Sunday, March 15, 2020

Celebratory milestone in Bangkok

Ever since I've started work, I have limited leaves. If I do take leaves, it has to be unpaid leaves. Thankfully, our anniversary is at the end of May, which usually has some public holiday celebration. I took the opportunity to apply for out of country leave (which is not considered as unpaid leave) so that I get to spend our 2nd year anniversary together. I am a person who put importance into rituals / ceremonious celebrations. I felt like it's important to celebrate small milestones or important dates together to sustain a relationship. After discussion, we decided to have a short getaway trip to Bangkok, Thailand.

Bangkok Golden House Hotel
1025/5-9 Ploenchit Road, Lumpinee, Pathum Wan District, 
Bangkok 10330

We stayed in the Golden Grand Deluxe King Room, which costs about 1470 baht per day (~ SGD $65.60). It's clean, spacious and has wifi. Although it is not located at the main street, and taxi drivers has difficulty finding it, it is actually just 2 minutes walk to the Chidlom BTS (which is very convenient and central). 

After checked in, we headed to Jeh-O Chula for our dinner! 
The waiting line was sooooo long and initially I thought we had to wait for 2-3 hours for a seat. At the end, we queued for 1 hour. I was frustrated at J because initially, we could have bought the Klook coupon for a cheaper set and we don't need to queue but somehow we dragged on as we couldn't confirm the trip and everything was fairly last minute hahah
I think what added my frustration was the fact that all these Tuktuk drivers were ridiculously scamming tourists' money. It cost 300 baht ($13.40) for a short ride. I was fine for the first time as J never experienced it, but every Tuktuk we asked set a fixed price. Same goes to taxi/cab! After the first few experiences, I googled and apparently it's the norm in BKK! J later downloaded Grab & they have a more reasonable price which goes with the meter! The best transportation mean would be either BTS or Grab.

The famous tom yam mama with double egg yolks!! Sinfully tasty!
Pork ball versions (120 baht /SGD $5.40)

Omelette (80 baht / SGD $3.60)

The Grand Palace
I've been to the Grand Palace maybe around 10 years ago with my family..but I was so young back then and couldn't remember much. All I remembered was it was blazing hot, I was frustrated and the place is full of gold. Now that I'm older, I could appreciate it more. The entrance fee is 500 baht (SGD $22.30). 

24K gold shining on ma faceeee

Took a lot of effort for this pic!! There were soon many tourists and it was so hot. Patience + a good photographer produces good pictures :)

The initial plan was to go to Wat Arun, which was just beside the grand palace. The entrance fee of Wat Arun is 50 baht ($2.20), almost 10x less than the Grand Palace but this being J's first Bangkok trip, I think it's better for him to visit the magnificent and more renowned Grand Palace. Plus, the weather was very sunny and hence we decided to go indoors. 

We took the BTS to Siam and started shopping around Siam Square, Siam Square One, Siam Discovery. Lots of shopping malls nearby -- MBK, Siam Paragon, Central world, Amarin Plaza are all within Siam. I've searched for this floral cafe called Too Good For you prior to our trip. They used to have a really cool branch with neon lights, unfortunately, they've relocated to Siam.

Too Good For you
LG Floor, Siam Square 1 Mall
Violate (purple yam) & Hey Rosie (rose with cheese) 
They're quite pricey! Couldn't remember the exact price but they're nearly SGD 7-10 for each cup (more expensive with the foam cheese of course)

We watched Aladdin at Siam Paragon after that. Thanks for making me feel like a Princess as always. Aladdin was my favourite disney cartoon, and I remembered we went to watch Aladdin's musical play in London too. I love dates like this~ 
Before the movie starts, everyone in the theatre actually has to stand up when the national anthem plays after all the advertisement. What a surprise for us because it caught us off guard and we just followed everyone when they stood up.

For our anniversary dinner, we decided to feast at Sala Rin Naam, which is situated at Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok. To reach there, we had to use a boat which brings guests from Mandarin Oriental Hotel to the restaurant at the other side of the river. 

Chef Prasert's Tasting Menu:
Northern style Spiced pork sausage with young chili dip & crispy pork skin
Spicy roasted duck salad
Ginger, shallot, lime, chili, peanut and coconut wrapped in lotus flower 
Spicy paco fern and sea grape salad

Palate cleanser: Pomelo and pomegranate with lemongrass salad

Soup: Spicy clear soup with Uthai Thani smoke dried fish

Main course:
Grilled blue river prawn with tamarind sauce
Pran Buri blue crab meat with coconut cream dip & condiment
Red curry with young jackfruit, Tanaosee free range chicken & betel leaf
Steam Ya So Thon rice & rice berry

J could actually tolerate this dish, as he does not eat prawns at all. Probably because it taste like lobster??

Palate cleanser: Salak fruit in scented syrup

Dessert: Coconut ice cream with condiment
I love their condiments!! The refreshing coconut ice cream along with peanuts and sea coconut tasted divine!

Mini thai biscuits served with selection of fine teas, soothing herbal infusions & coffee

Thanks for the scrumptious meal, J!

Chatuchak Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market only opens from Friday 6pm - 12pm, and on weekends - Saturday & Sunday 9am to 6pm. It's probably the largest (??) outdoor market in BKK. There's different sections selling a variety of things - they even sell pets; puppies, birds, fish but we never got to see that section!! We kept roaming around the fashion area, and some furniture area..and food of course.
Unfortunately, just the day after we visited Chatuchak Market, there was a fire that engulfed 3 sections but thankfully, no animals or humans were injured. 

Fried quail eggs seasoned with Thai soy sauce & pepper

Coconut ice cream with peanuts & sea coconut - this is love!!! But they melt really fast under the heat

Your Thailand trip wouldn't be complete without tasting the mango sticky rice!!!

TrueLove @ Neverland Husky Cafe
153 Soi Ari Samphan 2, Khwaeng Samsen Nai, 
Phaya Thai, Bangkok

This was a surreal experience for both J and I. When we first got together, one of our many conversations included J's love for dogs, especially huskies, and so I introduced him to TruLove cafe, one of the very first husky cafes in the world. I kept my promise and brought J here when we visited BKK. Actually, this was the main reason we visited Bangkok :) To fulfil Justin's husky dream.

They all have names and prior to the playtimes, they played a video for us with the doggies' names, the rules and regulations of the cafe & playtime. The cafe has two sessions for playtime: 
1. 1-2pm (intro session & food starts at 12:30pm)
2. 4-5pm (intro session & food starts at 3:30pm
Tickets are first come first serve basis, with no reservation and booking available. It's quite secluded as well so the only way to reach the cafe is by car. They do not allow outside food; they serve cakes and drinks at their cafes. Ticket is 500 baht (SGD 22.30) per person, which includes 2 free drinks. We are not allowed to feed the dogs as well. They have strict hygiene protocol and all guests have to wear show cover prior entering the play zone. 
The playtime is 1 hr each, and the dogs roam freely within the play zone. However, due to the heat, a lot of them laze around and weren't very active while we visited. They seem to enjoy chewing on ice cubes provided by the workers tho. There's also a queue line for photo session with a bunch of huskies. Look at how happy J was!

On the same night, we visited Talad Rot Fai Train market. There's actually two branches of the night market, but the one we went was the newer version, more hippy with street food and snacks. We had the watermelon slushy (which we saw from a FB video last time and J really likes watermelon!), the banana pancakes, padthai and a lot of other snacks!!

Watermelon slushy

Pad Thai from its country of origin~ 
I used to cook Pad Thai for us back when we were in Cork hehe

Couple bracelet from the night market

The next day, before heading back to our respective countries, we went to shop around Terminal 21 for food.

Mango sticky rice Kakigori (Thai version of shaved ice) - really flavourful and smooth
The mango sticky rice is a seasonal flavour 

Shibuya Honey Toast

Pineapple fried rice; which i used to cook when we crave for Thai food in Cork as well!!

Panang Curry - better than Cork's Golden Elephant? Hehe

Pandan Chicken!

Last but not least, we went to the best supermarket in BKK - Big C to buy all sorts of snacks home! J's luggage couldn't fit anymore because we bought ALOT of pork floss keropok and cup noodles hehe
We also got a few Thai cooking paste so that he can prep meals for me when he do visit Brunei in the future

This was a short getaway and there were a lot of interesting places that I would like to bring J to, such as the Safari World, and I want to tour other places in Thailand as well - like Hai Yat, Phuket, Khao Yai, Changmai, etc. I hope this was an enjoyable for J and an unforgettable first experience. 

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