Our Travel Blog

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Bangkok & Ayuthaya - May 4-8, 2006

We just returned from the City of Angels aka Krung Thep aka Bangkok. Do you know that Bangkok in the Thai language holds the world’s record as the city with the longest name? Krungthep Mahanakhon Amon Ratanakosin Mahintara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Popnopparat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amonpiman Avatansathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukamprasit which means “Great City of Angels, Repository of Divine Gems, Great Land Unconquerable, Grand and Prominent Realm, Royal and Delightful Capital City full of Nine Noble Gems, Highest Royal Dwelling and Grand Palace, Divine Shelter and Living Place of Reincarnated Spirits”.
Travelled on AirAsia flight AK880 from KLIA’s new Low Cost Carrier Terminal(LCCT). The flight embarked around 8.45am with a slight delay due to heavy runway traffic. If you talk about no-frills low cost, the LCCT looks low cost, reminds me of a warehouse, nothing fanciful, except that it is clean(as it is brand new), however food prices are exorbitant and not even close to reasonable. In fact food and drink prices here especially the local fast food restaurant is close to ridiculous. However, there is a McD there which also serves their breakfast menu which is slightly higher than in the city. Arrived at Don Muang International Airport after two hours and five minutes at around 9.40am local time. Its nice to know that you get a one hour time advantage due to time zone difference. This will also be the last time we shall be using Don Muang as she will make way for the new Suvarnabhumi Airport. We shall have fond memories of Don Muang International Airport.

We stayed at the First Hotel on Petchaburi Road in Pratunam, as it it would be more convenient for us to move around for shopping and is also near the new Siam Paragon Mall. Had earlier made reservations through internet. Paid B300 plus B20 as tips for the taxi ride from Don Muang to the Hotel. This was much cheaper and nearer than our trip last year when we stayed at the Elegance Suite in the Bangrak area as the Pratuman area is closer to the highway. Condition of the room was quite old but bearable. The rooms cost us B990 per night per room inclusive of breakfast for two. After our check-in, we walked along the main street in front of the hotel with Jules’ Parents but could not withstand the heat for too long as it was mid afternoon, so we decided to head back into the comfort of our air conditioned rooms. Felt very tired as we started the day very early. First night we had dinner at The Seafood Market and Restaurant . This place is in Sukhumvit on Soi 24, and was featured in the Travel and Adventure Discovery Channel’s The Cook’s Tour, hosted by Anthony Bourdain last year.

There was quite a wide selection of fresh seafood, and our menu for the evening was….Steam Garouper(Thai-Style), Oyster Omelette,

Basil chilli Clams and Mixed Vegetables.

Total bill including drinks and cooking amounted to B1580. If you are planning for a trip to Krung Thep, don't miss this place out, worth the trip. You will be amaze at how huge the place is.

The next day we bought a package tour to Ayuthaya. I was not feeling really well then, came down with a flu bug somehow and was having a pretty sore throat. Nevertheless, I had to psyche myself up ahead for the trip, so instead of feeling sickly on the express bus ride to Ayuthaya, I had to repeatedly tell myself that I was well and no flu virus is gonna spoil my day. We had earlier booked this tour through the hotel travel desk that makes the arrangement with some local travel agent known as Grand Pearl Cruise….they even charge us for making the calls for booking for B10 per call which I feel that they should not have done so. Price was B1,700 per person but I manage to negotiate down to B1,500 per person. This included the hotel pickup at 6.30am by a tour bus equiped with an English speaking Thai guide(James), the tour to Bang Pa-In which is a palace mainly built by Rama V(King Chulalongkorn) and then ultimately to see and feel the ruins of Ayuthaya.

Lunch was included on board the cruise yacht called the Grand Pearl I returning from Ayuthaya to Bangkok(River City Pier) via the Chao Phraya River. The duration of journey was about 3.5 hours along the scenic Chao Phraya.

Arrived back to Bangkok around 5pm. That evening we went to Chinatown(Yaowarat) for dinner at Lao Li Restarant, a well known Chinese restaurant for their shark-fin soup and bird’s nest soup. Total bill came up to about B1350, which included 2 bowls of shark-fin soup, one bowl of stewed goose’s web, one vegetable dish, and 3 bowls of bird’s nest soup. After dinner we headed to Patpong for shopping in Boots. Jules bought some Hed Kandi CDs here. After getting back to the hotel, as standard as SOP, we when down to a nearby massage parlor for foot massage. That was quite late then around 1am I think. Anyway, we paid for a one hour foot massage at B250 per person.

We woke up late on Saturday, were at the Platinum Fashion Mall at Pratunam was nothing much to shout about, except if you are into clothing(factory outlet style), something like a higher end Chatuchak market. There were plenty of local street food stalls outside of the mall. The food photo you see here that looks really colourful, its a kind of local dessert with yellow bean paste inside coated with jelly, it really really yummy. They mould it into different shapes. At the nearby IT Center, I bought myself an XD picture card for my Olympus camera. Price is much cheaper than here in KL. The 128mb card costs me B990(RM99) as compared to at least RM300 here in KL…..what a huge difference! That evening we had dinner at Suan Lum Night Bazaar near Lumpini Park. Guzzled down 2 liters of Weihenstephan Dark German Beer in a unique dispenser only to be found here in Suan Lum. We like the container and even ask for the price of the container, unfortunately it was too expensive as the manager wanted to sell it to us for B6000(RM600)…..Crazy!!!

After that we hopped onto a tuk-tuk for Patpong for sport herbal massage. We paid B650 per person for 90 minutes. Returned to the hotel around 2am.

Sunday morning after breakfast at the hotel, we headed to Siam Paragon Shopping Mall which is the biggest department store in South East Asia. There are more than 300 brand stores in the mall. Great place to shop if you have the extra dough to spend on. Lunch was at Tony Roma’s in Sukhumvit’s Nai Lert Building. Apparently we only realize that there is another Tony Roma’s in Siam Paragon when we sat down to eat. As usual, the baby back ribs are the best in the world and never fail us. Later in the afternoon, both of us too a tuk-tuk to the Amarin(formerly Sogo) near the Grand Hyatt Erawan for…….. (BC Rajprasong – take the BTS escalator which leads into Amarin Plaza, on the immediate left).

Evening was dinner with Jules’ Parents at Suan Lum. The rest of the night was basically looking around the stalls after we sent Jules’ Dad off back to the hotel by cab. A cab ride from Pratuman area to Suan Lum costs about B45 on a metered taxi. We ended the day with another round of 60 mins foot massage around our hotel.

Next morning after breakfast, we went to Pratunam Center at 10am but was told it would only be opened at 11am. There we met a guy who introduced himself as the Chief Security personnel working at the shopping mall. He suggested for us to take a round trip B30 tuk-tuk ride further down to a temple, where we could get to see the sitting Buddha which is only open to the public on certain specific days of the Thai Buddhist calendar. We thought, why not was Jules could also make some prayers at the temple. After that we came back to the mall at around 11am, nothing much inside, lots of pirate DVDs all of which are English titles….cost of one DVD? B100 each. We also came across a photo studio, so we took the opportunity to enquire on the price for photo shoots in Thai traditional wear.

We check out at 12pm to head back to KL. Our flight was scheduled at 3.15pm, however there was a delay of 45 minutes and the plane did not take off till around 4.30pm.

Note: Exchange Rate - RM1 = 10.100 Baht

CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO CLIP

More pictures of the trip, go to pauljules2006.shutterfly.com

1 Comments:

At Thursday, May 11, 2006 1:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Bangkok is nice!

 

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