Friday, January 27, 2012

Sawadee Ka Bangkok 2012 - Day 2

Due to the very long entry on my first day in Bangkok, now I have problem to construct my line of thoughts for this second entry to due "brain hang" (bukan komputer saja boleh hang) hehehe ... Anyway, after returning back to the hotel from Siam Niramit, plus shower and everything, I utilised the wifi facilties on my Ipad (may God Bless your soul Steve Job) to plan the next 3 days of my stay here.
The "window" from the shower overlooking the bed for some "nice" view. (Ni terpaksa bermain dengan imaginasi je lah sebab nobody untuk nak buat "tiger show tu")

Night time at Baan Silom. (Kalau i hala kamera ke kiri sikit malam tu, memang boleh nampak adegan ranjang saja-saja buat-buat tak tengok...)

Hehehe .... I thought I only find "snacks" inside the snack basket.
From the beginning of this trip I had decided to explore Bangkok from the eyes of a tourist ... it might not be as the same as the last trip where I blended in with the Thais - living with a Thai family in sub-urban Bangkok, eating home-cook or Thai street food, shopping where Thai people will shop etc, moreover travelling with great Thai friends. This time I had to figure out everything my own, but it will be equally enjoyable, only different experience and settings.

The colourful taxis bring some colour to Bangkok jam-packed traffic and sombre post flood mood.
 The Chatuchak Weekend Market

To most Malaysian tourists ... one of the must-visits in Bangkok is the Chatucak Weekend Market.  I missed this weekend market during my previous trip in 2010 as I had to choose between rail trip to Kanchanaburi or shopping spree at Chaktucak since both places only operate on weekends. Glad that I decided the Kanchanaburi rail trip the last time, at least I could look forward to explore Chaktucak this time around.

The map... (sekali pandang macam kecik jer tempat ni)
The weekend market is one of the largest in the world, covers an area of 35 acres, divided into 27 sections and with more than 5,000 booths offering a wide variety of products including household items, clothing, Thai handicrafts, religious artifacts, collectibles, foods, and live animals from all over Thailand. The place is sooo huge that I didn't know where to begin and what I was supposed to buy here.  Anyway, imagine if we could expand Satok Market to sell goods from all over Sarawak (or Borneo), i am sure that would be exciting.

We arrived early, around 10.00 am so the crowd was just building up.
Don't forget to bring a cap or hat if you visit this market to shade your face from the sun.
You can take the MRT (to Chatuchak Park Station or Kamphaengphet Station) or BTS Skytrain (to Mochit Station) to the market. The market was about 5 minutes walk from the stations (or 1 minute if you run hehehe).  Come early so that you could enjoy the place with less crowd. The market open from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm

To be honest, I had no plans to buy anything at Chatuchak. I just want to see what the hype was all about (plus like I said ... I didn't know what to buy) and why tourists especially Malaysians love to come here. The weather was fine, it was quite hot but people didn't seem to care. There were few items that caught my eyes but as usual I was more interested on food (sangat merugikan kan?) ... Food always excites me!

I was quite tempted to try out some stalls selling what I saw as mixed rice or stir fries but had to be careful as I was travelling with a Muslim friend. Then I saw a lot of people eating at this stall. Plus since I was so thirsty and suddenly felt hungry, I decided to try out the noodle. 
First stop, stall selling noodle soup with chicken.
Local cola brand .... quite nice.

The noodle soup with chicken .. actually it was the noodle they used that I wanted to try. A crossover between kuey teow and meehoon.
After filling my tummy, Zaini and myself walked further up ... we saw more and more interesting food, snacks and desserts...  I just couldn't resist good food!

Young lady selling Ming Kam ... Jett's favourite. About 20 baht.

If in Thai restaurant in Malaysia Ming Kam is like an appetiser and quite pricey. Here it is only 20 baht and eaten as snack. Yummy!
Chocolate coated bananas ... (wowwwwww ssoooo biggggg)
Stall selling homemade coconut ice-cream.... my favourite dessert in Bangkok.
Coconut ice cream with toppings like peanuts, read beans, sweet corn and many more.
Mie with my coconut ice-cream hehehe
If my family joined me this trip, I am sure they will start "borong" everything there especially the household items. They just love flea markets. Many of the things sold here I had seen before in the flea markets of Chiengmai, Hatyai, Phuket, Narathiwat and Penang, but I never grew tired admiring them. I was interested in few stalls selling spa products, contemporary arts, books and some handmade Thai silk.

Stopped to buy some salt scrub and herbal compress here.
I love the packaging of this product made with local ingredient. Bought some here too.
Got myself a caricature potrait drawn by a street artist. Cost me about 130 baht with frame.
Artwork made from recycle products.
For lunch we stopped at a restaurant which according to Zaini, the interior deco was sooo awesome and soooo large (we sat outdoor). Unfortunately, the service was quite bad. I saw most of the patrons were "farangs" and the waiter attending to our table seemed not interested to serve us.  Anyway, we ordered 2 pineapple fried rice and mango sticky rice for dessert. Except for the mango sticky rice, the pineapple fried rice was so-so ... (I terus teringat nasi ayam and pork rice dekat satu area kami lalu tadi .... ramai orang makan kat situ huhuhu)

Mango sticky rice .... love the mango, so refreshing.
Pineapple fried rice.
After lunch we continued to look around, wishing we could bring the whole market back to Penang with us.  I am so jealous of Thai people. Not only this is a great place for cheap and beautiful household items, clothing, accesories and handicrafts, it is also a great place for budding entrepreneur/artists to showcase their products/artworks and made contacts with future agents, distributors or customers.  I will definitely return here in the future (banyak dah benda dalam wish lists and shopping lists).

Dahra Beauty and Spa

We completed our Chatuchak trip at 3.00 pm so that we could returned to the hotel to rest and refresh before our 3 hour 45 minutes spa session at Dahra Beauty and Spa, which we booked earlier in the morning through Victor, the hotel front office manager. No trip to any part of Thailand is complete without a trip to a local spa or massage centre.  We booked for the full spa treatment package that includes facial, body scrub, body wrap and body massage at 50% discount (2490 baht).

Mie with the customer service staff
I found out about this spa from Tripadvisor while googling for spas around Silom area.  Main reason to be selected ... wide range of treatments. Thai spas are famous for their hospitality and massages, and I would like to expand that to their body scrub, body wrap and facial.  My benchmark for full spa treatment so far ... Taman Sari Spa, Jakarta.

We decided to walk to the spa which is at Soi 12 from our hotel at Soi 19, so we could enjoy the evening breeze, checking out the many stores along Silom Road or try out a snack or two (makan lagi).  I noticed there were so many Indian tailor shops selling custom-made suits and evening dress along Silom Road. I was tempted to get myself one but luckily, Zaini manage to "save" me.
Some of the ingredients used in the treatments.
Back to the spa, I chose normal facial, white sesame with yogurt body scrub, honey milk body wrap and lemongrass oil for my massage.

The foot massage area.
The single treatment room.
My verdict:

We did our facial in a different treatment room where there was no proper treatment bed and we had to lay on the floor mattress. The facial was okay though I was not happy that the therapist did the treatment in very dim light especially during the extraction process. Secondly, they did the facial with our head on their lap. They could always do the facial in the treatment room. Anyway, I still found myself dozing off during the facial.

The herbal compress or Luk Pra Kob is a must try especially those who has very tired muscle due to stress or fatigue. Combine with slow massage strokes and acupressure (especially Swedish technique), you will definitely be transported to 7th heaven.

Unfortunately, the other treatments that followed (especially the massage) were not up to my expectation. I could understand that they might had a long day and perhaps they had so many customers that day butttttttttttttttttttt .... whatever the reason was,  treat your customers like Queen and King for a day. I was soooooo looking forward to the massage my body need pampering but I think they just do it in less that 60 minutes. I was also not happy that they did the other treatments hastily and in hurry. Plus, I was not impressed with their no "protecting the customer's modesty" policy. This spa ... based on that experience ... to me was overrated on Tripadvisor (I already submitted my review) or perhaps I was just unlucky to get such therapist.  Luckily we paid a 50% discount price!

Having said that, I see the rational and potential now of getting all the spas in Penang star-rated.  Yes, spa treatments cost in Penang might be higher than of Bangkok but at least customers can be assured of quality and enjoyable treatment. Plus by getting the spas rated,  we can make sure spa operators used quality ingredients in their products, maintained high level of hygiene (especially using fresh ingredients), used proper equipments, get trained therapist etc. I have so much work to do ....

Dinner at Silom Village

Feast fit for a queen.

To fix our "broken heart" we decided to have dinner at Silom Village with was about 50 metres away from our hotel.  We were so hungry for a "proper" meal that we ended up ordering so many dishes ... all Thai specialty.  By the way,  we came a bit late so missed the Thai performances.

Pandan chicken (Chicken in screwpine leaves)

Tom yum goong
Oyster Omellette
Grill squid.
Steamed seabass with lime.
The food was okay ... nothing much to shout about as I think we could get the same Thai dishes quite easily in KL and Penang. Plus I have eaten much better ones in other parts of Bangkok and Thailand. The price was on the higher side (this is a tourist area) but at least the seafood were fresh and succulent. Plus we enjoyed the food and managed to finish most of it.

End of Day 2.


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