Saturday, July 16, 2016

Day Number Four of My Relaxing Six Days, Five Nights Bangkok Trip!

Before hitting the street at 10.30 in the morning, i had already exercised in the gym, drunk a cup of Old Town 3-in-1 coffee, read the newspapers and even booked for a massage at Urban Retreat

Want to make a guess on where we had breakfast? Yes, the boring yet trusty Pier 21 food court in Terminal 21; the tram in the photograph was a strong enough hint. 

Taking the train as the area i stayed in was an interchange for BTS and MRT; two modes of convenient transportation within Bangkok! 

I think this is something Singapore should learn from; at one glance upon exit from the gantries, tourist like i would immediately know the exit to take.

Hua Lamphong railway station - despite its historical significance, i have yet to step into the building and i sure hope i would do so the next time i visit the capital city as the railway is still an inexpensive way of travelling within Thailand. 

Second Q&A for the day; do you know where we were going? Hint, the Chinese characters on the usually only-Thai signboards.

Against the blue sky with white cloudy patches, this photo of a golden-spire building was indeed stunning! It houses the "world's biggest solid gold statue" and you may read more here

Kind of lost my way as i got to an iconic traffic circle, with a traditional Chinese arch, bordering quite a number of roads. 

In such cases, especially when you are overseas, don't panic and don't be shy. Ask for directions from the local; you would be surprised by the level of willingness and friendliness.

The destination; Chinatown - have you guessed it right? 

I used to count Chinatown as a must-do in my early visits to Bangkok and had in fact stayed there on quite a number of occasions in this hotel known as White Orchid. Seems like a new management had taken over and the name is now Hotel Royal Bangkok @ Chinatown. 

Nevertheless, my intention wasn't to reminisce my accommodation and the final destination still require a walk of a hundred meters or so. Did you notice the two posters at the stall? One showed the moves for Thai boxing while the other attracted more interest from me as it shows the steps for Thai massage! 

Regretted not buying that poster as it had English instructions and i thought i could learn the moves from the "illustrations" and practice them on my mom who totally enjoys Thai massage. 

Salted fish - i could never understand why people can like it so much and i absolutely couldn't stand them in claypot rice! 

Lotus roots - if i am with my mum, i would worry if she were to hover around the stall as there's a pretty high risk she might buy and bring it all the way back to Singapore! To be fair, i think i have inherited some of her genes as her true-blue biological son! 

Main objective fulfilled - revisiting Sampeng Lane, a wholesale market that cuts across a few roads and a must visit for those who didn't shop enough at Chatuchak the weekend before! 

There are a list of things i would definitely buy when i am in Bangkok and once of them was the menthol plaster for muscle aches! I would usually buy a box and this seller from a pharmacy quoted me 280 baht a box after haggling over what i thought to be an expensive 300 baht. 

Bought two boxes even though i had received "orders" from friends and needed at least another two boxes. Whatever the case, the journey continues. 

No offence; panties at 7 for 100 baht! Although i used to be shy and embarrassed in the presence of lady panties, life has toughen me up. Life in this instance consists of a mom and two sisters in the family. Nowadays, i wouldn't even bat an eyelid if you ask me to purchase sanitary napkins. 

Roasted chestnuts - a favourite of my youngest sister even though you wouldn't likely see her in Bangkok as she dislikes the heat and detests sweating!  

Strolling back to the start of Yaowarat Road, the main artery of Chinatown that runs parallel to Sampeng Lane. I was craving for a bowl of bird's nest soup! 

Unkempt building that's aplenty in other countries; in Singapore, such derelict building would be tagged as haunted with thrill seekers checking it out when the moon is out. 

Would you dare to try Thai durians? In Singapore, the majority of durians come from Malaysia given the proximity and Thai durians actually taste different.

Yogurt drink - my first bottle for the trip as the weather was too hot! I would usually buy one large bottle and place it in the hotel's bar fridge but i didn't this time as plain water, no matter what, is less harmful than sweetened beverage. 

Crossing the road to the other side which appeared to be vibrant and happening give that more shops were open for business. 

Why didn't i buy this for the kids?!?!?! As it was at the tail-end of the water festival, some vendors were still selling this nifty gadget that can transform your 1.5 litre water bottle into a water gun! 

Plastic googles; not sure if i am reading it correctly but 12 baht would be insanely cheap! Should have asked my dentist friend if he wants any for his clinic! 

Should i decide to stay at Chinatown in future, the grand dame along Yaowarat Road; Grand China shall be my topmost choice. The only problem it faced was the lack of BTS / MRT within a comfortable walking distance. 

Naraya? Nope, this is Nantita! 

Road works taking up one lane of the forever busy Yaowarat Road; making the road even more congested. Oh well, the pain is required before the benefit can kick in. 

Exercise caution as there's no safety barrier! One wrong move, one rash action and you would find yourself in the mud. Mud would be the best scenario as there were sections with just holes and metal sticks sticking out of the floor. 

A goldsmith; one of many in Chinatown. There's a certain level of obsession with gold among the Chinese. Another race with as high an obsession would be the Indians! 

Another Chinese chestnut street hawker- known as gao luck among the Hokkien in Singapore, my family used to buy charcoal roasted one until my sister explored cooking them using a rice cooker! One major advantage; we don't get burnt gao luck anymore! 

Usual me would go gaga over steamed crabs but not when i am overseas as i am too accustomed to sanitised environment. Furthermore, did you see the flies ON the crabs?!

Some safety barricades along this stretch of road work. Hm... didn't see any workers so far; maybe because it was lunch hours.

Thai durians again - so what are the differences? There are a few key ones; namely, the lack of strong, pungent aroma, the over-sized fruit and a taste that wasn't as rich and in my opinion, as delicious as their Malaysian cousin.

Remember the menthol plasters i mentioned earlier? I found the same brand here at Nithiya Wanit Store with a later expiry date and it only cost me 250 baht a box! The couple in the previous shop had the audacity to tell me there's no way i can find it cheaper anywhere else. *pissed* 

Ehh..... don't tell me the road would look like this after all the road works? 

T&K Seafood - a pity it wasn't open for business yet and i had to make do with another restaurant to satisfy my craving for bird's nest and shark fin's soups. 

Lunch at Lao Li Shark's Fin Restaurant (海外天); to read more on my review, please click here. The pot of chrysanthemum tea was too much for us and of course stingy me will not waste the thirst quenching drink; refilling our empty mineral bottles was the way to go.

Another item struck off my list of things to buy in Bangkok; dog shit! Known affectionately / disgustingly as gow sai (which mean's dog shit in Hokkien) given the appearance of the compact pork floss, my quantity just for that one item stretched to ten packets. 

Including other items, it was too much for us to carry in numerous plastic bags! Thankfully, the operator will provide carton boxes and help you to box them up for ease of carriage. Normally, i will buy from the other shop a few doors down but that shop served the evening crowd patronising the seafood restaurants (like T&K Seafood) that opened to the wee hours. 

However, they seemed to belong to the same company and marketed under the same brand (合记林真香). Anyway, my purpose of showing you the above photograph was that the lady boss speaks both Mandarin and Teochew! That's not all; you can change your Sing dollars with her and the exchange rate of 2,580 baht for 100 Singapore dollars was the best i had encountered!

Taking the cab and noticed a jam even though it's only 3.16pm!

Despite showcasing both the new and old in the picture, that pixelated tower was the one pulling all the attention! Named MahaNakhon, the 314-meter skyscraper with mixed retail, hotel and residence is slated to open only at the end of this year.

Cab fare of 109 baht; there's no way you would see me lugging a few carton boxes on the streets, taking the trains and then walking back to Park Plaza hotel. Paying a few dollars to save precious time is a necessity as one gets older.

After dumping our purchases and taking a well deserved shower to remove all the stickiness from my body, the clean and refreshed us were out in the open again an hour later. 

We wanted to take the BTS to Phrom Phong and upon checking the map, realised it was only a stop away! Remembering that the distance between BTS stations is walkable and there were likely shops to look at along the way, i had to work my persuasion skill on Alex. 

Soi Cowboy - a street with a large signboard noticeable even from Asoke BTS station. It's famous as a red light district and some of you may remember this street from a scene in the movie "The Hangover Part 2".

Alex was persuaded; what i didn't expect was that the distance between Asoke and Phrom Phong was actually quite long and before long, our impatient Alex was voicing out the question "are we there yet?"

Walking past the Dinosaur Planet theme park located in prime land! If you are interested to have it in your itinerary, i guess it would be helpful for you to check out the website here

EmQuartier - the latest large scale shopping mall to hit Bangkok with big brand names taking up retail spots. I didn't know why i put this in my itinerary since i don't go for branded goods.

The place was relatively deserted for a new mall and i felt sorely under-dressed in my bermudas and slippers although it's the typical Singaporean dress style in a country with hot and humid climate. 

Crystal-encrusted containers that shimmered so beautifully under the white light; took a picture before i was stopped by a security guard who said "no photography here". 

Pop-up beach in the outdoor space of EmQuartier.

Man made waterfall that cascaded down five floors; interesting information on reading material but in reality quite a disappointment. 

Tried my best to identify a good stall for dinner yet couldn't find any we were comfortable with. I did manage to get my hands on the famous Bake Cheese Tart that had people queuing for hours in Singapore! No queue in EmQuartier and if you are interested to read more, click here

One side of Phrom Phong BTS was EmQuartier and the other side was the Emporium built in 1997! We eventually explored that side in search of food. 

Our famished Alex couldn't bear the hunger anymore and insisted on having Burger King! Why why why?! It's not as if there's anything special from the Burger King in Thailand! 

A better view of EmQuartier.

Hunger had an impact on human's thinking and i decided to go with my gut feel; take the BTS to Thong Lo which was just a station away! Not intending to walk this time just in case i were to misjudge the distance. 

Dinner at Sukhumvit Soi 38 Food Street! I have provided an update on the food street here; just to give you a heads-up, my meal wasn't as good as 2015.

Took the wrong exit at Lumphini MRT station; i commented to Alex that people here appeared to be on the way back home from work / school rather than casually dressed for a night market.

Neon lights beckoned us and i knew this should be the right exit to Neon Fest

We were happy too soon as Neon Fest only opened from Thursdays to Sundays! The fest has since closed for good but if you are into old-school amusement parks, do check out the Global Carnival Amusement Park by Chang Beer

The itch for shopping proved to be too intense and we went back to Suan Lum Night Bazaar! Unlike most night markets, Suan Lum opens everyday i think! 

My post on Suan Lum Night Bazaar actually covered photos on Day Four too except for this one on watermelon juice served aptly in a watermelon! 

Queued for it although we eventually had to give a miss for two reasons; there wasn't a noticeable queue and i did see the amount of sugar added in to the juice at the point of blending! Can't deny it's instagram value though.


Postings for the Day (click to read more) 
  1. Sampeng Lane @ Chinatown
  2. Lao Li Shark's Fin Restaurant (海外天) @ Chinatown
  3. Bake Cheese Tart @ EmQuartier
  4. Sukhumvit Soi 38 Food Street (Night)
  5. Neon Fest (Closed) @ Lumphini Square
  6. Global Carnival Amusement Park @ Lumphini Square
  7. Suan Lum Night Bazaar

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