all the stations, main buildings and historical areas during the journey to the specific station. Once you arrived at the specific station, they will stop you there and you may start your walk.

Basically, the fare for Blue Line or Tourist Boat is THB40. If you take a one day pass, the price will be THB150 and you can ride the boat whenever you want. The one that is advisable to take is the Orange Line, which priced about THB13. Nonetheless, taking this line will caused you to stop at every station and the time taken to arrive at the destination is longer.

An important note here, if you plan to go to Grand Palace and Wat Pho, please ensure to wear a proper dress as these 2 places are the sacred places to be respected. So please wear long pants and covered sleeves. I have seen few people that have been denied their entrance due to this problem. So if you still plan to wear short sleeves and pants, I suggest you to bring shawls to cover those during the visit at these places.

The Tourist Boat

Inside the Tourist Boat

If you plan to stop at Wat Pho, the famous temple with reclining Buddha, you have to stop at Tha Tien. If you'd like to go straight to The Grand Palace, just stop at the Tha Chang, which is the nearest stop to The Grand Palace entrance. For us, we stopped at Tha Tien as we planned to have some view at Wat Pho and walk through the street to the Grand Palace.

Tha Tien Pier

Entrance at Wat Pho

Entrance fee at Wat Pho is THB100 per person

The sculpture at Wat Pho

The structure from outside of Wat Pho

After taking some photos at Wat Pho, we walk through the Sanam Chai Road and off to Na Phra Lan Road to go to the entrance of The Grand Palace. It was a really sunny day and we had a very tough walk. Sweating all over the body.

On our way to The Grand Palace

Office of Ministry of Defence

The Guards

When we get into the entrance of Grand Palace, we can see there were huge crowds all over the place. Just be extra careful with your belongings.
At the main entrance of The Grand Palace

The entrance fee to get into The Grand Palace buildings is THB500 per person. Not so expensive and yet not so cheap. But I can still say it is an affordable price. So this place is open everyday from 8.30am to 3.30pm. Make sure to come early or before 12pm so you can have a relax walk inside the palace.

Ticket counter

The THB50 is covered for 2 tickets. 1 ticket is for the entrance to "The Pavilion of Regalia. Royal Decorations and Coins" and another ticket is for the visit into "The Grand Palace". For me, to match the price and the place, obviously it is worth the visit.

So what is The Grand Palace? Basically, it was built in 1782. This place occupied by the government office, Royal Chapel of the Emerald Budha and the royal residences. But after the fall of Ayutthaya, the administration building had moved to Dusit. Read more here about the history of The Grand Palace.

The tickets

Entrance to The Grand Palace

View of Phra Maha Mondop from the entrance

The Temple of Emerald Budha, Wat Phra Kaew

The beautiful wall decoration

The wall painting
The Signboard

The Throne Hall, Chakri Maha Prasat

Panorama at Phra Maha Montien Group

Done with The Grand Palace, we walked straight to the one of the best halal Pad That at this area called Sara Restaurant at the Nouvo City Hotel. It was about 15 minutes walk from The Grand Palace. So we had a wonderful Pad Thai and Phad Med Mamuang. As expected, the price are expensive as the restaurant is located inside the hotel. But the main thing is, this hotel served 100% halal food and no alcohol is allowed.

The menu

Our delicious lunch

Information about the non-alcoholic malt beverage

Sara Restaurant

Nouvo City Hotel

Nouvo City Hotel from across the river
It was time to go back to our hotel, and we walk straight to the Phra Arthit through Phra Sumen Road, which we took about 20 minutes to reach there. It was really hot until we burned ourselves during the walk.

Garden at the Pom Phra Sumen

Scenery from the garden

At Phra Arthit, we ride the Orange Line boat to Santhro Pier, with the price of only THB13. Very cheap! So if you think that you may want to reach Wat Pho and The Grand Palace without taking the Tourist Boat, just ride the Orange Line as it will also take you there.

Phra Arthit

The crowd

Finally! We reach BTS Nana Station from Saphan Thaksin. It was surely a really long day.

BTS Station Nana

At night, we just took the chance to hang around inside the famous Siam Centre, Siam Paragon and Siam Square. Nothing mush we did, just had some Cinnabonne for our dinner.

At the food court

Unlike the previous nights, Sukhumvit Road was so dull and seems like we were the only to be there. Therefore, I would like to advice that the visit to Bangkok should be done over the weekend because then you will feel the real city life of Bangkok. And as we are not the fan of Hard rock cafe, we just took a picture to show how silent the place was on Monday night.

Hard Rock Cafe from far

Day 4: 12/01/2016

Main Destination:Pratunam Market and get back to KL
Departure:Don Mueang International Airpost (DMK) at 7.15pm 
Arrival:Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) at 10.25pm 
Ambient Temperature:39oC
Total Expenses:THB758 (Transport, Meal)

Today is our last day in Bangkok. We just had our last shopping walk at the Pratunam Market. From BTS Nana Station, we stopped at Chit Lom and walk to Pratunam Market for about 15 minutes. 

In my oppinion, compare with Chatuchak, I like Chatuchak more than here. Few souvenirs such as fridge magnet, soap and bags are also cheaper in Chatuchak. But unfortunately, Chatuchak will only fully open on Saturday and Sunday. But if you plan to make a bulk purchase especially on garments, this should be the right place for you. 

Pratunam Market

Inside the market

Then we went to the mall located in front of Pratunam Market called The Platinum Fashion Mall. As the name is, there are so many shirts, dresses and whatnot being sold at the mall. So just had a walk as you may find what you are looking for.

Outside of the building, there were a lot of small kiosks and cafes if you plan for a break. There were also halal kebab sold by the arabs (i think) at one area.

Volk Street Bar - Selling coffees

Take a break at Black Canyon Coffee

Delicious mango with sticky rice dessert

Behind of this Platinum Fashion Mall is the Central World Shopping Mall. If you think that you miss your mall back at home, just get to Siam area. Lots of shopping mall for you to explore.

Central World

View from the flyover

Well, that's all for this trip. I am certain that this is not our last trip to Bangkok as we are yet to reach the Floating Market and The Sunflower Field. Our next trip will definitely be on Friday to Monday. Just to ensure we can reach all the main places in Bangkok. See you in our Bangkok 2! (Which I don't know when..hihi..)

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