Sunday, October 02, 2022

Day Three of My Week-Long Holiday to Bangkok [Thailand]

<<< Day Two

Detailed Postings for the Day

Kick starting the day with a jog once again! Unlike many joggers, I don't listen to music nowadays and prefer to take in the sights and sounds, which are more interesting especially when we are in a foreign country.

The red bricked building for the American University Alumni Association; it housed a language centre and I am guessing it functions the same way as British Council does in Singapore.

Street stalls along the perimeter of Lumpini Park; along this same stretch was an economical rice said to be extremely reasonable as you can take as much as you want onto your plate for a single pricing. 

After a shower, time to hit the street! Something was weird on the road outside Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri; security was tightened and there seemed to be more of those mini passenger vans. Must be some big shots who would be staying at the 5-star hotel nearby. 

Waiting for the BTS train; you know what the colors for the Thailand flag stand for? Adopted in 1917, "red for the land and people, white for religions and blue for the monarchy".

Empty platform on Ratchadamri station; I also don't know the need for a BTS station here actually since one side was the exclusive The Royal Bangkok Sports Club and other side was mainly 5-star hotels where most occupants would not likely take the public transportation.

Lumpini Park from the train; the place I visited the most on my recent Bangkok trip. I am now planning for another trip and it's tempting to stay near the park for ease of my almost daily jogs. 

Statue of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) that was built in 1942. Those who took the BTS Skytrain Silom Line might not have noticed Lumpini Park but would likely remember the statue.

Dropped off at Sala Daeng BTS Station to take the Silom MRT Line. Despite being part of the public transportation systems, they are not directly linked with different ticketing system. I read that the Thai government has intention to link the two and I am looking forward to the day! 

It would totally make sense for efficiency and convenience; nowadays, the lines have been expanded with more lines being added to alleviate the traffic jam situation in Thailand, and to entice tourists to visit places other than common tourist hotspots. 

Exit at Chinatown via the Wat Mangkon MRT station! I absolutely love the buzz here, including the many ageing buildings that would likely give way in a few years' time, given the increasing property prices. 
Founded in 1871 / 1872, don't be deceived by its modern façade, as I was. The official main entrance was beyond this building and the place appeared pretty big given how congested the buildings are in Chinatown. 

Sheer number of temples in Thailand and here's another temple; Wat Kanmatuyaram, which was completed in 1864 and its name was bestowed by King Mongkut.

180 baht (around S$7.00) a kilogram for the roasted chestnuts. I actually love Chinese chestnuts but am too lazy to deshell them as I tend to make a mess. 

Street leading to Wat Kanmatuyaram. There's a reason why I am travelling along the road; my intention was to check out a popular eatery serving fish maw soup! 

Braised ducks and I think braised pork knuckles. For a Hokkien Chinese, braised food are part of our heritage but I am selective; those with a strong braised stench are the kind I cannot stand.

Wat Kanmatuyaram; I didn't step in.

Right opposite the temple was the coffee shop which housed the fish maw soup stall. I was so hyped up for my first meal of the day that my face showed an immediate 180-degree change when I was informed that they just sold out. 

Disappointed, I decided to go for my second option which was about 150 meters away. This kind of back alleys are not uncommon, even in Singapore. However, in Bangkok, it's the norm to suddenly find a market or have the space taken over by an eatery. 

My second option had yet to open for business! I assumed they would be open closer to lunch and it turned out they only start from 3pm! :( 

Google search brought me to golden charoenkrung plaza, where the reviews of Tee Yok Coffee - Klongthom enticed us to have some delicious toasts! Click here for more photos and the location. 

Rubber studs for the chairs; I actually needed about a hundred for my office although there's no way I would use my previous luggage space! Anyway, I can always purchase directly from our managing agent.

Looks like redevelopment is inevitable. 

Do you still listen to music using vinyl records, cassette tapes or compact discs (CDs)? Twenty years ago, there's no Spotify, Apple Music, music streaming websites and it's interesting to chance upon a row of shophouses selling such old school items, including the devices to play them! 

If you are interested to check them out, exit from Sam Yot MRT station (exit) and cross the Saphan Lek - Damrong Sathit Bridge; the shophouses would be slightly further down.

In April 2020, I had booked to stay at Miramar Hotel. Sadly, COVID-19 derailed my plan, with countries starting to close their borders. Now, the hotel appeared to have been abandoned; a real pity given how close it is to Sam Yot MRT station.

Dirty waterway is a problem in Southeast Asia; Singapore faced the same situation a few decades ago and it took a while for things to improve; massive cleanup by the government, education campaigns for the population and lastly, hefty fines! 

Earlier, there was a concentration of shops for vinyl records, cassette tapes and CDs. Now we have another focus; rattan products! Again, they were common (and sustainable) when I was a child. 

Don't you just love the name of this tour agency? Better than Walk organizes leisure bicycle tours using the expensive Brompton bicycles; not sure if it is still operational since website is down. 

With such a bright signboard, I assumed this would be more fluff, especially when there wasn't much customers at lunch. Turned out reviews for this Krua Absorn Pratu Phee appeared quite good. Even though the name is quite familiar, this didn't seem to be the same as Krua Apsorn

Guess which eatery would attract so many customers? The michelin-starred Jay Fai! Reviews were said to be mixed and as their reservation was suspended, I decided to give it a miss for this trip as I am unwilling to wait too long for my food. 

Bloody, Thipsamai was closed; the third dining establishment that I wanted to patronize that day yet luck was seriously not on my side! What's the point of having a sign outside to say that you are open from 10am?

It's okay; I got my pad thai craving fixed at the stall two doors away, Lueng Pha Pad Thai. Cheaper than Thipsamai but not as tasty. Oh well, beggars cannot be choosers. 

Blockhead Barber Shop - having a good name is important as it immediately draws attention. I am unsure if blockhead is a good name or not though; it did catch my attention but I wouldn't want to have a blockhead hairstyle.

Wat Ratchanatdaram Worawihan (Loha Prasat); an imposing temple built in 1846, most notable for its 37 golden spires, which stands for the "37 virtues that are required to reach enlightenment".

Statue of Statue of King Rama III. 

Mahakan Fort, which was undergoing renovation. Right behind is Wat Saket; also known as Golden Mount Temple. I visited on my first trip to Bangkok and would love to go again!

Democracy Monument; one of two in Bangkok that I can recognize! 

What's this beautiful building with its intricate, classy design? Google told me it's Metro Tower Company Limited; no other information about it! 

Shop selling ceremonial flowers and flags.

The Chinese characters mean love and this is supposed to be in operations since 1967?! The store appeared pretty new and I guess the target would be the Chinese tourists which are not returning at the moment due to China's COVID-19 restrictions.

Anyway, the chickens looked plasticky!

Pannee Residence and Hotel at Dinsor; if history is what you are looking for, do consider a stay around this area that borders the Grand Palace and numerous temples. Only problem for me is convenience. 

Buildings flanking both sides of the road have the similar height, design and color. Many were not in use and my guess is that renovation is undergoing to spruce up the area. I did visit the Bangkok City Library as I had an urgent need for its washroom. 

I have no idea how this stall would survive when there wasn't any people around. The buildings were deserted, the roads were quite empty and there were a number of homeless people around. 

Restored buildings along this stretch. 

My inaugural visit to Khao San Road; the backpacker street in Bangkok! There wasn't much of a buzz although I am mindful it would likely come alive at night. 

Line of tuk tuk; it's been at least four to five years since I took a tuk tuk. To be honest, I am sick of haggling with them about their usually exorbitant rate and prefer to use the GRAB app instead for private hire. 

Singaporeans love air-conditioning, and I was literally melting under the hot sun! Hence, let's cool down at the Coin Museum. p.s. we went for the free section only. 

The National Theatre; built in 1965, it's famous for its traditional performances. 

Underpass of Phra Pinklao Bridge which was completed in 1973 to link Rattanakosin Island with Thonburi. I knew Thonburi was the other side of Chao Phraya River but I didn't know important buildings like the Grand Palace is on Rattanakosin Island! 

Saw a street hawker touting Thai style pancake and we can't help ordering one! Click here for more information on the mobile stall and our banana egg pancake. 

Stepping into Thammasat University; nope, I have no interest in pursuing further studies. Cutting across the university is quicker than making a round to my next destination.

Were these remnants of some ancient buildings?

Faculty of Political Science! I used to work for the Department of Political Science in National University of Singapore; exciting place, especially during election period when faculty, admin and students were all riled up! 

View of Chao Phraya River. Do you know that there was a period of time I wrongly assumed this was Mekong River and Chao Phraya was just another name for it? Embarrassing! 

Golden Lioness Shrine; anyone knows anything about this?

University canteen! In Singapore, canteen food is said to be cheaper although it no longer holds true! Maybe for comparison, the salad was 35baht; same goes for the sandwiches. Smoothies were between 25 and 35 baht.

Random photos taken on the university grounds, including the statue of Pridi Banomyong. Regent, prime minister and senior statement in Thailand, Pridi is the founder of Thammasat University. His legacy was controversial as he was said to be the mastermind behind the death of King Ananda and was in exile until his death in 1983, in France.

It started pouring although I should be glad that we were already nearing our destination and the likelihood of us being drenched was low. 

Walking past the amulet market. Known for their special powers, their prices are determined by their appearance, their scarcity, who is the maker, who blessed it, the age of the amulet and their supposed powers.

Tha Maharaj - a "leafy riverside complex with 7 redeveloped shophouses converted into stores & al fresco restaurants." I didn't have time to explore much as we had minimal time to spend after purchasing the tickets for the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat.

Given my love for durians, I should have taken a photo here! 

I was intrigued with the second level, where I could secure an elevated view of Chao Phraya River. Tha Maharaj is also a pier as Tha means pier in Thai. 

Have you watched the movie "Clifford the Big Red Dog"? Introducing to you its sibling, the Big Green Dog! Can't resist taking a photo with it! :P

Floor plan of Tha Maharaj.

Sights onboard Chao Phraya Tourist Boat and you can find more photos here. I think I would take the full day pass in the future so that I can explore the surroundings of the different piers.

End of our boat ride; at ICONSIAM

The iconic Jurassic adventure outside ICONSIAM. I have never been interested in dinosaurs; passion was more for the paranormal. Anyway, this attraction would have ended by now as the closing date was 11 July. 

Frankly, shopping centers are generally all about the same but at Bangkok's biggest shopping mall, there's this area I like alot; SOOK Siam with its wide array of street food and popular snacks from all across Thailand! 

Too many things to choose from and the prettiness of these Royal Thai desserts at CHADA Pavilion totally captivated us! At just 15 baht a piece, let's give them a try.

Charoen Nakhon BTS Station (Gold Line) is literally connected to ICONSIAM and instead of taking the ferry, we took the train to the connecting station of Krung Thon Buri BTS station along the Silom Line.

Love taking photos on the BTS; I also like on Singapore's MRT but as some of you are aware, most of the tracks are underground and those above ground are for suburban areas where you would see a lot more housing estates. 

Views here were better. We can't complain much since Singapore has limited land space and if not for better utilisation, the government would not have preferred the more expensive underground train network.

 ICONSIAM again; time taken via the Gold Line and then to Silom Line was longer (including the wait) than just taking the free ferry to Saphan Taksin BTS station. 

Prime real estate! Imagine you are part of the family that owns these large swathes of land within Bangkok's main business district! This would be similar as owning something similar in Singapore's Shenton Way! 

That pyramid building is the Diamond Tower next to Chong Nonsi BTS station! Remember that BTS station? That's where we alighted to visit King Power Mahanakhon SkyWalk.

Here's the iconic building; King Power Mahanakhon.

A cemetery so near to Chong Nonsi BTS station?! Aside from being prime land, its proximity would mean I am likely to pay it a visit soon, although I am apprehensive given the foliage. 

Alighted at Ratchadamri BTS station, with The Royal Bangkok Sports Club just across from the train platform. I remember it was a racecourse and thought it would be the same as the turf club we have in Singapore. 

It indeed is but only every fortnight. As it is an exclusive sports club, there were also facilities like banquet halls, squash courts, tennis courts, swimming pools. The lawn can also double up as a golf course (an 18-hole course).

What's this in between The Royal Bangkok Sports Club and Ratchadamri BTS station? A water treatment plant? Would be quite eerie at night. 

Before going back to the hotel room, where I could finally take a shower to wash off the sweat, why not a cup of hot chocolate too, from the complimentary machine at the hotel lobby? 

Out again and strolling past Erawan Shrine; guess the operators had started to increase its supplies of statues to cater for the higher inflow of tourists into the country, with the relaxation of border controls.

Quaint, little area on the ground level of Gaysorn Plaza.

Centralworld, Novotel Hotel and Baiyoke Sky Tower! With the opening of King Power Mahanakhon, I wonder if people would still go up to Baiyoke Sky Tower. The only draw, at least for me, is the buffet restaurant on level 81 of Baiyoke Sky Tower!

Sheltered pedestrian overpass from Gaysorn Plaza all the way to Platinum Mall. I wouldn't be going so far though as there's nothing much for me at Platinum Mall. My aim was to check out The Market Bangkok, which open just one year before the pandemic hits.

Given that many countries were just reopening the borders, it's fair to say that we wouldn't see a crowd in the numbers before the pandemic, especially with China, their biggest market, still maintaining a zero COVID strategy.

It was heartening to see a Don Don Donki in The Market Bangkok! In Singapore, having a Don Don Donki is always a 100% guarantee in ensuring crowds to the area. 

Unfortunately, not really the case here but it could be because it wasn't the weekends. Whatever the case, the rest of the mall appeared to be quite sad, with many shuttered shops. Maybe things would improve soon. 

Bangkok's Street Food Market, with Big C right behind! 

Dinner at MAiSEN Tonkatsu Restaurant in CentralwOrld. This came recommended from a friend and even though it was not bad, I still prefer Saboten

Want a good pair of running / jogging shoes? I would always recommend HOKA and you can get more variety and better deals at the HOKA Experience Store @ CentralwOrld. How much better? Up to 50% off when I was there! 

Those who love Ippudo ramen can compare the prices! 
I think prices in Bangkok were 30% cheaper.

Judging from the long queue, Mo-Mo Paradise should be the most popular restaurant at CentralwOrld! Specializing in shabu-shabu and sukiyaki, the above photo was taken at about 8pm when the queue had already died down.

Drizzling again! 

The cool weather, the rain, the reduced crowd; factors that made the Made to Measure Magic Art Installation at Gaysorn Plaza even more eerie! 

We took the BTS as the walk to Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri from Ratchadamri station was noticeably shorter than walking back from Gaysorn Plaza. Only issue? We had to navigate the ponding due to the rain. Now, the above would be what I deemed to be ponding


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