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Tag Archives: Thailand

Photo Splurge: Bangkok, Thailand

Just to share the sights you could be missing if you don’t drag yourself off your chair and head for Bangkok, Thailand ;)

Grand Palace (from the gates)

Inside the Grand Palace

Purple Water Lily, inside the grounds of the Grand Palace

A part of the Grand Palace grounds

Closer look

A Grand Palace "Guard"

The Buddha's Head at Wat Pho aka The Reclining Buddha

Full view of The Reclining Buddha

Entrance to the re-opened Central World

A part of the Central World Mall that was burned is still being renovated. And part of the renovation are these graphic signs that are brilliantly thought of. Amazing.

A message and reminder not just to the local Thais but to everyone!

Another message from our Thai friends and I BELIEVE these messages... I just missed the last one though ;)

Bangkok's simple yet lived tagline

There are still a more places to see and visit just in Bangkok. Plus a few more famous place in Thailand’s provinces like Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai to name a few. Chiang Mai is my next target to hopefully fulfill my longed for mission: the elephant encounter.

You can check my other photos from my previous trips starting here and here. And my lessons in my first travel to the Land of Smiles here.

Oh! I forgot to share in my previous post… the FULL view from our room’s balcony during daytime…

Bangkok Skyline from State Tower (photo stitched), click to enlarge

So, when are you planning to go have a Thailand experience for yourself? ;)

 

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I DID Return

Weeks has passed after my return to one of my favorite place: Thailand. This was first trip to the Land of Smiles without my Powerbook so my vacation documentary was not as detailed as what Chico did. this trip was also the shortest: just 3 days.

Went back to Bangkok with Panch and it’s her first time. We can consider it as an adventure somehow. And perhaps lucky as well.

Camwhoring with Panch while waiting for the delayed flight

Flight was delayed for more than an hour. Technical problems from an earlier international flight was the cause but come to think of it, here are some of the memorable events that happened to us: the “stress vs. blessing” moments.

Stress vs. Blessing no.1: Friday night traffic vs. Being offered another roundtrip ticket to any Asian country where the airline flies.

We made it obviously. We just paid for a quite high-priced private service. My usual taxi-service was not available that day :( For the lucky part, sorry to burst your bubble but we didn’t take it. But what’s the reason for the “offer”: airline got overbooked and they are trying to weed out passengers that I guess will bite the offer. They will be paying for the hotel accommodation for the night since we will be taking the next day same flight. Really tempting but if not for the hotel pickup waiting for us at the airport…oh well.

Stress vs. Blessing no. 2: Reservation problem vs. New hotel.

This I really call an accidental blessing. I called up the hotel to confirm which gate was our pickup waiting and then they told us we are being moved from the Sukhumvit hotel to a different hotel in Silom. Panic was all over me then. But was assured that we will be moved back to the original hotel as soon as our supposedly room was cleared. (Again, the word “overbooked” was mentioned) To cut the story short, we never checked in to the original hotel. But instead we stayed here:

Living room in State Tower hotel

State Tower's bedroom with free computer use and internet (LAN and WiFi). That's Panch checking out what's on cable.

State Tower's bedroom with balcony

Our room has a dining area and a fully functioning kitchen too: stove, microwave, airpot and refrigerator plus and all the plates and utensils you'll be needing

It was a blessing! Oh, did I mention that the view at the balcony was spectacular?!?! ^_^

The view from our room's balcony at State Tower in Silom

And talking to Mike, the manager who’s very accommodating and nice, the roof that we are in is much expensive but I felt it’s practically lovelier. And besides, I made it clear that if we stay there we will be charged with the price deal I made with the previous hotel. We might have missed the free American breakfast deal but I practically don’t care. We are in Bangkok, food is everywhere ;)

Stress vs. Blessing no. 3: Away from Sukhumvit vs. Staying in Silom.

Obviously with my almost yearly visits in Bangkok, I am more familiar with Sukhumvit area. But it ended up, I love it there!!! There’s also a walking distance train station! Too bad I wasn’t able to take photos of the street. But I promised myself I will be back and will be staying in that area again.

Stress vs. Blessing no. 4: Alone in Bangkok vs. Getting around.

Alone I meant without any Filipino friend (I miss you, Gian!) to be with. For my past trips there, I usually stay with my friend Gian or a local friend will be taking me around. And it’s Panch’s first time there too so it’s up to me. And lo and behold, I still remember the stations and exits :D Yehey! I think I’m more familiar with the train stops there than here in Manila.

 

Me taking photo of Non, my Thai friend Put's brother at the grounds of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

And with this trip, made me decide not to fear being alone or at least have a contact person in a place you are going to. This trip was my shortest but I guess still ok.

Doing the famous Thai hand-gesture greeting with Ronald McDonald

 

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Bangkok Clean Up

The youngest Thai volunteer cleaning the streets of BKK. Photo from http://www.bangkokrecorder.com

I read over Bangkok Recorder yesterday that Thais, both city cleaners and volunteers, are cleaning up today. Latest information and photos I’ve viewed and shared here came from Bangkok Recorder and my dear friend Gian who’s working and currently residing in Bangkok.

What's left of Central World Mall. Photo by Gian (25 May 2010)

It moves me how the Thais help out in cleaning the mess that the months of protest left behind. I honestly don’t choose sides (or colors) but like what I mentioned in my previous entry, it broke my heart learning about what has happened to Bangkok and how Central World Mall plus other buildings were destroyed. Now, thanks to good news, like any other storm there’s a bright light making way, even leaving a rainbow of hopes ^_^

The kid you see in photo above (thanks again to Bangkok Recorder for sharing this) is the youngest among the volunteers to clean up. I found a few more photos of the Bangkok cleanup by this local Thai freelance photographer. Too bad he didn’t allow me to post his photos here in my blog. Just check out his link here. I could just imagine how fast the clean up and the recovery Bangkok can have with all great gesture it’s getting from both city workers and community volunteers. I bet they’ll be able to clean up faster than the Philippines getting cleaned up from all these election campaign posters-junks still scattered or hanging in its streets!

Thai city cleaners and citizen volunteers cleaning up Bangkok (photo from http://www.thaiphotoblogs.com)

 

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Central World Mall

My First Glimpse of Central World Mall, Sept. 2007

Just yesterday, my dear friend Gian YM-ed me saying that Central World Mall is on fire! Even though I was in the meeting then and the internet connection in our client’s office is quite slow, I Googled and unsuccessful in finding video uploads or even photos for Bangkok’s situation. I continued to YM him and ask for his situation, where he is and who’s he with. Bangkok government has declared the day a holiday for they intend to disperse the protesters once and for all.

I don’t watch news, read newspapers or browse the net for current events. Bad habit to break, I know. But this incidents in Bangkok has that huge hit on me.

Just this morning, Gian YM-ed me again. He hasn’t have any full sleep. He’s been crying. Same as what my other Thai friends feel. Emotional. The Reds have burned the WHOLE Central World. He showed me photos and links via email.

I can’t deny I’m affected. I’m here miles away from Bangkok. I understand why my friend is crying. I would have been crying too if I’m there.

I just couldn’t believe that the Reds burned down Central World Mall. It’s their own prestige. Known as being one of the largest malls in the world. I’ve been there and I go there every time I’m in Thailand. For me this is a mall that caters the arts. In each year that I visit the mall, they always have exhibits, sculptures and hanging mobiles. They hold concerts, expos and the likes. This is the mall that’s open and yet maintains the high end-feel and yet it’s not intimidating. I feel always welcome in Central World Mall.

And now, it’s all burned up. A friend shared this one in Plurk. Click here for the news.

Photo from Daily Mirror

Sharing some of the photos I have online in regards to Central World Mall…

Central World Mall's Theme (Sept. 2007) with my Thai friends, Put (left) and Ten (right)

Hanging glass bubbles, one of Central World Mall's interior design (Sept. 2007)

A net-like hanging mobile structure in Central World Mall during daytime (June 2008)

Central World Mall Park (July 2009)

Me at the LOVE structure at Central World Mall (July 2009)

I know that the Central World Mall for it’s beauty and grandness will remain in our photos and memories. As I remembered Gian mentioning on one of his Facebook status in memory of the majestic mall, he personified Central World Mall to a phoenix that from its ashes will rise a new creature more dignified and powerful than before. Bangkok will be on its feet amidst the riots and political issues that they are experiencing now.

Will I go back and see Thailand again? DEFINITELY.

 

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Revisiting Thailand – Day 1

Again for the 3rd time, I’m finally here at Ratchada, Bangkok to be exact. And going back here won’t tire me even though it’s my 3rd time around. The difference this time: I’m a vacationing tourist!

Flight was on time. Philippine airport I came from was the controversial Terminal 3 which I find quite gloomy and dark. Arrived in Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok’s airport) around 11:30PM yesterday (12:30 AM Manila time, Thailand is an hour late in time). Thanks to the movie “Confession of the Shopaholic” converted for my iPod Nano, I was awake most of the trip. It was a longer walk from the terminal’s gate to the Immigration and  luggage area. I didn’t bring out my camera then. I guess I was tired and sleepy to even think about it. No Put (one of Ten’s best friend) around to welcome me this time (ok, I’ll admit it, I was a bit sad and disappointed. But admit it, my instinct was right – AGAIN).

I’m just happy… very happy I’m here in Bangkok already. Happy to see and be with Gian first and definitely, my vacation mode is on!

Anyhow, I had a few hours of sleep. Even though I was lying down already my mind is still wide awake. I guess I’m still excited. But that didn’t stop us from going out. We didn’t waste time.

Gian’s place is now farther from the main road and from a train/subway station compared to the last 2 place. Option was to either ride the motorcycle and pay 10 Baht which was a no-no for me (I still want to enjoy my vacation and go home still in one-piece) or walk. We went for the latter. Besides, it’s a good way to burn calories and have a chat with Gian ;)

Esplanade Mall
Since it was too hot yet to head for Chatujak, we went first to Esplanade Mall, the nearest mall to Ratchada where we had our brunch. My first meal in Bangkok was Japanese. It was my first time to the mall and it wasn’t bad. Not as extravagant and overly impressive as Central World and Siam Paragon, but it was ok. Japanese buffet in Shabu Shi Restaurant was amazing. I’m so stuffed. Too hungry (and lazy) to take pictures. I was hungry then. Hands (and mouth) are full. Well, at least I can now finally say I have that experience of eating in a Japanese with the food choices you have to chase on a moving conveyer in front of you. Too bad and my loss too that I wasn’t able to document the experience :(

So what’s a perfect thing to do to kill time?

Watch a movie Ü Guess what movie is being shown here in Bangkok?

Its more than a two-thumbs UP!

It's more than a two-thumbs UP!

OH YEAH! I got excited again learning from Gian that the movie “UP” from Pixar and Disney is already being shown in Bangkok. So there we go, we had to watched it. I can now brag to my friends left in the Philippines that I got to watch the movie already. Way ahead of them… hihihi. Ok, I’ll embarrass myself to you dear reader and admit something but I have to say this first: Darn writers. Darn Pixar. You hit me here, in my heart, AGAIN. You made me CRY… huhuhu.

But I recommend you to watch the movie. Just bring some tissue or hanky so you won’t soak your popcorn and make it taste too salty with your tears :p

Chatujak
Finally, I got to experience and see for myself what this market is so famous for. Well, everything and anything seems to be sold here. Alive only on weekends, we really didn’t miss this chance this time. They say it’s the cheapest place to shop in Bangkok but as my friend Gian advised me, still not all sold here are cheap. Some are still cheaper in MBK or in Pratunam.

It was a huge market. Alleys of alleys of stalls to check out. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any blouse or whatever for myself but I got shirts with good Thailand iconic designs like elephants and tuktuk as pasalubong for my male family members and friends. Gian got a bonsai plant that looks like a really nice small tree Ü

Taking photos of the market or what being sold was not allowed. Gian and another friend of his were scolded at one time when they documented the area. I guess good mobile phones with cameras such as iPhone are of handy and useful in areas and situations like this.

Oh here, I got my Thai sim card for just 14 Baht. 14 BAHT? What the… ok, perhpas it is really cheap here somehow.

MBK
This place is not new to me. But I was still surprised to see it again. It has improved a lot. I was looking for silver bracelets for my female friends and was advised that this is the cheapest place to go to for that. Funny about this place is that the male vendors who sold us the bracelets know simple Tagalog phrase. It sounds kind funny yet amusing them saying it ;)

Photo taken in Skywalk in front of MBK

Photo taken in Skywalk in front of MBK

I LOVE this photo of our Gian! (Kasi ang ganda ko dito… hihihi)

Siam Paragon
Another place not foreign to me. siam Paragon still has it’s splendors and is still appealing to me due to it’s strategic location (has direct BTS stop/station for it), ambiance and great supermarket Ü

We decided to go here because I’m already craving for my fave Thai tea, Cha yen! And since it’s almost dinner time we ate at the food court. Pad Thai and Cha yen is a heavenly combination for me. I wasn’t able to finish my ordered Pad Thai. I got stuffed unexpectedly with the immediate drinking of the tea. Almost half of the glass’ content was only left. I brought it home for next day’s breakfast.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Half-glass of Cha Yen

Half-glass of Cha Yen

But before we had dinner, we bought a few supplies of groceries for my stay like flavored yogurt milk and a couple of Thai toothpaste that Ate Neth always refer to me as my pasalubong to her. And guess what? Gian showed me that Cycles Mild Baby Detergent for Babies is now available in their supermarket while  Bliss Pleasure Enhancing Lubricant is available at their drugstore :D.

Day 1 is almost done. I wonder awaits me tomorrow as my Day 2 for vacationing and revisiting Bangkok (again).

———-

I just received an SMS a few minutes ago from Put. I did text him today while Gian and I were having dinner at Siam Paragon food court. He said he texted last night that he can’t make it when I arrived. Unfortunate for me, I didn’t receive it. I texted him back with a brief accounts of today and the plan for tomorrow. I asked him too if there’d be a chance for us to meet at least before my vacation ends. As of 10:45PM, not reply from him. I guess it’s a NO CHANCE situation.

 

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Today’s The Day (or Night?)

Last day of the week and my last day to work. In a few hours I’ll be bound to the country they call “The Land of Smiles” :D

Will my arrival there be as crazy and surprised as my last visit there last year? Will there be any different this time around?

Well, for one, my first Thai friend of mine won’t be there to greet me. Ten who has been such a dear friend sort of like little brother to me (but he’s taller than me mind you) is already in New York City at the moment. Had a chance to chat with him awhile ago. He has been “harrassing” me (in a good way) to move my VL to a later date so we can still see each other before he leaves for Sweden. Well, good for him that he has such great travel opportunities lately. He has been an eager beaver for both his NYC and Sweden trip. I’m so happy for him.

But anyway, going back to my vacation, I’ll be missing one enthusiastic and thoughtful friend to greet me with such remarkable smile.

(Ok. I’m sort of high right now that my writing has seemed to be flooded with adjectives and adverbs! Excited and nervous me. Isn’t it obvious?)

Another thing, there’s a 50/50 chance of me not seeing another friend. Well, he WAS sort of special BEFORE. He’s one of Ten’s best friend who took care of me too during my 1st visit in Thailand. Though he did asked for my flight details. Ever since he has his job in Thai Airways he’s been a busy bee. Good for him too. He’s saving up for another trip. If I’m in love with Bangkok, he seemed to be in love with Japan. (Well, he looks like a Japanese guy :p) He did surprise me during my arrival last time. He said he can’t make it but there he was, at the end of the arrival terminal gate in full suit! But being overpowered now by my pessimistic side, I have a feeling I won’t be seeing him. Who wants to bet against my instinct?

I’m just glad I’m having this break. Gian will be there. I missed him too and he’s excited as well that I’m having my vacation there and will visiting and staying with him. A surprise visit to him supposedly that turned out that I got the surprise instead. Well, that’s another story.

Oh well, it still not my official leave yet. I still have a few more projects to submit. Just one last shout out…

Bangkok, here I come!!!

555

———-

5 in Thai language is “ha”. Thais used that for their chat lingo. Instead of typing “hahaha”, they substitute it with “555″.

I guess I won’t be blending in this time. forgot a lot of basic Thai phrases :( No time to relearn them. All I remember were “Sawadee kah” (typed as pronounced) which means “Hello” or a female greeting in Thai, “Khap khun kah” means “Thank you very much” reply by a female speaker and “Mai pen rai” which means “No problem”. Thank God (or Buddha) for Gian who will do the bargaining for me ;)

 

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My Love of Siam

I just finished watching this movie…

It’s English translated title is Love of Siam. It’s a Thai movie. I learned it from Gian, my friend who’s assigned to work in Bangkok, Thailand.

I have been watching this movie since last week… watching it almost every night… over and over again…

And still cry again and again…

There’s some urge in me to hear it’s songs too. I searched over youtube.com and was luck enough to find some and marked it as one of my favorites.

You might see that it looked like an ordinary teen romance movie but wait till you see one fan tribute to the movie. Check out the link by clicking here. It tackles more than what close-minded critics just see it.

Personally, I guess Thailand has some special place in my heart. And seeing this Thai movie, plus another form of unrequited love did the “magic” of pressing my fragile spot.

At least there’s one thing I can relate to all these that’s happening to me these past few days. 

The only definite thing.

 

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What I Learn in Traveling I Learn It in Thailand

This entry has been long overdue. But needless to say, I was still able to finish and post it, finally… hope it will help you or at least give some entertainment ;)

1.) Luck does come in at a perfect timing.
It was fate that put me in the position to be sent there in Thailand. My so-called expertise was needed there. To work, was my priority but God’s so nice to me lately (and my boss-friend who gave me extended 2 days company paid) than I was given time to explore the city. Plus, I call myself additionally lucky to have such 2 nice Thai gentlemen with me when I was alone in a country I am not familiar with. They showed me around Bangkok at the shortest given time. Who would be the best tour guides but the local Thais themselves! Blessings do come… perhaps in bundles as well ;)

2.) First-hand experience.
Nothing beats seeing, hearing and perhaps stepping on the actual path of the palaces that you once saw in the geography or history books. I was there primarily for work and yet, I was really fortunate to see and experience their culture, their past, and their current lifestyle. One get to understand, believe and learn from it. Being there, seeing what some are just telling me before, I finally understood how they feel about it and why they are feeling that way. “They” pertains to both Thai people and my colleagues who’ve been there in Thailand.

3.) Acceptance of Western Influence is not bad after all.
Thailand was not really conquered by Europeans but their King and his successors never resisted them. It’s obvious at the palaces architectures and during my museum tours. The museum guide would say, “…these are gifts from other European countries to the royal family…” more than what your fingers can count! Also, they sent their sons and daughters to Europe to study and comes back to Thailand bringing back what they learned and applying perhaps. Adaptation of foreign influence is not bad as long as you don’t forget who you are and where you came from.

4.) Expressing anger will do you no good.
I am emotional. Specially now when in terms of my work, I don’t like “surprises”. Yet, even though I was miles away it never missed me. But because I have no other choice and I’m the only one there, performance and delivery is a must. Me, being a drama queen as called by my close friends was all calm and peaceful there in Bangkok. Surprisingly, I am. I have to control my temper and anger. I can’t complain. I can’t exclaimed. No one will understand. In other words, I don’t have an audience.

5.) Music links everyone.
Foreign as I am in Thailand, Put, one of the kind, nice looking Thai gents shared his music preferences. Thanks to the bluetooth technology, we were able to exchange songs with our phones ;) And that was the start of the wall of ice being melted Ü

6.) Annoyance, fury, flirtation and curses all have the same tone whatever language they are in.
Yep. I am a witness of this myself. I have heard this from someone before when she was somewhere across the country. I didn’t believe it at first but hearing it myself, I just smiled. And you’ll know, believe me you’ll know.

7.) Beware of judging people by the way they look.
Well, unless you are indeed a Caucasian it’s definitely obvious you are one. But if you’re Filipino, Malaysian, Korean, Japanese or Chinese… there’s a big chance that you can be mistaken as Thai. I’m a Filipino and is always spoken with Pasa Thai. So I guess I sort of blend in. But I did have to learn some basic Thai phrases to explain than I don’t understand Thai (mai kao chai pasa thai), and that I’m from Philippines and speak English (khun Pilipin, pasa anglit).

I guess because Philippines is Thailand’s neighboring country that’s why there are some resemblances on the citizens physical feature and also some on food and culture.

8.) Pack light.
Well, what I mean more is bring a bigger luggage or make sure you have lots of room for souvenirs. Shopping here is haven! There’s always a night bazaar and if you know where to look for bargains, you’ll definitely have bargains! So be sure if you go visit Thailand, allot a budget not just for tours but also for shopping!

9.) Have an open and adventurous palette.
I’m not even sure if my term was right. But keep in mind, just be open and adventurous! It’s a once in a lifetime experience! I’m not a loco for spicy food and really is very selective in what to eat but in Thailand, you have to forget your diet and try everything! I have eaten food that I also said no to. It’s all worth the try. Really. Because you’ll be sorry if you missed out the chance.

10.) Bring your camera, have spare battery and memory/compact flash cards (or film if you’re still using an SLR).
Oh yes! I never, ever go out without spares. We just went around Bangkok and there’s a LOT to see. What more if we went to the outskirts of the city like Ayunthaya.

These are just want I learned for now. Hopefully I will have more when I go back there.

And this is really undeniable, can’t wait to go back to Thailand ;)

 

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A Week in Bangkok (Part 2: Food and People)

I have shared the sights of Bangkok, Thailand. Now, another best part…

FOOOOOODDDDD…

As a backgrounder, almost everyone knows I am not really into spicy food. Nor do I eat fruits and I only eat very selective vegetables. But when I was in Bangkok, things changed… well, not all of it. Almost for 3 months prior to my trip, I am on a quite unique diet. No rice, sweets and other carbs diet to make it simple. I was warned that I will forget that diet… (Sorry, Faye, my diet nazi… Thailand experience won’t be complete if I don’t eat!)

When we came in early morning of Saturday, when we woke up, we are really hungry and we headed off to Siam Paragon to buy materials for the gondola display for me to setup. Tummy grumbling, we looked for the ‘food court” and decided to give Thai food a try. Of course, expect that we’re not familiar with the names of famous Thai cuisine, we depended on how it looks like and what most of the people are ordering. So, Kuya Lito, Ate Mila and I ended up getting these:

Our first Thai meal

Spring rolls, grilled and boiled duck, and what we thought a different kinds of crunchy food, was just a really crispy fried scrambled eggs. I was a little disappointed on the scallops part of my crunchy scrambled egg. But after 10 minutes or less…

All are gone! Hehehe. No food is really bad is you’re REALLY hungry ;)

A decent Thai meal was not experienced by your truly until my 3rd day. But I get through the days with instant Tom Yum noodles and street food bought just outside the office. Too bad I wasn’t able to take photos of these yummy street food but it definitely filled me up and they are not just merely ordinary street food you can think of. They’re the cleanest street food I ever encountered and is definitely a very good treat!

So, with all the work and the starvation for some REAL Thai food, we were advised that there is a great music joint just around the corner where they serve affordable and great Thai meals. The place’s name is JAZZ Bar (?) and these filled my appetite for more authentic Thai food:

1st REAL Thai meal: Close up of photos are not nice but let me go through what we ordered: (from top-clockwise) Phad Thai, Tom Yum Kung, Sauteed Beef with garlic, sticky rice, Cha Yen (Thai milk tea) and shrimp with broccoli.

Those were the kick off. That meal gave me my favorite drink EVER. Guys, meet:

Thai drinks: Cha Yen, a Thai version of milk tea. And the beer that made me look like an authentic drinker to my new Thai friends, Chang (light), a known Thai beer brand that is supposedly “strong”.

Since we’re into drinks. Ten somehow made me deal with a few fears in my life…

These are not worms. Well, I thought they were worms when Ten pointed them to me by the streets of downtown Bangkok. I forgot what they were called but it seemed they were like Thailand’s version of black gulaman.

It’s sweet juice is refreshing and the jelly are like gummy wormies… slicky and slippery, yet yummy!

More of introduction to spicy Thai food: Ten brought us for dinner at a restaurant called SomTum Nua. As I recall from those who already been and experienced Thailand, som tum refers to papaya. And yes, we did try it.

2 plates of Som Tum (papaya) salad

All my families and friends knew I don’t eat fruits and very selective on veggies but these babies are good. So, Ten… if you happen to read this, my mom is definitely thanking you for making me eat papaya. Someone’s having a treat when he sets his foot to Philippines ;)

(Clockwise from top) Sticky rice inside that small basket-like container, northern version of Tom Yum Kung (that’s really, REALLY spicy and a plateful of grilles pork’s neck. It has a term/name but being Nemcy as I am, I didn’t remember the Thai name of the dish.

The group that enjoyed the dinner (despite the crying over the spiciness of the dishes)

And why would we go to a farther place when almost everyday, authentic Thai food is within my reach. Just across the street where I was staying a famous lunch location, more of what we call a “carenderia” or “turo-turo”, good, affordable and authentic Thai food is served.

A good combination of sticky thick noodles with pork and Cha Yen

And forgetting about my no rice diet, had this crispy chicken topped on rice with tomatoes that I proudly ate. Ran out of Cha Yen that day so I tried a different tea. Forgot the name again, but it’s sweet tea as Put explained to me. It was good but my heart still goes for Cha Yen.

And some more of the food enjoyed by my Thai friends:

Spicy noodles

Put enjoying his spicy noodles. It’s spicy enough and yet he placed more of the chili powder that made him perspire while and after eating it Ü

Crispy chicken with rice and veggies

Eaten by a very hungry Ten

There is indeed some similarities of Philippines and Thailand that I realized while I was there. Ten and Put brought me to this place they termed as “ordinary”. Surprisingly it was ordinary in a sense that it is not as fancy as the other restaurants we had eaten. Permit me for associating the place to Philippines very own Pares joint.

Thai food-pares: Thailand’s version of pares carinderia

Chicken in gravy

Beef and chicken balls in noodles

Thailand has always been surprising me in some way or another. An unexpected invitation for dinner that I gladly joined. I met Thai friend of Put named Boy. And the guys had an idea of having dinner at this place:

Bar-B-Q Plaza at MBK

In this joint, you get to cook your own food on a grill. They put a broth for boiling and on the grill, you rub some pork’s skin to extract its fat for the stuff you intend to grill won’t stick on the grills. I don’t suggest you try this idea if you are really hungry for it takes a little while to prepare what you wanted to eat. What makes this barbeque type joint is the sauce. They taught me to squeeze lemon and add a touch up of minced garlic with the sauce. It spiked up a little. And if you are up for a more kick, put some more of the chili flakes.

Some of the food we intend to grill. By the way, 3 hungry gents and a lady consumed 3 plates of this food ensemble.

Put did it expertly prepares, cooks a feast and being nice as he has always been, he’s the one putting cooked food in my bowl for me to consume. Beside him, that’s Boy who treated us for that dinner by the way Ü

And to top it all, they made me try a fruit shake.

Watermelon-squash-lemon shake

Yeah, yeah… I don’t eat fruits but the watermelon-squash-lemon shake is a must try Ü

Another famous Thai food joint Put and Ten bought me to is at S&P Restaurant and Bakery. We had our early dinner here and had these food treats:

Phad Thai tastes great here. Ten was right on me trying it again

I think this was seafood noodles which Put ate

Some fried dumplings and siomai

Fried fish with veggie salad

My Cha Yen, of course

Oh, and this is what Ten ordered for me, a must try… shrimp paste rice topped with scrambled eggs, surrounded by veggies, dried shrimps, crunchy pork and red onions.

I mixed it all up and squeezed lime to it. I don’t eat shrimp paste nor like the smell of it but this dish don’t have that annoying smell I find with the shrimp paste or “bagoong”. Another Thai experience for me ;)

And this is the restaurant’s menu.

Oh, by the way, better try getting yourself some Thai sweets or dessert such as these:

Ice cream…

…and other goodies

Those were taken at Siam Paragon supermarket at the ground floor. Also, I have some famous Thai dessert treats from Put and Ten but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take pictures of it. It slipped my mind because it was sooooo good that I forgot to document it. Really… it was Ü

Odd as it may seem, but have you heard of CHILI Ice Cream? Well, in Thailand there’s such an concoction. At the Spice Factory in Siam Paragon, they serve such flavor and also a peppery flavor. They will let you taste it first on which you’d like to have. I preferred the chili one over the peppery one.

My chili ice cream: a fight of spice and coolness. Flaming or tingling sensation on the tongue but cools down in your throat.

Well, Put seemed to enjoy his ice cream treat too. Hehehe Ü

Another thing, be sure to try Thai sausages. There are a variety of them but surely they all taste great.

Thai sausages

I even had my last dose of those sausages as lunch on my last day there.

And to cap it all, Put, Ten and Da treated me for dinner at MK Trendi as their bon voyage dinner treat for me.

MK Trendi is just across Siam Paragon and along the side of Siam Square.

We had…

… shabu-shabu to be mixed with…

… jade noodles… that’s why it’s colored green ;)

And the…

roasted duck with a very tangy sauce that’s oh so yummy!

The guys, Put and Ten enjoying their bowl of food too Ü

This is Da who still found time to spend to see me despite her busy schedule that week when I was in Bangkok. And me, you is stuffed and about to leave for the airport.

A week’s over since my trip in Bangkok and yet I still feel the excitement flooding me. I can’t deny that I am scared at first. I admitted that to Ten, Put and to my friends and colleagues in the Philippines. But as most of them say, Bangkok is one of the safest places in the world. And to add to that… one of the most exciting places as well. I have heard different feedbacks about Thai culture, the food and the people as well. But it pays so much when it is you who will experience it. After which, I feel not alienated anymore. I wish Thailand will adopt me! Hehehe.

I am thankful in meeting Ten, Put and Da, who are not just good-looking but better yet, the kindest people on earth that I’ve ever met! (No joke!) I hope to see you guys soon… or better yet, you come visit us in the Philippines and it will be my turn to show you around ;)

Hay… just looking back at the photos, and writing about them makes me want to jump on the plane and fly back to Thailand! (Can I? CAN I?) :D

Khop Khun Ka, Thailand…

Khop Khun Ma Ka, Ten, Put and Da!

 

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A Week in Bangkok (Part 1: Sights, Culture and People)

This entry has been a bit overdue. But I can’t deny that up to now I am still overwhelmed with my experience in Bangkok. I planned to make it a day to day entry but due to lack of time I just had to do it in one entry. A post Thailand debrief.

I left for Bangkok, Friday night (31 August) for a late night low-cost flight bound for Bangkok. I was sent there to represent my team and assemble our very first gondola store display for our client Beach Hut. I was stressed even the week before the said trip in managing and making sure all will be well. Up until a few minutes before I was picked up by the client service, I am really stressed and tense. All of my colleagues and friends can attest to that. I was awfully quiet from the office to the airport departure terminal.

Tense and scared. I am by myself in the sense that not one Filipino teammate will be there, nor from the client side. Gian, who manages the client’s company in Thailand had some business visa problems. Up till now, he can’t return to Thailand yet. I was alone for this trip.

I was rattled up until the first few days I was there. Example: the setup time became earlier than what I was told due to miscommunications I guess between the distributor and Watson’s. Good thing most of the basic setup is up and almost done. We had to fit everything in the car of Ten, our client’s Thai brand associate there.

God is definitely on our side. God is really good. Imagine this setup did fit in a Honda Jazz car!

GONDOLA SETUP in the office

Yes. Ten, Put and I managed to fit all of those in Ten’s car. Can you imagine me carrying all those stuff though flattened from the airport? I got scared at first when all the baggage from our flight are already out except for that one. One has to be keen in any place s/he goes to. Good thing I noticed an area saying “Oversized Baggage” and right on cue, when I reached it, the display box came out. It was raining hard when the plane touched down the airport, so the packaging box of the gondola are most ruined on four sides. My heart sank. If the damage is up until the box’s contents, guess I have to improvise of the display. Thanks for the Scotch tape and lots of cling-wrap, the trimmings were all dry and intact except for the main gondola at the edges that got wet and a little torn down. I let it dry for a day, did some retouches and it’s good as new.

Behold the first Beach Hut store display outside the Philippines:

PUT AND TEN with Gondola

Displayed for 1 week at Watsons Siam Square, Bangkok, Thailand.

It’s not as perfect as planned. But feedback from our clients in the Philippines, it looks great. Same thing in Bangkok, Ten said the distributor likes it. Colorful and stands out in the store. There are further more suggestions on improving the display and yours truly did that in the next days of my stay in Bangkok.

Now, for the other side of my adventure…

Like what I have been saying to my friends in the Philippines when I was there, I can’t fully enjoy Bangkok if at the back of my head I still have work to do. That’s me. Specially when you are alone representing the design team, I am expected to perform there and do reports. So the setup was, work in the morning, finish as much as one can then we go out late in the afternoon or early evening. Depends on where to go. And I am grateful that despite me being alone there, these 2 very nice, very accommodating (and good-looking) Thai guys showed me around Bangkok.

PUT AND TEN inside Grand Palace

How can we put this adventure of mine? Perhaps I’ll let the pictures speak for itself? Ü And a little explanation/description of the photos.

BTS Skytrain: the Thai people I can say is really disciplined. They fall in line to board the train

BTS Siam Station on a weekend: Sight of people heading in the same direction I am going, back home

BTS Siam Station while waiting for the train at night

Bangkok streets at night: from the Phaya Thai Station view

BTS Phaya Thai Station: Stairs going down to Soi Kolit, the office-house street

The office of Naturale Laboratories (Thailand), Inc. is located near the BTS Phaya Thai Station. Skytrains, their version of our MRT and LRT here, plus their subways are very efficient and indeed reliable. So it’s easy for me to go to to the mall areas like Siam Paragon, MBK, Siam Square and Central World Mall. As long as one is prepared for long walks, you can survive in Bangkok ;)

Siam Paragon signage

Siam Paragon from the Central World Mall

Siam Square on an early Saturday morning

Skywalk (like an overpass) connecting the malls

Central World Mall at night

MBK at night, view from a skywalk

Victory Monument at night: with markets surrounding it. One of my favorite (and dream photography shots). After taking this photo, it did remind me of our monument in the Philippines… the Luneta or Rizal Monument

Until now, I am overwhelmed of where I’ve been and honestly, I don’t know how to share to you the thoughts and photos I took there. Pardon me if my writing is bad or not in order. It’s just that I am really dumbfound on what I saw and experience. Bangkok if I may say is an epitome an old world transforming to a new one. And yet, it preserves their culture and history, keeping it intact and evident. Evidence are seen from the people, the government, the place, their beliefs, their culture.

<b>From the all the King’s palaces to a river boat ride</b>

From the outside: the Grand Palace. Anyone’s trip to Thailand won’t be complete if you don’t see or visit this place

A golden temple inside the Grand Palace

Details of the said golden temple

Another golden temple

Another temple in the Grand Palace grounds

The roof of a temple in the Grand Palace grounds: see the chimes? Their sound seemed to relax anyone who hear them

Rays on Buddha: My favorite shot at the Grand Palace

A part of the whole mural of the Ramayana story. Yes the shiny ink is REALLY gold

The Queen’s Palace

We were lucky enough to witness a ceremony: the changing of guards

I told the guys that I’m not really comfortable being alone in a photo. So they took turns in joining me in every photo we could take Ü

An enormous soldier statue behind me and Ten. We had to use the Beach Hut Frisbee that searched as a sunshade because it was really hot at that time.

See the detailed walls behind me and Put? Those are tiles! Intricately place to create designs/pattern.

Ten and I by an elaborately designed pillar at the Emerald Buddha’s temple. Cameras are not allowed beyond this point. So I just satisfied my eyes with the sight of the famous Buddha when we got inside.

Elephant!!! Yup. When there’s elephant/s, it’s just me and the gentle creature. This photo is the first and ONLY encounter of mine with an elephant that I get to touch. And here, it seemed that I am giving him a pray over?

Me and Put… and our house? Kidding… it’s one of the crowning halls as well.

Me and Ten at the entrance of one of the crowning halls.

Put and I tried to have a fun shot with this happy guard statue.

It’s evident and they proudly proclaim that their kings did embrace the European culture. It’s obviously written and passed on their history, visible in their palaces architectures, and undisguised in museums.

The Summer Palace: reminds of US Capitol state. Made of marble exported from Italy.

This is a place where ladies are not allowed to get in if they are not wearing skirts. It is in respect to the royal families and Thai traditions. If I’m not mistaken, it was Rama V’s palace and now Rama IX, the present king and his royal families summer palace. Cameras are not allowed inside. We had to deposit them by the guard. Even camera phones are not allowed.

The other side of the Summer Palace. The sight of the palace with Rama V statue

Within the grounds of the Summer Palace is the man-made mansion known as the Dusit Mansion. This mansion is made of teak wood and wooden pegs to bind it. No nails were used because nails oxidizes and may cause the corrosion of wood. We were not allowed to take pictures too inside the mansion but as the guide instructs us, it carries now all the precious gifts from the neighboring Asian countries of Thailand to the King stretching towards the European countries.

Dusit Masion’s Entrance

The other half side of the mansion

Ten suggested that we take a longtail boat ride along the river. He said it’s a famous ride in Thailand to see some interesting sites, like a traditional Thai village, Thai house and simply to have a quiet time reflecting? Well, it was an hour ride anyway.

Ten and I with a famous bridge sight before we board the boat

The longtail boat we rode

View from the boat: see the splashing waves? I was really scared. But Ten assured we are safe

A Buddhist temple and statue along the river

A traditional Thai house

We fed the fishes… huge fishes!

Royal boats of the King’s guards

Me, Ate Mila and Kuya Lito disembarking the boat. This is the scariest part of my life… when it was my turn to get off the boat, a strong wave hit the boat, shaking it so hard I nearly fell! If the boatman wasn’t able to grab my other hand, I might have dragged Ten with me overboard! I thought I’d be a mermaid then… hahaha!

After the boat ride, Ten showed us a part of the downtown area of Bangkok.

One of the two last standing historical forts of Bangkok… with a pink cab passing by!

Me beside a Tuktok, traditional Thai ride with the fort behind me

A street vendor… yummy street food!

The old Siam or downtown Bangkok scene

One of the first theaters (and still functioning) in Bangkok

And Thailand trip isn’t complete too if you don’t experience…

… a Tuktok ride! Check out the side mirrors

Ten, me and Put, on board the Tuktuk

It’s like at a moment I was at the present time, or even the future (because honestly, Philippines is way, way behind!) and later on I’m at their past. I am no writer totally transcribe into words how I feel about the place so I really hope the photos will help you see the beauty of our Asian neighbor.

Temple between two malls

Central World Mall’s interior ceiling

This is just a movie preview screen at the Central World Mall

At the heart of the Central World Mall is seen this display: suspended from the ceiling are plastic flowers each on a glass vase and with them are about 10 LCD flat screens playing different shots of flowers.

Below the display was an ensemble of Thai students playing as an orchestra. They were magnificent!

To further understand the mall’s theme, here’s Put and Ten posing on a Global Warming signage at the Central World Mall.

One of my favorite characters is even in Thailand: Emily Strange at Central World

For Anime lovers, Manga Playground for you at Central World Mall ground floor

With a theme we are all familiar where was adapted

Jeffrey the Giraffe of Toys R’ Us… is indeed in Thailand

One if the best places I enjoyed is the Ocean World at Siam Paragon Mall…

And I found Nemo! Well, there are a lot of them in one aquarium

I had fun gossiping with the penguins… hahaha!

I’d like you to see my dream aquariums…

This one…

And this too!

There are fishes inside the car!!!

Tried intimidating the sharks

Overwhelmed at the tunnel aquarium! Got fascinated by my own reflection?

Oh! It’s not just me who got overwhelmed…

Are those dollar coins floating, Ate Mila?

So this is how the bottom of the sting ray looks like!

Oh! how can one miss out this sight… checkout the video

This is the wall of True Coffee, a computer store, bookshop, café and internet shop. This is fascinating because it may look like a digital big sceen when it’s not. It’s made of circular chip type that flips and turns at a certain pattern that seemed to simulate a digital wall.

To almost conclude my Bangkok experience, the guys took me to famous place called Khao San Road. I remember hearing this to Myles where he ate some ‘bug’ delicacies. Well, I’m glad the guys didn’t made me eat bugs for I’m not ready for that (at that time).

Khao San road

That’s Put… leading the way

A traditional True Coffee shop

Bright neon lights and signages at Khao San Road

But this road is very interesting because it’s where you’ll see most tourists and backpackers are. And you know what really surprised me to see?

A San Miguel Beer bar? Yup… there’s one.

And I saw a Philippine flag patch in one of the sewing/clothes store

Have you met Jack Sparrow… the Thai version?

The guys were asking if I’d like to hangout there. I said no. I’d rather have an experience of how they spend their Friday night, the Thai way.

A bottle of Singha (Thai brand), smoke for Put (that’s his hand) and a bottle of Chang beer (Thai brand). If you are wondering how much we had that night… believe it or not, I just had a bottle of Singha and the two guys shared a bottle of Chang. Put doesn’t really drink. He turns red and feels really bad after drinking and Ten had a presentation to make that night for his Saturday morning class. And besides, no one needs to be drunk just to enjoy and have fun! Well, for now… ;)

Oh! How can I forget…

Proud of my tattoo!

I mentioned to the guys that I plan to have a tattoo very soon. And that gave all of us an idea… get a tattoo, at least a henna tattoo! I got a small tattoo in Thai characters saying “Good Luck”.

Some may say that one week is long enough to dwell and know a country’s culture and beauty. But for me, it’s not enough. I’ve only seen Bangkok, just a part of the city. I am sure there is more to see on the outskirts of the city. A more reason to come back… and definitely I will come back. My mission isn’t complete yet. I still haven’t seen, rode or just even petted a real live elephant :p

Cute stuffed elephants I saw in Siam Paragon. Quite expensive though, but I promised myself I will get some the next time I come back!

Oh, by the way, allow me to brag the work we brought to Thailand. This is what the final Beach Hut Clear Spray Sunblock store display/shelf/gondola that would be used for the various Watson’s around Bangkok ;)

To see more of my photos, kindly visit my multiply site Ü

 

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