Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thai Diaries: Part #2

13th August, 2013 (Tuesday)

We had a tour guide for today and Wednesday. Our first stop is the Railway market, which is an hour and a half from our hotel. It's actually quite usual, just that it's built right beside a railway, and train actually passes through the place from time to time. We weren't able to stay long and only had chance to do some sightseeing. The small walkways were full of tourists and locals, it's like a small bustling popular kampung. We were lucky to be able to see the train passing through, though.

The next destination is the Floating Market. Midway, we made a quick stop at a manually operated Coconut Candy factory to let everyone relieve themselves. The boss of the factory was kind enough to let us use their toilets free of charge and even let us tried some of their candies. The coconut candies in Thailand were very creamy! It's different from the Gula Melaka we have in Malaysia, but still delicious in its own way, even if it's a little too sweet.

At the boating services outside, we took a boat to the Floating Market. It's actually connected by land too, just that our tour guide wanted us to experience something new. Or it's actually in the tour package. I don't know.

Not long afterwards, we arrived. 
We went there by boat. However, the boating services within the Floating Market compound costs 150 per person, so we didn't take it up and did some shopping in the shops instead. All boats are owned by Madame Paew, whom I assume is extra rich as her house (or should I say palace?)  located just beside the market was really grand and majestic.

Me and mom in the backseat.
Just a tip for tourists, if you're gonna sit the boat, please make sure you don't take the center seats as you will get drenched by the murky river waters for sure. The boats are driven at high speed and if you don't wanna take chances, go for the front seats.

There was this very skillful artisan who carves soaps into flowers and sealing them in resin. Very nice gift, but very costly. These soaps are sold for 150 baht each. My recommendation is to get them somewhere else as these things are available everywhere. I think I saw them in MBK for 50 baht each.

This Thai woman is really nice. She was selling fresh coconut drinks for 20 baht each. I would have bought from her if she had come earlier - we just bought our coconuts in the store on land for the same price. I asked her if we could have a photograph (actually one for each of us) with her, and she nodded her head even though we didn't buy any coconuts from her. I was really tempted to buy from her because she is so nice!

The coconut ice-cream was delicious, only 30 baht for 4 scoops of ice-cream in a cute little coconut shell! Don't miss this! In the inner area, there is also a stall selling coconut ice-creams at 30 baht for 2 scoops, but I think this is the real original one - it tastes creamier.

We went to the Elephant Village next but the fares were so expensive that no one decided to go for the ride. Imagine it, 600 baht for one person! Sadly, we had no choice but to give up the experience because it's way out of our budget range. :( 

Our tour guide, Mr. (i forgot his name!!!) and my sister.

Lo and behold, the Samutprakan Crocodile and Elephant Grounds and Zoo.

Little boy posing as a crocodile catcher.

We watched a Crocodile show, a magic show and an elephant show. After that, we fed the elephants with bamboos sold at 20 baht per small bundle and had a short ride on the elephant's back for 100 baht per person. 

Phew! That was close!
 These animals are really smart, they even know how to act.
Elephant show.
Kudos for their great performance!
The crew even shot real canon balls at the hay house to make things look real.

My sister posing with an elephant.
Lastly, we went to Asiatique The Riverfront. This is my favourite place in the whole trip. Shopping here was fantastic as the goods were of good quality and were relatively cheaper than what we usually see on the streets or night markets. Unfortunately our camera ran out of battery, so no pictures for Asiatique. 

This picture belongs to
This picture belongs to Asia Web Direct.
There are 9 warehouses, each of which sells many kinds of goods, from clothing (2, 6, 7, 9) to gifts and souvenirs, bags and shoes, as well as food. We ate the Chicken Rice there for dinner, and honestly I wouldn't recommend anyone to eat there. The meal tastes horrible. From the flavouring to the texture of the chicken - everything was wrong. I had to suppress my urge to vomit, seriously.

Verdict: Today was very fun and enjoyable, and if it didn't rain at night, our trip would be perfect.
 P/S: We had to squeeze into a tuk-tuk car to get back to our hotel despite the rain because taxis are all booked. 5 person in the back of a tuk-tuk car! Can you imagine that!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Thai Diaries: Part #1

12th August, 2013 (Monday)

Arrived in Bangkok after 4 hours of bus, 3.5 hours of idly waiting / checking in / boarding the plane and 2 hours of flight. It took us some trouble to find New Siam 3 Guesthouse on Khao San Road as it's a little isolated - most of the tuk-tuk cars and taxi drivers are not familiar with this area.

The front part of the guesthouse houses a mini Buddhist shrine of some sort and a small koi fishpond.

For the first day of the trip, we went to Terminal 21, which is located on Sukhumvit Rd, Watthana, Bangkok. The main attraction of this mega mall is that every level is furbished to depict some of the world's popular tourist attractions and features certain countries in the world. The goods sold here are high-end and branded, but there's also a small bazaar featuring French products, jewellery and bags that are more affordable on the lower two levels.
 Terminal21 logo.png 
  Terminal 21.JPG

Photo taken on the Level 1, but the lighthouse is built on the Ground Level. The theme is Carribean Beach Town.

On the 2nd floor, London.

Posing with a huge maneki-neko or 'beckoning cat' in Tokyo (Level 1). 

In front of a Japanese sculpture of a ninja or something which reminds me of The Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Group photo at the replica of The Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco on Level 4. Picture taken by a friendly English-speaking Thai girl.

The washroom on each level is different and features the style of different cities. This one is furbished to look like a bakery. I think it's the San Francisco (Pier) on Level 5. The potty was fulled with buttons that for a moment I was at lost. I think you can even select to have your backside sprayed clean after you poop. The washroom cleaner is on standby in the toilet and cleans the seat after someone comes out. 5 stars for the cleanliness level.

For lunch, we 3 girls went to Hachiban Ramen while Ah Jie and mom went to the shop next door for Western dishes. No idea why the picture came out like this when the original was fine.
Clockwise: 1:Soup noodle with roast chicken japanese style served with lettuce, memma, spring onion and kamaboko 2: Fruit Punch  3: Noodle in Pork bone soup and soya sauce with Japanese roast pork  4: Deep Fried Octopus Ball
Mine was number 3. It was quite delicious. :)

Zheng's was number 1, and tastes equally delicious.
Mom and little boy having fun posing at a paper doll figurine. Totally cute.

Verdict: Terminal 21 has some of the most beautiful designs and wonderful architecture, but it is not for the average shopper. Only upper class people (and perhaps European or American tourists) can afford stuff at this place. The food has standard pricing, though. And the POPCO popcorns are really cheap (59 baht / RM 6.00) if compared to Planet Popcorn in Malaysia, plus more delicious with a generous dose of caramel and chocolate. We walked around for 3 hours and got bored later 'cos there was nothing else to do.

Transportation available are bus, tuk-tuk cars and taxis, depending on where you are and how much you are willing to spend. Bus is the cheapest, but you may have to walk a distance since they only stop at the main roads. We took a taxi there, and it costs us 250 baht. (About 26 MYR)