Thailand – Bangkok – 11th ~ 14th March 2015

This is Part 1 of my original botched trip. My original destination is not Bangkok (BKK) at all but well, there goes a saying “shit happens”.

Again, this is a shopping trip. This means that I have a shopping list that I need to accomplished in order to score some brownies points.

It is also a last minute trip so I bought a Thai Airways ticket at SGD$257 and zoom to BKK.

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I will not write like in the past in chronological order as BKK has been visited many times by me. So I will write based on some notable places where have I been to.

Airport Rail Link (ARL)

Despite visiting BKK so many times, I have not use this mode of transport. The reason is I usually travel with friends or family to BKK.

Once you reach Suvarnabhumi Airport, go all the way down to the basement. Just look for the sign to direct you there. It is real easy to find.

The entrance of the train station in the airport is very wide and look up for the signs. You can’t miss it.

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You will need to purchase a ticket. At the time of my arrival in BKK, the Express Line is not operational and only the City Line is running. I heard that they have some spare parts issue on the Express Line.

The fare to Makassan is THB35. Just queue up at the vending machine so remember to have some Thai Baht with you by then.

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There is also a staff that will help some “lost sheep” to navigate the vending machine.

You will get a yellow token to use to enter the station.

The ARL is actually quite heavily utilised. It is good that the government is willing to build this rail line to ease the public transport congestion in the airport.

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The ride is smooth and I think I only took 20mins to reach Makassan station.

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Once you reach Makassan station, many passengers will walk to Petchaburi MRT station. When the ARL is just built, passengers will need to drag their luggage across the road to reach the MRT station.

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With the linkway bridge built, this got a little easier and safer.

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I then took the MRT to Asok station and walk to my hotel in Sukhumvit Soi 9.

ARL will be good if your hotel is near to MRT/BTS station, you do not have many luggage and you have 3 person or more.

A taxi ride from the airport to BKK central usually cost about THB400 or less and it is a door to door service but you will need to walk with your luggage using the ARL.

City Lodge Soi 9

This is my second time staying here.

I like and hate this place location.

I like it because it is just below Nana BTS.

I hate it when the market comes alive in the night as the human traffic will grow significantly.

I was assigned the room 691. It is a corner room and usually you have to pay more for it. It is also nearest to the lift. However I guess they run out of room and I paid for a standard room but I got a corner room instead.

Check-in is fast and I hope the staff will smile a little more.

Once I enter the room, it feels like a sauna. Though the air-conditioning is working but it still feels hotel. Water pressure is good and room is spacious.

I feedback to the staff and they will get the maintenance team to have a look.

When I return about 2 hours later, they did fix it but leave a unprofessional sight for me.

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Thankfully the chambermaid fix it back the next day.

Basic toiletries like shampoo, soap and bath gel are provided but I in the end bought my own because the shampoo the hotel provided just could not make it.

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On my second night, the aircon starts to perform badly again. I told the staff at the front desk and they say “your aircon again sir?”. They make it sounds like it is my fault.

Also on the second night, there is a very strong sewer smell in the toilet. It comes in from the ventilator fan. I thought the van is suppose to draw out the smell from the toilet but instead it is bringing the sewer smell in!

My room is almost on the same level as the BTS platform. I do hear the train rumbling sound but that did not really bother me.

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The staff also did not took the initiative to give me the WiFi password. Since I have a 1.5GB data plan, I guess it will be sufficient for me to last me for 4 days.

Like I said previously, I like the hotel’s location but I prefer Inn Saladaeng environment and Inn Saladaeng prices are creeping up.

I have mentioned this before. The entrance of the hotel is on a side Soi. So taxis usually do not have access right to the door step of the hotel. You will need to walk maybe 5 steps to get a taxi.

Usually this is not a big issue but it will be if you have lots of luggage and if it is raining. There will be one or two very “entrepreneur” taxi drivers that park just outside the road. In usual circumstances, I will not use them as they charge a flat rate. However when going back to the airport, I just use their service to save the hassle as I have a considerable amount of luggage. The driver offered THB500 but I haggle down to THB400. This is the usual price I am willing to pay for a fixed rate to the airport.

Overall I am satisfied with the hotel but just some imperfections.

I would also like to thank the staff that help me order food from a street vendor just outside the hotel at my last night. The food is delicious. I did not manage to get her name though.

Huai Khwang Market

I have never heard of this market until a few days before I leave for BKK.

Huai Khwang is usually associated with massages but it does have its residential part.

To get to this market, take the MRT to Huai Khwang MRT Station. Exit from Exit 3 and once you are outside the station, make a 180 degrees turn and walk to the nearest road intersection.

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At the intersection, turn left and start walking. It is already the start of the night market.

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In the first part of the market, stalls sell general merchandise and there are several road side food stalls.

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The most famous food stall along the stretch should be Noi Seafood.

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Huai Khwang night market is a food heaven. There are so many food stalls selling all kinds of food. From the food we have here in the 80s until it was ban and to pizza! It is a pity that most stall owners do not know to speak English as I would really try to the food. However you still can order them by pointing!

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Walking further down will bring you to their wet market where they sell their fresh produce.

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From seafood, poultry, fruits, vegetables and internal organs of an animal.

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It reminds me of my country in the 80s.

Walking further down will bring you to some general merchandise again.

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I really can’t see the end of the market. After 30 mins, I turn back and walk my way back to the MRT station.

The market is worth visiting if you are interested in a local market. There are not many tourist and during my initial stay there, it seems like I am the only foreigner. However as I leave the market, I can see other tourist coming.

Also as this is a local market, do not expect English sign to be posted everywhere.

Yaowarat

I would say this is my favourite market in Bangkok. It is just so interesting. Every year I come, there will be new things from the vendors.

To get to Yaowarat, you have two ways.

One is to go by the Chao Phraya river. Go to Saphan Taksin BTS and walk down towards the river. You will see a pier and you just wait for the boat there.

There are several type of boats. They are catagorize with the flag on the boat. If you want a local boat, take any boat except the blue flag boat. The rest of the boat will stop at selected piers only with the exception of the “No Flag” boat.

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Travelling using this method will let you have a chance to enjoy the river ride. Alight at Pier No. 5 Rajchawongse.

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Just walk straight and you will find the market.

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Another way to reach the market is using the MRT. Take the train to Hua Lomphong MRT. After exiting the station (ask which exit to use), you will need to walk about 10 to 15 mins to reach the market.

In this market, you can find almost anything form shoes, toys, clothes, kitchenware, stationery etc.

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Yaowarat is actually a wholesale market so you may need to buy multiple of the same item to get a discount. The quantity can be minimally two, three or more depending on the product.

It is actually a good place to have breakfast too!

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Ekkamai Gateway

This shopping mall is connected to Ekkamai BTS station.

It is geared towards the Japanese market. At the first level, there are many Japanese restaurants. You will be spoil for choice.

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There is even a maid café!

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The basement is also have a good selection of restaurants.

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However on the upper floors, the place look deserted. There is a food court and most shop lots are vacant.

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The big banner says they are renovating but I really doubt so.

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However if you want to have Japanese food, this is a good place to go.

Central World

There used to have 2 beer gardens just outside the building. To me those are noise pollution where two live bands are singing at the top of their lungs.

Now that they are gone, peace has returned.

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By the side of the building, there is a small bazaar. They sell general merchandise and also some very nice vehicles as the store front.

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River Canal Boat

Again, this is my first time.

I walk along Sukhumvit Soi 3 all the up to the river. Please do not attempt to cross this road. It is suicidal to me. There is a pedestrian crossing in the middle of this road. However do not expect you have the right of way even the green man light is on.

When the green man light is on, motorist will still try to push their luck to continue their travel. So cross with care. Once there are no more pedestrians, the motorist will just ignore the green man and continue!

You will need to find you way down to the pier. A single pier serves both directions.

Bangkok - 11th ~ 14th March 2015 - 138To take the boat, you will need to be preferably agile.

The boat will stop at the pier for just a short while. During this “short while”, people in the boat will be disembarking and people at the outside boarding the board. All will be over in 5 seconds!

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Passengers who are near the pulley for the curtain to pull the curtain up once the water from the river start to splash into the boat.

The ride from Nana Nua to Bobae is only THB13 and I reach my destination in 10 mins. This is a record for me!

Do note that regardless of which direction you are travelling, there is a mandatory boat transfer in Pratunam Pier. This means that you have to disembark from the boat and board another boat. Look out where other passengers are going and you should be good.

A good but unofficial website to use is the Khlong Saen Saep Express Boat website.

Bobae Tower

This is actually the wholesale place for mainly clothes.

Many people will know Pratunam but not many people know about this place.

You will need to purchase in multiple quantities to get a discount. For example for t-shirts, you may need to buy at least 6 of the same design but can be of different colour. I bought 6 t-shirts at THB75 each and four shorts at THB120 each. So do not have the conception of you will need to buy in 100s.

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There are shops willing to do retail sales though they do have their wholesale business. The only difference is that you have to pay more for the item.

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There is a decent food court at the top floor which serve nice food. You should try them when you are there.

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It is advisable to go there early and two tips; one is to bring your own toilet paper and the other is to bring heat rub for your leg’s muscles.

Talad Rod Fai

Talad Rod Fai is actually a market for vintage stuff but there is also a section selling modern goods.

I took the BTS to On Nut and then a taxi to the market. Unfortunately the taxi driver made a wrong turn and drive the opposite direction.

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He smile apologetically and I still tip him THB30 despite that. The reason is that he is just a very friendly driver.

It is advisable to actually alight at Udom Suk BTS and take a cab from there. At Udom Suk BTS, exit from Exit 3 and hail a cab from there as it is along the way.

When you see Seacon Square, tell the driver to drop you off opposite the Mall and walk the overhead bridge. It will save you precious time.

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Once you at the side of the Mall, do not enter the mall. Instead walk towards Ha Ha Mall (what a name!).

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When you see the bow of a ship, you have reach the entrance of the market.

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Turn left into the market. You will be greeted by a long corridor. Walk down the corridor towards the center of the market.

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As mentioned, it is market for vintage and it has the retro look and I love retro!

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There are many restaurants and shops along the corridor.

There is even a shop that sells replicas of guns!

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This market is also a food heaven. It sells all kinds of food including mutabak and insects!

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As I am still early, the number of visitors is till low. I can roam around freely. I enjoyed all the retro stuff they have on display. It brings me back to my childhood.

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However around 1915hrs, the crowds suddenly start to swell and there is a significant number of foreign tourist.

I quickly make my exit and took a taxi to Udom Suk BTS.

Food

Thai food so far have not fail me. I just love Thai food.

The best Thai food I have is usually from the roadside stalls.

For this trip, the best food I have is just outside Central World. The basil leaves with pork is heavenly.

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The breakfast I have along the street is cheap and tasty. Imagine THB20 for 10 small pieces of “Chin Tui”.

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When night falls, there is a food stall that is just outside City Lodge Soi 9. I got the hotel to order some food for me. I just said “Anything”.

When I try my food, it was delicious though I do not know the name.

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The food in the food court did not disappoint me either.

I need to mention this food outlet along Sukhumvit. It is Yong Lee Restaurant.

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For a small late of fried noodle, they charge THB140! Even for my country’s standard, it is considered expensive considering the quantity. Maybe they are in Sukumvit so they have to charge Sukhumvit price. I will just go to Tops supermarket food court in the future.

After Thoughts

A nice trip though some company will be nice (sorry, no instant spouse or ladyboys).

The traffic in Bangkok is still as bad and despite all the bad press and events that are happening in Bangkok, tourist still continue to flock to the Kingdom.

I will be back for sure.

Oh, I came to Bangkok with one bag. Seriously, only one bag.

Guess what I return with?

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