Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ivy's Travel: Bangkok Pattaya Diary [Part 1]


This year's CNY the whole family decided to not celebrate the old tradition in town, and since it's sort of long weekend, we flew to Bangkok.

Honestly few weeks before our departure date, I was really not in the mood of traveling. With the stress over house renovation, the almost everyday heavy rain and with Mom constantly worrying about flying, there was time when I really did call my travel agent to just cancel the whole tickets, if not because the penalty would be too much, I'd prefer to just cancel it. But all that moody thing completely gone the moment we reached Bangkok.

Mom has always have her fear of flying. Her farthest destination was years ago to several countries in Europe and after that she swore to never be on such long flight again. We both hate flying, but unlike her, mine is because I'm air sick. I always get nausea and irritated everytime I get on board, economy or business. I so hope someday a genius scientist will make Doraemon's anywhere door into reality.

DAY 1 (SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT - AMARI WATERGATE PRATUNAM BANGKOK)

The six of us took the same airline with different flights. Yes, Mom's rule. Ever since we were mature enough to be on separate flights, Mom has always have this rule. Separate flights or either of us are flying. 

Hubs and I took later flight, when we reached Bangkok it was almost 9 plus another hour to reach our hotel, so day one practically was only airport and hotel. 

We stayed at Amari Watergate Pratunam and it was such a pleasant hotel to stay. Basically for me, I always prefer to stay at either Pratunam or Siam area. 


We booked the grand deluxe room for each couple. The room was modern with a view over looking Petchburi road, neat and has one of the most comfortable beds. Everyone has its own take when it comes to hotel, mine is it needs to be near public transport and busy area with shopping mall or restaurants nearby and Amari's location couldn't be better. Just across Platinum Fashion Mall, 7 minutes walking distance to Central World Plaza and 2 minutes away from Pratunam Market. If you plan to stay at Pratunam area, Amari is so recommended.

DAY 2 (DAMNOENSADUAK FLOATING MARKET, AMPHAWA FLOATING MARKET, SOMBOON SEAFOOD & SIAM PARAGON

DAMNOEN SADUAK FLOATING MARKET

Bangkok has quite a few of floating markets. The most popular one is DamnoenSaduak, located around 1.5 hours from the city. We rent a one day cab ride (2,000 bath/ day) so I don't really clear on how to reach the place with public transport. Seeing the place is out of the city and is quite secluded, I think the only transport to come here is by taxi. 

DamnoenSaduak is a morning floating market which open from 8am - 12noon only, earlier visit is highly recommended. Floating market in Bangkok comes with two types, one only can reach by riding the boat, another one can be by foot. DamnoenSaduak is the type of market you can only explore by riding the boat. The cost of renting the boat per person is 1000 bath (400k rupiah). 

They don't mix you with strangers, so either you come in two or five, one boat will still only carry you and your friend. The advantage of coming in bigger group is you can bargain the fare. 
One boat can sized up to maximum 8 persons. We came in six so we managed to bargain the fare to 3000 bath (1.2million rupiah) per boat. I saw couple tourists who comes in two were charged strictly 1000 bath per person. 


The boat ride took around 1 - 1.5 hours. It will take you explore whole market where you would see shops selling souvenir and snacks above the river. As known, there will also be bunch of sellers on floating boat, all up for bargain. 

AMPHAWA FLOATING MARKET 

Amphawa floating market is located just around 15 minutes ride from DamnoenSaduak, so we asked the cab driver to drop by after. Unlike DamnoenSaduak, Amphawa closing time is late afternoon and they are not entirely floating market, so we can explore the market by foot. It's recommended to visit both markets in the same day, aside from the near location one to another, the concept are different, hence we can see both ambiance. 


The things they sell here are mostly snacks, food fingers, and some souvenirs. The Thai coconut is so cheap here, only 10 bath (4k rupiah). We have beef noodle for lunch, quite tasty and only cost 30 bath (yes, 12k rupiah only!).


SOMBOON SEAFOOD

Somboon Seafood is a popular restaurant in Bangkok. I've heard about them since years ago and tried couple times to go here on my previous visits, but the Tuk Tuk driver in Bangkok is not really honest. Both times our plan got cancelled as they took us to other restaurant where they got commission for bring in customers. Be very alert, lots of tuk tuk drivers in Bangkok play this scheme. 

I figured since this visit, we use rented cab, it's finally the right time to visit the real Somboon. The restaurant indeed is hard to find as it located in the back of main street. The place is huge, three storey and packed. Their specialty is the curry crab. Honestly, we don't feel Somboon is that good, but it was really packed with crowds and quite affordable. We only spent 4000 bath (1.6million rupiah) and it has included one suckling pig and two plates of medium size crabs. You can't get such price in Jakarta.  



SIAM PARAGON 

Being captivated by Mr. Christian Grey since I read Fifty Shades of Grey around two years ago, I was seriously bumped when the movie was officially banned in Indonesia. So I make it my mission to must see it when I'm in Bangkok. After dropping mom and dad (yes, am not going to watch it with them!), we went to Siam Paragon, one of the largest mall in town. 

The ticket fare is 220 bath (88k rupiah) and since it was still in Valentine moment, they have this offer of getting popcorn and drinks along with the ticket. Quite an offer as the popcorn was huge! 


So, the question is, was the movie as good as the expectation? I would say I love the book way much than the movie, since there are quite few chapters were being skipped, I guess they try to make the movie short. If you've read the book, you'd know what I mean. Nevertheless I still like the movie though honestly I don't feel Jamie Dornan is the right choice to play Christian. He's just not charismatic enough. 

DAY 3 (PATTAYA - ASIATIQUE THE RIVERFRONT)

JOMTIEN BEACH

I didn't really feel like going to Pattaya as I've been to Phuket and I don't like it. The beach was not even half the gorge you seen at Leonardo Dicaprio's movie. I figure, if Phuket doesn't do me any justice, Pattaya would not be even close. 

Since Dad wanted to go, we decided to go for a day trip. We rent the same cab driver to take us there, he charged us 3000 bath (1.2million rupiah) round trip which I think is quite make sense. The trip to Pattaya took 2 hours, but on the way back took longer, no traffic but the driver said we can't drive back on the same path we came, it took almost 3 hours for our drive home. 

Pattaya is famous for its beach, Nongnooch Pattaya garden and the night life. Since it was a day trip, we only went to the beach. Out of two beaches, Pattaya and Jomtien, we chose the latter one and didn't regret it. Pattaya turns to be more fun than what I expected.


The beach might not be as clear blue as Phuket, but doesn't matter since we don't swim nor do any water activities. We rented the so called cabana. It's their version of umbrella on the sand. One umbrella tent and chair cost 40 bath (12k rupiah). Cheap huh? The weather despite the sunny sun was so nice and breezy. While you seated, there will be many sellers coming back and forth selling some finger food.


 
We took lunch at one of the restaurant across the beach. I forgot the name since we just randomly enter, but it starts with J and was in the same building of a beach hotel. The food was good, more than we thought.


ASIATIQUE THE RIVERFRONT

Asiatique the riverfront is a large open air mall next to Chao Phraya river. Since its opening in 2012, the place has been one of tourist and local destination. It houses shopping, dining and entertainment in one roof. 

It opens from 5pm to midnight. The place is huge and divided into four districts. My favorite one is the Waterfront district where you would find fancy restaurants across the river (this would be the first area you see if you come here by boat). The restaurants near the river all comes with view, an expensive view of course as dining here is not cheap. But not to worry, if you're not looking on spending too much here, there's a lot of other more affordable restaurants inside, has a foodcourt too (if you're okay with the queue and squeeze). 


Aside from food, be sure to not miss the local handicraft and souvenirs, there's also one huge shops at Waterfront district selling snacks and they are really cheap and crowded. 

How to get here:
The easiest and fastest way to get there is via boat. Take BTS (Bangkok Train Station) stop at Saphan Taksin and take the free shuttle at the end of the pier. It takes around ten minutes, the boat ends at 23:00. Taxis are not recommended as the traffic can be terrible in this area plus the waiting line for the taxi is scary. 
http://www.thaiasiatique.com/index.php/en


Babbling to be resumed on Bangkok Pattaya diary {part 2} :)

5 comments:

astrid said...

Hi Ivy,

can you share the driver contact number? Can he speak English well?

Ivy said...

Hi Astrid!

So sorry that I can't help u. I didn't remember to save his number. Duh! :(

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