Thrilled to start blogging about Bangkok! The land of mouth-watering street food, affordable foot massage and late-night shopping at the night markets!
So far, I have made two trips this year; first in January (for 3D2N) and a second trip in February (for 5D4N). Because I prefer to blog in chronological order, let’s start with the weekend trip in January!
Made a 3D2N trip to Bangkok sometime in late-January with my family. It was a decision made last minute. I remembered we were having a family dinner (for my dad’s birthday) when my elder sister brought up the idea of heading to Bangkok for the weekend. The last trip we took was without my two younger sisters, so we were saying how much they would enjoy Bangkok with all the shopping and food. It started being her idea; then I said I wouldn’t mind heading there for a weekend. Before I knew it, she had begun googling for flights and checking out hotels.
At first, we wanted to be a sisters’ only trip. No “adults”, just the four of us. But as expected, my dad refuses to let us go, saying how dangerous it was for four girls to go to Bangkok, etc. I don’t know how, but one thing led to the other and out of sudden, everyone seems to be eager to go. And that was how we ended up with a totally unexpected family trip to Bangkok.
Flight + Hotel
We were lucky to score good deals on SIA flights. If I’m not mistaken, I think it works out to around SGD200 (all in) per person for return flights. Hotel wise, we decided to stay at The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam, since my parents really like it the previous time we stayed there. Plus, the newly opened NEON Night Market made it a no-brainer for us to stay there. We booked the hotel through Agoda.com. 3-rooms at the main tower, excluding breakfast at that time cost us SGD633. While I don’t think that’s the cheapest rate we can get for The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam, we don’t have much choice since the trip was planned at the eleventh hour.
In-flight food on SIA
Since we were only there for a weekend, we wanted to maximise our time by taking an early morning flight. Depart from Singapore on Saturday morning at 07:15 and arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport at 08:40.
As usual, the first thing we did after coming out from the arrival hall was to get the data SIM card. The two most common/popular telco available are dtac and truemove. Personally, I find that both works equally good. I usually just pick whichever that has the shorter queue. Price wise, they’re the same too. THB299 for 7-days of unlimited data.
Now they even have a self-service vending machine for you to purchase the SIM card.
But from what I see, it was the telco staff that was using the kiosk to help the customer to purchase the SIM card? After all, their practice is to assist you to insert and set up the SIM card.
Price list for those who intend to stay more than a week in Bangkok.
Overseas Wifi Rental (Changi Recommends)
Prior to coming, I actually rented a Wifi-Router through Changi Recommends. My intention was to share it with my sisters so we can minimise the need to purchase the data SIM card. It cost SGD5 per day (for countries like Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand) and it’s free for the first day of rental. So basically, I only have to pay SGD10 for two days of usage.
A reservation had to be made 1-day in advance (through the website or email), and I simply collect the device on the day of my departure. (Collection and drop-off can be done at any of the three terminals.)
I’ve no problem with collection. In fact, it was fuss-free, and I think it took less than 5-minutes for the staff at the counter to verify and pass me the device. However, it was a long wait at the counter at the time when I was returning the device. (I supposed I was unlucky) That itself was a total turn-off for me (letting my family wait for me to return the device), and because of that, I don’t think I would want to rent it again, especially if I’m heading to Bangkok. There is just too much uncertainty on the waiting time for collecting and returning and for that, I think it will be easier for me to just get a SIM card after I arrive in Bangkok. Plus the internet service also wasn’t as good as I’ve expected.
It turns out, my sisters weren’t even keen to share the device with me. They prefer to have their own internet service, and would rather pay to get the data SIM card.
I think the wifi router works best and is more economical if you’ve someone to share the device with. It doesn’t make sense at all if they have to wait for me to collect and return the device at Changi Airport and I have to wait for them to purchase SIM card at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
Anyway, after getting the SIM card, we then went down to the basement level to get taxis. Press for a ticket through the ticketing kiosk, and you will be assigned with a meter taxi.
The last time we came to Bangkok, we paid THB1500 for a 10-seater car to take us from the airport to The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam. This time round, we thought we would save some money and get taxis instead. Since there were six of us and a few luggage, we have to split into two cabs. Eventually, I paid THB25 + THB50 (Tolls / Expressway Fees) + THB50 (Airport Surcharge) + THB265 (meter fare) for the journey. Multiply that figure by two, the total amount to THB780. Compared to paying a private transport, we easily saved THB700!
I believed it was only 10:30 when we reached the hotel and check-in time was after 15:00. So we left our luggage at the hotel and headed straight out to explore.
First stop, Platinum Fashion Mall!
Walkable distance from The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam.
First order of business was to go to the basement level of Platinum Fashion Mall to get this “Mix Thai Dressed Salad” that my sister recommends.
Hidden underneath the pile of ingredients was the popular Thai tom yum instant noodle.
For THB65, I think it was well worth the money spent. The tangy sauce that accompanied the noodles makes the entire bowl super appetising. We love it so much that we ordered a second bowl soon after.
For those who prefer something sweet or savoury, check out the stall next to it that is well-known for their crepes. I don’t know what is so nice about their crepes, but I have heard enough to know that they are popular.
Done with eating, we then head upstairs for shopping. Platinum Fashion Mall is well-known for its shopping, with multiple levels, each filled with rows and rows of shops selling ladies/men’s fashion and accessories. (There is also a foodcourt on the 6th floor.)
For those who prefer to get discounts for bulk purchase but is afraid of the heat (i.e. Pratunam Morning Market), Platinum Fashion Mall is a good place to shop. Another popular mall similar to Platinum Fashion Mall would be Union Mall, which sadly, we didn’t get to visit during this trip.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Bangkok’s fashion. Most of the clothes I got never seems to fit me very well. So as time past, I find myself buying less, and as a result of that, I don’t see myself as a big fan of Platinum Fashion Mall.
And when you are travelling in a group of six, it can also be a challenge to shop together, since everyone has different taste and tend to like different kinds of stuff. We only managed to stay a short while at Platinum, before leaving to the BTS Station to head to Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Picture taken on the sky bridge that start from Platinum Fashion Mall to Central World, Big C Supermarket, etc. The last time I came to Bangkok, this bridge wasn’t even in operation. Thanks to whoever decided to build this sky bridge, we were able to avoid walking directly under the sun.
Made a stop at the food fair outside Central World.
Grilled skewers of pork (also known as “Moo Ping”) at THB10 per stick!
Photo spam! This happened while waiting for my parents to be done with shopping.
Took us a while, but we finally made it to Chit Lom BTS Station. Each ticket costs THB42 to get from Chit Lom to Mo Chit Station.
I always got waffles from Mo Chit Station. 3 for THB50. Used to love them a lot, but now I found them okay? Maybe I got sick of eating them every time I visit Chatuchak Weekend Market.
One of the main reason of coming to Bangkok/Chatuchak Weekend Market was because my sister wanted to get some of these frames for her new house. My brother-in-law is a huge fan of superheroes, so my sister wanted to get some to decorate her soon-to-be-ready flat. I cannot fathom why she must get them this early (since her flat is not going to be here until the end of the year), but I promise to bring her to Chatuchak Weekend Market to look for it.
I’ve come across the shop multiple times when I’m in Chatuchak Weekend Market, so I knew exactly where to bring her. It’s so much cheaper to get them at Chatuchak, compared to other places in Bangkok or Singapore. The smallest one (10×10 inch) costs THB250 for one, and THB200 each if you get two pieces or more. The bigger one (20×20 inch) costs THB850 and (30×40 inch) costs THB2500. It appears the price has remained the same since I first saw it in 2013.
If you’re interested, this shop is located at Section 7 Soi 8, and another one is at Section 8 in Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Can’t remember how long we spent in Chatuchak, but it must have been a few hours. Before we leave, we managed to hunt down the famous “noodle soup with chicken”. I almost wanted to give up trying to locate the stall. I knew how the shop front looks like; hence it was incredibly frustrating when I couldn’t find the stall. Fortunately, my sister managed to spot it and everyone in the family got to try it.
I remembered the very first time I tried it, it was a standard “noodle soup with chicken”, but now, you get to choose the noodles you like, the chicken you prefer, etc.
It’s still the same price. THB50 for a bowl. Hopefully, the price will not increase with the increasing popularity of the stall (*cough* Sabx2 Wanton Mee *cough*). If you’ve yet to try it, you have to the next time you visit Chatuchak Weekend Market! The stall is located at Section 21 Soi 29.
The sky had turned dark by the time we got back and checked in to the hotel. Too tired to take photos of the hotel room, hence I only have one. (If you’re interested to see more pictures, you can check out my earlier blog post: here)
Everything is still pretty much the same. My three sisters and I shared two rooms, and our rooms were connected.
From our room, we could look down to NEON Night Market. Even though we were staying on a high floor, we could still hear the faint music blasting from below.
To be honest, NEON Night Market was pretty disappointing. There were hardly any interesting shops, and I think price wise they are not the cheapest either. It was next to our hotel, so we wouldn’t mind heading down to have a look since it was so near to where we were staying. However, if you’re not staying in this area, I wouldn’t recommend you to visit. The second time I went (in February) the entire night market was even quieter. The vibe at NEON Night Market was entirely different from other night markets like Artbox or Talad Rod Fai.
Ending this post with the street foods we bought that night. There’s no need to dine at a restaurant when you can get street foods everywhere in Bangkok. The chocolate banana prata (THB50) was nice, but can be too much for one person. Best to share if you don’t want sweetness overload.