31 December 2008

Land of Smiles, Food, Spa - Bangkok 29-31 Aug 08

This is the second last of my travels backlog. Looks like I won't be able to complete all of my travel entries before end of 2008. My bad :(

The thing about overdue entries, while they brought back fond memories, I couldn't remember all the details as vividly.
Anyway, Hubby and I were in Bangkok for a whirlwind 48hrs getaway end August. That was just before the political unrest. Although there were protests ongoing then, it was mainly confined to the Government House; life was still normal in the tourist belt and we didn't see or feel anything tension at all.

We flew by AirAsia on a Friday night 10pm (Sin time) and returned on Sunday afternoon 4.45pm (Thai time). In this way, we didn’t need to take leave at all. As time was of essence for such a short trip, we chose to stay at Grant Hyatt Erawan Bangkok for its proximity to Erawan Shrine and abundance of shopping malls within walking distance. Security was tight at the hotel, meaning guests could feel more at ease and assured.

We stayed in the Grand King Room, which was similar to most deluxe rooms at international class hotels. Nevertheless, I was impressed with the additional fine touches like the small ‘walk-in’ wardrobe, bedside touch screen panel that can control everything from lightings to air-con to privacy options. Most significantly, the king size bed with silky, plush duvet. I wish I could sink into the bed and not get up, ever.

Was feeling rather hungry, decided to indulge in a little supper and ordered a club sandwich for sharing with hubby. Room service was pretty fast, my orders arrived in 20mins, just nice after a hot shower. We sat on the cozy bed, munched on the hot fluffy fries and sandwich overfilled with ingredients, sheer bliss! By the time we hit the bed, I guessed it was already close to 3am.Woke up super late and decided to go for a pampering spa treatment. But before that, we went to Erawan Shrine first to offer our prayers, a must-do for all our visits to Bangkok.

Now for our spa indulgence, we decided to try Lavana Bangkok Spa, located at No.4 Soi Sukhumvit 12 Sukhumvit Road, within 5-8 minutes walk from BTS Asoke Station. This is a recommendation from hubby's friend who is currently working in Bangkok, so it must be good :)

As we entered the Soi, spotted a few hawker stalls selling fruits and fried fritters. Since we hadn't have breakfast and lunch would be after the spa treatment, decided to grab some juicy pineapple and crispy fried fritters.

We walked further into the Soi in search of the spa and were pleasantly surprised by the scale of the spa, as we initially thought that it was just a small establishment. In fact, we were totally impressed with the overall atmosphere, furnishing, service, treatment quality and the price of the treatments. Took lots of photos, see the next blog entry for details. Bangkok is really a haven for spa, have blogged about Pranali Spa and Divana Spa before.

After a 3hr spa treatment, we were famished and headed back to Erawan Bangkok for lunch at Nara Thai Cuisine. This is a restaurant recommended by a few Taiwanese bloggers who gave very good ratings so we decided to give it a try.

It was passed lunch hour so we needn't wait for a table. Most of the patrons were locals, so we believed the food should be quite authentic.

I ordered my favourite lemongrass drink which was ok, nothing to shout about.

This was the appetizer that was highly recommended. There were chicken satay, deep fried dumpling, spring roll, pomelo & prawn salad and thai fish cake. The overall presentation was definitely aesthetically pleasing, whetting my appetite immediately. Taste was quite good too, I love the thai fish cake especially.

Next up was Tom Yum Seafood Soup. I'm not into Tom Yum as it was too spicy and sour for me, but hubby love Tom Yum soup a lot. So usually I would just take a bowl and he would finish the rest.

The soup was authentic alright and passed hubby's QC.
This was one interesting dish which we had never try before - Stir-fry squid with salted egg. I love the chewy squid wihich was enhanced by the unique taste of the salted egg.

We ordered a pineapple fried rice for sharing. I prefer the thai-style pineapple fried rice to the chinese-style, where some spices are usually added to enhance the taste of the rice.
Although we were bursting at the seams, we still must try the dessert. Hubby had the "Red Ruby" - water chestnut morsels encased in tapioca starch and served in sweet coconut milk.

While I had Coconut Sorbet. The sorbet also came with a few pieces of the red ruby. I love it, surprisingly light and refreshing.

After the heavy late lunch, it was shopping time. We visited the newly launched, revamped and rebranded CentralWorld, which used to be called World Trade Centre. It was huge. But I still prefer Siam Paragon, so we headed there after an hour.

I shopped at Siam Paragon for a couple of hours while hubby headed to MBK. For dinner, we once again decided to go for MK Gold Restaurant, the thai version of steamboat. This restaurant seemed to be our regular haunt already.

Since we had a heavy lunch, decided to go light and ordered veggies and mushroom only.
Except that hubby must always order the duck meat, which was tender and succulent.
I always love the iced chinese tea which was very refreshing and fragrant.

After dinner, we walked around a bit before heading back to the hotel for a good night's rest.

The next day, we decided to go Central Chitlom before check-out. More shopping for me!

For lunch, we headed to the top level of Central Chitlom and dine at Food Loft, which has an Open-Kitchen, self-serve concept with multiple cuisines to select. Just hand the bar-code card to the stalls to place order.
Shrimp paste fried rice. Not bad.

Deep fried prawn spring roll.

Ginger soup with ginko nuts.

Soon, it was time to return to the hotel for check-out and to the airport.

Realised that I didn't take any photos of the hotel interiors, guessed we were always rushing in and out of the hotel.

The only photo I took of the hotel, an elegant decoration by the lift lobby. Hope the political unrest could be resolved soon so that I can return to the charming Land of Smiles again.


Lavana Spa, Bangkok

Lavana Bangkok Spa is one of the spa recommended by hubby's friend who is working in Bangkok. He offered us several options and after browsing their websites, decided to try Lavana which is a full-fledge spa.
Initially thought that it was a small establishment, was pleasantly surprised when we saw this large building as we approached the vicinity.

Was even more impressed by the interior furnishings which was comfortable, spacious and tastefully decorated. We felt relaxed already.

Cold towel and warm herbal tea served while we browsed the treatment menu.I decided to go for the 3.5hr Lavana Journey package with a Shirodhara head massage, oil massage and herbal ball. Priced at 2880 thai baht (around S$120), it was definitely a steal as a similar package in Singapore would have cost twice the amount or more. Hubby went for thai massage and foot massage, also 3.5hr.

We were led to separate treatment rooms by our therapists.

Ambient and relaxing room, with soft spa music in the background. The treatments were totally relaxing and rejuvenating, my stress and tight muscles were slowly kneaded away by the skillful hands of the therapist.

Attached bathroom for shower after the treatment.
Hot towel and herbal tea served after the treatment.

After the treatment, I was led back to the reception area. While waiting for hubby, I was served a creamy brulee-like dessert topped with finely chopped pistachio. Yum!

An array of spa merchandise available for sale.

I really like the furniture and interior design, with very clean and neat finishings. Wished I could do the same for my home.

The staff told us that the spa had a special free American breakfast for all customers from 9am to 1pm daily. After the treatment, we could actually linger inside the room and slowly enjoy a sumptuous and leisurely meal. As we wanted to go for lunch at Nara restaurant, we had to decline the offer.
Yet another great spa experience in Bangkok! I will be back for more!
Lavana Bangkok Spa
No.4 Soi Sukhumvit 12 Sukhumvit Road., Klongtoey, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110
Tel : +66 (0) 2 2294510-12 Fax : +66 (0) 2 2294514
Opening Hours : 09:00 am - 02:00 am
Last Reception : 23:30 pm