#198 V12 Beyond Borders (Bangkok)
Monday, 26 January 2015

Lemon Tea Hotel, 55 Soi Petchburi15 Petchburi Road

The overseas trip that has been said to be 10 years in the making. Ha-ha, sounds a tad over dramatic, but it has indeed been 10 years since the bunch of us have travelled overseas together. The last time something like this happened was back in 2005, when we flew off to Japan for a school trip. Since then, though we've travelled with others within the group, no trip has had as large an attendance as this. A pity not everyone was able to make it, but it was still enjoyable and memorable on the whole. I was initially somewhat worried that travelling in such a large group (11 people) would create some tension or awkward moments, but fortunately everyone proved to be easy travel companions.

The weather was surprisingly cooling and we came to this "brilliant" conclusion that the best time to visit Bangkok is at the start of the year (supposedly because the city is practically scorching during the remaining 11 months) *shrugs* Maybe we just lucked out and visited during a cooler spell? Either way, it made walking around more pleasant because as you know, we're budget travellers who refuse to take a cab unless absolutely necessary, ha-ha. Didn't take that many photos on the first day there because after we landed, settled our SIM cards, travelled and trekked to our hotel, we immediately adjourned to Platinum Shopping Mall for some serious retail therapy.

Dinner on the first night was at Somboon Seafood Restaurant, which I regret going to because I think it's a tourist trap (I'm not going to even bother listing the location of the place). It's my second visit there, and possibly my last. I would much rather have gone to T K Seafood in Chinatown, but unfortunately due to time constraints, we didn't manage to visit the restaurant on this trip. I guess the Fried Curry Crab was somewhat decent? Makes for a nice photo to upload on Instagram I suppose? But for the price we paid, I'm sure we could have eaten much more at T K Seafood.

After You Cafe, Siam Paragon (Ground Floor, Siam BTS)

I'm sure you can find this cafe in quite a lot of other places in Bangkok and while it comes across as a tourist trap as well, I must admit that the Shibuya Honey Toast is sinfully delicious and addictive. On the other hand, don't be fooled by the Chocolate Sphere. Despite being more photogenic, the taste is pretty average and I'd much rather spend the money and calories on a different type of toast.

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road (Mo Chit BTS)

When travelling with girls, you're more or less bound to visit Chatuchak Weekend Market on both Saturday AND Sunday. Not that I'm being sexist, it's just that there really is A LOT of things to buy at the weekend market, especially for girls. That said, I did have my fair share of damage done to the contents of my wallet, ha-ha. Overall, I honestly bought more that I had expected on this trip. I thought I was over my phase of buying nonsensical street wear when travelling overseas. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how up to date some of the street stalls are when it comes to their merchandise. In addition to all the snacks I brought back for my family, I miraculously managed to fit everything into my tiny luggage. Lesson learnt: bring a bigger luggage in the future JUST in case the shopping turns out to be better than expected!

Health Land Spa & Massage, 55/5 Sukhumvit 21 Road (Asok BTS)

Of course, no visit to Bangkok is complete without a visit to Healthland for a massage. However, what I discovered on this trip is that it's only worth to get a Healthland massage if it's for an Aromatherapy or Traditional Thai Massage. I personally don't think it's as worth the money if you're getting a foot massage (for example) since you can get it at a fraction of the Healthland price anywhere else (600 baht versus 250 baht an hour). As long as it's something that doesn't have the potential for the masseuse to ask if you want a 'happy ending', I'd recommend getting that massage elsewhere as the standard doesn't differ that much (most of the time).

Railway Train Night Market (Talad Rot Fai)

Directions: Okay, the directions to this place can get a bit confusing. But given that it was my first time there, and the fact that I faced little trouble trying to locate the night market, I'm sure everyone else reading this will be fine too. Basically, take the BTS to On Nut station, get off and hail a cab. If the driver doesn't know where Talad Rot Fai is, and you have no google maps to guide him/her there, tell them to drop you off at Seacon Square. It's the large shopping mall that's right next to the night market and most cab drivers will know the place.

They say it's best to visit the night market on a Saturday, but we went on a Sunday instead because we were too tired the day before. It opens around 1500H and I'd highly recommend going there as early as possible because the market is HUGE. I wish we had more time to spend there, but unfortunately we got there around 1900H and the place closes at 2300H. I wouldn't suggest leaving only as the place closes because you'll most likely want to cab back to your hotel and fighting with everyone else for a taxi might be a nightmare.

The whole place is a bit like Chatuchak, in the sense that there are countless stalls selling a whole variety of merchandise. However, there is more space for people to walk around and there are quite a significant amount of second hand goods being sold (sort of like a Thieves Market). There are also more places for you to dine and chill out in, with live bands and football shows being screened.

Ending off this entry with some of the more memorable street food I ate on the trip - Mango Sticky Rice and Congee from a street stall that we just happened to come across at the streets of Pratunam. Oh Bangkok, how I've missed you. I couldn't have asked for a better place to visit as a kick start to my overseas adventures in 2015. I'll be back soon, hopefully for a longer period of time. And here's hoping that our #V12beyondborders adventure can become an annual affair.


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written at 17:44