BANGKOK!!

bangkok-thailand

ABOUT BANGKOK, THAILAND

Timezone : UTC+07:00

Currency: Thai Baht (THB)

Visa: Not required for Malaysian

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GETTING THERE

Went to Bangkok by Air Asia. The flight will take you from LCCT Kuala Lumpur (starting 9 May 2014 will be from KLIA2) to Don Muang International Airport, or Suvarnabumi Airport if you are taking Malaysia Airlines.

From Don Muang Inernational Airport to Khao San Road (or anywhere within Bangkok), you can take a van or taxi. I took a taxi and bought the ticket at one of the counter inside the airport. Can’t really remember how much I paid for it.

When flying back from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, there is no airport departure tax. However this time I didn’t fly back to Kuala Lumpur but instead I continue on with another adventure in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Click on the link to read about Ho Chi Minh City)

ACCOMMODATION

Booked a room through Agoda.com as usual. This time, I wanted to experience different surroundings, so I stayed in 2 different hotels, in 2 different locations.

  • Rambuttri Village Inn & Plaza – Located ni Soi Rambuttri. Very close to Khao San Road and Banglamphu, which is a heaven for backpackers. Since it is not really on the street of Khao San, you can still get a good night sleep, without the noise that you might experience if you stay in the middle of Khao San Road. The hotel is quite nice and the most important thing is that they provide free wi-fi! Here you can enjoy the life as of a backpacker!

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  • Tune Hotels, Asoke – Located close to Asok BTS and Sukhumvit MRT station. Quite convenient to go to places within the city center just by taking the BTS or MRT. Here you can enjoy staying in the middle of the city of Bangkok!

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PS: I prefer staying at the backpackers area since I can still wander and enjoy the shops and massage center until late night (since I can just walk within the area and enjoy the nightlife)

GETTING AROUND

It’s quite easy to move around Bangkok. You can either take the skytrain a.k.a BTS, MRT, Taxi (make sure to ask the driver to turn on the meter), Tuk Tuk (make sure to confirm on the price before going in), Chao Phraya Express Boat or walking especially in Khao San area depending on the area you are at since some of the mode of transport, like BTS and express boat does not cover the whole Bangkok. Please take note of the last train or boat service.

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KHAO SAN ROAD

A place where backpackers around the world gather. Hotels around this area are quite cheap and same goes to foods and shopping. It is very close to Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and other ‘must visit’ places. By the way, do not forget to visit Khao San Night Market!

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SUKHUMVIT

It is located in the middle of Bangkok city center, where you can find all those big hotels and shopping malls.

TOURS

There are so many tours that you can choose from and there are a lot of tour agencies that you can go to. For me, I just went to the one quite close to where I’m staying – Mr. Thai Tour Agency near Rambuttri Village & Inn. Paid for 2 tours:

  • FLOATING MARKET (DAMNOEN SADUAK)

** tips: if you want to buy cheaper souvenir, walk towards the end to Paew Souvenir

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  • DINNER RIVER CRUISE

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INTERESTING PLACES

  • GRAND PALACE : Inside Grand Palace compound, there are also Temple of Emerald Budda (also known as Wat Phra Kaew), The Golden Stupa and Mini Angkor Wat. (Entrance fee 400 Baht)

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  • WAT PHO + THAI MASSAGE : Wat Pho, also known as the temple of reclining buddha. If you are visiting, don’t forget to try out their massage since there is also Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School, where they provide massage service (but you need to pay). (Entrance fee 50 Baht)

wat pho massage rate

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  • WAT ARUN : Also known as Temple of the Dawn. (Entrance fee 50 Baht)

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SHOPPING

You can shop like crazy in Bangkok!! From high end shopping mall to a simple night market, it’s just a matter of whether you have time to visit all! Also do not forget to visit Chatuchak market if you are in Bangkok on weekend! It is a must place to visit!

MARKET

  • KHAO SAN NIGHT MARKET
  • BANGLAMPHU MARKET
  • CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET; Open only on Saturday & Sunday, 6 am – 6 pm. Take a BTS to Mo Chit and walk around 5 minutes. (Just follow the crowd if you don’t know the way. Most of them are going to chatuchak market). If you are feeling hungry, there’s plenty of places to eat including those selling Halal food 😉

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  • ASIATIQUE; a combination of indoor & outdoor shops. To go here, take BTS to Saphan Taksin and jump on the free shuttle boat at the end of the pier.
  • CHINA TOWN
  • LITTLE INDIA
  • PAK KLONG TALAT/ FLOWER MARKET
  • SILOM NIGHT MARKET & PATPONG
  • SOI COWBOY NIGHT MARKET

SHOPPING MALL

  • MBK – must visit!

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  • SIAM DISCOVERY CENTER
  • SIAM CENTER
  • SIAM PARAGON
  • CENTRAL WORLD
  • GAYSORN
  • CENTRAL CHIDLOM
  • THE EMPORIUM
  • TERMINAL 21 – this mall is so cute!

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  • PLATINUM SHOPPING MALL; an indoor version of Chatuchak Market

* Most of the shopping malls are accessible via train. You can also walk from one mall to another (for some of the malls) if you don’t mind walking

FOOD

You can find food everywhereee!! But for Halal food, it is quite difficult. However here are some places that I went to:

  • Aishah Rosdi, Banglamphu Market, near the big roundabout & opposite 7-11. If you cannot find it, you may ask the information counter (that’s what I did). Just ask for ‘Halal food or Muslim food’ and they might be able to help you.

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  • Street food

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MORE READINGS ON BANGKOK:

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An island getaway : Phuket, Thailand

phuket thailand

ABOUT PHUKET, THAILAND

Timezone : UTC+07:00

Currency: Thai Baht (THB)

Visa: Not required for Malaysian

Plug adapter:

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GETTING THERE

Went to Phuket by Air Asia. The flight will take you from LCCT Kuala Lumpur to Phuket International Airport.

From Phuket International Airport to Patong Beach (I stayed there), you can take a taxi (around 800 baht per taxi) or a mini van (180 baht per person). Took a mini van since it is still early & the condition of the mini van is good! Air-condition mini van. However you will need to wait until the mini van is full, only then they will make a move. I only waited for less than 30 minutes (make sure you ask how many people have paid for the mini van so that you can expect how long you need to wait). You can see the taxi and mini van in the image below.

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When flying back from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur, there is no airport departure tax.

ACCOMMODATION

Stayed at The Palm Retreat Inn and booked the hotel through Agoda.com. The location of the hotel is quite strategic. It is located opposite Holiday Inn and maybe 2 minutes walk to Hard Rock Hotel. You can get halal food just next to the hotel. To go to Patong beach, it will take around 5 minutes of walking and maybe around 10-15 minutes walk to Jungceylon Mall and Bangla Road. However there are no lift at this hotel. My room was on the highest floor so I need to walk up the stairs. Not a problem though. The room is a big and clean air-conditioned room, they provide free Wifi, complimentary drinking water, mini bar, TV, hot shower, safety deposit box, towel, etc. The staff is quite helpful and friendly especially this one lady but I don’t know her name. I forgot to take photo of the hotel so I use those from their website.

Deleuxe_Double _Room Guest_Room (2) Guest_Room (4)

GETTING AROUND

Since I didn’t really go out from Patong area (except for tour), I just walk. Most of the attraction in Patong are within walking distance. However you may hire a tuk tuk or taxi (you can even hire the taxi driver for a day tour but I am not so sure about the rate), or rent a car or motorcycle.

PATONG

Patong is quite a happening area. The beach, massage center, shopping, food and also the famous ‘Bangla road’.

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TOURS

You can find a lot and loootttts of kiosk providing tour service. Just choose any but make sure to haggle for best price. Booked 4 tours from Fun Infinity Phuket Tour. The lady is very friendly so end up booking all tours from this place.

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  • Fantasea + Buffet Dinner = 1550 Baht (without dinner for 1350 Baht)

For this, you can choose either to include buffet dinner or not. Since the lady charge only 1550 Baht for a package which includes buffet dinner & only 200 Baht more than package without buffet dinner, I chose the one that includes the buffet dinner. If you are a Muslim, you do not have to worry. You can get Halal food at the dining place. When I was there, Halal food was served at Counter B. But please ask around to confirm since they might or might not change. By the way, the food was delicious!! The whole area in FantaSea are beautiful but the show is not as what I expected it to be. A bit dull for me but different people might have different opinion. The package also include return transportation from hotel-FantaSea-hotel.

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  • James Bond island tour = 1000 Baht

A tour that include 2 canoe sessions at James Bond Island and Hong Island, lunch on the boat (Halal food) and swimming (or just relax by the beach) session. Transport from hotel-jetty-hotel included.

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  • Similan Island tour = 1900 Baht

For this tour, return transfer from hotel-jetty-hotel is included. A mini van will pick you up at your hotel early in the morning since it takes around 2 hours+ (from Patong) to reach the jetty. Lunch (Halal) is also included. During this tour, there will be a few stops for a snorkeling session (goggle & life jacket provided). When you reach Similan Island, make sure to go up to the viewing point for a breathtaking view of the island! Just make sure to be careful climbing up & down!

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  • ATV + Elephant trekking tour = 1100 Baht

This tour include return transfer from and back to hotel, elephant ride & ATV. During the ATV session, you will stop by at the viewing point and also Big Buddha.

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SHOPPING

  • Jungceylon: A big shopping mall that carries local and international brand. You can also get souvenirs and massage at the lower level and there’s also Halal food there.

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  • For me, the best shopping would be the shops by the road side. If you want to get cheaper price for t-shirt, magnet, etc., do walk further from Jungceylon Mall going towards Tune Hotel (opposite direction to Hard Rock Cafe). The price at most of the shops there are even cheaper!

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FOOD

When I was there, I can see a lot of restaurants with Halal sign. So if you are a Muslim, you don’t have to worry about food. If you are not confident enough, you can go to Halal restaurant and eat the seafood.

  • Patong Promenade (opposite Jungceylon Mall): there’s a food court upstairs but they sell pork, so not an option for Muslim. However there are a lot of restaurant with Halal sign on the ground floor and rows of stalls selling food. There’s a shops there for shopping!

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  • There’s also a lot of restaurant (including those with Halal sign) along the road. Don’t forget to try our the Pancake Crepe! Quite similar to those selling in Krabi. However here there’s 2 version, either quite similar to roti canai or crepe! And also kebab at Bangla Road going towards the beach is delicious!

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MASSAGE

Don’t forget to go for a massage (I went for a massage everyday!). Tried out several places but I only manage to find one place that really provide good massage. Look out for VIP massage! However after dinner, there will be a lotttt of customer there! VIP massage is located opposite the road of Jungceylon Mall, but a bit further away. Walk towards Tune Hotel or opposite direction of Hard Rock Hotel. When you a reach an area where there are a lot of seafood restaurant, you are almost reaching the place.

Island Getaway – Krabi, Thailand

krabi

Going to Krabi is not really on my plan for this year. It’s a random thing that I suddenly decided to do (and because out of the blue my friend text me and ask whether I want to go there..and I just said YES!!) … I am DAMN HAPPY THAT I SAID YES!! It’s was an amazing getaway! 😀

ABOUT KRABI

Timezone : UTC+07:00

Currency: Thai Baht (THB)

Visa: Not required for Malaysian

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GETTING THERE

Went there for 5 days 4 nights by Air Asia. The price for the flight ticket is quite reasonable. Can’t really remember how much but it cost around RM300+ (return tickets: KL-Krabi-KL).

ACCOMMODATION

Stayed in Ao Nang during my getaway. Ao Nang is a peaceful town and I really like it!! Shops, restaurants, cafes, massage center, tour agencies, hotels, banks etc. can be found everywhere along the road so it is very convenient to stay in Ao Nang.

There are a lot of nice hotels, resorts and even guesthouses on Krabi Island. During my stay there, I stayed in Ao Nang Topview in Ao Nang town. The price is quite reasonable but depends on season. Condition is good. There’s TV, hot shower, air-conditioning + fan, locker to keep your valuable things (like your passport), nice bed, cafe, etc. Since Ao Nang town is not really that big, the location of all the hotels are good – since everything is within walking distance.

     

Went to Krabi again few months later but this time during peak season. The price during peak and non-peak season can be veryyyyy different! During peak season, the price might double the price during non-peak season. So this time I stayed at PK Mansion. It is run by the same people who run Ao Nang Topview (a place I stayed in earlier), but PK Mansion is a bit run down compare to Ao Nang Topview.

GETTING AROUND

Getting to Ao Nang from Krabi International Airport is quite easy. You can choose either to take a bus, taxi or mini van. Taxi cost around 600 Baht. Not so sure about other options.

To move around Krabi, Ao Nang or any other places, you can take either the mini van, ‘tuk tuk’ or rent a motorbike. The cheapest & healthiest way would be by foot a.k.a WALKING! That’s what I did but only around Ao Nang town since everything is within walking distance.

THINGS TO DO

There are a lot of tour that you can choose from such as island hopping, scuba diving, jungle tracking, ATV, water rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, etc. Usually, during the journey from the airport to hotel, the taxi driver will stop by a shop and someone will come and ask you to purchase their tour program. I recommend NOT TO PURCHASE any tour program at the airport or along the way since it is more expensive compared to the tour agencies that open up their business in Ao Nang town. Remember to bargain, bargain and bargain for almost everything there, including for the tour program.

I purchased 3 tour from Orchid Tour agency. If you are a Muslim, choosing this agency is recommended since they provide Halal food:-

  • Phi Phi Island tour – paid 900 Baht. Travel around using speed boat. Visited several islands such as Phi Phi Island, Maya Bay (where the movie ‘THE BEACH’ was filmed), etc and buffet lunch included.Transportation from and back to hotel also included. They also provide life vest + goggle and drinks on the boat.

       

  • 4-in-1 jungle tour – paid 900 Baht. Went to the Hot Spring (photos: first row), Emerald Pool – walk 600m from Emerald Pool, you will reach the Blue Pool which is soooo amazing! (photos: second row), Elephant ride (photos: third row) and Tiger Cave Temple – I CLIMBED UP THE STEPS TO THE TOP!! (photos: fourth row). Lunch and transportation from and back to hotel included.

  • 4 Islands Tour – get it for 400 Baht. You can choose to take a longtail boat instead of speed boat (that was what I did) and you can save around 500 Baht. Visited several islands such as Tup Island, Chicken Island, Poda Island etc. Lunch included (beach buffet on an island and there’s only a few people there! Such a wonderful experience!). They also provide transportation from and back to hotel, life vest + goggle and drinks on the boat.

Other than that you can also go for a massage. I went to the same place almost everyday! They even give you discount if you are a regular customer and the normal price before discount is already quite cheap. Only 200 Baht for traditional Thai full body massage!

SHOPPING

There’s a lot of shops selling souvenirs along the road in Ao Nang but I would also suggest for you to go to Krabi Town Night Market (Friday to Sunday). It’s a good place to enjoy night time + eat + shop. Just take a Tuk Tuk (around 400 Baht) or the mini van. Remember to BARGAIN, BARGAIN & BARGAIN!!!

I would also suggest to buy the water-proof bag. VERY USEFUL! I bought the 10L Ocean Pack brand for 350 Baht but there’s one shop selling for 300 Baht. The first shop I went to selling it for 660 Baht! So do remember to ask around for price and bargain.

  • Ao Nang Town Shopping

  • Krabi Town Night Market – Friday, Saturday, Sunday

   

EATERY AND FOOD

Restaurants and cafes can be found everywhere, including halal food! If you are in Krabi, do try out the pancake which comes in different flavours. It is quite similar to ‘roti canai’ but thinner and quite crispy. The fruit shake drink is also a must! Delicious & cheap!! A great way to enjoy food! 🙂

     

Last but not least, THIS IS ME … BEING ME WHILE ENJOYING LIFE !

   

More readings on Krabi: