Bangkok round two #5 – Day Three

(Gee, this trip is taking longer than I expected -.- It’s already the 5th entry and I’m one entry away from wrapping it up.)

21st August ’06, one more day before we ended the holiday and returned to good old Singapore. There was a slight chance in the routine though; one of V’s friends, named J (who was a Thai Chinese) offered to bring us around the place, so for once we could have a guide and have a looksee at different things.

So here we go! : )

We met J in the late morning, having called him the previous night.

(And oops, that brings me to a minor point. Calling someone on a public phone will cost you like THB3 per minute, so be ready to have a hell lot of coins if you want to make a long chat. V and I were frantically dropping coins to prevent the call from being cut that night, Z. But back to the story.)

So he brought us over to this coffeeshop in the area named Sheng Ying Fa or 胜英发 (or was it 发英胜? I doubt it though). And yeah, the Chinese characters look different from that of the signboard in the photo because I’m writing in the simplified characters, not the traditional ones.

The exterior of the shop and the staff bustling around.

This shop was reputed to have a huge lunchtime following, so we arrived ahead of the hungry horde just in time for brunch. I’m not sure what it’s called in Thai, but it sure looked like char siew (叉烧面) noodles to me, and tasted like the kolo mee they’re selling at Chinatown in Singapore. I had something that looked suspiciously like roast pork rice (烧肉饭) with a different sauce, but tasted really good. Hmm, then again maybe I was just hungry. You know how heavenly everything tastes like when you’re famished, but nah it really tasted good : )

And the drinks? The black one’s something like iced coffee with lotsa sugar, the other one I forgot heh. Oops?

The food’s affordable that’s for sure, costing about THB20? Portions were small though, miniscule even. I could’ve probably polished off three portions without too much trouble, no kidding.

*And this note is for J if you’re reading this entry: leave a comment! I know you’re reading this, both SJ jie and V told me you read my blog so you better not try and hide! *grumbles about readers who do not comment*

-~-

Hopped onto a bus bound for the Pratunam area next; what else but shopping? It was our first time taking a local bus though, pretty interesting ride.

Look at this ticket, woot. Retro I tell you, no way you can get this in Singapore.

And where do the tickets come from? There’s actually a bus conductor who asks you for the destination, punches the appropriate ticket and collects the money. All in one, so to speak.

J’s words of wisdom on places to go next time, with my unsightly scribbles at the bottom on how we could take the bus to Pratunam next time heh.

-~-

After a bit of walking, we finally reached the sacred land:

Hello Platinum Mall. (Yet again for the second time this year.)

Various random snaps of the shops. It seems weird, but Platinum Mall no longer seemed as appealing as it was earlier in the year. Maybe shopping at JJ market for two days in a row does that to you. The prices seem so exhorbitant, it seems seriously crazy to buy from the shops there when you could just get it for maybe half the price at the weekend market.

Then again, there’s a lot to be said for shopping in air-conditioned comfort, isn’t it? Not to mention spacious walkways, nicely-tiled floors and no mad crowds to squeeze through.

As you might have guessed, the brunch earlier did nothing to sate my hunger, and I had to eat again at 1500 hrs. I know I shouldn’t be posting this up, but look at the half-eaten remains of my nasi bryani. Gross I know : ) Being fastidious sorta goes flying out of the window when you’re ravenous.

-~-

It was evening when we finally got started on our next destination; J told us that it’d be a restaurant beside the river with this fantastic view. It sure sounded good : )

There was a slight problem though.

THIS.

Yes, traffic jams apparently are an everyday phenomenon in Bangkok. Not the jam we get on the CTE in Singapore, that’s minor bullshit compared to the jam here. We managed to get onto a cab, and the bloody vehicle didn’t even move a single centimeter for the first ten minutes.

So what else was there to do? I slept of course. But of course, you should never sleep when there’s a camera handy. *rolls eyes* Anyway those pics are censored so you all can heave that collective sigh of relief at not having to see my snoring mug.

Things only got slightly interesting when we had to stop for a train crossing. And this bus going in the opposite direction happened to be caught with its pants down. Figuratively of course, since a bus doesn’t even have legs to put its pants on. It was trapped in the train crossing zone, and we were all wondering if the train would stop, or the bus would endup as roadkill o.O

But of course our bloodthirsty daydreams were not to be, else you would’ve read about it in the newspapers already. The bus managed to move forward, and the train cross smoothly enough.

Here’s a few of the buildings which we passed by on our cab journey. Yeah, I’m not sure which building’s which, so I have a lousy memory for building names. You’ll have to thank me though, because all you have to do now is to gasp at the nice buildings in awe and just carry on reading without remembering all those names lol. All in the name of convenience.

*J’s comment on the building names:

“The bldg passed on cab journey is as below (ranging from left to right and upper to lower)

Thai Traditional Fortress, Thailand Lotto Office, Democracy Monument, Emerald Buddha Temple.

Thought that there will be some more of my photos … 555” (sorry man, censored too many photos lol)

-~-


Here’s the signboard for Supatra River House, with J posing for the camera.

A separate food review is over at the food blog; read it : )

The interesting thing’s that we had to take a boat across the river to reach the restaurant. Short trip, nice view nonetheless.

This is a shot of yours truly, flipping through the dang menu with no idea of what to order. J handled it all in the end heh.

More random shots of me, because all the other pictures either show SJ jie or V up close so oops.

Night photography experimentation; this is what happens when you get too bored after dinner.

-~-

J suggested that we head off to Khao San Road after dinner, and it was a cab yet again. And boy did we take a lot of taxis that night; we were virtually taking taxis the entire day if you discounted the initial bus trip.

Khao San Road’s a long straight road with buildings lining it, and it’s a really lively place.

Filled with foreign backpackers and facilities catering to their needs, you could see shops selling travel gear, offering internet access, photo developing, clothes and of course.. the pubs! We didn’t go into any of the pubs though, regretting it now ugh.

Check out these people braiding their hair into cornrows. A few of them were doing hair extensions as well, and I was watching one lady add the extensions with candle wax. Hmm, ouch.

It didn’t take too long for us to reach the end of the road and make our way back. V had to buy a tee for a friend, and we got it at THB120, after a little bargaining. I was thinking we could’ve gotten the same tee for maybe THB80 back at the weekend market. Different location, different price as usual.

-~-

You might have thought that we would call it a night after that but noooooooo, we ended up with one more stopover: Suan Lum Night Bazaar.

Look at the first photo, where they’ve really lighted it up nice and big for you. No way you could mistake this place for anywhere else; it’s Suan Lum Night Bazaar all right. The second photo’s a map of the area, and it’s bloody big, no kidding.

And the place was hot. V said that the prices were pretty steep over there, and you had to be a great bargainer to get decent prices. The walkways were narrow, it was hot and I wasn’t much in the mood to shop by then. We pretty much trudged around the place, kept our eyes open and that’s it.

I was much more interested in this.

The Ferris Wheel! I hadn’t been on one for quite some time, and it would be fun to see how great the view was from the top.

This was the entrance to the Ferris Wheel area, reminds me of some amusement park or other heh.

V and me at the Ferris Wheel, before our ride. J pleaded a fear of heights, and SJ jie declined to join us so we had the cabin to ourselves : )

The Ferris Wheel seemed good from a distance, but the ride was quite disappointing to say the least. It cost THB100 per person, we forked out THB200 to have the wheel turn three rounds and that was it. There were bars on the individual cabins (presumably to prevent some depressed individual from paying THB100 so that he could hop out and end his life right there, and haunt the Ferris Wheel for endless free rides thereafter) so it ruined the view for us.

Bah.

As a final shot, this street artist was sketching out a caricature of the fellow in front. He was quite good, but nowhere near the standard of another guy who had a shop in the night bazaar. Now that one was really good, you should’ve seen his drawing. The eyes seemed absolutely lifelike, and I would’ve sworn it was a bloody photo if I didn’t know better. We didn’t have time, and no photograph with us, if only..

If only my ass, I like to think.

What a long day it had been. We hailed a final cab back to our hostel after that, washed up and it didn’t take too long before the snores started in our room.

Advertisements

Bangkok round two #4 – Day Two, second half

(On to the second part of Day 3, although I’m still kinda in the mood to laze around and do nothing. It’s a humid and warm night over here at home, I’m on the brink of sweating even though I’m doing nothing but type on my PC, and this sucks.)

Cute figure of a Chinese general outside Shangarila Suite. (I’m not sure why it’s Shangarila and not Shangi-la hmm.)

So this was after lunch. We didn’t really have lunch either, merely two packets of food bought from JJ market eaten back in the (relative) air-conditioned comfort of the hostel. Unloaded all the stuff from the shopping earlier, I took a catnap and we were all ready to go out after that, wheeeeeee.

Walking to the BTS station once again; we sure took a bloody hell lot of trains on this trip.

Feet on the train ;p

At this point of time, we were heading down to Centerpoint. The bracelet I wrote about in the previous entry screwed up, and we had to look for their other outlet to get a replacement, Z. Talk about inconvenience.

And their Centerpoint is actually an open area where performances are held, and not really a shopping center. (It took me a while to realise that.)

A dance competition was going on as we were in the area. Kewl : )

-~-

We took quite a bit of time to find the shop, and yeah we saw an A&W restaurant across the road so ;p You can guess what happened after that.

Yum : ) Waffle with ice cream, and a root beer float. It’s like seeing an old friend, things don’t get better than this sometimes lol.

More than the usual, it says. What’s the usual then? Hmm.

Glutton at work: I ordered another cheeseburger to go along with the waffle heh.

-~-

Finally managed to find the shop in the end, and the guy there told us that he didn’t have any idea of what the design of the bracelet was. We didn’t see it on display either, blah. So we hung around while he tried to call the girl at JJ market on her mobile.

The shop’s small, but tastefully decorated I’d say.

So the guy asked us if we could take a walk around and come back in awhile. (I kinda suspected he just wanted to watch his Saint Seiya Hades anime episodes in peace.)

Interesting stuff at the neighbouring shop.

So yeah, we went back to window shopping around the area yet again, and the second time we went there, he told us that the bracelet would be ready in about an hour’s time, as it was being delivered there right then.

Dinnertime then.

-~-

(mini food entry because I can’t be bothered to do up a single entry on the food blog.)

Not really dinner though, since we (or rather I) had already eaten, and the girls weren’t feeling too hungry. We settled for the cafe at Siam Center that’s known as UCC.

And one plus point for going down to the place: it has free Internet access! ;p

Iced cappucino, hrmm not bad I say. V didn’t like it because of the cinnamon taste, but it’s something different.

Their version of the salad, a sweet-n-sour version at that o.O Good appetizer definitely.

Well this was supposed to be French toast, but I’m not sure why there’s whipped cream at the side heh. Still tasted good anyway.

-~-

And we finally got the bracelet after that, phew. At a THB100 discount, in exchange for all the time spent there? I would’ve given up the THB100 gladly.

Bad weather called in after that, sigh. We were about to head to the night market at Suan Lum but it started raining like mad. So we ended up taking refuge at a Burger King nearby. Yes I know, food again. Fast food again.

Burger King actually sells fried chicken over in Bangkok. Take that KFC!

Drenched me with the chicken. And whaddaya know, the chicken actually tasted better than Singapore’s KFC. Juicier, slurps.

(The entry ends here with your collective saliva.)

Bangkok round two #3 – Day Two, first half

Day two, 20th August started just as we woke at 0730 hrs, and took the train down to JJ market for a second time. We hadn’t properly canvassed all the shops, and the girls wanted to look for this particular shop that sold dirt-cheap slippers so yeah, that’s about as much reason one needs to head back I suppose.

And this is what happens when you sleep little the previous night and wake up early for the second day running: attack of the Z monster.

Hello hello, look at the colorful parade of taxis! JJ market here we comeeee (yet again). Time to get lost among the shops once again, heh heh.

-~-

And after much walking and shopping, we took a break at this nice little coffee place in the market called Get In.

The decor’s quite decent : ) And I like the way the menu’s done up.

Me and my tea, slurps.

Quirked eyebrow mode. kua simi kua?

Our finished drinks; do-re-mi : )

The cup’s pretty kewl; they print their own cups, and there’s words on it about coffee in different languages across the countries. V liked it so much, she took the cup back to Singapore as a memento lol.

Let the finger do the walking, part two : ) On to the other parts of the market!

-~-

This is a stall which sells like bloody tons of different slippers cheaply, at THB39 o.O Talk about cutthroat prices. I didn’t buy them though, no way I’m gonna wear slippers that’ll make me fly across water puddles.

Here’s the address of the shop if you’re interested in taking a look.

These salt and pepper shakers were being sold all over the place, and I kinda like them : ) Cute design.

(I found out today that these thingies were being sold at the flea market near Planet Fitness @ Raffles Place, blah.)

: )

If you’re into shoes then take a look at this.

Pants of nearly every bloody shade o.O

You should’ve seen these voodoo doll buggers in Singapore by now, and this shop seems to be a choked with them. Look at the variety, wheee!

You can see yellow tops like these being sold all over Bangkok. The people are supposed to wear yellow to show their love for the king on Mondays, so it seems. Interesting isn’t it?

-~-

This was the shop where we finally settled on buying a bracelet for the mother’s birthday. It’s got some nice designs for men’s accessories, so you might wanna have a looksee when you drop by the market.

Unfortunately, something screwed up when the girl was adjusting the length of the bracelet, and it turned into a much longer journey altogether. *rolls eyes*

We’ll talk about that in the next post.

-~-

Damn, but I’m getting hungry as I post these pics. I need foooooood!

This shop sells all sorts of holders and frames, good for shops that sell jewellery and such : )

Toy accessories being sold, and the kid in me decided that I absolutely had to have a Son Goku keychain -.- So yeah, I bought one.

-~-

It was lunchtime by the time we exited the market (finally!) and began our way back to the hostel.

Walking and waiting around for the train.

Those who’ve seen my handphone pouch know that the critter on the right’s been with me for quite some time, so I bought the upgraded version on the left for V, resplendent with pitchfork, horns and a bloody tail o.O

And oh yeah, I named ’em as well. Say hello to AS and LS! (ang sek and lak sek, it’ll only be funny if you know Hokkien lol.)

We’ll stop here for now, the post’s really long. We’ll carry on after lunchtime ;p

Bangkok round two #2 – Day One

THT 0700 hrs; 19th August 2006.

The three of us got up and began preparing for the journey down to the open air weekend market some know as Chatuchak, others know as Jatujak, or simply JJ weekend market. It’s definitely one of the places you should check out if you’re into shopping. Clothes, accessories, bags, shoes, pets, household items and whatnot, it’s a confusing maze of shops, and countless shops to browse. The only flip side’s that the sweltering heat gets to you after a while, so it’s always better to go early in the morning when it’s still nice and cool (which was what we did).

And I wasn’t feeling too good, since I only dozed off at about 0300 hrs that morning. Dang the other backpackers!

Here’s a few snaps of the hostel and its surroundings:

A look at the quiet roads outside in the morning.

Chinese looking building to the left of the hostel.

The toilet-showers. A basin’s available but yeah the water came in weak dribbles, so V thought it faster to simply finish everything in the shower. Did I mention that the toilet doors couldn’t be locked? The only shower with a decent lockable door’s on level three, lol. And the showers all come with heaters.. that don’t work. Believe me, I’d tested all of them. Not a big issue anyway lol, who gives a damn about hot water when you’re in a hostel?

-~-

The hostel was within walking distance of Chong Nonsi station, so we took the BTS down to Mo Chit station and walked to the market itself.

Tip: If you’re planning to take the BTS several times in a single day, please get the day trip ticket for THB100 instead of single trip tickets. That thingy allows you to take unlimited trips on the BTS, which is far more cost-efficient. Well, actually the ticket only allows you to take 20 trips in a single day, but that’s close enough to unlimited I suppose. Which sane person’ll take 20 trips after all? ;p

Here’s me hungrily tucking into breakfast: pad thai bought from a stall at the market.

Trying to systematically cover all the shops in the place is a massive chore I’d say, but we did it as best as we could. It was a good thing not all the shops had opened in the early morning, so you could keep your eyes open and shop properly without being overwhelmed.

Cute doggies over in the pet section. This little bugger was constantly whining and shuffling to and back in his cage; took me a while to snap him.

Another furry fellow being blowdried after a quick bath in a bucket of water. Imagine being doused in cold water and blasted with hot air the next, brrrr.

Accessories hanging all over the place; this is just an example of the many many other shops in the place.

We’d walked out of the stifling zone when V saw these doggies. Absolutely adorable aren’t they? I was tempted to buy one too but logic won out in the end; dog poo and dog hair definitely did not belong in the house.

-~-

We took a cab back to our hostel after that, since everyone was kinda worn out by the heat in the market.

My perspective on things ;p

The cabbie’s license. Hello!

We started taking snaps of the various taxi colors, but didn’t manage to take every single one. Here’s a pink one!

Hmmm.. orange.

The purple taxi simply refused to appear whenever I was waiting with the camera, gees. Spoilsport!

V reminded me that I should write about the difference in colors between the cabs, bleh. Actually, the yellow/green scheme means that the cabbies actually own their cabs, while the rest of the colors are owned by private companies and leased out to the drivers.

Here’s how the hostel looks like from the outside; there’s the white sign on top screaming HOSTEL.

-~-

Here’s V and me on our way to the train to Siam station. (Snapped by SJ jie.)

Next stop: fooooood!

Siam Paragon’s a really branded shopping centre next to the Siam station, no shit about that. No way I’ll walk into one of them boutiques and buy something off the rack, those stuff are way off my budget ;p

A look at the interior; makes you wonder if those greenery are real?

-~-

Lunch was at Siam Center’s Fuji restaurant, which serves pretty good Japanese cuisine at an affordable rate.

A review’s posted over at the food blog for the hungry ones.

Pretending to muse over our next destination.

V’s finger doing the walking : )

-~-

Interesting crap over at Siam Center: check out this huge-arse fire extinguisher on wheels. Was it designed to be a jet engine or something? You could probably piggyback the extinguisher, start firing the nozzle and wheeee off you go!

Cute panda over in the toilet (?)

Walking around the general area after that, enroute to MBK. Notice the idiot pointing up at the sign? That’s me.

A night shot of the traffic near MBK aka Mah Boon Krong shopping centre. MBK’s a big shopping centre, and one of the better ones if I might say so. IMO it beats Platinum Mall hands down because the prices tend to be lower over at MBK.

To get to MBK, alight at National Stadium BTS station, it’s as simple as that.

-~-

We finally got ourselves seated at MBK’s food court for dinner, where I made an excuse to visit the washroom and disappeared promptly. It certainly wasn’t a call of nature, duh. I was taking the chance to get V her birthday cake, and it seemed like a good time.

.. well, I’d forgotten about Murphy’s Law being in effect. The cake was easy enough to get, and I checked that one off the list. Shit started happening when I asked the staff for candles and a lighter, or even matches. All I got was a baffled look.

Die. How the hell do you say candles and lighter in Thai?

What else could I do, except continue looking in other shops for the candles and lighter? It was amazing how no one understood what those things were until I’d walked four storeys down and got to a bakery, where I finally got a box of candles. And then the lady over there told me they didn’t sell lighters, or even a box of matches.

.. so you don’t have those eh? How the hell do you people light the candles usually then, with flint and tinder perhaps? Or maybe two rocks rubbing against each other? Or do you by any chance happen to breathe fire through your bloody nostrils?

I didn’t know how I could say the above in Thai though, so I gave up trying to make stupid jokes and continued looking. A waiter over at a coffee outlet was kind enough to lend me his lighter in the end, and whew was he my saviour or what? Sped upstairs with all the stuff, and we did a quick little birthday routine right there in the food court.

Here’s a pint-sized pic of V blowing out the candles over her pint-sized cake. Happy birthday!

-~-

Shopped around MBK for a bit after dinner, and we came across these hiphop enthusiasts practicing at the open area in front of the Siam BTS station. Pretty kewl : )

And that was how the first day ended, phew. We were quite wrung out by the time we returned to our room, and collapsed into bed without further urging.

Bangkok round two #1 – Setting off!

So here goes post numero uno. (I foresee that’s this is gonna be five posts long at least.)

18th August, Friday finally rolled around, and it was time to head off on the trip! Dinner at the staff canteen, checking our stuff in and all too soon we were soon wandering around the departure lounge. The new system they got at the airport for Singaporean passport looks to be pretty handy; scan the passport, make a thumbprint and woot you’re all done!

Me hanging around the travellator, looking blur.

Our Airasia flight (second Bangkok trip, Airasia yet again).

Now this picture’s interesting. So I was sitting down filling out my departure card when the attendants signalled that we could start queueing up to board. I’m not bullshitting you here, but within ten bloody seconds this queue sprung up like friggin’ mushrooms on steroids. So I was left staring, didn’t even bother to queue in the end. What else could I do? Shrugged and went back to my card.

Onboard the plane: spinning up a whimsical little tale on my trusty notebook, while V dozed and SJ jie scribbled her diary entry for the night.

Finally landing at Don Muang airport, phew.

Watching the rest of the people rush to get off the plane.

And we thought that was the end of it all. Apparently not, since we had to get onto a bus to reach the airport (again!) and it took us for a nice little unwanted night tour of the place. Value-added service? You bet your arse it wasn’t, heh. It was nearly twenty minutes before we got out of the bus and carried on with things.

We were an hour behind time, and I was half-wondering if the hostel manager had driven off and left us to our own devices. Thankfully he didn’t, and I managed to find his car, get all of us onboard and head for the hostel. Joe (the manager) was a friendly enough fellow, and the ride went along smoothly until we finally alighted in front of the hostel.

Hello hello Hostel Thailand, home for the next few days. It wasn’t impressive by any stretch of imagination, being a narrow building sandwiched between two bigger ones. It had a narrow enough staircase, and our room was narrower, to say the least.

It was a good thing we had a room to ourselves, at least that’s what we thought. Another backpacker was snoozing on a bed when we entered the room, and question marks were floating all around. Like whaddahell was he doing there?

After a few minutes of explanation, he got the hint and moved off to his own bed. It turned out that he came into this room to see if the beds were better than the one he got; apparently not.

Here’s me checking out the bed. Whee do they look like army bunks!

We weren’t exactly thrilled by the size of the room, but well it was more a matter of getting used to it. Then came the second surprise of the night: the water supply got cut while I was bathing, wheeee. It was a good thing I was nearly done, so I simply wiped off the remaining foam on my shoulder, got dressed and walked out of the shower/toilet calmly. (The toilet doubled as a shower as well.) Talk about good luck, lol.

Most people would’ve been pissed at the turn of events. I merely accepted everything with a grin, in the name of good old spirit of adventure and all. Honestly speaking, you wouldn’t be getting an experience like this anywhere else lol. Imagine two people using a bottle of water to brush your teeth and washup? That was exactly what V and I did on the first night. (SJ jie was lucky enough to finish up before the water stopped.) It reminded me of something you did in a water rationing exercise, and I hadn’t been through one of those in years. But I still found it funny ;p

A fellow tourist, a Brit named Lauren assured me that things like these didn’t happen very often, so I was slightly reassured. If the water got cut off every night..

Thankfully the water supply came back later on, and V managed to get her bath and wash up properly before going to bed.

And the next few obstacles came rushing on.

The walls weren’t soundproof, which meant that we could hear those friendly neighbours that were having a party upstairs loud and clear. Here’s to insomnia a la Sleepless in Bangkok! We were wide awake till 2 a.m. at least.

Our room door screeched whenever it was opened. (Apparently they didn’t oil the door hinges in Bangkok.) Good burglar alarm, but it also meant that anyone getting up to take a leak in the middle of the night had the honor of waking everyone else up in the process.

.. and the beds creaked. More noise pollution, Z.

I was really looking forward to sleep that night.

Of them paper flowers

[Flowers] – V’s Flickr, 14 Aug ’06.

V got these paper flowers at the open area near Raffles Place MRT last week; interesting aren’t they? Look at what’s written on them : ) All sorts of weird days (Stinky Feet Day?), and tongue-in-cheek humor to match on the flip side, lol.

Couple’s idea of non-stop fun: Stuff his car with.. Hello Kitty toys. Z.

There’s supposed to be a free gift if you collect of all them flowers, but V didn’t manage to find out what the gift was all about. It makes me wonder what publicity stunt this is all about, hmmmmm.

Update: according to Adri it’s a promotion for the NETS Gift Card, hmm. Who would’ve thought that?