Friday, May 27, 2016

Ivy's Travel: Bangkok Travel Diary {Part I}


Writing on travel post is never an easy one. The amount of time for choosing from hundreds of pictures, then editing them and the long writes. One of the reasons why I'm forcing myself to always do this after travel is because I enjoy rereading them and memorizing back those travel days. Also, I hope it can somehow be helpful for people who plan to travel to the same city, since I gained a lot of knowledge from blog walking on others' travel posts as well.

If you think about it, in many aspects, Bangkok is almost like our very own Jakarta. The messy traffic, the insane heat, the street food, the not so clean streets. Though in comparison, Bangkok is much cleaner and less pollute than Jakarta. The other good part is their transportation system is way better than here. Their BTS and MRT are easy and efficient. I'm going to show you how to ride BTS (Bangkok Train System) or Sky Train on the next post.

As I'm editing my Bangkok's pictures, it came to my realization that I took too much of snapchats and forgot to take a well proper pictures with my camera. It really is not easy to be too attached with too many gadgets during your travel, you enjoyed less. I almost never upload any instagram picture unless I'm at hotel and doing nothing, but I think I took too many snapchats that I simply forgot to take proper pictures for blog purpose. On the next trip, I'll try to snap less and just focus on taking pictures with camera (it's important for making memories) and have fun!

DAY 1 - SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT - AMARI WATERGATE HOTEL - MANGO TANGO - SIAM PARAGON - PETCHBURI SOI 12

So, around April, Hubs told me that he'll have some few days off in May and asked me if I want to arrange a quick getaway. And, when your hubs tempted you with that kind of question, what else can you say besides YES?.
Since we only have five days off, I figured the right city to go to will be either Hong Kong or Bangkok. You know, the kind of places that not as near as Bali or Singapore, but not too far that needed more than five days. 

As some of you probably know, I always have a very soft spot for Hong Kong, and I was this close on choosing Hong Kong for our quick getaway, before I realized that it's been a year since our last trip to the land of smile, so Bangkok it is. We have always love Bangkok simply because everything is so good and cheap there. It's the city where our Rupiah really does has a say. 

We flew with SQ this trip. Personally we prefer direct flight for Bangkok trip because transit flight can be exhausted. Noted for next time!

However, if you ever on transit SQ flight and need a decent local Singapore food, head to Terminal 3 departure hall level 2 (the same place that had Burger King), I personally feel they have decent food court. We actually arrived at Terminal 2, and we made a quick sky train to Terminal 3 just for them. 

Ok, enough babbling. Now, Bangkok story. I got couple of questions on snapchat asking about what kind of local sim card to be used, don't worry, as soon as you exit the departure hall, you'll see several local phone operator stands, you just buy the sim card that comes with internet package depending on how many days you'll be in the city. Mine is from TRUE 4G and I couldn't remember how much, sorry. :( 


We arrived at Bangkok around 4pm. The traffic from airport to city normally takes around 30 - 40 minutes only, but we came on the same day that Leicester City (the soccer team) was in Bangkok and having a car parade day from Pratunam to Siam area, so on our way to hotel, Amari Watergate that located at Pratunam, the traffic basically stuck for quite some time. With the transit, the heat and the traffic, it was one hell of a first day. Story on how we like staying at Amari has been posted on here. The only not so good part about staying here is that the hotel isn't really close to BTS. The nearest one is Chit Lom station at Central World Plaza, it took around 7-10 minutes walk.

After having a short rest, we went to Siam Square with Tuk Tuk. Tuk Tuk driver's mostly always try to scam tourist in terms of rates. If you go by taxi (by meter), take example from Pratunam to Siam, it will cost you around 70 - 80 bath depending on the traffic, but if you ride Tuk Tuk, they won't take less than 100 Bath, but I still prefer Tuk Tuk as my favorite ride in Bangkok. I am car sick, so most of the time, if doesn't really have to, I'll avoid having taxi. 

We are quite full from the airplane food, so we went for light snack first and save the heavy proper meal for dinner. First stop, Mango Tango. 


MANGO TANGO
Address: Siam Square Soi 5 (Many other branches)
BTS: Siam

Mango Tango is quite popular dessert shop in Bangkok specializing in everything about Mangoes. This was my first time here and I ordered what according to the menu is the most ordered one. Mango Tango with extra sticky rice (THB 165). The system here is we order, paid, and the item will be delivered to our table. On the plate we have mango pudding, mango ice cream, sticky rice and fresh mango fruit. Sadly, we both didn't like the dessert. The pudding was too sticky and sweet, the ice cream and sticky rice was okay but definitely not the best. The only one we finish is the fresh mango fruit.


I'll show you the best sticky rice we had in Bangkok so far on the next post.

PETCHBURI SOI 12
Address: Near Bangkok City Hotel, Pratunam. 
Opening hours: 7pm - 4am (closed on Monday)

Back for our favorite street food. Authentic Thai food at its best. I have reviewed this place along with the directions on my previous post here. The dishes here are so so goood! We simply love how good and cheap they are. Some not to be missed, their spicy duck soup, or spicy pork soup, the som tam, the grilled pork. Don't be surprised on how cheap they are when the bill's coming. 


Before our dinner here, we took a quick tour to my favorite shopping mall in Bangkok, Siam Paragon. I love the supermarket and the basement level with all the good food and snacks. Definitely a place to go. If you want to catch a movie, I also prefer Siam's than the one at Central World Plaza. Quick fact if you don't already know, it's a tradition before the movie starts that they will play a one minute video of Thailand's King and the viewers have to stand up the whole time until the video is finished to show respect to the king.

DAY 2 ERAWAN SHRINE - SABX2 WONTON NOODLE - EKKAMAI SOI 12 @SUKHUMVIT - DINOSAUR PLANET - EMQUARTIER

ERAWAN SHRINE
Address: Intersection of Ratchadamri Road, Pathum Wan (Diagonally across Central World Plaza or right across Gaysorn Plaza)
BTS: Chit Lom

The main religion in Thailand is Buddhism, but there is a strong Hinduism as well. Thai people is very religious. You will see Buddhism or Hinduism statues in front of many shopping centres, and people will always stop by to pray and pay their respects. Hubs and I are Buddhist, on our first morning in Bangkok, before we had our breakfast, we went to the most known shrine in the city, Erawan Shrine, to pay our respect. If you google on "How to pray Four faces Buddha Erawan Shrine", there will be a lot of articles or blog posts about them, too many different methods that we personally felt a bit confused on which one is the correct way since there's no guard or information officer at the shrine to be asked. In the end, we just pray without bothering which method is the right one, after all, we come with good faith and pure intention of praying and pay respect. 

SABX2 WONTON NOODLE
Address: Petchburi Soi 19, Pratunam Market 
Opening hours: 9am - 3pm

This utterly popular wonton noodle at Pratunam with no day without queue. On our 7-9 times Bangkok trips, we always go to Pratunam market and never once we passed this restaurant and didn't see a queue. It's like so crazy that people has no problem to queue under the heat. This trip, we decided that die die we have to queue and see for ourselves what's the fuss is. 
The good thing is (or to our culture, probably not a good thing), they apply sharing table system and the customers aren't really chatting while eating so the queue was pretty fast. They don't have menu, so this is what you do, they only sell two things here, pork rice or pork wonton noodle. Nothing else. Upon ordering all you need to say is either you want the rice or the noodle, or have both, since the noodle portion is kid size, no joke. We saw many tables order two portion of noodles for each person. 

We didn't try the pork rice, only the noodle. Basically the noodle is thin firm springy kind of noodle, if you are familiar with HK's wonton noodle type, this is like that precisely. Comes with two wontons, crab meat, pork meat and ridiculous small amount of noodles placed inside a big bowl. Talk about false hope. 
Was it good? Yes. As someone who worship Hong Kong's noodle style, I love the noodle. The texture, the flavor all spot on. Justify the queue alright. Was it worth the queue? Well, since it was a pretty fast queue and the line is just so crazy everyday, if you haven't, you simply just have to try. Either it worth for second visit, I'll leave that to your own judgement. 
We actually went back for another bowl on our last day, not that it was so good that we crave for more, but more to the reasons that it is located so close to our hotel and we thought it has no harm on coming back. Oh yes, the price for 1 bowl of noodle is 100 Bath. 


This is the most decent picture I took since we shared table with other customers, I limit my self on taking too many shots, for the sake of manner. :)

EKKAMAI SOI 12 @SUKHUMVIT DISTRICT

Two cities that I mostly never bothered on hunting the trending cafes are Hong Kong, definitely and Bangkok. The two cities that I personally feel to be such a waste for cafe hunting and not spending more tummy capacity on their oh so good local food. Only this trip that I decided to go on several cafe hunts, which I regretted in the end since what we got is only good ambiance with standard food. 

I have done some research and found out that Ekkamai and Thong Lor area at Sukhumvit district are two that filled with many cute and instagenic cafes. I narrowed down to only 1 area which is Ekkamai soi 12, where it has at least 7-8 cafes along the street. All you have to do is prepare your camera, money, palate and tummy capacity. We gave up on our third stops. 


THIRSTY OWL (Used to be 24 Owls by Sometimes)
Address: 39/9 Ekkamai 12, Sukhumvit No.63
Opening hours: 24 hours

Our first stop goes to this "We never sleep" cafe. It opens 24 hours and serves all day breakfasts aside from their Western food. The interior is catchy with owl murals and pretty knick knacks, though personally I would say to skip this one. It doesn't really has any strong factors to make it recommended.

The Owls Breakfast (THB 220), Thai Iced Tea (THB 105), Iced Lemon Tea (THB 105)

VANILLA GARDEN
Address: 53 Ekkamai Soi 12 
Opening hours: 7am - 12pm

Vanilla garden tucked in just a few shops away from Thirsty Owl. I have more pictures on them but I think some of the pictures weren't completely transferred to my laptop. My camera is on service at the moment, will add up the pictures later. Anyway, Vanilla Garden is a beautiful garden with Japanese bake shop and cafe style. We only had drinks here so cannot really comment on the food, but the cakes display is looking good.

COFFEE BEANS BY DAO
Address: 47 Ekkamai Soi 12 (Many branches at shopping malls too)

Coffee Beans by Dao is by far one of the cafes we've seen with so many cakes options, probably more than 30. The interior is so chic and ladylike, which I didn't captured well in the photo, but it was hard. The cafe was full packed, and I/m not sure if it's a common thing to take pictures of food in Bangkok, but people keep staring, I, for sure, never received so many stares when I take pictures in Jakarta or Singapore. 
Anyway, we tried their Black forest roll (THB 140) and Apple Crumble (THB 130). Both were nice, but too sweet for our liking. We are not a dessert and sweets person, we always prefer savory rather than sweets, so obviously these are killing our palate, and after two bites, we chose to not finish them. 

DINOSAUR PLANET 
Address: 544/1 Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Tan 
Opening hours: 10am - 10pm
Tickets: 600 Bath 

This place! Oh my Gosh this crappy stupid place! So here's the story, when we were on our way to Ekkamai Soi 12 by taxi, we saw this Dinosaur Planet at the side of Sukhumvit Road. So after our third cafe, our stomach basically cannot tahan anymore, and Hubs initiated to take some break from food and go to this Dinosaur Planet we saw earlier. I took a quick google check, and honestly from what I saw, I wasn't intrigued at all. But Hubs has been patiently accompanied me during these cafe hunting though I know it's not something he likes, so I didn't want to say no to his Dinaosaur idea. The entrance ticket cost us 1200 Bath for two person (heart ache!) and after we stepped in, can I say Oh my Gosh again? There's nothing! Like literally, nothing interesting. The size itself is not even big enough to be categorized as amusement park. 


And since we are inside, and didn't want our 1200 Bath spent for nothing, we queued on the 4D ride, which we thought might be quite fun compared to the other attractions. We were wrong! After queuing for an hour, yes an hour! Under the heat of 37 degrees, the 4D ride turns to be a shitty crap ride, that I swear, they should be embarrassed to even charge 600 Bath for the ticket. What an hour waste of time. We walked straight out after the 4D ride and went to Emquartier. Haiizz Ciak Lat!

EMQUARTIER

BAKE CHEESE TART 
Address: GF The Waterfall Quartier, Emquartier (Also available at Central World Plaza)

The popular cheese tart from Japan. I've heard numerous good words about either Bake or Pablo as the best cheese tarts. When I went to Hong Kong, the queuing is crazy and also what I heard from friends that the queuing line is also crazy at Japan and Singapore, with maximum purchase limit. I was a bit confused to see not even a single person was queuing at the one in Emquartier, nor they have any limit on the maximum buy. 
Since I don't eat cheese or anything dairy, honestly, I wasn't even curious, but since there's no line, I asked Hubs to buy one and try it on my behalf. Hubs is not like a crazy cheese lover, but he can eat cheese and enjoy cheese cake from time to time, but when he took that first bite, he can't bring himself for second, he told me that it was so cheesy and creamy that it felt like a pure blended cheese. I think BAKE is only good to those who can really eat cheese. I thanked my self that I didn't even try. 

PIE FACE
Address: GF The Waterfall Quartier, Emquartier

Pie Face is a major pie store founded in Sydney, Australia. Selling various types of pie with the best selling one original beef meat pie. We tried their original one, the pie was pretty good, the crust was thin and flaky with generous and warm meat inside. Though we don't see any strong reasons to come back for more. For sweet tooth, they also comes in sweet options such as chocolate and taro.


KYO ROLL EN 

Kyo Roll En is another popular dessert house in Bangkok specializing in matcha soft serve ice cream and roll cakes. We went for, well I went for, Hubs didn't even take one bite, He said he couldn't take another bite of sweets and went for sushi across Kyo Roll En. Anyway, I went for the roll cake set (THB 185) that comes with a choice of roll cake, charcoal and matcha soft serve ice cream and fruits. The cake is delicious. Soft, fluffy and spongy with very light cream, while the ice cream is pretty good too, I liked the matcha better than the charcoal one. 


Even though I had a quite delightful dessert moment at Kyo Roll En, I told myself that this is the end of my cafe or desserts hunts, my palate, as well as Hubs, couldn't take another bite of sweets. On that note, I cancel my plan to go to "Fill In The Blank", another cute vintage cafe at Sukhumvit.

So, I'm done for my part 1 trip. Part 2 can be read here. 
Thanks for reading! :)

Based on trip 19 - 23 May 2016

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