Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day 2 - Bangkok trip (Jim Thompson house, Siam Square, Siam Center & Route 66)

On Day 2, we’ve planned our itinerary on sightseeing first before embarking on shopping & dining activities. I’m so glad Chelle introduced us to Jim Thompson’s (JT) house. Having visited Wat Pho on Day 1, this is a great place for people to learn more of Thai cultural with mix of history, mystery and luxury. Surprisingly, the entrance fees is just as affordable; 150 Baht (About RM18/ticket). Really worth it! Especially, if you would like to explore on a well-preserved traditional wooden Thai houses along with Thai art and antiques.

Completed in 1959, the house (Now a museum) used to be a dream home to the legendary “Thai Silk King”; an American expatriate. JT was recognised for his exceptional contribution to the Thai Silk industry by turning them into a global business. Being a former architect, the wooden house was refurbished and connects six traditional Thai-style building made from teak wooden house. They were sourced from various sites in Thailand and reassembled on site by JT himself. Once you’ve stepped in the house, you’ll be amazed by the intricacy of the design and the home was filled with antiques and art (In fact, every nook and corner!) brought in from different parts of the world. A rich merchant indeed! $.$ A photo of us at the so-called "Chatuchak":-

Sadly, in 1967, JT disappeared mysteriously while holidaying in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Apparently, he was missing when exploring the jungle during daytime. Rumour has it that he’s the precursor to CIA and the story unfolds. Until today, no one knows what happened to him. But, one thing for sure, his legend lives on!

We were greeted by the sight of two pretty Thai ladies in their traditional costume were demonstrating silk weaving. Too bad we missed the graceful Thai dancing. Few nice lotus flowers in the house.

We, then, signed up for a 45-minute tour with a soft-spoken guide who brought us to tour around the compound of the houses while showing to us JT’s collection of arts and antiques. The design of the staircases and doors are raised on stilts and is open-concept to allow natural ventilation and circulation, a novel way of traditional Thai houses. The hand-carved teak structure combines with cool feel of the marble floor is the perfect juxtaposition of traditional meets with modernity. 

The antique collection which includes ceramic (Blue-and-white porcelain from China, Benjarong ware), sculpture and paintings were preserved for visual delights.

Near the ticket counter, there’s a pond with some fishes in it. It’s a tranquil oasis for us to stroll around. Nearby there’s a gift shop bearing JT’s products which is made from printed and woven Thai silk but we didn’t purchase any as the price is slightly on the steep side.

After sightseeing, here comes the exciting part: Shopping! Before that, here’s a picture of Bangkok Art & Culture Center:-

We stopped for a fast lunch nearby Siam Square. Lunch @Inter Restaurant. The price here is very reasonable. Our 5 dishes only cost 710 Baht (About RM85). Loving their “Som Tum” and their grilled pork neck was among one of my favourite dishes. The green curry was yummy too. We felt local when dining in this restaurant. Hopefully, the place remains humble just the way it is and we’ll definitely pay a visit to this restaurant next time! But, here are some of photos along our way!


With nothing much to do, we then head to Siam Square, a shopping haven for ladies and especially to students. It’s popular place to hang around for students due to the cheaper price and the fashion which suits young ladies & guys. It’s also a paradise for picking up gifts. Oh well, since I missed out Hello Kitty café, here’s a photo of me posing in front of the Khao Manee cat instead. It’s the Thai version of the Japanese Maneki-neko cat ^.^v

Siam Square kinda reminds me of Wu Fen Pu in Taiwan, a wholesalers’ district jam-packed with heaps of clothes. But too bad, I did not get many stuffs here… Just some cosmetics at Beautrium & NYX and afew accessories at the street later.

Along the way, we’ve spotted some colourful advertisement for the milkshake (Quite interesting huh?) but we did not try and settled for a simple Holly’s cafe. Tried their sweet potato latte. Too sweet for my liking eh? But, no worries, selfie first!

Local shops at Siam Square. Trendy clothes ranging from cutsie tops to hippy fashion, the hundreds of shops cater for all! (*^^*

We stopped awhile later for an afternoon tea (Hi-tea like a tai tai but with very reasonable price). Tried our tastebud on the Amor Bangkok Bakery Café cakes. I ordered Strawberry cake (My usual choice) while Chelle preferred a local flavour; Pandan coconut cake *yummy* Tried a spoon and the taste of Pandan and coconut cake just oozed into my mouth and lingered for awhile *unforgettable* 

It rained cats and dogs that evening and I thought to look for an umbrella in one of the licensed merchandise shops at Siam Square. To my surprise, the cheapest umbrella (Coincidentally, it’s Hello Kitty) costs a whopping 850 Baht (About RM100). No wonder Chelle dashed out from the shop faster than me. Ohwell, we were lucky to find a covered walkway which connects Siam Square to Siam Center (How thoughtful!).

In contrast to Siam Square, Siam Center is more high-class-ish shopping place with many high-end boutiques in the central of Bangkok. With the cutting-edge, unusual design, they are aiming with young and hip with its largest Forever 21 in Thailand, Steve Madden shoes, Nike, Accessorize, SuperDry, Levis etc. One boutique, however, captured my attention as it was bustling with crowd. It was their local designer brand, Lyn Around, selling alot of dreamy dresses with whimsical touch. A girly-whirly kinda dress. Most importantly, they were having members sale that day. I was trying my luck by picking up afew blouses and queued up to see if I got the chance to enjoy the same privilege and Whooila! The sales assistants were kind enough to allow me with the same discounts upon borrowing the member card from the person who was queuing behind me. What a lucky day! A great steal at just 850 Baht (About RM100/blouse). My shopping haul photos on my last entry ya’ 

I’ve also managed to find Sephora to look for my usual Fresh Soy eye-makeup remover and they asked if I wanted to be charged in home currency. I preferred to be charged in Baht as apparently, it will be cheaper to be charged in THB (But, anyhow, it still depends to the bank conversion charges). The top floor of Siam Center servers alot of eateries and we took our chance to relinquish our hunger pang by having our dinner at Som Tam Nua; dubbed the Urban Eateries of Bangkok. It’s popular with Bangkok’s young and the interior is as eclectic. It’s our first time trying on northeastern Thai cuisine; not too bad for our liking as the taste is unique and again! We ordered Som Tam (Papaya Salad) and their fried chicken was equally amazing; Crispy on the outside and juicy in the inside. Overall, Siam Center is the mall to look for designers clothing, cool hangouts and quirky art to keep a fashionistas happy and glad that the malls are connected to each other yet iconic at the same time. 

At the end of the day, we took Uber back to our Air BnB before embarking to night life in Bangkok. We changed into new attire and googled for recommended clubs in Bangkok and the review for Route 66 (RCA) was rather good so we decided to head off to that club. Entrance fees was only 300 Baht (About RM35) worth of drinks, so, basically the entrance fees is free as you’ll get for a free drink in exchange. I’d prefer the live band at The Novel (Live Band) as it was more lively with great live band performances and eye-candy male singers as well #^.^# Me and Chelle sneaked into The Classic (House/Techno) and The Level (R&B) as well but we found it to be squeezy and super crowded with a lot of “lalas” so we ended back to The Novel. There was alot of good-looking Korean boys though #^.^# 

That's all for a super tiring Day 2 (´`)**


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*