Tracy's Nest

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bangkok/Pattaya Trip – Part 1

Yup, I went to Bangkok/Pattaya on the 23rd – 27th December with Pappy, Destinee, sis June and her hubby, Gilbert. Actually Elyss, my brother Tuck and his wifey and my good fren (Elaine) were supposed to join us but my brother was so worried about the election in Thailand on the 23rd, so he and his wife backed out.

Haiya, what election? There weren't any signs dat showed there was an election going on. There were no banners or posters whatsoever like what M'sian supporters do to 'decorate' their 'idols' faces' all over the place and wherever they like. It was so peaceful until our Tour Guide told us who won, only did we realise and remember there WAS an election. *heehee*

As for Elyss and Elaine, they had their reasons for not going. We did change our plans of going either to Vietnam or Cambodia but the fares were quite expensive and after the hoo-haas hoo-haas, we stuck to our original plan and decided to go to Bangkok/Pattaya. Our tour agent was sooooo very nice and patient with me as I was so 'mah fun' (troublesome) and kept calling her every now and then to enquire about this and dat. She even upgraded our hotel stay to a 5-star hotel for 2 nites (1st and 4th nite) in Bangkok and we only had to pay RM50 more.

After coming back from the trip, I had so much work to do (what else? search me why I'm always so busy). Finally, I had the time to select, arrange and upload the photos. Okay, I'll let the photos do the 'talking'. To start off with, a pretty face to greet everyone –

Destinee's very fist time on the airplane.
Luckily she was okay and didn't make much fuss when she had pressure in her left ear
when the plane was landing.
We kept letting her sip water and chew her 'sugus' sweets.

Our first experience with AA was not a sweet memorable one. We were scheduled to fly at 1:40 p.m. but was delayed until 2:30 p.m. When it was announced it was boarding time, passengers had to queue before the gate and some people just didn't understand the word 'queue', they just jumped queue and shoved their way thru. Parents with kids were not allowed to enter first except for those who paid RM20 (special boarding pass) whereby they were able to queue in the 'special lane' and they were given the priviledge to board the plane first. We had to walk quite a distance to the plane and to climb the stairs up to the plane and passengers were like rushing to get to the plane as fast as they could as seatings were on the first-come-first-get-to-choose-the-better seats and food or drinks had to be paid for. *duh*

We reached Suvarnabhumi Airport at about 3:35 p.m. and after the 'kli klak kli klak' procedures, it was oredi about 4.00 p.m., we quickly made our way to Gate 8 at Level 2 to meet our tour guide (no time to snap photos).
He introduced himself as Taworn from Forever Travel Service but he preferred us to call him 'Ah Kum'. He was well versed in Mandarin and Cantonese. We waited for another family and together we were taken to our hotel. On the way, we made friends with Eric, Irene, their 9 year-old son Desmond and 6 year-old daughter (only known as 'jeh jeh' to Destinee). They are from PJ. Eric and his family were dropped off first to their hotel - First Hotel.

We were driven to our 5-star hotel – Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel. It's a very new hotel, just opened in October 15, 2007. When we got down from the van, we were greeted by the staffs of the hotel with smiles of welcome and we could hear 'Sawatdeeka (from males) and Sawatdeekap (from females)' with the gesture of the hands clasped together like when we are praying and bowing. We were led to seats at the lobby and were entertained by 2 beautiful front desk officers. We need not go to the reception to register ourselves, the officers would get our passports and voucher from us and what surprised me was when they knelt on their knees to return the passports to us! We were even led to our rooms by the officers. Woooeeeee .... dat's what I call GOOD SERVICE. Call me 'suaku' or 'san pa por' but I really haven't stayed in a 5-star hotel with such pleasant and comfortable service.

*psst psst Angie, I fully recommend this hotel.*

1. The entrance of Pullman Bangkok King Power King Hotel.
2. Waiting at the lobby.

3. & 4. Seats at the lobby.

As the hotel is new, so everything in the room's not only brand new but very clean too.

1. The entrance into the room.
2. Mini Bar.
3. Beds.
4. Bathtub – a sliding door separating the toilet and bedroom..

1. Settee and the 'canggih' telephone.
2. Comfortable chair and table.
3. Shower.
4. Sink area.

1. Robe. Another robe is in the closet.
2. Digital Weighing Machine.
3. 'Souvenirs'
4. Des in the bathtub ready to 'swim'.

Oops! When did Pappy changed his sex? *heehee*

Des made herself comfortable with her 'ada gaya' poses.
She loved the room so much so dat she asked
Pappy to shift over there. *slap head*
Notice the LCD TV?

Views from our room – Swimming pool and garden.

Glen – Pub and Cafe.
Our complimentary drinks from the hotel.

Fountain and Christmas lightings in the Garden.

The restaurant – Cuisine, where we had our
very 'moon yi' (satisfied) breakfast.

This was taken outside the hotel.
Dat's the picture of the King of Thailand.
Everywhere we went, we could see the picture of the King
or banners bearing the words 'LONG LIVE THE KING'.

Bangkok/Pattaya Trip – Part 2

After settling down, we (together with Eric's family) were taken to Chinatown to have our dinner in White Orchid Restaurant. Eric and family were too tired and were driven back to their hotel. We actually wanted to go 'jalan-jalan' in the nite market, but as it was quite late, Ah Kum told us most of the stalls would be closed and the Chatuchak Weekend Market only opens during weekends. We decided to go to 'Big C', a shopping mall, to 'survey survey'. Gilbert was quite familiar with the place as he used to work in Bangkok a few years back. I didn't shop for anything as we needed to move on to Pattaya the next day and would be back on the 4th day, so I decided to leave my shopping till the last day.

24th December, 2007 (2nd day)
We got up early, brought our luggages down to the lobby and had breakfast in Restaurant Cuisine. We had a very yummylicious breakfast. Ah Kum came with Eric's family to pick us up at 7 a.m. and we were to join another 3 families. What a good arrangement – husband and wife with children. On the way, Irene (Eric's wifey) told us the hotel they stayed in was 'lousy' (the place was old, bedsheets stained, the bed smelt ......).

We reached the Ta Tien pier and we were introduced to the rest of the families –
2 families were from Singapore and another from Vietnam. We boarded the long-tailed boat from the pier and off we went to Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn. Along the Menam Chao Praya (according to Ah Kum, 'Me' means Mother and 'nam' means water) we saw people travelling on boats to work, it's one of the Thai's transportation.

*top 2 pics, forgot the names of the buildings*
3. Wichaiprast Port (like a ship).
4. Wat Arun from far.

1. Aboard the long-tailed boat.
2. Houses on the river.

3. Boats selling souvenirs.

4. Fed the Big Fat 'Pak Sou Kungs' with bread.

Views from Wat Arun
The temple was made from Chinese ballast porcelain.

After visiting Wat Arun, the 20 of us boarded a 22-seat coach and were on our way to Pattaya. On the way, we visited the Sriracha Tiger Zoo.

In the Zoo, one can find harmony amongst animals. Harmony amongst animals? Rite, I did say dat. This is one Zoo in the world where one can watch different types of animals staying together, such as a mother pig feeding tiger cubs with her milk and a tigress looking after piglets. In other enclosures, there are dogs staying together with tigers and pigs too. Amazing, isn't it?

1. Sriracha Tiger Zoo.
2. Tigress staying with piglets.

3. Piglets with a Tigress nearby.

4. Mother pig feeding tiger cubs.

Inside the zoo, we watched the tiger and pig circus, pig racing and crocodile show.

1. Elephant Museum.
2. & 3. Crocodile show.
4. Des feeding the rabbits with long beans (5 baht per 5 strands)

We reached Pattaya in the late evening and went for an early dinner in the Palladium. After dinner, Ah Kum suggested we go for the Alcazar Cabaret Show (800 baht/person) and no one disagreed. No 'other' shows cos there were spouses and kids *grins*.

On the stage, professional transvestites presented artistic impersonations with songs and stories.

After the show, we and another family from S'pore (Little Hazel with her parents and elder brother Dan) were separated from the rest (another hotel) and we were transferred to the All Seasons Hotel.

All Seasons Hotel's Room

It was free and leisure after we checked in. Pappy, June and Gilbert decided to try the Thai massage. Des was too tired and felt sleepy, so I had to stay back to accompany her ... sigh ...

25th December, 2007 (3rd day)
Morning call was at 6 a.m., and pick-up was at 7 a.m. We were reminded to be as casual and just bring along towels with us. Riding on the boat was quite an experience for Des. Surprisingly she was not scared at all as the boat rode 'high and low' in the sea. We stopped at one of the platforms and those interested had a try at parachuting.

The ride from Pattaya to Coral Island on boat was about 30 minutes. Too bad it was the aftermath of a high tide and we could only see rows and rows of deck chairs on the beach. Pappy rented a swimming ring (100 baht) and took Des to the shore to play. June and I relaxed on the 'free' deck chairs (20 baht per chair if swimming ring was not rented).

Reminder: If possible don't wear long pants as one need to get down from the boat into the water and walk a little distance before reaching the shore.

1. Pappy getting ready to 'fly'.
2. Gilbert waving at us.

3. & 4. Des playing with sand on the beach.

After half day at the beach, we went back to the hotel to 'wash' ourselves and off we went for our lunch in a restaurant. We had typical Thai Food this time – Pineapple Rice, Tong Yam Gung, Crabs fried Thai Style, Steamed Fish Thai style. During lunch the past 2 days, we had normal dishes, not too spicy, due to our group had 8 kids from 5 families – 10 dishes course which consisted portions of fish, pork, chicken, veggie, soup and fruits.

We visited the World's Greatest Jewelry Store at Gems Gallery Pattaya (no cameras were allowed). Inside the store, we were taken on a train ride to explore how the gems were excavated. It was like going into a 'haunted house' cos it was dark and there were man-made explosions from the 'volcanoes' and Des cried and clinged to me throughout the 'journey'. It was interesting though, of how people came to discover about the gems and how they went through the procedures from excavating till the gems were displayed to be sold.

Noong Nooch Tropical Garden was our next destination.
A Thai village with cultural and traditional performances (graceful dances from all over the Thai country, sword fighting, Thai kick-boxing, etc.) and an elephant show (where elephants painted with their trunks, played football, basketball, etc.).

We had to travel for a distance on the coach until it was almost dinner time and this time round we went to have Chinese food at Southern Soong Chinese Restaurant in Hotel Beverly Plaza.

1. Entrance to Southern Soong Chinese Restaurant.
2. Aquarium recycled from old TV.
3. Destinee with Hazel.
4. Pappy showing off his shooting result.

It was free and leisure at nite again and we suggested Ah Kum to take us for supper. At 10 p.m., off we went to the restaurant where we had dinner the day before to have our 'Bird's Nest, Sharksfin soup and Glass Noodle' supper (800 baht per set for 2 persons). The Bird's Nest was double-boiled in coconut, Glass Noodle was fried with crab's claw', Sharksfin was cooked with abalone, scallop and crab's meat ...... wooooeeeee ..... soooooo full and satisfied. *too bad forgot to bring the camera along*

26th December, 2007 (4th day)
After having breakfast at the hotel's cafe, we checked out and had to be back in Bangkok again. It was shopping for local stuffs in one of the shops. Next, we went to a Herbs' Outlet, nothing interesting. I nearly dozed off hearing the 'blahs blahs blahs' about the different types and the usefulness of the herbs.

Until here, we were separated into 2 groups – our family to Safari World and the rest to Theme Park World. Ah Kum led the other group (sort of missed him) while we followed another guide (can't remember his name). We had buffet lunch in the restaurant in Safari World (specially to serve tourists) – the worst meal – no doubt the not-so-tasty food were in abundance (replenished every now and then) but there were only a few varieties and there were hundreds of people from all over the world who no choice had to take the food.

1. Marching our way into the Safari World.
2. Signboard and Pond.
3. Public Buffet Lunch.
4. Des with her 'tiger' hat.
5. Entrance to Dolphin show.

6. Floating Market display.

After the not-so-full lunch, we queued up for the dolphin show. June said it was nothing compared to the dolphin show in 'Hoi Yong Kung Yuin (Ocean Park), HKG.

Dolphins putting on a show. There were 2 white dolphins.

Open Safari
The animals looked like they had been starved.
Luckily they were not interested in us. (heehee).

Above: Interesting Spy War show.
There were explosions and water splashed when the speed boats turned.
*don't choose the seats at the 1st six rows*
Des cried and screamed to go out but luckily after some
consoling she calmed down.
Below: The Erawan Shrine
Hazel's family praying.

After visiting the animals in Safari World, it was time for us to travel back to Bangkok. It was 'gau gau chee' (sleeping) all the way.

We reached Bangkok at about 4 p.m. (Thai time) and the next destination in our itinerary was to visit the tourist attraction of the Erawan Shrine (Four-Faced Buddha). Funny thing was dat the shrine was not inside a temple (as what I expected) but it was in an open air space located at a junction. We paid 20 baht for a set of incenses, candles and flowers to pray. We were taught to start praying in a clockwise direction from the entrance of the shrine, offering the flowers, candles and incenses to the 4-faced Buddha at the 4 corners. After praying, we paid a fee of 480 baht for 4 dancers to perform a classical dance *forgot to ask someone to take pics of us sitting down to pray as the dancers danced*. So, u can imagine the eyes watching us 'performed' (heehee). It was like what Hazel's family did in the pic above.

We went to the nearby MBK (Mah Boon Krong) Department Store. Time was limited and after some rounds, we found NOTHING for our liking to buy instead we went to have a quick bowl of 'Ramen' in one of the food outlets.

After about ten minutes of travel in the 7-seater van, we reached the Twin Towers Hotel to have our buffet dinner – another 'lousy' meal. We rather we had outside food if we knew it was dat bad so our stomach was like half-full.

After dinner, it was 'whoooopeeee' feeling to be back in Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel again! From then, it was free and leisure till we go to the airport the next day.

We decided to take a taxi to go for supper in Chinatown. What did we have? Bird's Nest of course! We tried 4 types of double-boiled bird's nest in one of the famous restaurant – Nam Sing Restaurant. Yummy, Yummy, Yummy .... slurp, slurp, slurp. After dat, we had a stroll in the streets. There were sooooo much food but too bad our tummy could not fill anymore but still we did try the wantan mee in one of the stalls.

1. Different bowls of bird's nest.
2. The restaurant we went for our bird's nest.
Scenes from Chinatown.

27th December, 2007 (5th and last day)
Had our yummylicious breakfast in the Cuisine again, checked out and left our luggages with the luggage department, after which we went by taxi to do our last minute shopping at Big C and Pratunam Centre.

We were supposed to get back to the hotel by 3 p.m. (Thai time) but very difficult to hail a taxi from Big C, so reached the hotel by 3:30 p.m. where Ah Kum was oredi waiting for us at the lobby to transport us to the airport.

Our flight was at 6:00 p.m. but was delayed for 40 minutes. We had to queued again (cos we din pay for the xpress boarding pass again) and was transported from a bus to the plane – darn long journey from the exit to the plane and Des had to sleep at this time. Pappy had to carry her and to stand all the way in the bus and the bus was packed like 'sardines'.

June told me: AA SUCKS! NO MORE FLIGHTS ON AA FOR HER! I thought too to myself OR will pay extra for the Xpress Boarding Pass to get in first! If not, how AA earns?

We had a bad experience with SOME mainland people from China. They not only jumped queue, they talked as if the waiting area was their home (loud and shouted as if their friends were deaf). Maybe they din learn to queue or din know the meaning of queueing ... sigh .....

Another incident was when we were in the plane, a foul smell was in the air and we noticed the people next to us (after the aisle) were blocking their nose with their hands and giving us frowns and indicated dat the smell came from behind them (those people lor). At first we thought the smell was from their feet cos they took off their shoes! The steward was informed and he came and sprayed some air freshener at the bottom of the 2 rows of seats. One of the Chinese woman understood and said dat it was not from their feet and she even held her feet up and smelt to prove to us dat her feet was not smelly! YUCKS!

Later we found out the smell was not from their feet (when the steward came to pick up the rubbish from our meals) cos the foul smell was in the air again. IT WAS FROM SOMETHING THEY BROUGHT UP THE PLANE AND ATE AND THEY THREW THE REMAINS ON THE FLOOR! Wuah lau eh!

We reached LCCT at about 11 ish and Elyss came with Eugene to pick us up. Went to Lian Seng's food court (near Tmn. Connaught) to have late supper and reached home at about 12 ish. We had to leave the unpacking till the next morning.
Boy oh boy, darn tired.

Travel by boat was a common transportation by the Thais.

Pineapple rice, Thai styled fried crabs, Tom Yam Gung.

1. Yummylicious Fried Kueyteow.
2. Wantan, Duck noodles.
3. Destinee's loot.
4. My loot.

Dat's it! The End!

BANGKOK! We'll be back! *hopefully*