I think I can safely say that 2016 will be a travelling year for me, because I’ve already been to two different countries and it’s only May, with one more trip lined up in June.
I usually only go to like 2 places in an entire year at most, so yup, 2016 is definitely shaping up to be a travelling year.
I was in Hong Kong freezing my butt off in February, a trip that was memorable partly because I couldn’t feel my nose, and in a show of contrasts I’ve just gotten back from the Land of Smiles and Incredibly Hot Sun. That’s right – Thailand, or more specifically, Bangkok.
I headed to Bangkok with my best friends from polytechnic for our graduation trip, to commemorate surviving 3 years and making it out alive. This was my maiden trip to Bangkok, and my impression of it was that all you can do there is shop and eat.
I wasn’t wrong, but Bangkok really is quite a lovely city. It’s a thriving metropolis, but one thing that stuck out at me is the prevalence of religion in the nation. There are mini-shrines located along the roads pretty much everywhere, and it’s common to see people just stop, pray, and then carry on.
I had lots of fun in Thailand – bought more than I was supposed to, ate a lot more than I needed to, and probably had way too much fun. But that’s the beauty of travelling with friends – you get up to some ridiculous nonsense.
I’ll break up our activities much like I did for my KL post, to avoid boring you with a day-by-day recount of our four days in Bangkok. We went from Mon – Thu, so we missed the weekend markets, which is a pity. Maybe next time, we’ll go back and stay longer so that we can catch the weekend markets, who knows.
I made a short video of our trip – I didn’t have much footage, largely because I was too lazy and having too much fun to actually film any of it, but here it is:
My friend Joelle made a video too – hers is much more comprehensive:
Now, on to the details.
WHERE WE STAYED
We stayed in a hotel that was possibly the best accommodation for six utterly shopaholic girls – Arnoma Grand Bangkok, right across the street from Centralworld. We were literally 3 minutes from CentralWorld, and about 5 minutes to Platinum Fashion Mall, which is like where all the shopping really is at.
We were also about a 10min walk from the Siam area, home to Siam Square and Siam Paragon, and quite close to the Chit Lom BTS station. We only had to take the BTS on one occasion, and it was as clean as our MRT here in Singapore, which was great.
The hotel has a good location, and was pretty nice and clean. The staff are also pretty friendly! The only thing is that it’s old and could do with some renovation, and their WiFi is non-existent. You’re better off buying a tourist SIM from AIS (THB299, or about SGD12, for a 7-day SIM card with 1.5GB of data) and using it for the entirety of the trip.
WHAT WE ATE
We spent a lot of money on food, and I didn’t really take that many photos of our food, mainly because I was freaking starving every time we had a meal.
We really enjoyed Nara Thai, and we ate there twice. Yes, I know we have it in Singapore, but it is so much cheaper and so much yummier in Bangkok. Every meal, I was certain we over-ordered, but we wound up finishing everything on our plates in the end.
Some dishes I’d recommend you try from them are their Omelette with Crab Meat, because that is the most amazing fluffy omelette ever, and any of their soft-shell crab dishes. Those were amazing. We really enjoyed their tom yum soup, but then again, we had tom yum at nearly every meal and enjoyed it, so yeah.
One cafe you must check out when in Bangkok is After You Dessert Cafe. I’ve heard glowing reviews about it, especially about their famous Honey Shibuya Toast, and I was skeptical. Like, there’s no way it can be that good, right?
Oh honey, it was SO GOOD. The toast was crispy, and yet fluffy, and the ice-cream was the perfect accompaniment. Aside from their toast, we fell in love with their Triple Chocolate Panookie, which is essentially a gooey chocolate cookie topped with ice-cream.
I also really enjoyed this fizzy strawberry lemonade-y drink, the name of which I do not really know, but it was great nonetheless.
Also, booze in Thailand is generally quite cheap. 2 large bottles of beer (the kind you get at hawker centres) cost us about SGD4 from the supermarket, so I was very happy. We drank quite a fair bit in our hotel rooms.
We didn’t have a single bad meal when we were in Bangkok, and even though we mostly ate in restaurants in malls, we didn’t spend a lot on food. So, great eats at great prices? Bangkok has it made.
THINGS TO DO
Shop lah, what else do you do in Bangkok? We spent most of our time in the malls, yes, but we also did make an effort to do something vaguely cultural and head over to one of Thailand’s biggest temples, Wat Pho.
I’ll talk about our shopping madness in a bit, but first let me talk about Wat Pho.
Wat Pho is home to a giant statue of the Reclining Buddha, and the entrance fee is about THB100, which is equivalent to SGD4. Not too bad.
Getting there is a bit of an ordeal – we had to take the BTS from our hotel at Chit Lom to Saphan Taksin, and from there we had to take a ferry to Wat Pho. We actually missed our ferry stop, and wound up one stop after the one we were supposed to alight at, but the distance between the stops is about that of about three bus-stops here in Singapore – kind of far, but walkable.
So we walked.
Wat Pho is seriously beautiful. The architecture is really intricate, and it’s surprisingly huge. Like you wouldn’t think the temple was so big when you first enter, but it’s full of twist and turns and statues. It’s also a popular tourist destination and seems to be on the agenda for many tour group itineraries, so they’re very tourist-friendly.
Here are some pictures we took at Wat Pho:
We also tried our hand at filming a silly video while we were there, and I think it’s pretty cute:
I think going to a temple in Bangkok isn’t strictly necessary, but it’s a good experience if you just want to do something different, other than eat and shop.
And now, on to the SHOPPING.
I’m quite a shopaholic, though certainly not as much as my friends, so I wound up buying A LOT of stuff from Bangkok. I still had the lightest suitcase coming home though.
We went to a lot of different places – our first night we went to Siam area, but the stuff there is pretty expensive. Plus, the night market was closed the night we went down, so we just ate dinner and walked around the area.
Our real shopping began when we woke up at 5am to go to the Pratunam Morning Market. It’s basically like going Platinum Fashion Mall, except without aircon and early in the morning and along the road, so you shop in fear that a motorbike will knock you down.
The great thing about it is that you’re shopping with the locals and the prices are pretty sweet – we didn’t see many other tourists, mainly because no tourist in their right mind would wake up at 5am, so that was pretty interesting. I got some pretty nice stuff there!
After going to Wat Pho, we took the ferry to Asiatique, which is some hip, stylish enclave complete with ferris wheel, a carousel, and loads of shopping. The stuff at Asiatique is definitely more expensive, but I feel like the quality is a lot better. While we were there, we watched the Calypso Cabaret – it’s similar to a drag show, and it was quite interesting.
And of course, we spent nearly an entire day at Platinum Fashion Mall. Call me a turtle in the mountain, but I’ve never been and this place was incredible.
We had such a blast shopping there – I only managed to cover two out of the three buildings, but I can see how people can spend an entire day just shopping and spending all their money. With the wholesale prices (you can get tank tops for THB60, or like just over SGD2. I bought at least 4 over the course of my trip), it’s really addictive.
When I next return to Bangkok, I’m definitely dedicating more time to this mall. And making a list of what exactly I want to buy, so that I don’t end up buying 4 tank tops again.
I’m in the midst of working on a haul video of all the nonsense I bought in Bangkok, so I’ll let you know when that’s done (:
Bangkok was a great experience, and I’m glad I got to go with some of the best friends a girl could ever have.
We had lots of fun – playing drinking games in our hotel room at night, taking dumb photos at Wat Pho, stuffing our faces with good food, encouraging each other to buy nonsense, and generally just spending time together.
We’re all headed off now, to different schools and the next stage of our lives, so here’s to being friends forever.