Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Day 1 - Bangkok trip (Aspire Rama 9, Wat Pho & Healthland Asoke)

Sawasdee ka ^^

June 2016 marks my first visit to Bangkok; so, we’ve chosen to tour around city area first. Thanks to my buddy, Chelle whom booked through Air BnB, which had good reviews, nice photos, helpful host and most importantly, was 5-10 minutes walk from Mrt station. Phra Ram 9 is the main station where we can easily grab the train from one place to other besides located near to shopping malls (Central Plaza & Fortune), supermarkets (Tesco) & 7-11 which are very practical for us to stay nearby there #^.^# Plus point is that the landlord was a young cute chap*^^*and comes to greet us besides provide us with afew handy tips for us to tour around. 

Here's our sneak peek of our living place:-


Aspire Rama 9 has one bedroom & one bathroom and the room had a clean, cozy modern feel. Alex made a great host, gave information you needed to travel around. We had the luxury of modern kitchen appliances, TV, media box, hair dryer, essential toiletries & most importantly free high speed wifi. The first thing we did after settling down was to hunt for food!! We were brought to nearby mall, Central Plaza where we ordered our first meal of the day. We had MBK Steamboat and my personal favourite being the Roasted Duck and Crispy Pork with concocting sauces! :) Luv’ the duck there and our hearty lunch only costs 200Baht per person which makes MK steamboat worth every cent and while blogging, I start to crave for their steamboat again *yummy*


Took a picture with our host, Alex before heading to our next destination.


It’s time for a light walk after a filling lunch, so, we’ve made a conscious decision to explore the many temples in Bangkok. But, before that, we can’t resist to take a candid shot of Chelle’s back with her WoW power walking O.o Wait for us….


Our Wefie at BRT station (Say cheese!~)



For a first time visit, we opt for Wat Pho, being one of the Bangkok's oldest temple and it existed before Bangkok was established as the capital by King Rama. The name of Wat Pho refers the monastery of the Bodhi tree inn Bodh Gaya, India where Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment. The complex stretches over eight hectares and makes a great place to wander at your leisure.


After reading much review online, we prefer to ride in the Tourist Boat. There is however, not much difference with the local boats except that there is a tour guide who talks about Bangkok attractions and landmarks during the ride and more empty spaces to sit (Cheaper, of course). On our way back, we travel like the locals and stand all the way back but with cheaper fares! On our way, we spotted some picturesque landmarks and some of the international hotels along the way. We stopped at Tha Tien Pier and from the pier, it was a short walk through the market to Wat Pho.



 Some of the local handicrafts on display. 


Try our tastebud on the popular Coconut Ice Cream with nuts toppings #^.^#

Upon reaching Wat Pho temple, we were amazed by the intricate details of the ornate temple roof. Instinctively, we started to click away with the beautiful stupas. Entrance ticket to Wat Pho is 100Baht which includes a bottle of water. Just to note on the opening hours as the temple opening hours are from 8am – 5pm. If you want to do your massage here, there’s an extra hour to spend time on after exploring the place.  




Embark into a spiritual journey
The temple houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, including a 46m long Reclining Buddha. The temple is also the earliest centre for public education in Thailand, and still houses a school of Thai medicine. It is known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage which is still taught and practiced at the temple.




The gold encrusted deco. Wonder how much of gold plates they’ve spent on.


The monks even carried a mobile phone here!




There are 108 bronze bowls in the corridor representing the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. Visitors may drop coins (Which you can purchase at the entrance of the hall) in these bowls as it is believed to bring good fortune, besides serves as contribution to maintain the temple.



The Reclining Buddha has his right arm supporting his head, and his neck being supported by two blue box-pillows which were encrusted with glass mosaics.




Phra Chedi Rai which contains the ashes of the royal family members.



Interior of the “ubosot” (Prayer’s room) of Wat Pho

After strolling along the street, we were led to a nearby coffee shop, with a ramshackle wooden kitchen to have a quick and light dinner. The place serves authentic Thai food at a reasonable price and they even had boat noodles!~


We called off the day but heading to Healthland Asoke at Sukhumvit MRT station. We tried on the aromatherapy oil massage and after waiting for 20 minutes, we were brought to a room with 2 massage beds and an open shower concept. The massage was so-so as it just helped us to relax and did not trigger point therapy competently compared to China massage. Nevertheless, it was considered reasonable price (950Baht) for 90 minutes massage. Perhaps, next time I can try on Traditional Thai Massage (550 Baht) for 2 hour massage which seems to be more worth it! ;) 



Lastly, we had a supper on our way back to our apartment @7-11. Truly impressed by the assortments of ready meals offered there ranging from pork rice & burger to noodle soup and we only need to hand the food to the counter for reheating. How I wish if Malaysia’s 7-E enjoyed the same benefits as well. As the food taste good, us, being cheapskates started to grab our Day 2 breakfast (Ham & Cheese croissant) there as well. My stomach started to growl when i think of my tomato-ish spaghetti *Slurppppssss*


Ok, that’s all for a tiring but fun Day 1 (´`)*✲゚*


XOXO
sassycat

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Day 8 - Paris trip (Louvre Museum)

On our last day in Paris, we tried to relax and slow down to appreciate the beautiful moment in Paris. Today, somehow we woke up to a day with sunshine and just the perfect day for our outing to Louvre Museum – “Memories of the Da Vincci Code”. In Paris, some of the best discoveries are made simply by getting lost in its streets. Subject-in-point : Food!! You simply can’t resist the saliva-dropping baked cheese French toast J This was definitely the best French toast I’ve tasted in my entire life!~ The toast was superb with filling cheese, sandwiched with ham for a just the right amount of ‘kick’! After our leisurely breakfast, we started our journey at the magical Louvre.


An elegant yet full of history setting ^^


Other irresistible French delicacies - Baguettes, croissants, French sandwiches etc.




Before walking to the pyramid, we’ve discovered a quaint little shop selling miniature cartoon and movie cartoon figurines. We were excited looking at the extensive collection and naturally, bring out the inner child in all of us upon looking at the figurines spanning themes from Greek mythology, movie-characters, Marvel characters and other quintessential characters. Enter with an open mind and see what you find! ;)



At Louvre, we truly appreciate the grace of both the building and the crystal pyramids in front of it. What a phenomenal structure! Known as one of the iconic buildings in Paris, the Louvre embraces the mantra that "a place for bringing together monuments of all the sciences and arts". We took opportunity to click non-stop of every nook and corner of the pyramid.





The glass pyramid makes a very good geometric compositions for photography enthusiasts, like us XD




However, we did not go in to the museum upon looking at the queue and we were kinda in a rush. Note: If you are planning to go in the museum, do get a Paris Museum Pass. What we missed was the ever popular Mona Lisa painting and other myriad of artistic creations. Well, at least, I’ve “been there, seen that" (In a way) like most visitors to the Louvre.

We then booked a cab from hotel to airport which took us almost an hour for the taxi to arrive. Apparently, the fees is cheaper and it costs around Eur55 from our hotel to the airport. Upon reaching the airport, I quickly grabbed the infamous Ladurée macarons upon seeing the retail outlet. I was thrilled as i couldn't find the shop earlier on and it was the so-called gold standard of macarons. Probably because there weren't many places offering it, so I had managed to grab afew in the airport for souveniers and to snack on. However, in my opinion, the taste-wise is just so-so compared to Pierre Hermé. Anyhow, just can't resist the eye-candy sweet desserts <3 p="">



Off the radar, in case you are wondering what’s the process for VAT or tax refund (Since Paris is a shopping paradise - home to Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Longchamps), it’s advisable to collect your tax refund before leaving. There is a large sign that says "Tax Refund" the moment you enter the departure hall, pointing to a long line. There are two queues; the first one you need to get your refund documents stamped by custom officer and filled up along with your boarding pass and passport for processing. Just a note, you may need to prepare to show your goods and the original receipt for checking. Anyway, if you are lucky enough, they may not inspect the goods ;) After getting the documents stamped, you will drop the documents into a box provided if you opt for refund into your credit card or you need to join another queue at a different counter to get you cash refund. The queue for cash is shorter but move slower and took us almost an hour plus for the refund. The VAT in France is almost 20% but the refund is only 12% and there is a Eur3 charge for commission (for every claim) by the cash refund counter at the airport.

Wookies, that’s all from Paris! I really do love Paris. Hope that I can come to this place again especially the places I missed out, and off the chance to live here in the future! *dream mode* Till then, au revoir!

XOXO
sassycat 


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Day 7 - Paris trip (Notre-Dame Cathedral, Pont Des Arts & Galleries Lafayette)

On our 2nd day in Paris, we took Metro train again to visit Notre Dame and the attractions along side. Spotted this catchy ad on a cute pink “Empress” cat@Metro station ... Unique jewellery ad!


We grabbed a quick breakfast in a retro old café with authentic Parisian treats. There seems to be an air of novelty in this quaint little cafe. We enjoyed clicking away with the nostalgic decor and the service here was friendly as well. Our affordable breakfast menu with variety of offers. 


                                                        

I’ve decided to tantalise my tastebud early in the morning by trying out Foie Gras (Liver of a duck). It was not too bad for my liking – just that it somewhat left a bad taste in your mouth.


A table full with homely creations ^^



After our hearty breakfast, we continued our journey with another flagship icon which is none other than Notre Dame Cathedral, a gothic façade with 850-years of history. First thing first, an obligatory touristy posing __


We strolled passed some of the historic cathedrals – a façade decked with intricate craftsmanship.


Spotted a Daimler’s smart car. 


The place was swamped with crowd.


Along Notre Dame cathedral lies along the banks of the river and a Seine Cruise. By walking along Seine - there’s alot to see from the Louvre to Notre Dame and Saint Michel. Besides dubbed as City of Lights, Paris is also famed for its myriad of bridges. We took on a leisurely pace to take a stroll along the beautiful bridge. Walking along the bridge (Without any hurry) while enjoying the Parisian breeze, enjoying every one of these places, you will start to fall in love with Paris. #^_^#

We walked past many souvenirs shops. Kitschy paintings on display ^^
Posing in front of the beautiful bridge with my SIL photobombing-phase  ^^lll


The amazing Notre-Dame Cathedral. Can’t resist to do a ballerina pose #^_^#


The word “Notre-Dame” sorts of reminds me of the cartoon “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (THND)” … Yea, it sorts of related but apparently, the church serves as scene for many wonderful Disney cartoons such as the Beauty and the Beast. The church oozes mysterious allure and it’s brilliant for the writer to imagine a beast living in this Gothic church full of interesting and magical details.*^^*)  



Ohwell, what we love the most is to sit down in a beautiful and lush garden behind the church to enjoy the tranquility ^^


And, the best part is to chill while eating ice-cream! Can’t resist the popular Berthillon ice-cream (^_~) v Berthillon is considered the best ice-cream parlor in Paris (Trust me, it was worth the queue)! I had soft serve cone – half mango & half strawberry sorbet *super-duper yummy*


After a short break, we moved along to Pont Des Arts – “Love Lock” bridge in Paris; Lovers leave a padlock to symbolise their love and throw away keys to symbolise their love.




We ended the day with our long-awaited activity: shopping! We reached Gallery Lafayette and were greeted with impeccable service by the shop assistants. 


Awe-inspiring; beauty of stained glass. Wow!

I was walking around Galleries Lafayette and was looking for Pierre Hermé counter (The Pierre Hermé counter is in front of Prada). As usual I’m a sucker for fruity flavours, so, naturally, I went for Passion Fruit and Red Berries macaron. However, I did buy some interesting flavours such as Rose, Caramel, Pistachio, Cinnamon and etc. Crisp shell yet soft and melt-in-your-mouth inside with generous filling ^^

After some shopping, we decided to have dinner at the Chinese restaurant; the bbq pork ribs were juicy and tender. The price was abit on the steep side though but we did not mind to pay abit more for a different meal that night. ;-) Back to hotel, we tucked in early to prepare for our final day in Paris.


XOXO
sassycat