Bangkok: 26, 27, 31 Aug - 2 Sep 2011

4
I was in Bangkok for leisure and work - in that order :D
(Though my priorities were the opposite)

At Pullman Bangkok Hotel


THB24.3 = SGD1

26-27 August

I stopped over in Bangkok for a day before heading to Pattaya. I was on a night flight so having a rest after a day at work made sense. Besides, I wanted to visit Chatuchak and the coach to Pattaya would cost THB200 versus taking a taxi for at more than THB1000.

Sinsuvarn Airport Hotel had good reviews on the Internet, and the charge per night was only THB759 without breakfast but with free 2-way transfer from the airport. I was grateful for the free transfer service I wouldn’t have to queue for a taxi or get worried about the driver not being able to find the hotel. I booked the hotel just before I boarded the plane so they didn’t have my name on the list but they didn’t stop me from using the free transfer service. I only waited about 5 minutes for the minibus. Check-in at the hotel took only 1 minute. I was asked to write down the time I was leaving for the airport the next day. There's a shuttle bus schedule.

Sinsuvarn Airport Suite Hotel entrance


Road leading to Sinsuvarn Airport Suite Hotel


Houses along the road out from Sinsuvarn Airport Suite Hotel


Shuttle bus schedule


The room was clean and spacious. There's a balcony but I realised that it shouldn't be used at all unless I wanted to feed the mosquitoes.
View from my room




The bathroom was clean. Some chargeable items like condoms, sanitary pads and toothbrushes were available but at supermarket prices. After a shower, I had to go back down to get my free wifi access username and password. The speed of access was good.







In the morning, I took at taxi to the nearest train station, Lat Krabang airportlink station. I had to wait about 15 minutes for the train. The journey to Phaya Thai (terminal) station took almost 30 minutes.

Lat Krabang airportlink station




I didn't know it would take that long to get to the city. I was hungry because I didn't have breakfast. I ate at a hawker area under a tent just beside the station.

Phaya Thai station vicinity map


Hawker stalls at Phaya Thai


After that, I took the BTS sky train to Chatuchak weekend market. The market is a 3 minutes' walk from Mo Chit station. It can also be reached via underground MRT (stop at Chatuchak Park MRT station) but that's a different line that does not link to Phaya Thai station.

Chatuchak


I love the creativity of Thai people. I like the light-weight trolley bags which are great for people to carry away the stuff. It's easy to get carried away when there are so many nice things to buy!

Trolley bags at Chatuchak


The slipper designs are really cute! I like the fruit and cat designs!

Slippers at Chatuchak


One section of the market that I love is the pet section. There are dogs, birds, rabbits, hamsters, cats, etc. I don't recall seeing any snakes. Some shop holders may not allow you to touch the animals. Most animals, except the expensive ones such as Persian cats, are kept in cramped cages. The saddest animal in the market must have been this cat that was sitting in its own litterbox.

Sad kitten sitting in litterbox at Chatuchak


Kitten at Chatuchak


Puppies at Chatuchak


Puppies at Chatuchak


Birds at Chatuchak


Rabbits at Chatuchak


Dressed-up rabbits at Chatuchak


It's not easy hanging around at Chatuchak for too long because of the heat. I bought some locally made drinks and snacks from a small supermarket there. The cashier told me that photography was not allowed. I think she thought I was gathering a basket of stuff that I wasn't going to buy. I said that I was going to buy them and she didn't protest further.

Small supermarket selling local produce at Chatuchak, just outside Chatuchak Park MRT station


I took the BTS sky train back to Phaya Thai station and changed over to the Airportlink line. I could either take the express non-stop service (THB 90) that goes directly to the airport in 17 minutes then take a taxi from the airport to the hotel, or take the standard service (THB 40) back to the station closest to the hotel (1 stop from the airport). I chose the former. I took rather long to get back to the hotel because the train departs once every half hour. The train interior is different from the non-express train. The journey to the airport did really take 17 minutes only. It was well-worth the extra money. [see airport to Phaya Thai express train schedule and Phaya Thai to airport express train schedule]

Fares from Phaya Thai airportlink station


Airportlink Express train THB90 one-way from Phaya Thai to Airport


Both the normal train and express train service run on the same track. I've been asked how that was possible.

This is how it works:
The express non-stop train departs every 30 minutes. The normal train departs every 15 minutes.
- The express non-stop train departs from the terminal at say 0900.
- The normal train departs at 0901, behind the express train. Because the express train will bypass the next station, the normal train that departed at 0901 will not collide into the express train in front.
- Then at 0916, the second normal train departs from the terminal.
- At 0930, the next express train departs.
- At 0931, the normal train departs, and so on.

Since I was at the airport, I decided to buy my bus ticket to Pattaya before returning to the hotel.

I checked out and then went to "The Restaurant" (yup, that's the real name) for lunch while waiting for the shuttle service to the airport. The room service prices are the same as the restaurant prices.

"The restaurant"


Prawn cakes were fresh and delicious


The shuttle minivan driver dropped me off at the correct area. The airport is big and extremely inconvenient to get around: can't use trolleyhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif, can't use some escalators, etc. Very frustrating.

I spent a few days in Pattaya before returning to Bangkok. Read my Pattaya entry here.


31 Aug - 2 Sep

I stayed at Sinsuvarn Airport Suite hotel for 1 night when I returned. My bus from Pattaya arrived at the airport at 8.30pm.

The next day, I took the shuttle service to the airport and then took the non-stop express service to Phaya Thai station. From there, I took a taxi to the hotel that I was going to stay at for the next 2 nights.

I reached there at 9.45am because my colleague said she was planning to arrive at that time. The receptionist said that the hotel was full and I had to wait till 11am for a room.

At Pullman hotel garden lounge




The room and bathroom are really nice! It's what I call a "true 5-star hotel". There's a bathtub with bath salt provided and even a small decorative pig.

Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel THB2943










I had planned to use the bathtub on the 2nd night but, sadly, I did not because I had to work at night and get up early to travel out for meetings :( Believe me, I literally dreamed about bathtubs that night. I used the weighing machine though. I was 51kg on the first night :D (Back down to 49kg the next day).

One of the far out places I went to was Amata City at Rayong province. It's closer to Pattaya than Bangkok. It's an industrial area. We set off at 7.30am. We got there in 2 hours instead of the 3 hours were expected because there were traffic jams. We had some time to kill so we stopped for food and drink. There are only a few eateries in the town area.

Amata City




Cafe at Amata City




The Carbonara at the Italian restaurant was authentic. The cook is Thai but he used to work in hotels. As you can see from the picture, there's no cream at all and the bacon is good quality bacon - not bacon bits and not too much fat. (If you know where to find authentic Carbonara in Singapore, please tell me.)

Carbonara at Italian restaurant


I did some shopping after dinner. Bangkok is most definitely a shopping paradise. It caters to the high- and low-end shoppers. I didn't bother to check out the high-end range for clothes or food. The only "expensive" food I had was the free breakfast at the hotel. The spread was excellent but I didn't stuff myself because I had meetings to attend.

There's a free tuk-tuk shuttle service from the hotel to Centry mall


Century mall near the hotel




I had dinner at this Thai restaurant in Century mall serves very good and cheap food


If I had bought alot of cash I would have stocked up on Boots toiletries (buy 1 get 1 free anniversary promotion)


Cinema poster

My colleague and I found ourselves standing beside that the actor in the middle poster. We were waiting for a table at a restaurant near Ari BTS station at lunch time.

The night market stretches all the way between Century Mall and Victory Monument BTS station. There's cheap food and clothes - cheaper than in malls. Everything costs under THB250 or SGD10. You might experience the occasional blackout which we witnessed. People carried on their business of buying and eating, as oblivious of the lack of light as nocturnal animals.

Night market outside Century


Eatery outside Century. I had noodles here the 2nd night


This dog, at the Victory Monument night market area, was yearning to have its photo taken.



Victory Monument area


The last time I'd been to Bangkok was in 2006. At the time, Platinum Fashion Mall at Pratunum did not exist. I must say that it's the best place I've been to in South East Asia to buy clothes! You can buy men's and women's work clothes, casual wear, party dresses, beach wear, undergarments, shoes, bags, accessories and children's clothes. There's a food court at the top level but the food sucks.

I was told it used to sell only wholesale in the past - at least 3 pieces. Now the shops do sell single pieces but the more you buy, the more discounts you get.

Photography is not allowed in the mall but I managed to take some pictures. Some shop holders will tell you that photography is not allowed if they see you snapping pictures.

Platinum Fashion Mall






















This sort of hair bands are in fashion there


The mall is huge so if you see something that you like and are considering buying it, do take a picture or write down the lane where you saw it.


How can anyone resist buying supper when in Bangkok? I bought Mango sticky rice. I turned on the TV as I was enjoying my dessert. Bad choice! There was a reality TV show on. A dirty toilet at the village with greenish growth in the toilet bowl. I didn't eat the reamining half of my dessert (which I ate in the taxi the next day).



Talking about taxis, my colleague and I rode in this taxi with all-pink interior. The taxi driver said it was the only one in Bangkok and passangers liked taking pictures in it.





If you hope to catch this taxi, do not look for a pink taxi on the road because its exterior is green and yellow.



And more about taxis, it's not always easy to get a taxi driver to take you anywhere and you'll have to fight with queue-cutters who will stand right beside you to snatch the taxi. We must have asked about 10 taxis and tuk-tuk drivers before we finally get one that would take us to our hotel that was only 5 mins away. And this is not because we were tourists. My colleague is Thai. Once, a tuk-tuk driver agreed to take us to our hotel. After driving about 200m, he stopped at the traffic light. My colleague told him that he needed to turn left to get us to the hotel. He told us to get off. We had no choice but to get off. My colleague said to me," Amazing Thailand!"

A place that used to be good for shopping is Talad Loung Preim. Talad means market. Loung means uncle and Preim (pronounced as "perm") is his name. So it's Uncle Preim's market. But please don't tell the taxi drivers that you want to go to Uncle Preim's market - they won't know what you're talking about. You can tell them to go to the market behind Thai Airways head office. By the way, if you need to use the toilet, there's one in the office building.

Thai Airways head office


Entrance to Talad Loung Preim


If you don't mind the heat (I don't) there cheap and yummy food here. The kaya bun is exceptionally soft and the kaya tastes good. The cream sandwiches are nice too.

Hawker area


Soft kaya buns


Cream cake sandwiches


Iced tea and iced coffee


The clothing here is more expensive than at Platinum Fashion Mall. There's no aircon here either. We guessed that the high rental must have driven the prices up. Apparently, Uncle Preim isn't a nice guy.





A lady was selling shrimp salad by the road outside Platinum Fashion Mall. The shrimps were jumping around in a large basket. The lady put her bare hands (which I'm sure are the same hands used to take money) into the basket. She said the live shrimp would be mixed with vegetables and sauce, and served uncooked. Neither my colleague nor I tried it. Unless you're in a hurry to lose some weight, don't ever eat uncooked roadside food.

Live shrimps


Shrimp salad stall


I took the express train to the airport to catch my Tigerairways flight back to Singapore. The web check-in service was not working. The flight was delayed by an hour. I was very hungry so I had expensive airport food. I got free 15 mins' wifi access from the information counter. It took me 15 minutes to load the login page. Not worth the trouble. There's paid access available but I don't know how much faster the speed would be.

Suvarnabhumi Airport


Free 30 mins wifi at Coffeeworld


Free 15 mins wifi at airport


Get your free 15 mins wifi access at the counter


Hopelessly slow free 15 mins' wifi access


I was glad to arrive in "unique" Singapore where internet access speeds are fast and taxi drivers don't kick me out in the middle of the road!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did u forget to wear nickers?

Miss World contestant did.

David said...

Yu-Kym,

Great post! You stayed at a very nice hotel!

The Fashion Mall looks like a fun place to shop, although the stores looked they are crammed full of goods.

Very nice to see pictures of the photogenic Ms. Loh!

David

He is not great who is not greatly good.

-- William Shakespeare

Anonymous said...

wow so good can go travelling so often, is everything sponsor by company ???

Anonymous said...

Yes, Yu-Kym is indeed very photogenic. May we be allowed to see more of her in the pictures?

What say you Yu-Kym? After all, the blog centers around you too right? and your legions of fans are here because of you....including silli cat!

silli cat