The Grand Palace

After visiting Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, we had lunch at Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal “Sa Tai Mai”, we had KFC and tried their fabulous egg tart! Owww it’s as delicious as Macau’s egg tart *I wonder why there’s no egg tart in Indonesia’s KFC. We asked people what is the nearest BTS from Sa Tai Mai. They said the Wong Wian Yai is the nearest. So we took taxi which cost 140 baht, then continue taking BTS from Wong Wian Yai to Saphan Taksin. We bought the ticket at the machine which only cost 15 baht per person, as Saphan Taksin is only two stop away from Wong Wian Yai. The BTS is very convenient, and also very well maintained. But we hardly find BTS with escalator, so going up and down to the BTS, we should take the stairs instead.

Arriving at Saphan Taksin, we went to Sathorn Pier, and took the Orange Flag (public boat) to Tha Chiang Pier *I will be posting another stories of Bangkok transportation, and you will find the details of this Chao Phraya River Boat Service. After getting off from the boat, we went directly to the Grand Palace, it was almost 3 pm already, and the ticket counter opens only until 3 pm. But once you are inside, you can enjoy it until 4.30 pm. We read many stories about tourist spams at The Grand Palace. Uniformed guy will approach tourist saying the Grand Palace is close, and offer a tuk tuk ride with cheap price. The tuk tuk driver will be taking tourist to jewelry shops, souvenir shops, etc, as they will get fuel voucher! Be aware of this spams.

So that afternoon we walked straight to the main gate *remember there is only one main gate. At the main gate, you can see the Grand Palace from the outside if you think the 350 baht ticket is too expensive. But for me, the ticket price well worth it. This place is really impressive!

Once you enter the main entrance, you will find the first building on the right which is a place where tourist can borrow pants and shirts. Getting in the Grand Palace, tourist has to wear the dress code: our leg and shoulder shall be covered. Rene took kain sarung (sarong) with him as he was wearing short. But the guy told us that kain sarung was not ok, a guy should wear long pants instead. It was free of charge, but Rene had to give a 200 baht deposit for the long pants he borrowed. After wearing his long pants, Rene was upset seeing a guy with this long socks, and he managed to get in:p

We got into the line in front of the ticket booth, the line was not long as we were the late arrivals. Tourists will be equipped with a brochure to guide them at the Grand Palace as there are many buildings and temple inside.

We got inside and we were speechless, it was so beautiful and colorful!! You will forget the entrance fee price:p and will be busy taking pictures. You have to visit the Grand Palace if you are visiting Bangkok.

We spent until 4.30pm there and really enjoy our visit. Thanks God it was raining before we arrived at the Grand Palace, so it wasn’t that hot. But still after a 1,5 hours of walking we need to recharge ourselves. So we went to the Au Bon Pain, located just across the main entrance, to have some ice blended drinks and croissant.

Actually we still have two more places to go which are Wat Pho (the reclining Budha) and Wat Arun. But it was too late and also we were exhausted. So we decided only to take pictures of Wat Arun and wished to see the sunset. We continue walking to Tha Tian Pier and found a park across Wat Arun where we can take beautiful pictures of it. But it was too cloudy, so we didn’t get the sunset pictures of Wat Arun. At 6 pm, we decided to leave the park and take the orange flag boat to Tha Tien Pier, and proceed to MBK. It was really a busy day:p

One day Bangkok tour wrapped up: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, the Grand Palace, MBK.

written on 28 May 2011
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Bangkok Loft Inn

I found this hotel as recommended by many travellers on the tripadvisor review. They all rated Bangkok Loft Inn excellent. I checked their website to see how the hotel looks like and of course to check the rate. It was love at the first sight: the rate is very affordable, nice rooms and located near BTS.

I sent my enquiry thru their website to check the room availability. Prior to that, I tried the booking through Agoda to compare the price. The hotel replied my email saying the room is available and they offer their promotion which are: 2,400 baht for two nights incl breakfast and a free pick up from the airport. Wow the rate they offer is cheaper than Agoda.

Prior to our arrival, we asked many questions to the hotel staff as this is going to be our first easy travel experience to Bangkok and Phuket. They always answer our email promptly. We asked regarding the left baggage at the hotel which is free, we asked taxi fare to some points of interest, we asked to have our breakfast to be taken away early in the morning, they are really helpful.

Their service begins from the free pick up where they provide mineral water for us. A small thing, but very meaningful. We were picked up together with other couple from Singapore, so we had the opportunity to discuss our holiday plan. It was Friday evening, thanks God the journey had no traffic jam. We arrived at the hotel when it was raining really hard. The check in was easy and fast, the reception was Pat that night, and she explained the Thai map, showed us the place of interest which are recommended. Pat didn't ask us to pay them in advance. She didn't even ask to pay a deposit.

Bob took us to our room, and terrific, the room is as lovely as it seen on their web! Large bed, very spacious, nice shower, lcd tv, safety box, very clean and homey.

We have a room facing the main road and at the opposite we saw a hawker center. That first night we went down stair again, it was 9.30pm and raining. We met Bob again and he asked "Where are u going?" hahaa.. So we asked them if we can find food at the opposite and whether we can eat it (whether it is halal). Pat said we can, as it is seafood.

On our first night, we had grilled shrimp, very huge for only 300 baht. And also a cup of ice milk tea, which in Indonesia we called it Thai ice tea:p

The next morning we left the hotel at 5.20 am and they packed our breakfast in that early time! The service of this hotel is amazing:)

The following day we had breakfast at the hotel. The restaurant located in a mezzanine, just beside the business room. We ordered the night before that we would like to have a chicken rice. 

But to our surprise, they also provide many other food: cereal, bread, fruits, yogurt, and not too mention juice, milk, they are right on the table and you can just take them. I thought my breakfast will only be the chicken rice with tea. I must say the breakfast compared to the price we are paying, is terrific:)

It was the check out time already, we have to go to the airport on Sunday morning, to catch our flight to Phuket. I discussed with the hotel staff how can I get to the airport. She said I can take meter taxi for 500 baht approx, BTS than the airport link, or they offer us to have an airport taxi for 400 baht all in price. 

As Bangkok BTS doesn't have any escalator and we didn't feel like taking our luggage up to the BTS station, we decided to take the airport taxi. Just to give all means of transportation a try, as we will be trying the Airport Link when we come back from Phuket. The hotel staff called the taxi, they asked us to wait at the lobby, and they even give us a glass of orange juice before we left the hotel. Incredible service:)

If there is going to be another chance to visit Bangkok, for sure I will come back to this hotel. And I would recommend anyone reading this post to stay at Bangkok Loft Inn if you visit Bangkok. Special note to my Indonesian friends, not many Indonesians have stayed here. Heeey move up from those hotels around Bangkok malls, you just don't know what you have missed by not staying at this hotel!

Thank you Bangkok Loft Inn, thank you for showing and teaching me how to work with heart. The result is just unbelievable, I am sure your customer will memorize the experience forever in their heart.

written on May 15, 2011 by @tesyasblog

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Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

We woke up early at 4.30 am, getting things ready and went to the reception lobby to ask our breakfast that we requested to be taken away at 5 am:p And yes the staff has prepared it for us: tuna sandwiches, orange juice, fruits and mineral water:) Wow the Bangkok Loft Inn is increadible, I have to say it outloud: don't stay elsewhere in Bangkok, choose Bangkok Loft Inn!

Than we asked the staff to write down some sentences in Thai on a piece of paper, also she helped us getting a cab. That morning we plan to go to Southern Bus Terminal or Sai Tai Mai, take the first bus number 78 at 6 am, than go to Damnoen Saduak floating market. The taxi was metered, it cost 109 baht from Bangkok Loft Inn to Southern Bus Terminal and was about a 15 minutes ride.

Arriving at the Southern Bus terminal (at 5.30 am and still dark), we alight in front of the lobby, which is a small shopping center, the buses park on the left side of it. We look for bus number 78, and asked a guy holding a handy talky. Thought he must be one of the in charge person:p He was so kind that he walked us to the bus stop where the bus 78 will be stopping. Oohh Thai people are sooo nice:) We hopped into the bus, and at 6 am sharp the bus left the terminal. We paid 64 baht per person, very cheap as the distance is quiet far, 110 km.

When I googling, I also read that if we take taxi from Bangkok, it will cost approx 1,500 baht a return way, and the taxi will be waiting their guest at Damnoen, and drive back to Bangkok. The price depends on how good we are at bargaining. But they will refuse using their meter. So as an easy traveller, I choose to take the bus, as it is easy and cheap:)

We arrived at Damnoen Saduak at 7.45, and the bus stopped at one of the boat service. Before getting out of the bus I remind myself not to get into any tourist trap. A lady approach us saying the boat tour is 300 baht per person. My itinerary warns me not to take boat from where the bus stop, as it will be so expensive. So we left the lady and walk outside. It was the four of us: I and Rene, and other couple who are Thai coming from Surat Thani. The lady approach us to the exit, saying that she'll give us discount 150 baht per person. We continue walking, and she asked how do you go to the market without the boat? I answered we'll find our way!

From the exit, we thought that we should go back to the market we have just passed and take a yellow minivan (songthaw) to Damnoen Saduak, cost only 8 baht per person. So we exit and turn right, while the Thai couple turn left. After a minute, they called us and said that we went to the wrong direction. Ok than we walk with them to the floating market and hoped there is going to be a songthaw passing by. On the street, there were many boat tour service. We passed another two boat services. The first one asked 100 baht per person, we continue walking. After about 10 minutes walking and getting know each other, we ended up taking a paddle boat, 60 baht per person. Of course Auttachai, our Thai friend, who did the bargain for us. Auttachai wanted the price 50 baht per person. But the boat man didn't give him that price. So we agreed to pay 60 baht per person to have a max 1,5 hours tour with a paddle boat.

From the main street we walked to the aisle, and saw the boat. An old lady will drive the boat for the four of us, amazing. Auttachai said he's not going to stop on the same place where we took the boat, they will get off the market and take songthaw to the bus terminal. We will just follow him:p

Our boat trip begins, it was very bumpy indeed and I was affraid that the water will get into our boat. Thank God it didn't. When a machine boat came approaching, they will stop the machine, so the water will not fill into our boat. First we saw beautiful boat houses, than we started seeing the boat shops selling food and souvenirs. What a wonderful scene and experience! We stopped by one place where everybody has to get out, it was a souvenir shop. We didn't buy anything, I had a toilet break instead.

We got into our boat again, and approach one food vendor selling coconut sugar which is a snack. We have also food like this in Indonesia, the taste is very similar to Serabi Solo:p More tourists are coming, suddenly it became very crowded. Our boat is hitting another boat and vice versa. But the old lady is really a good boat driver. We stopped at the end of the canal, gave the lady tip of 50 baht, and this time we'll enjoy the market from the canal's walking side. It was 9.15 am, and became very crowded.

We didn't try other food as we were not sure whether they are halal or not. But I am telling you the soup noodle looks and smell very good. Hehee.. After the taking picture session, we found our way back to bangkok on our own, as we were already separated from our Thai friend. We asked a lady to which way we shall take the Songthaw, she said that take the one heading to the north. I can't tell where north is, but from my experience just say that you are going to Bangkok, and people will tell you the direction. We waited only 5 minutes, and saw a Songthaw approaching. It was full with Thais friendly people.

So we went on the same road where we walked with our friend to the floating market, and alight at the boat service where we first alight from the bus. We get off and approach the driver to give him money, and confirm him whether we can take bus to bangkok from there. He said NO, and asked us to get in again. Ok, we got in again, and people inside asking us where we are going. We said we are going to Bangkok. And they discuss in Thai where we should alight, and a nice boy from his gestures told everyone that he is going to take us to the bus terminal. They were all talking in Thai, but I keep on guessing:p

When we were at the market, they told us to alight. And the boy asked us to go with him. Oh my goodness, we are surrounded by nice people! Alhamdulillah. Than yes we saw bus 78, Rene gave him money, he refused it. But we insisted him to receive it. We can't never thank him enough.

We waited until 10.00 and the bus left the terminal heading to Bangkok. At the first bus stop we saw our Thai friend again, and they were surprised that we were inside the bus. The journey back to Bangkok took 2,5 hours as there were traffic jam on some roads.

Actually I also read on the internet that taking bus back to Bangkok is not at the same place where we alight bus 78. We have copied the info to our itinerary, but did not really sure where to go. So my tip is, just take Songthaw to the market (first market we meet after Damnoen Saduak), tell the driver that you are going to Bangkok, he will let you know where to stop. Don't take the initiative to alight before the driver told you to (just like what we did). And one more thing, I don't know how frequent is the bus going back to Bangkok. So be aware of it, or just follow us taking 10 am bus back to Bangkok.

The plan to visit floating market was so confusing. We didn't sure whether to go there or not as it will take a half day. But all the review said that going to the floating market is a really Thai thing, and is a must. By going there we will not have time to visit Chatuchak, because we prefer visiting Grand Palace after Damnoen Saduak. After we decide that Floating Market will be on our list, Rene had an idea to visit Amphawa floating market. So I search on the net again which market to visit. As Amphawa opens in the late afternoon while Damnoen Saduak opens in the morning, we made two plans, meaning two itinerary as well. After visiting the Damnoen Saduak floating market, I must say that I enjoy the trip so much. Maybe if there is a chance to visit Bangkok again, we will go to Amphawa:)

written on May 14, 2011
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Jalan Hemat Bangkok

I have been to Bangkok with a tour from my office back in Feb 2010, we stopped one night there, only had dinner at the Royal Dragon Restaurant, went to Suan Lum night market, than continue the tour to Hongkong (You may read the stories under "Bangkok" categories). I didn't enjoy going in a tour, I am an easy traveller, don't want to be organized by anyone. That time, I travelled without Rene, and as I didn't explore Thai that much, I would love to come back together with Rene. So we plan to have Jalan Hemat Bangkok.

First thing we do of course wait for our fave airline's: Air Asia promo, and we were so lucky that we got the ticket in May 2010 (a year in advance) cost IDR 1,500,000 : a return ticket for two persons! That price include a 15 kg bagage on the return tickets, convenience fee and all the taxes. Not only that, the ticket dates was perfect, we got ticket during one of Indonesian's long weekend (13-16 May), and on our anniversary #1505 So in 2010 we celebrate it in Macau, and this year we will celebrate it in Bangkok, Insya Alloh.

After buying the ticket for our Jalan Hemat Bangkok, we read sources on the net saying that it's better to go to Phuket as well. So we look for bus going to Phuket from Bangkok. The journey will take a night! Oh noo, we didn't have any idea of other alternatives until Weny a friend of mine at the office, told the story how she connect the flight Jakarta-Bangkok-Phuket-Singapore-Jakarta! Wow what a journey! She told me how beatiful Phi Phi island is. I google its pictures, and fell in love with Phi Phi! Ok, my next target is to get a promo ticket from Bangkok to Phuket:p

In October 2010, Air Asia had another promo and yes it sold Bangkok-Phuket! That midnight I tried my luck, and we got the ticket! It was only IDR 800,000 a return ticket of Bangkok Phuket for two persons, including tax, but no luggage. Yipppieeee so my mission accomplished! It turn out to be Jalan Hemat Bangkok Phuket. I feel very lucky that I can get so many promo tickets from Air Asia so far. But wait, I didn't get it in one click. It wasn't that easy to compete with other Air Asia mania from all over the world. I have to wake up at midnight, and buy the ticket from my blackberry or my galaxi tab. That way is much more convenience than buying it thru their website. I can do it by lying on my bed, and often fall asleep waiting for the late respond from Air Asia as they are having a heavy traffic. I will never give up to look for the ticket even I got buzz so many times. The travelling journey that I will get, worth all of the efforts to get low price tickets!:p

At the time we begin to research for our itinerary, of course first thing we do is to decide where to stay. My first source is always the tripadvisor review, and found this hotel called Bangkok Loft Inn. All the review are positive, the hotel is nice, located 5 minutes away from the BTS, and very afoordable. We email the hotel, and we got two nights for 2,400 baht, including breakfast and free pick up at the airport. Ohhh wow, meaning one night only cost IDR 350,000! We confirmed the hotel that we book their room. In Phuket, as recommended by our friend Yenni Puspo, we booked Ibis Patong thru Agoda for IDR 200,000 per night without breakfast! Why so cheap? We used our Agoda point:) Even if we didn't use our point, the room was only IDR 400,000 per night. I didn't think that Ibis Phuket can be that cheap. The one in Malioboro Yogyakarta is far more expensive!

I forget how long I did the reasearch for our itinerary, but I am telling you this is the hardest itinerary that I have ever made. Not because the unavailability of the information, but it was more because the time limitation that we have, and we have to choose best of the best spot only. All in all we'll have 2 nights in Bkk, and one night in Phuket. So we have to choose is it either go to Damnoen Saduak or Amphawa floating market, Pha Nga bay or Phi phi island, and the most difficult question is Chatuchak or the Grand Palace! I would like to visit them both.
The galaxi tab helped me a lot, as I can browse in the car when Rene drive me to my office. I think every travel lover should have a galaxi tab. And I still think that it's the best bday gift from Rene:)

After jumping to tripadvisor forum, blogwalking, read a travel book, watch youtube, our itinerary is completed, Alhamdulillah.

On the first night, we we'll be arriving at 8 pm, so we'll go straight to the hotel and just enjoy the hotel and its surrounding.

The second day we'll leave the hotel early and go to Damnoen Saduak floating market by bus, go to Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and visit MBK.

The third day we'll go to Phuket, having a private tour to Pha Nga bay, James Bond island, Panyee Island, and we'll have a tour around Phuket on our fourth day with a driver named Daj, whose recommended by tripadvisor forum. We will be arriving in Phuket at 12.30 and no half day tour to Pha Nga bay starts after the time of our arrival. That's why we have to book a private boat tour, have an anniversary dinner at sunset, very expensive for us, but as it is going to be an anniversary celebration, than we decide to take the tour.

The fourth day we will leave Phuket at 1 pm, fly back to Bangkok, and later on 10 pm we will leave Bangkok to Jakarta. A very tight itinerary indeed, but hopefully we'll get lot of pictures and stories to share in our blog.

Note: my blog readers who wish to get our itinerary are welcome to request it by email :) Just drop an email to Follow @tesyas_blog on twitter as we will be tweetpics our jorney.

written on May 13, 2011 (on my Air Asia flight from Jakarta to Bangkok)
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Food at Suria KLCC

A must visit mall while you are in KL, probably the Suria KLCC, a mall adjacent to the Petronas twin towers. Of course you can visit it while visiting the tower like we did. So after we went up to the tower, we did some window shopping at the mall which was full of Formula1 euphoria.

The architecture of this mall is sophisticated being a part of the twin towers, Rene has it captured.

We went to the resto raws, and found this Indonesian resto (originated from Bandung) called Bumbu Desa. We didn't went inside (of course we didn't!) so we couldn't compare the price with the one in Bandung or Jakarta.

We decided to eat Chili's burger, yes there is also Chili in Jakarta, but we just want to sit in a nice resto and enjoy the view. From Chili we can look at their huge windows to the fountain at the other side of the tower.

We got in at 11.30 am, and approaching lunch time the resto becoming full.

We ordered Ice Lemon Tea free flow (7,25 MYR) and also a new menu called "Burger Bites" (22,95 MYR). We didn't expect it to be a really big bites:p The price is about the same compared to the price in Jakarta

We also ordered their Oldtimer burger (17,95 MYR), also a huge burger. We should not order this burger, as the burger bites were huge. Ended up we took away the Oldtimer burger:p

To visit the mall, just take LRT to KLCC, than just go up to the mall. This mall has Marks and Spencer, Isetan, Body Shop, Cold Storage, and all of those branded items, even Miu Miu is also available here.

written on May 11, 2011
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Parc Sovereign Singapore

This is a new hotel in Singapore at the time of my booking (March 2011), there was limited review on the internet. However, I booked the hotel anyway through Agoda for a three night stay (12-15 April 2011) for USD 425 room only. I thought a new hotel can't be that bad. All of the furnitures should be new.

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