Sunday, June 23, 2013

Asiatique the Riverfront, Bangkok

Asiatique, a new hangout place for the Thais since April 2012 and also a new tourist spot for the tourists. It's an open-air shopping area along Chao Phraya riverside and also embedded with entertainment show, e.g. Calypso Ladyboy Cabaret and you may wanted to try out the Ferris Wheel as well.

So, continuing from my last post. After visiting wat arun, we get back to the Tha Tien Pier. With the one-day pass we bought earlier, we get on the tourist boat, and cruise all the way to Asiatique pier. Oh, please be reminded that Asiatique only opened after 5pm. Alternatively you can also get there from  Saphan Taksin skytrain station. Get off skytrain from saphan taksin, walk to the central pier and there is a free shuttleboat to fetch you to Asiatique. It's about 10 minutes ride and the service is until 11.30pm.

So, here we are at the Asiatique The Riverfront

A remake of Juliet's statue here in Asiatique

The ferris wheel in Asiatique.
Asiatique is full with fine dining restaurant. If you were a budget traveller who doesn't want to spent so much money on food, one advice I could give. The nearer the restaurant to the riverside, the more expensive it is.
Our dinner. It cost less than 150 baht per person, not bad huh~

Our next activity, the Calypso Cabaret Show, well, I guess you should never miss a ladyboy show when you're in Thailand. But if you asked me to rate it, I would say 5 out of 10? Definitely not worth my money, there's a few highlights of the show but 900 baht for that? hmm... you might want to think twice about it. I booked the ticket online, and therefore I get a 300 baht discount which makes it 900 baht instead of 1200, and when you did online reservation, it comes with a scoop of free ice cream which you will have it at the dining hall and finish it before the show start.

Having our free ice-cream scoop at the restaurant before we could enter the theater.
Every guest is entitled for a free drink. Here's Gin Tonic.
The show started.
Our favourite act, this guy (oops, should I say lady? Loved her sense of humour)
The grand finale.
After the show, you may take photo with the performers, but remember to tip them, as courtesy.
Isn't he pretty?
Our favourite performer :)
After the show, we continue to shop around in asiatique. You can definitely get cheaper stuff in Chatuchak, but it's still worthwhile to shop around here. I love the environment and the warehouse-like design of the whole places. Manage to get a shirt and a dress though.

The operating hours is until 12.00 midnight. But we were all so tired after touring the whole day, so we left at around 10.30pm , taking a ride of the free shuttleboat. Too bad we couldn't stay longer as the night has just started here in Asiatique

goodbye asiatique~

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A trip along Chao Phraya river

After visiting Wat Saket, we departed to our next station, which is Khao San Road. Although I read from a few sites that Wat Saket and Khao San Road is within walking distance, I decided to take a cab instead since I didn't manage to get any clear directions on how can I walk to Khao San Road. And I'm glad that I made that decision as the 2 places are not that near to each other after all and the taxi fees is only around 40 baht.

I love Bangkok's taxi because there's no haggling, they follow meter and the price is really cheap compared to tuk tuk, cost saving especially when you were travelling with four people in a group.
So, this is the famous Khao San Road

We shopped around and had our breakfast before departing to Phra Arthit Pier in order to continue our journey to visit all the main attractions along Chao Phraya river. We asked for directions, and were informed that it is really near. But in the end, it is not that near anyway, it took us about 20 minutes to reach there.

Passed by this Starbucks Coffee Shop when I'm on my way from Khao San Road to Phra Arthit Pier
When I was researching for the Chao Phraya tourist boat, it was mentioned that the operating hours for the tourist boat is from 9.30am to 4.30pm. But I found out some good news!!!
They are now operated until 10pm!!! from Phra Arthit Pier all the way to Asiatique pier. But the route to Asiatique Pier only open after 5pm. The fees for the tourist boat is 150 Baht for a day unlimited ride.Ticket can be purchased from Central Pier or Phra Arthit Pier.

See that? Asiatique - Phra Arthit 17:00 to 22:00 hrs 

The guidebook that you will receive after you bought the tourist boat ticket.
p/s: even the guidebook is not updated with the schedule and info to Asiatique yet.

Exhaustive information on the main attractions along Chao Phraya river, including the directions.
Finally get in the tourist boat
The view along Chao Phraya river
First stop, Maharaj Pier, where we disembark to go to the Grand Palace. Once you left the pier, walk staright and you will walk past a market until you see a place surrounded with white wall, the Grand Palace is just inside, so keep walking straight until you reach the main entrance. However, I am the idiot who thought the entrance is on the other side, and I turned right, walked for 15 minutes, and ended up at Wat Pho instead.

Wat Pho is big~~ the reclining buddha is the most famous buddha statue here. The entrance fee is 100 baht and you are entitled for a free bottle of mineral water.
A picture with the reclining buddha

Inside Wat Pho

Afterwards, we get back to Grand Palace. The entrance fee for Grand Palace is 500 baht, which is actually quite pricy for me. But the place is huge~~ too bad that we don't have the time to visit all part of it. Upon entering the Grand Palace, you will be given a travel guide.

The guide that you will receive upon entering the Grand Palace

The map of Grand Palace, provided in the travel guide
Wat Phra Kaew at the back

In front of the Grand Palace

Afterwards, we get to Tha Thien Pier with the Chao Phraya tourist boat. Next stop, Wat Arun. One of the most popular wat in Bangkok. Once you get off the boat, make a u-turn to go to the next ticket counter to buy your ticket to get on the ferry to go to Wat Arun which is just across the river. This will only cost you 4 baht.

It is really fun in Wat Arun, because we decided to challenge ourselves to climb upthe very very very steep staircase. The scary part is actually when you trying to get down from the top. We saw a lot of tourists standing there, hesitating and trying to strategise on how to go down.

Here I am at Wat Arun

I'm loving the building structure

See that? That's me and my cousin.... moving slowly onto the top

Can you understand how steep the staircase is?

Finally, I made it!!! a photo with Chao Phraya river as the background :)

The scary part, how should I get down from here

By the time we left Wat Arun and get back to Tha Tien Pier, it's already 5.30pm. I am so glad that they extend the operating hours of the tourist boat and open the route to Asiatique. So, from Tha Thien Pier, we just sit all the way until we reach Asiatique.

Asiatique is another great place to be visited. I truly loved the place but I'm gonna elaborate more about this place in my next post. Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to go to The Golden Mount - Wat Saket, Bangkok?

Bangkok's traffic is congested all the time. I guess that is why you really need an alternative type of transport besides a four-wheel drive in the city. One of the preferred ways of transportation for the locals in order to avoid the traffic jam in Bangkok is the Khlong Saen Saep canal boat.

When I read the reviews of Saen Saep canal boat in tripadvisor, it really scare the hell out of me. e.g. The boat is always overload during peak hour, the smell of the canal is terrible, stories like people who fall into the canal end up died due to infection, etc.

But in the end I decided to take a ride as it is the most convenient way to get to Wat Saket. My hotel is just in front of National Stadium BTS station ( which makes it very near to Sapan Hua Chang station.

How to get there from National Stadium station : Walk towards Soi Kasem San 2, follow kasem san 2 all the way to the end of the road, you will pass by Jim Thompson House on your left, then turn right. Keep walking until you reach a small pier.

Passed by Jim Thompson House while we are on our way to Sapan Hua Chang station

To get to Wat Saket by canal boat, you need to get off at Panfa Leelard station (the last stop). If you are waiting for the boat from Saphan Hua Chang station, you need to get on the boat which is moving towards your left side.

Get off at Panfa Leelard station to get to Golden Mount. (first station from left)

The fees is only 10 baht!!! So cheap!!! And it only took us less than 10 minutes ride to reach there. But you will notice that the canal is really dirty and it stinks!!! Anyway, we got lucky as we travel on a Saturday morning, which is not a working day, that's why the boat is actually quite empty. One thing about canal boat, it is more to a local way of transport, so when you get on the boat, you might realize that you would probably be the only foreigner there.

By the way, once the boat reach, remember to get into the boat as fast as you can, they don't wait, the minute you get in, the boat will speed up and move to the next station, so it's actually no good for those who have weak legs.

Inside the boat, the "curtains" on both side is pulled up to avoid the dirty water splashed into the boat

Once reach Panfa Leelard station, you are very near to Wat Saket already. You will notice a white bridge on your left, walk across the bridge and keep walking for 5 minutes you will reach The Golden Mount. Don't worry, along your way, you will be able to see signboards which point you to the golden mount.

Finally, we're here!!!

Once you enter, please turn right towards the staircase to get to the top. We are the dummies who turned left instead. That is actually the way down. We only realized about it when we already halfway through. Didn't even notice the arrow at the side of the staircase which pointed way down.

Happily posed without knowing this is the way down
On our way up
While I'm researching the opening hours of golden mount, i get varies answers, mostly said it's open from 8am or 9am. But I spotted this when I'm on my way up, it's open at 7.30am actually?
Finally, I'm on top :)
The view from top of golden mount
Posed with the mini golden mount before I left