Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Live Local Cafe @ Bangkok [Thailand]

Sometimes when I am travelling, I just wanted to rest and relax. And the best way to do it, is to find an air-conditioned cafe where I can have some nice beverages, and literally do nothing else.

That's what I did on day six in Bangkok; tummy was too full and weather was too hot! I did a search on Google and found this tiny place interestingly named Live Local. 

Upon stepping in; my first though was "so Chinese"! Nothing wrong with that as the cafe is in the district of Chinatown, with Thai Chinese constituting the majority of the residents there.

I absolutely love the design of having crockery of different designs hung up on the wall, although there were suspicions that some designs appeared more Japanese than Chinese. Oh well, let's just classified them as "far eastern" to avoid any argument on cultural appropriation. 

Space has capacity for only about 10 customers; good enough number since I don't get the feeling of being overly cramped! By the way, at the back would be the 'hotel' wing where you could book accommodation. I went into one room as I needed to use the washroom and while the room was charming-looking; I would prefer hotel standard. 

Charming would be the right word as non-Asian foreigners might find it authentic, with concrete flooring, antique furniture, including clocks like the above; things that the pampered Singaporean here don't quite fancy for a night stay.

View outside the cafe.

Tea was served in such a beautiful teapot! Costing just 70 baht (although it was just twinings tea bag), I think it would be better if the cafe can also offer Chinese tea like pu-erh. 

My mocha was also in a pretty cup; creamy and chocolatey, my only complaints were that the serving size was a bit too small and the handle wasn't very handy. 

A selfie with the 'art'. Maybe I should replicate for the plain, white wall in my bedroom even though I am mindful it would add to my household chores! You can imagine the amount of dust that would rest on the crockery! 


5 Thanon Santiphap, Pom Prap, 
Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok 10100, Thailand

As above.

Facebook Page

Operating Hours (Cafe)
10.00 am to 6.00 pm

As above. Sadly, the cafe didn't have dessert. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Turtle Lake (Hồ Con Rùa) @ Ho Chi Minh City [Vietnam]

The Cong Cafe I patronized on my first day in Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) overlooked this Turtle Lake (Hồ Con Rùa) that was smacked in the middle of a roundabout. 

Since the cafe was closing, we decided to check it out. According to the Great Kon, it was a rendezvous point for younger Vietnamese although the key question in the mind of a Singaporean was; no traffic light, no zebra crossing, why would people risk their life to walk across?! 

Anyway, this turtle lake has no turtle and its name came about due to a turtle statue that was placed there until it was destroyed a few decades ago, in 1978. Design was unconventional albeit dated with a 34-meter tall tower shaped like the outer layer of an onion blossom (well, they said it was a giant lotus, which I shall agree to disagree).

With a history almost as long as the independence of Singapore, what surprised me more was its popularity with the younger generation, especially in the current handphone era when youngsters are more likely to stay at home or chill out in cafes etc. 

It's a nice feeling as my teenager / young adult days were like this; when friends would just meet up and chat the night away at a chillout location! Nowadays, the snooze bug would have bitten me at about 10.00 pm although the allure of Facebook / YouTube videos would entice me to hit the bed later.

So how did this lake came about? It used to be the location of an ancient gate belonging to the last Vietnamese dynasty and its construction as a man-made lake was said to be a result of Feng Shui. You may read more here

Whatever the history, the point is that the location, in spite of the potential risk, remains highly popular with the populace; resulting in the unusual sprouting of mobile food stalls by the inner street side of the roundabout, satisfying human's basic physiological need of the Maslow's hierarchy. 


As above.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Day Five of My Week-Long Holiday to Bangkok in 2022 [Thailand]

Detailed Postings for the Day

All rise and shine for another great day in Bangkok! I like this place so much that my ultimate dream was to spend six months in Thailand capital city to pick up the language. 

Morning routine; a jog at Lumphini Park. Now that I have booked my flight for next February, I am pondering where to fulfill my jogging quota as the hotel I reserved didn't have any nearby parks.

After a badly-needed shower, we took GRAB to an area that I would often jog past; which means it wasn't that far from Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri but I doubt Alex would want to walk the two kilometers.

Key duplication services - I wonder about the longevity of businesses that we have grown up to be accustomed with. For me, I am already using digital locks and the only key I would duplicate physically would be my mailbox, for which I am also intending to switch to a digital version. What other businesses you foresee would be in a sunset industry? 

Food would definitely not fall into that sunset category! First meal of the day at Polo Fried Chicken; been waiting it to try it for a few years and while I wasn't disappointed, I wouldn't really have classified this as the same kind of FRIED chicken we have in Singapore.

GRAB again; the plethora display of religious items. Superstition it might be but if there's no harm and can give you a peace of mind; why not? My only concern is whether they are tightly secured to the base.

The driver didn't drop us directly at our destination! I am quite chilled about it since it would be a big round for him and that would have meant time wasted. Hence, let's just cross the overhead bridge instead. 

And took the opportunity to take some pictures of the seven-lane Phetchaburi Road. Many of you wouldn't remember the name of this road even though it's the main one bordering Pratunam Market

My purchases from Tofu Skin Care Semi Emporium; recommended by a friend, this is a marvelous place for you to secure a wide variety of skincare, personal grooming, herbal products from Thailand at prices that are easily one of the cheapest around. Click the link to find out more.

At 200 baht for a one-hour Thai massage at Green Home Massage, it's just too hard to resist although it was a bit too early to relax my muscles. Anyway, a daily massage in Thailand is welcome welcome! 

The Original Soi 19 Wanton Mee - massive disappointment since my first experience a few years ago was way more impressive and I didn't extend the standard to have dropped so much; to the extent I have had better Thai style wanton mee in Singapore.

Stepped into one of the smaller malls for some air-conditioning. Not much for the guys even though I am not the shopper I used to be in the past. To be frank, I have never been much into fashion anyway; more satisfying to spend on food.  

What did you notice from the photo? On one side, there was someone begging for money whereas on the other end, a group of customers crowding around a food stall. This scene is very common not just in Thailand. 

Damn, I am quite tempted to get the buttered corn too! 

Let's navigate through Pratunam Market; honestly, I don't know where is the market as it encompasses a large area that has various streets, lanes and alleys cutting through. Just go where the crowd is! 

Exited from another area; this road is Ratchaprarop Road and further down would be Big C Supercenter, Central World, The Market etc.

I remember entering this pharmacy before; likely to check out the prices of this particular brand of muscle-relaxation plaster pads. Anyway, this kind of restricted access (due to COVID-19) means no browsing. 

Krispy Kreme! Nowadays you don't see me asking for brands I like overseas to set up shop in Singapore; mainly because the price differential is ridiculous! In the case of Krispy Kreme, the original glazed donut can cost double in Singapore. 

McDonald's with an iconic pose not found anywhere else in the world. I used to visit McDonald's Thailand for their pork based Samurai Burger every time I am in Bangkok; it was a novelty time but I think I prefer beef samurai burger.

Bazaar outside Platinum Fashion Mall. Is this a permanent bazaar as I remember seeing it in my last visit more than two years ago too?

Stated as between 8-17 July; so I guess it's temporary? Whatever the case, this is prime real estate and my understanding is that such stalls usually cost a lot more in rental as compared to those permanent stalls. 

Prices are likely higher so do your due diligence in comparing! In this case, the salt grilled fish and grilled cuttlefish were priced between 200-300 baht each. Reasonable? 

Going though a few levels at Platinum Fashion Mall after desserts at After You Dessert Cafe. I still recall the hours I could spend in this mall more than five years ago! Those were the times and ageing has taught me that when it comes to clothing; comfort is more important than pricing. 

There are two sections to Platinum Fashion Mall and the one that's newer (and smaller) is undergoing a transformation. Bet it would focus more on ladies fashion; not that it matters to me though.

Quiet pratunam pier of Saen Saep Canal.
Does the ferry not operate on Sundays?

Saen Saep Canal - the longest man made canal in Thailand and one I would strongly encourage tourists to check out, during non peak hours, as it provides you with interesting local snapshots of capital and brings you to places that are less touristy. 

R-Walk - short for Ratchaprarop, it's an essential, sheltered linkway connecting visitors from the BTS stations to the popular pratunam area. It's much safer than crossing the roads! 

The same road that's always busy with motor vehicles in the daytime! In the past, my accommodations would always be in this area but I am happy to stay elsewhere so long there's a nearby BTS / MRT station.

Smell Lemongrass - this shop has a anti mosquito balm that's very effective! You may consider if you like to visit nature places like Pulau Ubin and Sungei Buloh in Singapore, where the mosquitoes are kings and queens of irritation! 

Bypassed the always crowded Erawan Shrine. Just wondering, for those who would purposely undertake annual pilgrimage to Thai temples; what happened during the pandemic? Online?

Killed a mosquito!
Amitabha (阿弥陀佛).

Back at Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri hotel; shot a picture of the outside view of a room which was in the midst of a make-up. You can clearly see the gym on the top floor of Q Chit Lom - Phetchaburi. Appeared near but it was about a kilometer away!

Was wondering why there were so many people crowding outside St Regis Hotel; turned out there was a famous football club from UK that had arrived in Bangkok for a match.

This unassuming street wouldn't have caught much attention and it's only a reminder to me that I should have made time for the fried snacks (prawns, crabs etc) from the stall in the mid-bottom-right of the photo. Location; next to Sala Daeng BTS station. p.s. I knew of this due to a video on facebook. 

Arrival at Wat Mangkon MRT station; given its prominent location at Chinatown, guess it's fitting to have the images of the dragons adorning the station.

Always important - location map for the MRT station. Aside from directions, it's a good guide for famous places of attractions around the station, which might not be so well known to tourists. For example, what is the Historic Hut Charoen Chai Community? 

Main entrance for "Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (Wat Leng Noei Yi)"; namesake of the same MRT station. It might not look too imposing from the outside but the real treat is behind the gates of this historical temple completed in 1846. 

I always stick to the main road / streets when I am overseas and this kind of small lanes wouldn't usually attract me. However, I was in search of an eatery and Google Maps pointed towards this direction.

Jek Pui Thai Food - one of my most memorable gastronomic experience for this post-pandemic Bangkok trip. Simple yet delicious local meal and dining without any tables, and out in the open! 

Dried shark's fins? Seemed a bit grey; nevertheless, it's not something I would purposely seek to eat nowadays as I am equally happy with fish maw soup. 

Shop selling traditional Chinese pastries for festivals and important occasions like wedding. In Singapore, such shops have reduced in number due to the resistance from the younger generation to take over the business and also cultural changes when people don't see them as necessary.

Kwang Tung Shrine - I was intrigued by the two large statues of a golden buddha by the side of the entrance. Quite unconventional for Chinese temples.

Let's satay at Satay Jae Aeng @ Chinatown! A street stall located in between Kwang Tung Shrine and I'm Chinatown shopping mall; the pork satay I had was good enough to warrant a revisit in the future! 

Random street views in Chinatown while we navigated to our next destination! 

It started drizzling and that's a bummer as there's hardly any sheltered walkway! Speaking of which, for my next trip, I better prepare Alex to bring along an umbrella on a just-in-case basis. 

Desserts at Burapha Bird Nest

A walk alongside the food street in Chinatown at night; plenty of things to eat and I am glad I already filled up my tummy before this. If not, I would have been tempted to try many things! 

I'm Chinatown shopping mall; before the pandemic, this wasn't even completed! For those who prefer newer hotels, you can consider the ASAI Hotel which is within the same mall. I did consider this mall given the proximity to Wat Mangkon MRT station but it was a bit pricier and the rooms were smaller compared to the one I eventually booked. 

Smoke coming from Satay Jae Aeng

Remember Gigi Fried Chicken which was Turkish restaurant that sells Korean style fried chicken? I still can't get my head around it. Do the words "fried chicken" sell more than "Turkish cuisine"?

Taking the BTS back to Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri.

My haul from Ha Kee Lim Jing Heang 合記林真香; aside from Big C Supercenter, this would be my main shopping for food stuffs, to be brought back to Singapore. 

Wanted to get a drink at "The Speakeasy Rooftop Bar" at Hotel Muse Bangkok but we didn't make any reservations and the place was full; not to mention we weren't dressed to the nines for the venue. Hence, we decided to just grab a few bottles of beer from the nearby 7-11 store, which also offered seating! 

Some small bites were necessary! 

Simple pleasures of life, at reduced pricing! Company matters more than venues and we had a fun time chatting away while downing a few bottles of beer from various Thai brands. Shiok!