Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Left My Heart In Bangkok

A while back, we were suffering from a stressed marriage. We held onto each other and then I don't know how we came to this plan. "Let's go for a short trip, just us". And our little adventure began.

We are lucky because we have a trustworthy helper at home who's been with us for years. And my parents were elated to be given the full opportunity to babysit. It's so funny how my mom and dad reacted. Though they are separated, they first word they said were the same. "GOOOOOOOOD!!!! GO GO!" My mom even asked "How many days? 5? 6 days?" When I told her it was just for 3days2nights, she said "WHERE GOT ENOUGH?!"

Like I said, we were very lucky.

The hubz found our accommodation on Groupon, for a service apartment (I thought it was a boutique hotel). RM428 for 3D2N. The pool photo looks so inviting. Well, it did looked like this in real.

So, two weekends ago, we were in Bangkok! It felt so surreal. The 3 days passed like lighting but we had every moment to ourselves. It felt like a couple-spiritual renewal trip. You know how easy it is to put yourselves and your spouses aside when you have young children, you forget who you are inside and stopped listening to your inner child's voice because you are already so occupied with raising one or some. So this trip really gave us the space to just be with ourselves and with each other. So I highly recommend a couple-getaway!

Up at 5am, we drove into Singapore Changi Airport. Senai International Airport would have been a good take-off point but NOOOOO, Senai International is a lie. Only very limited flights. SUCKS.

We parked at the airport, capped at $20 a day (came to $60 in total when we left).

We flew by Jetstar... with no check-in luggage. I brought my infamous little girl's canvas luggage and a tote, and the husband went empty-handed. We just packed our innerwear, phone chargers, and one shorts (mine). Yes, you heard right. That means he brought ZERO clothes. Our hero.

We landed at 9am in Bangkok, took the Airport Rail Link to Makkassan (5th stop) and changed to Metro Petchaburi Train station. On the way to the Metro train station, we saw this jam towards the city. Smart aleck us. (map below)

After 5 minutes walk, we reached the station, took the Metro line for just one stop to Asok where we had to change line again, to the BTS line this time. It was just a 5 minute walk, up a couple of escalators. From Asok, we took the BTS train to Phrom Phong where our hotel is.

The adventure starts when you look for your hotel. Hahaha. We walked and walked and it seemed like we would never find it. Ahhh, no wonder on Groupon Deal. While finding our hotel, we checked out the area at the same time. There were lots of Japanese and Italian Restaurants. Lots of pubs, bars and massage spas. After half an hour of dragging our tired feet, we found our place.

39 Boulevard executive Residences at Soi Phromjitr, Sukhumvit 39.It didn't feel like a hotel. More like apartment. When we got to our room, holy smoke, it IS an apartment!

 Living Room with balcony (we left the lights off)

Bathroom. The tub could fit both of us.


We have a kitchen too! With stove, a pot, a pan, kettle, toaster, rice cooker, utensils, chopping board, fridge and washing machine!

Cozy dining table for two.

After we put our little luggage down, freshen up a bit, we were ready to start exploring the city. First thing was to equip ourselves with this map. Everyone takes train now! Bangkok traffic has gotten worse.

Outside our apartment, we saw a few restaurants already. Apparently, Whale's Belly is also located here, and it's a popular fine-dining place. We finally knew why there were so many Japanese and other international food eateries around. We stayed where expat families stay when they relocate here. We chatted with an Egyptian mom who was out with her little daughter, and saw several Japanese housewives coming back from grocery shopping. 

 Japanese restaurant

 A fancy restaurant/bar. Love the decor.

 The CUTEST bakery cafe.

...with the cutest name.

How cozy is this!

An interesting and unique shop along the way to Phrom Phong BTS station. It sells antiques and rustic home decor stuff. I LIKEY. But no luggage space for sure.

Our first stop was lunch. Where else but the street stalls! One thing I love about staying at Sukhumvit is the food stalls at almost every junction and along the Sois (road/lane). My first meal was basil chicken with rice and tom yam soup. Can't go wrong.

Then off we went to Chidlom station where the famous Erawan Shrine is located. The husband bought a 'package' from one of the many stalls along the temple, consisting flower garlands, little statues, joss sticks, and candles. These are for praying to the Four Faced Buddha at the shrine. No pictures taken because I didn't like capturing images of the holy and sacred.

Next stop, Wat Pho! Changed line at Siam, to Saphan Taksin where there are piers to take boats to two popular locations (opposite directions),Wat Pho and Asiatique, the night market. We went to Wat Pho first.

Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn, can be seen across the river.

Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest temple in Bangkok. It houses one of the longest Buddha image of 160ft in length! Yes, it's the Reclining Buddha. Picture courtesy of wiki, and more information about the temple.

I donated money to get a bowl of coins to drop into 108 bronze bowls along the corridor on the way out. The bowls represent 108 auspicious characters of Buddha.
The interior is amazing.

Kitty awaiting enlightenment?

Wat Pho is really huge. We tried to find the Wat Pho Massage School but couldn't walk any longer. So we went back to the pier and had a good one-hour foot massage. The folks are trained at Wat Pho anyway. After the massage, we had street snacks, like noodle and papaya salad.

Feeling rejuvenated, we went back to the original pier to take a free ferry-shuttle to Asiatique, the MUST-VISIT night market in Bangkok. It's like another version of Chatuchak.
 There's a ferris wheel there now!

It's divided into 'warehouses' where each warehouse consists many shops. We didn't get to see them all.

One of the interesting shops at Asiatique. Handcrafted By Myself. There is a bicycle outside the shopfront as decor. I think the dude inside is the designer and creator. He works with leather and fabric.
I think I see myself doing this in 5 years.

I didn't shop for clothes much, maybe we didn't explore the right warehouse. I caught glimpses of clothes that looked like they were made in China like those sold on online shops. Not nice. I bought these instead.

I have weakness for rubber stamps...

Mini tincart. HOW CUTE IS THIS.

At around 9.30pm, we were already dead tired. Asiatique closes around midnight I think, but no way we could stay. Our day started since 5am! So back we went to our little home to soak ourselves silly in that humongous tub.

The next day on Saturday, I woke up with excitement because it was Chatuchak day! It's another market we could never explore completely because it is H.U.G.E.

The crowd at Mo Chit station, to Chatuchak market.

There are many stalls on the way to the market already.

Handmade decoupaged art on wooden boards.

 Celadon ceramic shop.

I bought these for myself and a couple as souvenirs for colleagues.

Customized name plate on pouches, journal covers, wallets and key chains.

Your name is 'letter pressed' one by one.

I had some souvenirs made. The red pouch for my maid because she is an angel.

Our stomach's timing is impeccable. Must-have: Mango sticky rice and coconut ice cream.

Foodstall outside the entrance of Chatuchak. We had this when we left about 4pm.

The crowd is never-ending!

After that we got back to our apartment to unload my loot. As a Bangkok shopping ritual, I must perform a show-and-tell. But be warned, I did not shop much for clothes.

Who doesn't adore elephants huh huh? 

Notebooks. Because I collect 'em.

The quality of these tees are really good! I know because when I carry my little boy and stroke his back, his Tshirt feels so soft. Bangkok is really a T-shirt paradise.

I know I know, I fared badly. People bring home a truckload of clothes, bags, shoes and accessories. Not me. 
After that, we went to check out Terminal 21 mall at Asok station. Yada yada yada, I was bored! How can you compare Chatuchak and an air-conditioned mall?! We had dinner at The Reflections Thai restaurant and headed back. Food was good, as usual. But guess what. We never thought of taking a tuk-tuk because they always cheat. But this tuk-tuk was the taxi stand and coincidently it was our turn in the queue. We hopped into it for a short journey back.
How romantic.

The next morning, we took a stroll around the area stopped for breakfast at Subways, went back to pack our little luggage, took a cab to the airport and said 'goodbye, see you' to Bangkok. Ahhh, I miss Bangkok already! Most of all, I loved every moment we spent together... just the two of us. It was short, sweet, warm (the weather also), and simple.

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