Travel

2016 Bangkok Day 1: The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam | Dinner at The Platinum Mall

May 23, 2016

Follow up on my previous entry, I think I shall start with my recent Bangkok Trip. I’ve previously shared about what I got from the trip, so if you missed that entry, you can read about it here.

I went for a 5D4N trip to Bangkok with my family some time back in April 2016. The air tickets (Thai Airways, approx SGD250 for round-trip) were booked quite a while ago, but we only confirmed our accommodation about a month before our trip. I was tasked to book the hotel and decided to go back to The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam.

After collecting our boarding pass, we went straight for Duty-Free. Because my sister was with me for this trip, both of us went a little overboard with the amount of stuff we bought. I bought face masks (from Innisfree) and facial wash for the Boyfriend and I. My mum thought we were getting stuff to use in Bangkok but when we told her otherwise, she said we should have bought them when we came back, instead of carrying all to Bangkok and later bring them back to Singapore.

By the way, I didn’t know that we could shop at Duty Free when we returned to Singapore. I always thought that shopping was restricted to the small isolated Duty-Free store (found after we cleared immigration). But I found out from the staff that we can actually shop in all the stores as long as we have yet to go down (clear immigration). All we have to do is show our return boarding pass. I’m such a noob for not realising that earlier!

The good thing about flying full flagged airline: in-flight entertainment and having a meal on board! For once, I actually enjoyed the meal. I had the green curry prawns which were really nice!

Two hours later, we’ve arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport! Thankfully, the queue at immigration wasn’t that long, so we managed to clear it rather quickly and went straight to collect our luggage. Then, as always, we went to purchase the data SIM card right before we left the airport.

There are various plans available and you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

As usual, I got the 7-days unlimited internet at THB300. Decided to also get another SIM card for my dad, solely for making phone calls. Again, there were various amount you can get, but we ended up going with THB150. It proved to be more than sufficient for our five days’ trip.

While we were getting the SIM cards, my godma actually went ahead to book us a ten seaters car/van to take us to the hotel. The transport itself cost a whopping THB1,500 (travelling from the airport to Pratunam)! If you ask me, I will say that it’s not necessary / not worth spending SGD60 for the transport. I recommend to either take the Airport Railway Link or meter taxi if possible. Either one is going to cost you a lot cheaper than THB1,500. But if you’re travelling in a group, like we do, perhaps you might then want to book a car/van for the sake of convenience (bigger space for all your luggage, one car VS separate taxis, etc.).

The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam

Six of us = 3 separate rooms

Huge bathroom with separate shower and bath tub.

connecting room

My second time staying at The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam! Even though the hotel isn’t exactly brand new, I like how spacious and bright the room is (our room came with full-length windows). Taking into consideration the proximity to Palladium World Shopping Mall, Platinum Fashion Mall, Pratunam Market and the price that we paid (less than SGD100 / night, inclusive of breakfast), I think it’s good enough. Be sure to add this to your list if you’re looking for a hotel that is reasonably priced and near Pratunam area. Usually, the price should be lower than surrounding hotels like Novotel, Amari Watergate Bangkok and Glow Pratunam. But we did notice that the price continually increased when it gets nearer to the date of travel, so it’s best to book as early as possible.

Talking about increasing prices, I was recently introduced to this site called HotelCombined. It’s essentially a site where you can use to search for the best price for hotels online from all the top travel sites like Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, etc. Worth giving it a try if you’re looking for a fast and easy way to search for best hotel deal for your next trip!

After a short rest at the hotel, it was time to hit the streets before the sky turns dark. Since it was our first day in Bangkok, we decided to keep it simple; hence we only travelled to places near our hotel like Platinum Fashion Mall and Pratunam Market.

Dinner was settled at the food court located on level 5 of The Platinum Mall.

Fried Oyster (THB100)

Pad Thai (THB50)

Braised Pork Rice (THB70)

Shark Fin Soup

Tom Yam Noodle (THB100)

It’s relatively affordable having dinner at the food court at The Platinum Mall. With a wide selection of mouth-watering Thai / Chinese food, it’s usually hard to pick just one. Since we were travelling in a group, we were able to order a few dishes for sharing.

One key thing about dining at the food court is they don’t accept cash payment at the individual stalls. You’ll have to go to the counter and purchase a coupon card, top up your preferred value and use that to pay for the food and drinks. Any remaining balance on the card, you can later return it back to the counter and get back your refund in cash.

Most of the shops in The Platinum Mall close as early as 19:00/20:00. But if you want to continue with shopping, they have an entire stretch of temporary tents located outside the mall, selling things like shoes, bags, cellphone accessories, etc.

We had a quick glance, before crossing over to Pratunam Market.

Walking towards my favourite Thai-massage parlour, located next to Baiyoke Sky Hotel.

Chan Thai Traditional Massage. It only costs THB200 for a 60 minutes foot massage. Cheap and good.

I heard from my sister that some places would charge extra if you come in after midnight. But I don’t think it applies to Chan Thai? I remembered there was once I went at 00:00/01:00 and still paid the same amount. Of course, you may choose to give tips if you think that their services are good.

More eating, after our foot massage. Hello, Chocolate Banana Prata and tasty BBQ chicken!

Quite bummed that we only managed to visit the massage parlour once throughout our entire five-day trip. Reasons being: 1) My dad isn’t a fan of foot massage and 2) We picked shopping > massage.

Well, I suppose there is always next time.

Thank you for reading!

Honestly, Day 1 in Bangkok is typically quite boring. I promise the next few days in Bangkok will be better, where we went to places like Chinatown, Rod Fai / Train Market, Big C, Chatuchak Weekend Market, etc.

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