"Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself." - Charlie Chaplin

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Nut & Itchy in Bangkok

Day 1 - The Bedrooms, On Nut & Lumpini

When we arrived from Cha Am at the Southern Bus Terminal, no taxi would take us to the Siam BTS. I guess the traffic must really be that bad. We decided to go to the Mo Chit BTS instead. The last/first stop of the Sukhumvit line, depending which way you're heading, it's away from the busy heart of Bangkok. Less vehicle traffic, so we found a willing taxi.

From one end of the Sukhumvit line, we had to go right to the other end, On Nut. The website said our hotel, The Bedrooms, was only 5 minutes from the On Nut BTS station.

Nuh-uh. Even with the shortcut through a small lane and cutting through Carrefour, it was a good 7 - 8 minutes. Take the long way (main Sukhumvit road to Soi 77) , and it's 10 minutes. Grrrr.

The Bedrooms was really nice though. Modern and comfortable. Minimalist, sleek decor. High ceilings despite the small rooms. Complete with flat screen TV, DVD player, safety box, free WIFI (they even rent laptops for 60 baht an hour), breakfast and very helpful hotel staff.

Too helpful, in fact.
Our rooms were made spick and span every day. They even rearranged our luggage to give us more space in the room. We kept pulling our suitcases back to where we wanted them, next to our bed for easy access. So by the second day, they gave up. I think the person cleaning our room must have OCD or something, because our toiletries in the toilet were also rearranged. According to their height. We don't know if we should be amused or annoyed, but I'd give an 'A' for effort.

Breakfast was not too bad. Still no bacon! Sigh.
But there's a good selection of salad and fruits, cereal, toast, eggs, sausages, ham, spaghetti and a selection of local foods like fried rice or noodles. Coffee and juice too, of course. And there's a microwave oven if you ever need to use one. We did, cos we couldn't finish our dinner on our 3rd night (from Chotechitr in Banglamphu), packed our leftovers and had it for breakfast the next day.

Oh, there's also a 24-hour gym, which we only had the time (and energy) to use ONCE :) Pretty good for a 1200 baht per night boutique hotel.

Anyway, back to our first day in Bangkok.
Before we went all the way to On Nut we stopped at Siam for an early dinner. We were so famished, having had nothing since breakfast in Cha Am (it was almost 5pm). We went to Siam House, a lovely little restaurant tucked away in a row of shops right next to Asia Hotel, at the Ratchetewi BTS station. We were here last year (click for pictures), and loved the food. After paying the bill, we realised the prices went up, but the food was still delicious.

Asia Hotel would be a great place to stay if you'd like a BTS station at your doorstep. Very convenient. But can be rather pricey for a really old hotel. Of course, compared to other hotels with this convenience, it would be the most affordable one.

After food and a short rest, we hopped on the BTS towards On Nut once more, got to our hotel and checked in. Before we got too lazy to go out again, we took the BTS to Asok, then the MRT to Lumpini. Yay! Shopping! But we held back... took a good look around first, met up with MF who happened to be in Bangkok for work and had a beer. And decided to save our shopping for the next few days.

So we took a train to Sala Daeng BTS in Silom to hunt for the grilled pork (moo ping) and liver satays in our 'To Eat' list (picture's in LY's camera). The one that's ironically right in front of the California Fitness gym. There were so many stalls we weren't sure if we got the right one, bu it wasn't too bad. Not great, but not bad. I'd rather have Malaysian satay any day though. This area happened to be very near the notorious Patpong area, so we could hear pulsating music from across the street.

Yep, this is Bangkok alright.

Day 2 - Banglamphu, the old city (Chinatown, Khao San) & MBK

We took the BTS to Saphan Taksin station (Silom line), changing trains at Siam. From there we took a river ferry (18 baht) to Ratchawongse pier which led us straight to Chinatown.

A short walk straight up Ratchawong road, and Sampeng Lane was on our right. It's wholesale accessories, knick knacks, shoes and bags galore. Kinda like a condensed version of Petaling Street.

Keep walking and you'd see shops selling dried seafood products (scallops, sharksfin, fish maw etc) and goldsmiths. Then we stumbled upon a stall selling Guay Jub and Nam Song (orange juice). Guay Jub is a bowl of noodles with all parts of a pig you can imagine (40 baht). In our 'To Eat' list, we were supposed to find a stall selling these noodles about 2 blocks away. But it looked like it was about to rain, and the noodles here looked yummy. Oh, what the heck! I was getting hungry! It turned out to be really good. Just a little different from Penang's koay chap and very generous portions of piggy bits.

Dude putting pig parts in bowl, note siew yoke; Hard boiled duck eggs, pig skin and pig parts.

In goes the soup; Bowl of Guay Jub.

It started to rain after that, so we hopped into a tuk-tuk and headed to Khao San Rd, which was also in the Banglamphu area. We wanted to see what the fuss was all about. But it was just a stretch of road, occupied by farangs (foreigners). A few shops sold wholesale silver. Lots of watering holes. Apart from that, nothing much. Maybe it'd be more happening at night, but we didn't hang around to find out, cos it was time for LUNCH.

Perpendicular to Khao San Rd, was Tanao Rd, where Poj Spa Kar was supposed to be. Serving 'royal Thai food', the owners came from a line of royal chefs. The grandfather apparently cooked for the king. Tanao Rd was a long stretch, and we took a tuk-tuk down the road towards Sao Ching Cha (the Giant Swing), a landmark in Banglamphu. After feeling a little confused at the numbering of the shoplots, we found it just a few shops before the intersection to Sao Ching Cha.

Poj Spa Kar was small and homely. A very humble eatery, considering the menu was once fit for a king. The owners didn't speak English. So we pointed at the menu and ordered the stuff we remembered from the website about non-touristy sites and food. What we thought were steamed little fish paste balls on a bed of seaweed in the picture, turned out to be crispy fried fish under a bed of deep-fried kale leaves, topped with dollops of lime mayonnaise. LY looked disappointed that it wasn't what we imagined, but it was delicious anyhow. Sweet, fried fillets of fish, crispy fragrant kale and tangy lime mayo made a lovely combination.

We ordered their signature Look Rock Soup. Steamed egg tofu in a sausage casing, which created little mini burger-like bites of tofu, in a tasty soup with minced pork balls, mushrooms and coriander leaves. Light and wholesome.

There was also a 3-flavoured fried rice, served with some chicken bits in a sweet, gooey sauce almost similiar to our lobak sauce. The rice were tomato (I think) and raisin, turmeric, and garlic flavoured. Interesting, but not all that spectacular.

I would say this was one of the more unique meals we had. Reasonably priced too.

After this we were fairly stuffed, and to kill time before dinner at Thipsamai, also in Banglamphu on Maha Chai Rd, we wandered about the old city abit. There were no skyscrapers here, just lots of shops selling prayer paraphernalia. We sat down at a little coffeeshop for some coffee while we waited for "Bangkok's most famous Pad Thai, orange juice and frozen coconut" to open. Little did we know, we waited in vain, cos when we got there, Thipsamai was closed that day. Aaarrrgh.

Not wanting to waste anymore time, we hopped into a tuk-tuk to MBK (crazy driver, and he ripped us off too) . We did a spot of shopping (I finally bought my leather satchel!), and then realised we were too tired to eat dinner after all (shock! horrors!).

We went back to the hotel early, had a nice shower, and went for a wonderful, wonderful 2-hr massage nearby to ease our aching bodies. Aaaahhh...

>> Day 3-5 in Bangkok
<< Back to Cha Am
<< Nut & Itchy in Bangkok (2006)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Food, Food..Glorious Food
If I could have it all,
That would be so goody good,
I would have a great big ball,
And not invite a single person,
Cause I'm so hungry I could eat an entire bison.

D's stomach

P.S- Tried the tom yam flavour last night. "The soup, she BURNS"

9:41 am  

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