Virgin trip to Bangkok

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My first trip of the year was to the Land of Smiles, Bangkok, Thailand with my best girlfriends from 24-27 Jan 2015.

Flew by Tiger Air and lucky us got the emergency door seats which meant extra leg room! Take note that there are 2 airports in Bangkok, with Tiger and Jetstar being the only budget airlines that fly to Suvarnabhumi Airport (the better and newer one).

Stayed at Novotel Platinum Hotel which is literally part of the humongous shopping haven Platinum Mall, and just a street across from Pratunam market. We got connecting rooms which made it that much more enjoyable for a group of four. Total for Flight+Hotel was sgd 340.55 per pax for 4d3n.

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My 2nd time at Novotel (1st was in London Blackfriars). Must-say, truly impressed with this “budget” hotel, with awesome service, facilities and always great location, although the free wi-fi did get a little choppy at times. Feels honestly like a proper hotel, just that the price makes me smile a lot wider.

We hired the airport limousine to bring our lazy bums to the hotel, a good 45min drive away. Tip from my travel expert friend: Ask for the SUV which offers more room and comfort at the same price.

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First thing on the itinerary was to fill our empty stomachs! We hunted down this famous chicken rice stall just one busy road across from our hotel. Ordering food in thailand (especially authentic stalls such as this) became a game of charades as we tried to describe the chicken parts we wanted. Drumstick was simple, but somebody wanted breast meat. hmmm

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I’m sorry I don’t know the name of this stall! But if you walk along Pratunam market and ask the stall owners for chicken rice, they’ll likely point you in the right direction. It was delicious, but then again, we were famished.

Next stop, Coca Steamboat at Siam Square, just a short 5 min walk from our hotel. We only came here cause its much much cheaper than in Singapore, as most things are.

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We just had to try the much talked about T&K seafood in Chinatown. Finally utilised my trusty “learn thai” iphone app to communicate with the taxi driver. Most satisfyingly thai meal of the trip!

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And our after-dinner dessert that day – bird’s nest

I’m not a fan of bird’s nest. Honestly I only drink the soup which is basically sugar water. The gooey yet textured consistency is something I just cannot get over. Eewww. The girls were obviously reeling from my aversion as they knew where my leftovers were going. It disappeared in no second.

FunFact: RED bird’s nest is premium and fetches a higher price. The sparrow coughing blood to induce the redness is a myth. The colour is due to oxidation of minerals.

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One of my favourite meals was a random dinner at an authentic thai restaurant. Again I have failed to note the name of this place, it was in thai! This fried rice was truly divine. Deceivingly spicy but super addictive with oily grains of rice and tons of crunchy veggies.

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Took some effort but we managed to find the illusive Boat Noodles (kuai tiao ruea) at Victory Monument.

FunFact: Boat noodles were originally served from boats along Bangkok’s bustling canals in small bowls for easy handling by merchant and customer.

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The noodle broth has an interesting spice and tang, thickened with pig’s blood to give it what they call a full body. Guess its something you just have to try personally to understand. I would say its an acquired taste, but you tend to like it the more you eat it. We also had wanton skins as sides which were perfect with the noodles.

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Take note that these 2 tiny plates of desserts they give you are NOT FREE. Sortof like soft kueh pudding, a sweet end to a unique dining experience. They’re cheap la so just pay la.

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Finally we headed down to one of the must-go places for first-timers, Chatuchak Market. We encountered a terrible taxi driver on our way there. Thankfully, this instagram-worthy coconut icecream made up for it.

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The other food we had in Chatuchak market was nothing outstanding. The Pad Thai was in fact depressing. Had better ones in Singapore (what the heck!)

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These yummy soaps I snagged at Chatuchuk make great souvenirs! They smell like the real thing too.

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Shopping

There is plenty of great shopping for all budgets.

Cheapskate – chatuchak, any night market

Budget Barbie – platinum, union mall

Taitai wannabe – terminal 21

True Taitai – siam square, central

For those of you like me who had all your childhood memories in A&W, do note that its available in Bangkok! I finally got my dose of nostalgia at Union Mall.

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Terminal 21 shopping mall is known for its uniquely themed washrooms. We just had to do a #OOTD at this hipster wall.

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Street food! 

Say it with me.. Fried chicken! Man I wish I had more of this. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly makes this so amazing, it just is. Even the breast meat was moist, flavorful and oh-so-good.

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The pork satay in thailand is truly aroi mak mak (very very delicious). The tender well-marinated meat just melts in your mouth and leaves you craving for more!

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Fresh pomegranate juice sold everywhere is a refreshing treat in the hot weather.

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Mango sticky rice & Durian sticky rice from any random food court in a mall, is apparently cheaper than those tourist-cheating street vendors. Personally I don’t think the durian and sticky rice combi worked. The mango one on the other hand, match-made in heaven! I’ve never enjoyed this dessert in Singapore, but I fell in love with its sticky goodness in thailand.

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Healthland Spa

Not the cheapest but definitely worth it. It’s never a real holiday in Thailand until u’ve had some R&R at a spa. This place is extremely popular amongst tourist, so be sure to book ahead.

Transport

The adventurous tourist will squeeze in a traditional tiny tuktuk but the atas ladies of Novotel take the free hotel one. Pristine white and twice the size of a regular tuktuk, needless to say, we felt like thai royalty.

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The useful tuktuk ferries hotel guests to either of the 2 nearest BTS (Bangkok Mass Transport System or Skytrain) stations, ChitLom or Siam. From which you could easily navigate your way around. Bangkok is full of overhead walkways which basically takes you anywhere and everywhere, removing the hassle (and not to mention risk) of crossing the busy roads.

Cafes

Anyone doing travel research on Bangkok will see Mr Jone’s Orphanage popping up over and over again, so we just needed to try it.

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The cakes were decent, coffee and milkshake was alright, best part was free wi-fi. Service was atrocious. Nothing else to say except that we were duped by fancy online reviews once again.

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Next dessert stop, Afteryou Cafe for their famous Shibuya Honey Toast. It was indeed awesome! Exceeded all my expectations and that’s no easy feat given how much hype it has gotten. All other thick toasts should go bury themselves in shame. This is something I really hope comes to Singapore. *fingers crossed*

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Ordered the Banana split as well, by accident, honestly no idea how that happened (point also can point wrong).

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No blog post on a shopping trip would be complete without a photo of my loot. Added a few more stuff after this photo was taken.

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At last, I’ve found you transparent umbrella. Always always wanted one.

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Extra Tips:
– Four face buddha (Erawan Shrine) is worth a visit if u’re in the vicinity, near Erawan mall.
– Shopping-wise, one must always bargain! Ask for wholesale price first, then persuade all friends to buy tgt. haha what are friends for!
– Taxi’s will ask u “highway”? if u say yes, be prepared to pay a little toll.
– Some Taxi drivers can be ruthless, beware! Always mention METER once u enter the taxi and MAKE SURE he turns the meter on! if he still manages to take an extra long route to ur destination, well, just clap for him..

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