Last day in Bangkok, Curry Crab, Don Muang

For our last day in Bangkok, we enjoy a slow paced day. We had breakfast in the hotel, packed our bags, checked out almost noon, took BTS to Siam, had curry crab for lunch at Somboon Seafood at Siam Square One. We also had duck web noodle at a chinese restaurant before taking BTS to Mo Chit Station. From Mo Chit, we took bus 29 to Don Muang Airport. At Don Muang, we had our dinner before boarding our flight at 18.20 pm. We arrived at Singapore at 9.40pm.

Curry Crab from Somboon Seafood Restaurant

Date visited: 14 July 2014

Bangkok Wat Arun, Mookata, Baiyoke Sky Hotel

We started our day quite late today. We had breakfast at hotel and a short swim in the swimming pool. We then took BTS to Saphan Taksin. The ferry is just outside BTS station. We bought the day pass of the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat for 150 baht. The waiting time was quite long, however the tour guide instruction and the map were very clear. Our first stop was Grand Palace. However, after realising that Grand Palace was so huge and the admission was quite expensive (400 baht), and it was already 2pm and our boat only operates until 5pm, we decided to give Grand Palace a miss. We then took the boat to Wat Arun and spend some time exploring the area. About 4.30pm, we left Wat arun and went back to Saphan Taksin.

River City
Scene during boat ride
Wat Arun
Crossing Ferry
Entrance of Wat Arun
Wat Arun carvings
View from Wat Arun

After that, we took BTS to Victory Monument to have mookata dinner. It was unlimited food for THB 149/person, but you need to pay more for drinks and ice. We ate until we couldn’t take anymore food. After satisfying our food, we decided to take BTS to Phaya Thai, then changed to Airport Link and took the train to Ratchaprarop. From there we walked to Baiyoke Sky Hotel. It was raining but we were determined to see Bangkok from its tallest building. Upon reaching Baiyoke Sky, we were informed that rooftop observation deck (84th floor) is closed due to rain, however we still can visit the indoor observation deck (77th floor). We decided to proceed and bought the ticket to observation deck which includes free drink at the Rooftop Bar (83th floor). We started our Baiyoke observation journey at 77th floor, then we tried to go to 84th floor. It was actually open, and they provided free umbrellas. We made 2 rounds on the revolving deck before coming down to 83th floor to enjoy our drink. Around 11pm, we decided to go back hotel with cab. We paid 180 baht from Baiyoke Sky to Imm Fusion Hotel.

Mookata dinner at Victory Monument
Mookata restaurant
View from 84th storey revolving observation deck at Baiyoke Sky
Bangkok wat arun, chao phraya boat, mookata, baiyoke sky hotel, Thailand
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Date visited: 13 July 2014

Ayutthaya Temples, Bangkok, Chatuchak Weekend Market

We started our day with a bowl of boat noodle for breakfast along Naresuan Road. We rented bicycle for whole day from our hotel, and we were making our way to Wat Maha That when we spotted boat noodle stall. In Wat Maha That, we witnessed the famous Head of the Sandstone Buddha Image. From there, we continued to Wat Phra Ram and witnessed elephants on the way. After that, we went to Wat Phra Si Sanphet. It happens that 11th and 12th July are Thailand’s national public holiday, related to religious event, therefore all the temples admissions are free of charge in Ayutthaya. At the same time, all shops are prohibited from selling alcohol.

Boat noodle along Naresuan Road
Free admission for the day
The Head of the Sandstone Buddha Image in Wat Maha That
Buddha statue in Wat Maha That
Ruins in Wat Maha That
Elephant rides for tourists
Wat Phra Ram
Wat Phra Ram
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Temple near Wat Phra Si Sanphet

After 3 temples visit, it was already noon. So we head back to hotel, and had some ice cream at Swensen’s near our hotel. We then took our bag and went to Chao Phram market to take minivan back to Bangkok. In Bangkok, honestly, I didn’t know where the minivan dropped us. There were no BTS or MRT nearby, there’s only chaotic roadside market. We were walking back and forth without aim. Finally, fortunately, we saw bus 29. We knew that bus 29 would go to Mo Chit BTS station, so we took the bus. It did bring us to Mo Chit BTS after almost like an hour of journey. The best thing is, it’s so cheap, about 6.50 baht.

From Mo Chit BTS, we walked to Chatuchak weekend market with our backpacks. It was really a great market. We did some shopping and had a lot of street snacks before eventually took MRT and BTS to our hotel at Imm Fusion (BTS: On Nut) that we booked from Agoda. At night, we did some groceries shopping at Tesco and had some massage at opposite of our hotel.

Fishball from Chatuchak Market, 4 pcs for 20 baht only
Visiting Ayutthaya temples, Thailand
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Date visited: 12 July 2014

Visiting Ayutthaya via Bangkok

So I’m back again in Bangkok after 2.5 years! This time, I’m travelling to Ayutthaya as well. Me and my travel partner will spend 4 days in total.

Our flight SIN-DMK

Our journey started early morning of Friday, 11 July 2014. Our flight was scheduled at 10.55 am from Singapore and we arrived at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport at 12.20 noon. We took the express bus A1 to Mo Chit BTS Station for THB 30/person. The price is quite steep compared to public bus, however taking this bus will give you assurance that you will arrive at Mo Chit BTS Station and that you won’t miss out the destination. If you are taking public bus, you need to be very aware of the stops in order not to miss Mo Chit BTS Station. Upon arriving at Mo Chit BTS, we asked the bus staff how to go to Mo Chit Bus Terminal. Little did we know that actually bus A1 also head to Mo Chit 2 Northern & Northeastern Bus Terminal. So the staff told us to just sit down and they’d bring us to bus terminal.

Bangkok Nothern & Northeastern Bus Terminal / Mo Chit 2

At bus terminal, we went to the information counter to ask which bus we can take to Ayutthaya. He said there’s no more bus at that time, there’s only minivan. We felt suspicious. So we asked around bus counters and everyone was telling us to take minivan. So we exited the building, went further inside and found the place where minivans are parked. We later found out that the minivans were heading to other cities, but it dropped us at one of the main roads in Ayutthaya. The bus staff “passed” us to an “illegal” taxi driver. We took his taxi after haggling. It turned out we were charged pretty steep price for a short distance. But it was the only choice we have because I had no idea where we were dropped at.

Fast forward, we checked in Ayothaya Hotel that we booked from Agoda. After checking in and taking rest, we set off to look for lunch. We walked along Pamaphrao Road towards west and found some street food. Our first food was wanton noodle, followed by beef noodle, and whatever street food that we found. After food, we decided to walk to Railway Station because read that bicycle rental is very cheap at that area. However from U-thong road, there were no bridge or whatsoever option to cross the river to the Railway station, hence we returned to hotel to rest. At night, we rented bicycle from our hotel and went to Bang Lan Night Market. We ate pretty much everything that we found interesting, including insects (which my travel partner found interesting!).

Wanton noodle stall along Pamaphrao Road
Our first food in Ayutthaya: wanton noodle
No way to cross the river to railway station
The road with canal
Roads in Ayutthaya
Roads in Ayutthaya
Fried insects from night market
Visiting Ayutthaya via Bangkok
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Date visited: 11 July 2014

Bangkok Central World, Pratunam Market, Meeting with Family

On the last day of my solo trip, I decided to stroll further to Central World. I was greeted by crowd of decorations for the new year celebration. From Central World, it’s pretty easy to walk to Pratunam Market.

Central World Bangkok
Central World Bangkok
“Journey of Happiness”
Countdown to New Year 2013
Rehearsal
Tiger Beer Camp
Prayer House in front of Central World
River
Traffic near Pratunam
Traffic near Pratunam
Human Traffic
Giving way to the car

In late afternoon, I went back to hostel, took my backpack and made my way to DMK airport via public train and bus, to meet my sisters, uncle and his family, as well as the tour group from Medan. From airport, we were transferred with bus to dinner and then to our hotel at Prince Palace.

Christmas tree in hotel
Hotel entrance
Prince Palace Parking Lot
Festive Desk
Now THIS is FESTIVE!
Missed a chance to drink at this bar! It closed too soon!
Bangkok Central World and Pratunam Market, Thailand
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Date visited: 27 Dec 2012

Museum of Contemporary Art Bangkok and Jim Thompson House

The train arrived late in Bangkok, therefore I had breakfast on the train, and it feels good.

Upon reaching Hualamphong station in Bangkok, I took public train to Siam, and then walked to Lub d Hostel. I was lucky because I walked in and there is available bed for me for the night. After checking in, I took shower in their clean and comfortable toilet. My friend recommended this hotel to me and I must say that the location is very good. I can easily walk to Museum of Contemporary Art Bangkok and MBK.

The museum is quite big, I had to spend a good 4 hours in it, including lunch in a Japanese restaurant. I really enjoyed the museum.

Looks like a comfortable chair
Menu of the japanese restaurant
Udon and coke!
Mud splash
Mud bath
Railing decoration
Levitating statue
Awesome work
Dolls
Teaching
Delicate work
Exhibition by HRH Princess Maha Chaki Sirindhorn
Cool space in the museum

After museum, I decided to visit Jim Thompson House because it is within the vicinity and I could easily walk to the house. The admission ticket has included compulsory guided tour.

Public bus in Bangkok
Taxi in Bangkok
Tuk Tuk in Bangkok
Jim Thompson House Museum
In front of Jim Thompson House
Silk Cocoon
Silk threads
Silk
Lotus
Traditional dance performance
Meeting point for guided tour
Prayer House
Restaurant
Dining by the pond
My yummy early dinner: coconut, fried garlic chicken and rice

At night, I decided to see what is there at Siam, since Siam is so near from my hostel. Turns out, it was a very happening area. There was even some concert at an open area.

Happy new year 2013 in 5 days
Santa Clause is still there after Xmas
Lights and lights
Night lights
Near concert area
Bangkok Museum of Contemporary Art and Jim Thompson House, Thailand
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Date: 26 December 2012

Christmas and Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai

We started our Christmas day with magnificent view from the camp site. Clouds in front of our eyes and beautiful sunrise. It’s beyond magical.

Woke up to this view : Magical!
Sea of mountains
Morning glory

We then drove down for lunch at a local noodle shop. Afterwards we drove to an elephant camp.

Lunch
Watching elephant feeding from up close
Elephant show
Baby elephant =D
Elephants soccer match
Elephant’s Got Talent
Drawing Mountain
And drawing is almost done!
Art transaction
Poster boy

Then we drove to train station of Chiang Mai. I said goodbye to my friends and took the overnight train back to Bangkok, while they drove back to Bangkok.

Chiang Mai Train Station
Purple trains
Place to catch some dinner
Snacks stall
Seat by day. It will be turned into lower berth by night.
Wonderful sunset during the train journey
Elephant camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Date visited: 25 December 2012

Camping in Huai Nam Dang Chiang Mai

My original plan for Chiang Mai was straight up: temples and old town. However I was so blessed to have met my friend and to have them accompanied me in Chiang Mai because I get to visit places I never thought I would have visited otherwise.

After breakfast,we went to convenient store to buy snacks and drinks for our trip. Subsequently, we drove to Huai Nam Dang National Park. Upon reaching, we had nice thai lunch at a traditional restaurant at the mountain. Afterwards, we had coffee at a roadside cafe. I bought a box full of strawberries for a very cheap price. Then we parked the car near the camp site and enjoyed the fresh air and waited for sunset. At night, it was very cold. It’s important to bring along jacket, scarf, socks and blanket.

The restaurant with nice thai lunch
Fried Rice
The view from our seat
The place we had coffee
One of the camp site
Camp Ground – 1,700 MSL
Approaching sunset
Sun rays
There’s a sunshine behind every cloud
The Moon
Camping in Huai Nam Dang, Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Date visited: 24 Dec 2012

Chiang Mai For The First Time

I’ve known about Chiang Mai from a tv series that I watched when I was in high school. So I decided I have to visit this city this time.

The passenger next to me told me that the bus will stop at 2 places: Arcade bus station and bus office. It reached Arcade at 6am. I saw a taxi counter at the terminal, so I decided to drop at terminal and took taxi because I don’t have Chiangmai maps and I don’t know how public transport works in Chiang Mai. The taxi ride was about 150 baht for less than 10 minutes! The driver offered me to rent his taxi for 3 hours to Doi Suthep temple on the mountain for 900 baht. If I convert to sgd, it’s not that bad. But I’m travelling on a budget, so I told him I will think about it first. Upon reaching Chiang Mai Plaza hotel, I stored my luggage and browsed internet to research about how to go to Doi Suthep. Many people recommended taking red car to Chiang Mai Zoo then take another red car to Doi Suthep. So I did them. 50 baht and 40 baht for each trip (good value of money again!)

I reached doi suthep about 9am. Had a cup of corn for breakfast. The weather wasn’t as cool as I expected. I had to climb some stairs before reaching the temple. Spent a few hours (about 3 hours) there and didn’t feel like going back down. I just love the temple. It’s so peaceful up there. After 12 noon, I went down unwillingly.

Entrance at Doi Suthep
Receiving Blessing
Buddha statues
Prayer Procedure
Group photo
Performance at Doi Suthep
Monks and camera
Way down from temple
Children with traditional costume

On the way down the stairs, I ate bird’s fried eggs and pork skin. Guess what, I love love love the pork skin so much! Oh I love Thailand. I enjoyed the pork skin during the red car ride to the city. The red car was supposed to bring me to North gate of old city for 60 baht, but it didn’t stop at the gate and I have no idea which gate was north gate. Thus I stayed in the car until it went inside old city. When I saw restaurants, I got down.

It was Wat Phan on where I stopped. Visited the temple for a while before walking to nearby restaurants. Saw a massage place that offer massage for 150 baht/hr, I was so excited. Unfortunately it was very crowded and no masseur was available at that time. So I booked appointment for 45 mins later and had my lunch while waiting. After the massage, I went back to hotel to rest.

At night, my friend picked me up from the hotel and we went toΒ Kantoke PalaceΒ for dinner. We had a few dishes that are refillable. My favorite dish is fried pork skin, no doubt. In the middle of dinner, there were traditional dance performances. The main visitor demographic is tourist, especially those in tour groups. It was a great place to have dinner.

Food at Kantoke Palace
Performance at Kantoke Palace
Performance at Kantoke Palace

After dinner, we went to the Night Market. There were so many things that were sold in the market. There were fried insects too! I was particularly interested in iphone cases and recycled paper notebook, so I bought them. In addition, I also bought “Aladdin pants” and warm socks to be used when I spend the night on the mountain the next day!

Fried Cricket
Visiting Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Date visited: 23 Dec 2012

Shopping in Chatuchak and Going to Chiang Mai

What’s the best thing to do in Bangkok on weekend? Shopping.

Chatuchak market is only open on weekend and it’s very popular for tourist. I decided to pay a visit. I checked out around 11am, stored my luggage with the bellboy and took MRT to Chatuchak. Chatuchak park was very beautiful on a sunny day. I wanted to make it my phone’s background picture. I had lunch at the exit gate of the park. One thing I learn from the lunch: Thai fried rice is awful, and Thai friend chicken is incredible. The market is a few metres from the park. It was a huge market, with people selling so many things. From clothes, accessories, food, beers, drinks, antiques, live pets, fresh vegetable and meats, etc.

Chatuchak Park
Chatuchak Park

I had so much fun shopping for clothes and accessories. It was so cheap that I didn’t bother to bargain. Belt for 50 baht (2 sgd). Short pants for 50 baht. Shirt for 100 baht. I almost went crazy. But of course there are clothes that are more than 200 baht. I didn’t try coconut ice cream and I regret. It was very popular and cheap: 30 baht! Goshhhh Bangkok is heaven!!

Chatuchak Market

Tired after shopping under the sun, I took BTS to Siam for some air-conditioner. Had a short wandering in Siam Paragon before making my way back to hotel. Upon reaching hotel, the pickup driver has been waiting for me at the lobby impatiently. It was only 4.50 or 4.55 pm. The agreed pick up time was 5.00pm for the overnight bus. Anyway I rushed to the taxi with my shopping goods and rucksack.

Black Canyon Coffee while waiting for the bus

The driver dropped me off at Indra Travel instead of Mo Chit bus terminal. I was confused, but the travel agency people convinced me that the bus is indeed leaving from that place. So I had my dinner at a mall opposite the travel agency. Had KFC, tried the lime spicy chicken, and it was weird. Bought 2gb sd card for 200 baht. Had coffee at Black Canyon Coffee while writing down my new year resolutions. Eventually, boarded the bus at 8pm. It wasn’t a very VIP bus afterall, there could be 40-50 or more people. Then it struck me: this is a private bus, not government VIP bus that’s recommended by other travelers! Argh. The bus stopped frequently on highway, the journey was bumpy and I got motion sick because of it, the passengers couldn’t stop chatting though it’s been 1.30am. It wasn’t a good bus ride for me but thankfully I could sleep peacefully after 2am.

First time in Chatuchak, Bangkok, Thailand
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Date visited: 22 Dec 2012