Your Virtual Bangkok Guide

Hey all,

First of all, i have to say that this post is gonna be a very very VERY long one. So be patient and take some time to read it, if you’re busy rushing around town, then leave it till you’re home and continue reading.

WHY?

It basically sums up the entire 6 days i had in Bangkok, compliments to the ladies in the trip who prepared the itinerary. In this post i’ll be sharing just some of the MUST GO & MUST VISIT places in Bangkok, probably not the common Pratunam Market or Platinum Fashion Mall that has already been overrated and over-talked about.

*By the way, in some of the post below, you will be seeing “$” signs, well, what it actually means is how expensive the place/food is. They are all out of FIVE. An example would be $$/5, meaning two out of five in terms of pricing.

So here we go! Enjoy your little virtual trip to Bangkok!

As we depart from Changi Airport, remember that the closing time for the counter for Jetstar/ Tiger Airways is forty-five minutes prior to the departure, we kinda missed the time, so we had to buy another set of tickets to catch the next flight to Bangkok via Thai Airways. *Quick facts Note that Bangkok Airways is a much more expensive airliner, so make sure you choose wisely.

Off we go and within 2 hours, we were already in Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok. Do note that there are two main airports in Bangkok and the latter is the Don Muang Airport, so make sure you are at the right place when you arrive or depart!

ACCOMMODATION

Thanks to Airbnb, we had our accommodations settled, an apartment right along Sukhumvit Rd, City Home, just a 3-5 minute walk from the Udomsuk BTS. Quiet, yet convenient, it was one of those places along Sukhumvit road that is less noisy and a little more peaceful. You can easily catch a taxi outside the apartment within a minute or two if you’re too lazy to catch the BTS, having said that, our experience tells us that if you’re going in a group of four, it might even be cheaper to travel via the Taxi, but remember, be firm and make sure they use their metres! A rough gauge for a taxi ride down from the apartment to the Asok BTS (Terminal 21 shopping mall) would be around 100-120Baht.

What’s more to this? Well, if the peace and convenience does not excites you, how about a fully protected building that is monitored closely 24/7 by guards who are situated straight at the entrance of the building?! We went out partying till about five plus to six in the morning and never have i once seen the Guards asleep! If that’s not secured enough, to enter into the tower, you have to register your finger prints at the management office which only then allows you to enter the building. So no worries about security, you’re well covered!

More importantly, for the convenience of the travellers who requires Wifi, you’ll be happy to know that Feb, the owner of the apartment has installed a Wifi connection so that you wouldn’t need to worry if you’ve gotta make any last minute google checks on your travel itinerary!

and lastly, YES! the apartment is child-friendly! So families who are thinking of a vacation out of the ordinary hotels which allows you to do some light cooking or heating-up some late night supper, this is definitely another option for you! $$/5

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TAILORING:

Just right beside the Asok BTS, there’s a whole option of tailors for you to choose from, but after walking the streets, we decided on ZERUTTi Tailor, managed by a family with over five generations of experience in tailoring, we knew instantly that we were at the right place. Focusing on quality versus quantity, i believe they are not the cheapest, nevertheless, they definitely give you an option to choose your fabrics, depending on whether you wanna go down to the low-end fabrics or choose something a little more expensive, but a deserving quality. Something different about them – For the men/ladies, we often choose to have either the buttoned or cuff-links set on our sleeves, but the tailors at ZERRUTTi would make your worries lesser by incorporating both the cuff-links and buttoned-on options onto your sleeves. Meaning, you’ll get two in one!

I decided to make 2 shirts, 2 suits and 1 vest, all in all, i spent 11,500Baht – approximately around 370USD. Definitely worth it! $$$/5

Here’s the link to their shop – click HERE

Shop No. 326/6-7 (Next to Asok BTS station and Sukhumvit MRT station)
SUKHUMVIT SOI 14, BANGKOK 10110 THAILAND

TEL: 66(0) 2229 4299, 66(08) 9504 4207 (Nick)

FAX: 66(0) 22294298

Email: info@zerutti.com

FOOD:

Getting around Bangkok and eating as you walk is definitely not something extra-ordinary, but choosing the places to eat – wisely – is definitely worth sharing. During this trip, we visited more then a handful of restaurants and street-side stalls, but i’ll just share a few that’s worth your time looking for and perhaps you would share it with your friends and maybe call me to join you in time to come!!! Slurps!

1. Gold Bay Leafs – A street stall, perhaps you’ve have had many of them in Bangkok, how about enjoying Thai street food cooked by a Chef who have been spending almost all his life mastering his craft in a 5-star hotel before setting up his own humble cafe/restaurant?!

Yes, you’ve got it and it’s Chef Chai Boonlert, a former hotel chef turned restauranteur who decided to move out of  the corporate ladder in the hotel and create something of his own! Gold Bay Leafs Restaurant, one of the best in the trip we had so far. Affordable price with dishes that is a fusion of both Thai and Western style cooking.

$/5

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Chef Chai @ work

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Panang Fettuccine

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Cheesy Eggplant

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Neau Yang (grilled beef) – try asking for Medium-rare of Medium

Address: 21/11 Soi Wachiratham Sathit, Sukhumvit 101/1, Bang Chak, Phra Khanong, Bangkok, Thailand 10260
Hours: Open everyday except Monday from 6 pm – 3 am
Website / Blog: http://goldbayleaves.blogspot.com/
Phone: 089-8135299

2. Ban Khun Mae Thai Cuisine – Situated just in the heart of Siam Square lies Ban Khun Mae that oozes Thainess through its every sculpted wooden panel, its white and blue crockery, its aunties shaping dumplings behind a wall of jars filled with relishes, its display of chuam (vegetables boiled in syrup), its classical musician (daily at 7pm) and its staff in traditional outfits. Tourists love it, and you do get the occasional table of well-to-do Thais, in fact, when we were there, we had a group of Singaporean businessman who were in a private room having dinner. But for Ban Khun Mae to be a hit with locals it would have to seriously overhaul its service and parts of its menu.

I have to admit that the food here is by far the BEST i’ve had in this trip. From the fish and crab cakes to the steamed snapper with lime, not forgetting the deep fried marinated chicken wrapped in pandanus, NOTHING went wrong at all!

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Like what KF Seetoh likes to say, DIE DIE MUST TRY $$$/5

Ban Khun Mae Restaurant
458/6-9 Siam Square Soi 8, Rama 1 Road,
Patumwan District, Bangkok 10330
Tel. (662)250-1952-3, (662)658-4112-3

Opening Hours
Daily 11am – 11pm

3. Roast – Trying hard to find a decent place in Bangkok that offers you perfect poached eggs? You’re in for a treat at ROAST. From the well poached eggs to the artisanal coffee and the huge window-space, there’s probably nothing you can ever complain about other then taking too many pictures of the décor!

Roast combines artisanal coffee-making with excellent brunch and tapas offerings. The pride and joy of this enormous, huge-windowed space is the giant black and gold coffee roaster sat along the back wall, and its hipness appeal can only be described as the caffeine equivalent of a vintage Vespa. The rest of the décor is all straight lines, marble tables and retro café chairs. It is the sort of space where one can seamlessly transition from Wi-Fi-ing with a cup of coffee to brunching with friends, to dining with your special someone.

If you’re in for a lazy weekend or a cuppa to ease your hangover, try heading down to ROAST!

$$/5

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Address: Roast, 2/F, Seenspace, Thonglor Soi 13, Bangkok, Thailand

Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-11pm; Sat 9am-11pm; Sun 9am-10pm

4. Vanilla Brasserie – OH MY CREPES!

Yes, after a long day of shopping at Siam Paragon, why not take a break at Vanilla Brasserie?!

Situated just at first floor stands a brasserie that combines both European sensibilities with a mix of fashionable youngsters. Coming into the restaurant just makes you happy! If you’re in for something hearty, you might wanna try out their savoury crepes or pastas, but if you’re in for a sweet tooth like me, go on and order their DESSERT CREPES, no regrets!

However, having said that, all along Bangkok, you’ll definitely find street stalls that serves crepes for just barely 80 baht, so if you wanna spend a little more and enjoy a little bit more comfort, don’t hesitate to check them out!

$$/5

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Address: Ground Floor, Siam Paragon Shopping Center
991/1 Rama I Road
Pathumwan Bangkok 10330
Ph: +66 02-610 9383

5. Mr. Jones’ Orphanage – just for the fairytale fantasy

Honestly, i must start by saying that if you’re in for a fairytale experience, you could check out Jones Orphanage. Coming into the cafe brings you (ladies) back to your childhood day with soft toys placed on every chair and a fairytale decor. Desserts weren’t exactly great, i thought that the cakes were a little too dry, but just by looking at them would definitely make you salivate!

Whether or not it’s worth a try, it’s entirely up to you, to me… probably i set my expectations pretty high on this, i’ll choose to pass the next time!

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1/F Seenspace, Thong Lor Soi 13
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: 02 185 2378
BTS Thong Lo

VISIT:

1. Terminal 21 – If you’re into a theme-based shopping mall with food from all across the Globe, you’ve got it now! Terminal 21 brings the dream of traveling the world to downtown Bangkok, with its cutting-edge concept that places several world-famous cities under one roof. Find yourself wandering around a maze of shops in Tokyo City, sauntering down London’s Carnaby Street, bagging a bargain in an Istanbul zouk, or shopping for something to fill your growling stomach at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

Part of the same building as Grande Centre Point Sukhumvit, Terminal 21’s curvilinear glass-and-steel façade resembles a 21st-century airport, and the theme continues once you step inside. The floor signs that signal the arrivals in particular cities, a crisscrossing network of escalators, electronic display boards that bring to mind flight information displays at an airport terminal and the information desk receptionists donning air hostesses’ uniforms – these are all part of the shopping experience at Terminal 21.

The nine floors at Terminal 21 house some 600 shops, a Cineplex, Gourmet Market (supermarket) and a food court with all kinds of mouthwatering Thai and international fare. The basement level (LG) has a Caribbean theme and is where you will find the Gourmet Market, take-away food outlets, market-style food vendors as well as banks and bookstores. Take an escalator up one level and the ground floor (G) brings you to Rome, with all kinds of international and local fashion labels such as Kipling, Fox, CC:OO, Nike, Jaspal, Adidas, Levi’s, and more.

Paris on M floor takes you to the Champs-Élysées, where more fashion brands await your discovery. The 1st to 3rd floors are home to smaller shops by local independent labels. Women’s fashion is found on the 1st floor (Tokyo) and men’s on the 2nd floor (London). The 3rd floor (Istanbul) is for gifts, jewellery, fashion accessories, toys, beauty products and home décor. With an eclectic collection of shops, this floor has a look and feel of a Middle Eastern zouk but with a modern twist.

Now to the main highlight, San Francisco on the 4th and 5th floors, where you will find more than 50 restaurants and cafés vying for your attention. Both restaurant chains and independent outlets are represented here, among them Pepper Lunch, MK, Chabuton, Dory Seafood Bistro, Secret Recipe, Tohkai Yakiniku, Tony Roma’s, Fuji, Ootoya, The Canton House, Baanying Café and Swensen’s.

If you like a food court experience, head up to Pier 21 on the 5th floor. This is perhaps the best food court in town in terms of price, taste and variety. Find everything from dim sum to grilled seafood (fast food style), Hainanese chicken rice to delicious phad thai, roast duck noodles to vegetarian ready-to-eats. Don’t forget to leave some room for desserts, as there’s mango sticky rice, shaved ice dessert, ice creams, and more.

To complete the lifestyle experience, Terminal 21 also has an eight-screen cineplex on the 6th floor operated by SF Cinema City. Two of these eight cinemas have digital 3D screens.

All in all, Terminal 21 is a delightful shopping and dining experience. It has particular appeal for the younger generation of shoppers, specifically university students to young executives. The diversity is good and price tag even better. When compared to other luxury shopping malls along downtown Sukhumvit Road, Terminal 21 definitely has its own edge and is definitely worth visiting. – all it took was a 10 minute taxi ride from our accommodation, City Home

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Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00
Location: Sukhumvit Road (between Soi 19 and 21)
MRT: Sukhumvit
BTS: Asok (direct access via Skywalk)

2. Rod Fai Night Market – Vintage is the way to go!

An open-air bazaar set beside an abandoned railroad track, the vintage look never goes out of style. Spread on the ground is all kinds of collectibles and memorabilia from the yesteryear, from antique furniture to hippy fashion to Mao kitsch. Rod Fai Market definitely stands out from the hordes of outdoor markets across Bangkok but it could be hard to find, as it’s tucked behind what appears to be an abandoned warehouse near the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

Taxi drivers usually don’t know it exists and will probably give you a blank face if you mention it, so the best way is to start at the MRT underground’s Kamphaeng Phet Station (opposite Or Tor Kor Food Market) and walk about five minutes in the opposite direction of Chatuchak Market.

There are two sections to the market. Facing Kamphaeng Phet Road, the front section occupies a large empty space that looks like a parking lot. Here, market vendors display their collections on the ground or on makeshift props like wooden crates, pallets and retro cars. But don’t just stop there: Venture further in, down a narrow backstreet and you will get to the abandoned warehouse where even more vendors and goods fill the entire area that leads to the old trains and railroad tracks.

The variety of products available is impressive. You will find everything from household goods, old electronic appliances and used auto parts to secondhand clothes, shoes and fashion accessories – all vintage style of course. Many vendors are also collectors of vintage items, so it’s not uncommon to see hobbyist items such as old cameras, bikes, Coca-Cola collectibles and Japanese anime toys on sale as well.

While shopping is the main highlight at Rod Fai Market, you might not want to miss out on street food here. Makeshift bars with cheap cocktails and drinks, barbecue stands with sizzling meats, fried noodle stalls, ice cream parlours, drink stands with foaming Thai iced-tea and coffee are wedged in at random spots among the goods as well as lining the back row next to the train. Each vendor employs various design gimmicks – from classic Volkswagen campers to old train bogeys – to attract potential diners. A few bars are set up in a cosy corner with wooden stools and reggae tunes. Even if you don’t feel hungry or thirsty for a drink, you will find it irresistible to take a few bites.

For many, Rod Fai Market offers a real unique shopping experience. But more important is you don’t even have to be into the vintage goods to enjoy shopping here. The charm of the place, the chilled-out atmosphere and the spirit of the people who gather here will live long in your memory.

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3. Asiatique & Calypso Cabaret – Situated along the banks of the Chao Praya River stands Asiatique The Riverfront. Inspired by the history back to the 1900s of King Chulalongkorn who decided to raise Siam to another level in the World, and decided to establish relations with Denmark. Included in this process was the construction of a pier belonging to the East Asiatic Company, a business dedicated to the export of teak wood and owned by Mr. Hans Nille Andersen, a Danish national.

Today, that same area which the East Asiatic pier occupies is being restored to its original glory under the name “ASIATIQUE The Riverfront,” the first and the biggest lifestyle project in Asia on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, and soon to become Bangkok’s trendiest landmark.

And if you’re already planning to head to Asiatique, don’t hesitate to watch the Calypso Cabaret show for only 900baht!!

Calypso Cabaret Show at Asiatique gives you one of the warmest welcomes you can find in the land of smiles and does so in many different languages. Thailand is well known for ladyboys and Calypso showcases them doing what they love the most: dressing up to the nines and miming to Cher. Some of these ‘ladies’ have features that would make women jealous but this is an attractive illusion; they were all born men. The performers are keen to entertain and put on a good show and the best way to enjoy it is to don your imaginary feather boa and embrace their world of glitz, glamour and over-the-top drama.

To get to Asiatique, you can take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and walk down to the harbour to take a free ferry that brings you to the Pier in Asiatique!

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What i missed and you should check out:

1. Siriraj Medical Museum – 

Skeletons, human deformations, and death from accidents sound interesting to you?

You’ll love Bangkok’s freaky, yet incredibly insightful medical museum.

Among the many interesting things to do in Bangkok, is the Siriraj Medical Museum.

Siriraj is the most famous and one of the best hospitals in all of Bangkok; it’s also a huge training hospital where medical professionals learn, watch, and gain experience.

Located within the hospital is the museum, which is not only used to train soon-to-be-doctors, but is also open to the public.

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2. WTF Cafe & Gallery – WTF Café and Gallery opened after four friends decided that Bangkok was lacking somewhere to eat, drink and be artistic. Its success is down to the relaxing atmosphere they have created – a lot of good things come from working with people you like. WTF has an innovative cocktail list and some tasty tapas comfort food – two more reasons it has become a firm favourite for both locals and visitors. It is a short five-minute walk from Thong Lor BTS on Sukhumvit soi 51 and a great place for drinks and dinner in an unpretentious setting.

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3. Purr Cat Cafe Club – Purr Cat Café was started by celebrity Ploy Rattannarat and a friend. The place has a cat grooming salon, café and gallery with a cat hotel scheduled to open in 2013. Grooming starts from B450 and a signature groom for pageant competitions starts from B500. The café itself serves bakery treats (for us) and cat food. There are actually two zones: one for owners to bring their own cats and one where people can play with the store’s own furry friends. In the gallery, you can purchase cat-themed artworks created by the owner

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