Posts Tagged ‘bangkok’

Short trip to Bangkok

July 19, 2013

I made a short trip to Bangkok last weekend. It was a nice but not so relaxing trip. There’s been the usual shopping spree. Unfortunately, MBK is no longer my favorite shopping place. Everything seemed to be more expensive this time round. The traders there don’t even want to do your business. They just look at you with their sour faces and trying hard not to roll their eyes when you are choosing your things. Well, fuck them. Am never going to step into MBK… ever again.

Went to Platinum Mall. Didn’t know there are actually two buildings. One with more confusing escalators offers pricier things. So, we gotta go back to the “old” building, where there are more cheaper bargains. They really stick to their wholesale price and you can no longer bargain for more discounts. I think it’s rather fair since if you buy at whole sale, it’s already a lot cheaper.

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Maeklong railway station

Things to highlight is probably the trip to Maeklong train market, which is situated some 80km away from Bangkok (about 1.5 hour by car). I guess by going there and witness for yourself how the markets fold up whenever the train is passing through is rather exhilarating! There were rather plentiful of tourists, with their cameras and camcorders all ready for the train. Find it rather amusing as all the Angmohs were standing at the stalls, as if they were manning the counters. The locals are really nice lot. They offer smiles generously even if you don’t buy things from them.

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Train coming through!

We managed to buy some dried goods here, as they were way cheaper compared to Bangkok. We could get about a kilo of flavored anchovies snacks at only 75 baht.

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Floating market

Then we went to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi, about 30 minutes away from the Maeklong railway market. Well, it’s cliche to the max lah this trip. I didn’t like small boats, especially getting in and out of it since I am such a clumsy person! Luckily I didn’t tip over the boat and fall into the opaque river!

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Scorching sun at Ancient Siam!

Lastly, we visited Ancient Siam, about an hour and a half from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Our driver, unfortunately didn’t buckle his seat belt and got pulled over by the police and was issued a summon of 400 baht on the spot. Rather cheap if you ask me.. compared to our RM100 or RM300.. and if you prefer RM50 duit kopi.

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Old barber shop

We could have taken the golf cart if we knew the way but decided against it and hopped on the tram instead. The guide spoke mainly in Thai but since there were more foreigners, she tried her best to speak in her halting English. We asked questions and she managed to answer us in her limited English.

However, the trip was sort of marred by this family of five, parents with three young children. Since the boys were rather boisterous, the father got really irritated and kept shouting at the children, while the mother was all being patient with them. The father kept scolding the two boys for dropping the camera and walking to and fro the tram or even played with the garbage bin. He even scolded his wife. I think our tour guide got a little fed up with them and asked them, “This one monkey or children?” HAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAH. That shut the dad up real good. Even the kids seemed to be behaving after the remark in broken English. I think I laughed really loud when she made the remark. LOL!

This is probably the first time I took BTS train all the way around Bangkok. I hardly took the train whenever I am in Bangkok but this time round, I did so in order to save some traveling time – since BKK is the biggest parking lot due to the terrible jams.. and also to avoid bumping into aggressive tuk tuks which took you for a ride to get their petrol allowances. Haha. I still remember wasting almost 45 minutes going from shops to shops before reaching our intended destination which is just 10 minutes away.

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Asiatique

Ah! There’s this new shopping place as well by the river – Asiatique. It’s a really nice, charming place. I find the industrial design of the place made it sort of unique. It’s rather popular even with the locals. Since Suan Lum night market has been closed some years ago, they decided to bring it back. So, they have it here at Asiatique. To get there, just take the BTS to Saphan Thaksin and take the free ferry. There will be touts asking you to pay 20 baht to skip the queue, which took us almost 30 minutes just waiting for a ferry. Anyway, since we have time, we just waited like the rest of the people to get on the ferry.

We managed to meet up with friends in Bangkok. It was really pleasant to meet friends from Singapore and Hong Kong too. So happened, they made a trip there and we found out we were going to Bangkok at the same time, so arranged for a dinner meet! What a small world! What a coincidence!

All in all, it was a good trip, with good food and bonding time. For more photos, check out my instagram!

The Encounter

July 5, 2011

I am not too sure whether our “encounter” on the last night while in Bangkok was real, or was it merely a figment of our imagination.

I always make sure that I knock the door to my room whenever I stay in a hotel and I knock it every damn day before going in! This time – the last day, we just returned from our endless shopping when Gas Stove stumbled into the room without knocking. I did notice it but I brushed it aside. Anyhow, we had a lovely 2 nights staying there.

Then, the girls took their baths and went for the body massage while I stayed in the room by myself. I started packing to ensure that everything can be packed in my luggage because I didn’t want to carry things around in the airport!

The girls came back and we decided against going for supper. Afterall, it was already 11.30 pm and I don’t think I want to eat anymore since we had a huge dinner – thanks to the chef who initially said, the dumplings were finished but he came with the dumplings anyway and didn’t charge us for them!

So, while the two girls were still chatting, I drifted in between sleep till I finally slept.

I woke up suddenly when I heard noises in the room. It’s like someone was trying to plug the electrical appliance to a socket but failed. So, the noise was rather loud. I was thinking, it might come from another room – since our bed is aligned to the wall next to the room. I woke up and the noise stopped.

I tried to get back to sleep but was disturbed throughout the night. I could hear knockings on the wall, the door, people walking through the passage way. Then suddenly, I heard a woman humming just beside my ears. I was startled and I woke up. Thank God, the humming stopped. Otherwise, I would pee in my pants! The room was cold but I could feel my forehead and neck sweating beads.

I recited whatever things that came across my mind to calm my nerves. Started with, “Namo amitabha” , “the Lord is my Shepherd” and somehow ended singing Ern Ern’s favorite song, “Five Little Ducks” in my head. I wanted to go to the loo badly but I was afraid. It was a relief when I saw the day break through the window, I quickly got up to go to the bathroom.

I didn’t speak of this matter till we were preparing to go home. Gas Stove said, she felt someone was shaking her leg vigorously like how her mom would shake her leg in the morning when she was still in school. The shaking was so hard that it woke her up. She was in a daze and could see there was no one. Then she tried to get back to sleep but felt that someone is pulling her blanket downwards. Since she’s sharing the bed with another friend, if the friend were to pull her blanket, it would be towards her left. She pulled the blanket back up and covered her head and slept. And all these happened within the few hours when I felt something was wrong but both of us didn’t say anything!

Our other roomie didn’t feel or encounter anything, she slept like a log throughout the night. I guess this should be merely games that tired minds are playing! I certainly hope this is my first and last time to encounter such things when I am traveling!

Cabbie Stories

July 4, 2011

Well, we spent third day and fourth day in Grand Palace, Central World and MBK so I guess there’s nothing much to write about except, you people should get English speaking guide when you are in Grand Palace. I went there twice and didn’t even get to know the temple in detail! And it’s free! The thing is you should not follow the guide till out of the Grand Palace because you couldn’t gain entry again. There’s no re-entry after you get out from the temple compound. Part from the guide before he leads you out from the compound to get your 350 Baht worth!

So, am going to write about the cabbies we met in Bangkok. One thing I like about Bangkok is the many, many cabs. Me, being a lazy ass, really hate taking the train because we will need to walk some distance just to get to BTS. I prefer to haul a cab and hop into it to get to where I want to go, without walking in the sun!

Apart from the cab driver who looks like a muay thai boxer, when we got out from Grand Palace, I was smart enough this time not to fall prey on the 5 minutes thingy. We got onto the first cab and woe is us when the guy spoke to us in his haltering English about taking us to shopping places. He said he would charge us only 50 Baht per cab if we agree to follow him to the designated shops for him to get his petrol coupons. Well, I know that we would be going round and round for at least 45 minutes before we could even reach Central World. So, I immediately signal the girls to get down from the cab!

We hop into another cab behind this one and insisted that he uses the meter! The elderly cabbie is a little weird too. He kept on clapping his hands on and off while waiting in the traffic jam. If I didn’t read the book from Dr Chiu-Nan Lai, I would probably think he has gone bonkers! Clapping is actually good to stimulate “chi” or life force throughout the body – for general health maintenance.

He asked us how much the cabbie in front is charging us to take us to Central World from Grand Palace and we told him 50 baht. He said, there is no way! The way to Central World is very jam and usually cabbies would prefer not to go there. So in a way, we should thank him lah – if that’s what he’s fishing for. Haha! It’s funny that, only Gas Stove could understand what he’s talking about coz he didn’t speak a word of English. We communicated via sign language and making weird noises. Haha.

On our way to airport on the last day, we paid 400 Baht for a cab for 3 people. If we want to use the express way, we have to pay additional 60 Baht. Not wanting to risk the jam, we decided to pay for expressway.

One thing is when you are getting out of Bangkok, make sure you get to the airport at least 2 hours before departure. The clearance at immigration is really bottle necked. You would need at least 30 minutes just to pass immigration with many people trying to cut your queues! It’s already our final call when we got into the boarding lounge.

As we landed in Kuala Lumpur, we got into a cab driven by one elderly man in his 60s. We thought of getting some updates on what’s going on in the country while we were gone for four days, only to be filled with stories of some politicians’ sex stories involving rear ends. He made it even more distasteful when he couldn’t stop talking about anal sex and blow jobs throughout the entire journey that we felt damn embarrassed to be sitting in the same taxi as him. We totally ignored him and yet, he couldn’t stop mumbling happily about it. I wonder if he would say the same thing if he’s fetching male customers. Since he’s old (dirty old bastard!) and if he tries to do anything funny or perverted, I am positive that I could overpower him anytime – kicked him out of his own cab and drove home myself!

Big Milk

July 2, 2011

The second day was spent mostly in shopping, which is actually one of the reason I made a trip to Bangkok. Our friend suggested that we go to Jatujak or JJ, as coined by the locals early to avoid the hot sun. When we got there around 9 am, most shops were still not open. We are not sure whether it is because it was a pre-election weekend, hence not all stalls were opened or was it because we were too early?

The buying started to spiral into frenzy when the girls found some dresses at only 100 Baht each. Imagine buy 10 dresses and having to pay only RM100 for all of it! And you get to wear them to formal dinners all throughout the year without fretting what to wear or spend a bomb just to buy one dress to be worn for one wedding/formal dinner!

The girls went on and on buying everything from dresses to pants, to belts, aromatherapy stuffs, and stationary (me only lah, since I couldn’t find anything that fit me here!) and of course, mata kucing (longan). The mata kucing is damn cheap here. My mom said, in KL, a kg would fetch at least RM60. I bought 1kg of longan at 450 Baht only. If you cook and would like to make soup using sotong (in hokkien it’s called jiu hu) – it’s rather cheap too, selling at 350 baht per kg as opposed to RM50 back in Malaysia. I didn’t buy any coz I couldn’t remember how much was it!

As the girls were too busy looking at clothes, I was waiting for them when a group of monk came my way. I saw people giving donations – even Thais who are manning shops, so I guess it’s safe to give them some money. I put some into their donation box when they walked by me and suddenly, the 3 younger monks chanting a blessing rather loudly in front of me. I was taken by surprise! I thought it was really hilarious because it’s like advertising you just donated to them. Geez… prefer to do it in a more quiet way.. I guess I will just stick to donating in temples!

After getting lost in Jatujak for a few hours, we decided to hit the mall for places with air conditioners! Actually visiting Bangkok in June is kinda ideal because it was cooling – a little bit of sun, mainly cloudy and it was really windy, with a splatter of rain once awhile. We managed to make our way to Platinum Mall taking a ride in cab. The cabbie wore a towel around his head. He looked like some muay thai boxer. I didn’t get a good look at him because the seat in front was too near to the wind shield and I didn’t even get to adjust the seat when he stepped on the gas. Cabbies here drive like they are always in a hurry, but the thing is, it’s always jam so… I simply don’t understand lor, what’s the rush? Haha.

The girls said, whenever we were stuck in a jam, the cabbie would keep looking into a small mirror to check out if there’s any food stuck in his teeth. Disgusting! LOL! I didn’t notice coz I was sitting too near to the wind screen!

I haven’t been to Platinum Mall but was told that, we could get all kinds of things here. It looked like Sg Wang to me – but more crowded. The girls didn’t actually find the things they want. Of course, things in Jatujak are definitely cheaper compare to Platinum Mall and the quality is better. So, we have to pay a higher price for better quality stuffs. You can only get things cheaper if you buy two items and above. They would normally give you 10 – 20% discount if you buy a second piece. A friend told me, they would only give discount if you buy 3 items and above but I guess things had changed.

The sizes in Thailand are a little tricky though. If you are wearing M, be prepared to buy L or XL here because even a small petite girl like a Thai lass we met is wearing L. So, when Gas Stove found out she was wearing L, she asked for XL size. We asked the girl’s mom who is manning the shop – why her daughter is so petite, yet she wore such big size, her mom answered, “She big milk!” HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!! Meaning she has big breasts! It was hilarious!

Then another group of young girls came to a shop and I overheard them complaining in Cantonese – “Shit! She said I wear L worr! Godamn it!” She cannot accept that she is wearing L.

I wanted to chip in to say – “Hello? I no size?” Hahahaha!

It was damn funny when Gas Stove purposely teased the shop owners if they have anything in my size (meaning XXXXXXL). Terrible! It was actually quite hilarious to see their faces when they were put in such awkward position to tell me the truth! Haha! However, they always managed to stay polite and utter in their limited English, “No size, Maam.”

After almost 10 hours of shopping like mad person, we went back to hotel to unload our shopping for the day. It was shocking to see how many things we have bought and all for only Rm300 to Rm400 – can you imagine? Haha! We can stretch our ringgit here to the max! It’s no surprise that Bangkok is a shopping haven for us, Malaysians. Our Thai friend said – you will spend at least 5,000 baht at Platinum Mall. Naah.. we spent more money in Jatujak! Look here!

This is only the first day of shopping….

We took a quick shower and took the BTS to Onnut. The nearest BTS station to Aor’s house in Bangna. Aor came to fetch us to her local favorite restaurant. We had the most delicious meal in Thailand! We ordered the tofu with spring onions, stir fried lala with basil leaves, tom yum (something similar to tom yum but not tom yum or kheng som, not sure what is it called!), Kai Yeaw Ma – Pad Ga Pao (minced pork with century egg and basil leaves), calamari in salted egg and a plate of vege. It only costs us 370 baht!

We went to have dessert after that. It’s like some Thai style lin chee kang and it was really nice!

We bid Aor good bye by 11.30 pm – since BTS closed at 12 am, we made our way home after we took a short ride to see the new Suan Lum night market.

Bangkok Revisited

June 30, 2011

Sorry for lack of updates. I just got back from Bangkok yesterday. It was such a blissful trip! Hehe! Anyway, to cut the long story short, I was there for a short visit and some shopping. I guess I need a break after six months of working non stop.

We were lucky this time because we got our colleague in Bangkok to take us around for meals on weekend. At least, we get to sample really good local Thai food at places frequented by locals only.

Aor picked us up from the airport and took us to her favorite restaurant for some crispy roast pork and duck. Try eating it with cold coconut lime – it was heavenly! We went to Wat Arun since I didn’t visit this place the last trip in 2009 and it was one of my favorite temples in Bangkok. We took a boat from behind Grand Palace and paid only 4 baht each person to get across. I didn’t even know it’s that near!

The funny part was to find out how Thai people park their cars. Since there’s always space constraints, they would normally double park and don’t pull their hand brakes – I think like the French. When people want to get out, the parking attendant would help push the car to let the car inside to get out.

Also, people in Thailand are normally warm (except for an assistant in Naraya with overly sour face) – they greet each other and when you pay for your goods or food, they would offer you salute by cupping both hands like a lotus flower.

Demon god at Wat Arun

The fun part of going to Wat Arun – on our way there, Aor was worried we might be dehydrated due to the hot weather and told us to drink coconut water. We bought a coconut each. I thought we would be standing or sitting to finish the drink first before we hop on the boat, but were sent walking in hasty manner towards the ferry. It was really funny to think that there were 4 girls holding a coconut each and walking hastily towards the pier! And the coconuts were super heavy!

Buddha at Wat Arun – the Hindu and Chinese influence

We got into Wat Arun for free – we actually saved 50 Baht each because Aor spoke to the ticketing officer and gestured us in. Haha! We made up by giving donations at the many donation boxes in the temple and prayed for good health.

Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

After visiting the magnificent Wat Arun, we took the boat back to Grand Palace and walked towards Wat Pho. Here, we were told that the place is where all the masseurs in the whole of Bangkok learn Thai massage. There’s a dual charging system – locals pay only 200 Baht for 1 hour massage but foreigners have to pay 220 Baht for half hour massage. For truly traditional Thai massage, you can come here to try. We didn’t because we haven’t taken our baths since morning because we have yet to check into our hotel!

At Wat Pho, the reclining Buddha’s compound, we could take a bowl of loose coins and placed them in the many alms bowls aligned behind the Buddha leading towards the door. Aor said, we could make a wish then, slowly place the coins till the very last coin in the last alms bowl to ensure our wish is fulfilled!

Monk at Wat Pho

Then, another funny incident happened. As Aor was demonstrating how to lock the door at the ancient door of Wat Pho, she couldn’t open the door again. So Gas Stove tried to help her but they couldn’t get the latch to come out from the hole, which we think was rather weird. There was no lock or hook whatsoever in the hole but somehow, we couldn’t manage to remove the latch. Luckily, there were other doors exiting the temple’s compound.. if not, we would probably have to spend the night in the compound where ashes of people were being buried underneath the many stupas and chedis around the temple compound.. creepy!

Kanabnum Restaurant for the locals

Then, we made our way to Kanabnum Restaurant for dinner, one of Aor’s favorite restaurants beside the Chao Phraya river and Sang Hee Bridge. We let her do the ordering since she’s the expert and we ended having a scrumptious dinner. The green curry chicken is a must order – to be eaten with rice vermicelli. The sweet sour fish with cashew nuts is also nice, so was the phad thai. And don’t forget the pork satay! They were delicious! The steamed snake fish in special sauce was okay but it didn’t suit my taste bud. But I could see it being ordered on almost every table in the restaurant, so I guess it’s a specialty!

Egg omelet with smelly vegetables, phad thai, snake fish in special sauce and green curry chicken

After enjoying our dinner, talking about Thai politics (Aor is a Thaksin supporter!) and horoscopes, we made way to Erawan, to give our offerings to the four faced Buddha. Aor told us to ensure that we make wish carefully as it will come true and exactly what we hoped for. I guess she was right. I did made a wish some 6 years ago when I was there and I somehow think, the gods must have fulfilled it, so this time, I merely offer jossticks, flowers and candles as a symbol of gratitude.

One of the many campaign banners in Bangkok

Then on our way to our hotel, Aor passed by the Suan Lum park – where Suan Lum night market was (it has been relocated to Bangna) she showed us the night street walkers coming out to work. We were told that the lady boys would be standing at one side and women prostitutes on the other. We managed to spot a few lady boys in their skimpiest dress. We were told that some girls went into prostitution willingly, not because they are poor. They just want to earn money the quick way. Not all women are forced to work in prostitution – contrary to what we used to believe.

We thanked Aor for the lovely day and we wouldn’t have known so much about Thai culture if not because of her! We check into our hotel late, by midnight. It was pre-election weekend hence, there’s no alcohol being served for the night.


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