16 February 2012

Bangkok Feb 2012

Hubby and I sneaked off to Bangkok over the past weekend for a quick getaway which was also meant as a celebration for Valentine's Day. Nothing interesting about this trip since it was a rest and relax trip where we took things pretty easy. In fact, my shopping haul was mediocre with just 2 t-shirts, 2 bottles of shower gel (from my fav brand in BKK, Divana Spa), an iPad sleeve, 2 hairclips and several packets of Thai noodles :p Highlight was probably staying at a new hotel and visited a spa that we've not been previously.

We took an afternoon flight on Thai Airways and to our disgust dismay, the flight was delayed for an hour (late arrival and heavy air traffic prior to taking off). As a result we arrived in Bangkok during the late evening peak hour, where the airport was in a frenzy state. Waited to take the AOT limousine taxi but was told the cheaper vehicles like Camry (1100 baht inclusive of toll charges) were all out have to wait minimum 20 mins, only left with Mercedes (1600 baht). Not waiting to spend an additional 500 baht, we decided to queue for public taxi which in fact was significantly cheaper, about 300 baht plus additional 70 baht toll charges. (Usually we would take the AOT taxi upon arrival and public taxi for departure.) To our utter disgust dismay, the public taxi queue was horrendous; there were several queues and we were totally idiotic to get into a line where 2 queues merged into 1. But beggars can't be choosers right?

We stood in line for 30 mins, hot and frustrated with a super slow moving queue. And to make matters worse, a big size foreigner kept using his huge bag to cut queue (he was behind us). Finally, we made the call to go back to AOT for the limousine taxi and we managed to get the Camry (well, 30 mins had passed). Phew! So glad with our comfy ride. By the time we got to our hotel, it was close to 9pm already! The check-in process was smooth and quick and a pretty front desk staff led us to our room and showed us all the amenities and features of the room.

The above and below photos were taken during the day time. When we checked-in, I was impressed by the floral arrangement at the hotel lobby. So lovely! The lobby is airy and spacious with lots of couches and sofas for people to laze around.
Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok is quite a new hotel, opened for about a year or so and the best part, it's just next door to Siam Paragon. It's literally just a zebra crossing away and really convenient for shopping and to get to BTS Siam which is connected to Siam Paragon.
Anyways, the room is spacious and cozy with a super comfy king-size bed :) All drinks in the mini fridge are FOC (local beer and sodas) and there's also free coffee. Not just any coffee but those coffee machine where you load capsules to make coffee (but we don't drink coffee, duh).

Fresh fruits were offered everyday; we had mango and banana.
The special feature of the room must be the bathroom which is segregated by a glass wall! There, you can see the supersize bathtub. There's an automated blind which could be lowered for privacy of course.
Luxurious bathroom with all amenities provided generously.
View from inside the bathroom. I could watch TV while soaking in the bathtub :)
As it was rather late already, we quickly made our way out for a late dinner. Hubby spotted this roadside hawker along Thanon Rama I Road (road between Siam Paragon and Siam Square) while he was in the cab and wanted to give it a try.
This is Sukiyaki with broth. Basically, glass noodle cooked in soup with veggies and pork.
And this is Stir-fry Sukiyaki with veggies and seafood. Both tasted spicy and really yummy, probably coz we were famished :p

After the simple meal, we took a walk at the Pasar Malam (street) stalls along Thanon Rama I Road which sold mainly fashion and accessories. I bought a unique t-shirt there :) Actually there were 3 designs that I like but I couldn't decide whether to buy and ended up getting only 1 of them. The next day when I went back, that particular stall wasn't set up :( Boohoo... lesson learnt, when travelling buy if you see something you like coz you may not chance upon the same thing again.

The next morning, we woke up around 9+ and headed to a small hawker centre at Siam Square for breakfast.
Ordered a bowl of glass noodle soup. The broth was yummy and the braised pork was very tender and moist. The stall owner charged us 40 baht, whereas hubby saw that locals only paid 30 baht. Oh well.
Some sweet and juicy pineapple after breakfast.
Hubby also bought this snack, which is some crispy shell filled with a milky custard and bits of mango. Not bad.
Then we went to Health Land Spa & Massage at Asoke for our much anticipated massage. There are many Health Land branches in Bangkok but we chose this branch for its proximity to the BTS (about 8 mins walk). When we exited at the BTS we saw a new mall, Terminal 21 and decided to drop by after our massage.
This Health Land branch is big! There are even elevators inside the building, 7 storeys in fact.
Very spacious reception and lobby area.
Simply select the type of treatment, make payment and wait for your name to be called. Quite a busy spa as we saw many tourists and locals.
We were led to another lounge area for change into their inhouse slippers. Then took a lift up to level 5 to our treatment room.
Room with simple furnishings. Hubby did a 2hr Thai massage (450 baht) and I chose a 2hr Thai massage with herbal compress (750 baht). The therapists were very skillful and friendly and we found ourselves drifting off to lalaland. At the end of the massage, we were brought back to the lounge area for some herbal tea and changed back to our shoes.
We walked towards Terminal 21 mall and went for lunch first before shopping. There were many restaurants and eateries but most of them were very crowded with long queues. Finally settled for Pier 21 Foodcourt which was spacious with ample seats. Although it was crowded, there were enough seats and the staff were very efficient in clearing the tables after patrons left. The foodcourt operated on a store value card system; we purchased a card with whatever value we like then handed the card to the stall owners for deduction. After the meal, we could then get back whatever value that was left.
I had my favourite braised pork leg with crispy roast pork set (70 baht), whereas hubby had thai fried rice and tom yum soup. The crispy roast pork was very very nice! We also had sticky rice with mango and red ruby for dessert (forgot to take photo!).

After the sumptuous meal, we went our separate ways for shopping. The mall was quite big - with many small little alleys and shops in each level, featuring international brands, male & female fashion and accessories, sports and shoes, gourmet market and zakka goods. Unfortunately I didn't find anything I like, only got a iPad sleeve.

We headed to Erawan Shrine near BTS Chidlom to offer our prayers first, then to BTS Siam and went on separate ways again. We agreed to meet back in the hotel room at 7pm. I went to my favourite household department at Siam Paragon, as well as the lingerie and children's department and finally the supermarket.

For dinner, decided to dine at our favourite MK Gold Restaurant for some hotpot, with lots of veggies and mushroom.
After dinner, we went back to the Pasar Malam near Siam Square again. Didn't find the stall I bought the t-shirt the day before, but managed to find another stall with design that I like. Ok at least there was a consolation. Then we went back to the hotel where I had a long luxurious bath in the oversized bath tub.
The next day, we woke up mid morning and had a late breakfast at this bakery cafe at Siam Square which hubby discovered the previous day.
We could order full meal items from the menu or pick breads and pastries for dine-in.

I like the interior design and colour combination of this chirpy looking cafe.
Our bread and pastries for sharing. They tasted ok, nothing to shut about though. After the brunch, we shopped around Siam Square, but most of the shops were not opened yet apart from a Daiso.

Soon we went back to the hotel, lazed a bit before checking out and headed to the airport. Decided to go to the airport 3hrs ahead of our scheduled flight as based on past experience the queues at both the check-in counters and customs were usually horrendous (previously we queued for almost an hour at the immigrations). True enough, we queued for 45 mins at the check-in counter for Thai airways and another 20 mins at the customs.

Thank goodness we went to the airport early so we had time for a quick late lunch at a thai cafe. Ordered a Pad Thai which was so-so only. Hubby ordered a fried kway teow and tom yum soup. Price-wise was like 4-5 times that of Bangkok city!

Finally boarded the plane for an uneventful flight home. Although this was just a short trip, it felt good to be back to one of our favourite Asian City and enjoy the great food and thai hospitality. Well, hope to be back soon, if our prayers at Erawan Shrine got answered :)

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