Here are the three new shops you might want to check out on your next flight to Bangkok.
Dean & Deluca. This posh New York retailer store known for its gourmet and specialty foods such as hors d’ oeuvres and appetizer, array of herbs & spices, coffee, teas, breads & dairy products, premium wines & spirits, and also high-end dining & kitchenware has arrived in Bangkok making Thailand the first Dean & Deluca outlet in Southeast Asia (they also have in Japan, Taiwan, Middle East, and soon to open in South Korea).
I saw D&D Mahanakhon by accident as I was walking to the BTS Station in Chong Nonsi, which happened to be just across our hotel. Lucky to have few hours left before going to the airport, we had a quick breakfast there and stuffed our faces with generous servings of Salmon Terriyaki with greens on the side and layered of pancakes with whipped cream, fresh blueberries, bananas, and strawberry. And of course, I will never leave the place without getting their signature canvass tote—and it’s too nice to use as a grocery bag.
How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain to Chong Nonsi Station. 92 Naratiwasrachanakarin Road, Silom, Bangkok 10500, Thailand, +662 234 1434
Uniqlo. Japan’s leading clothing retail chain, known to have adopted the strategies of the American brand “The Gap” (SPA or Special retailer of Private-label Apparel strategy), is coming to Bangkok this September. They will open a 2,500sqm (huge!) boutique in Central World Mall in Pathumwan. Uniqlo is known for their basic tees, chic casual wear for men & women, comfy jeans. But to me, I know Uniqlo as a great source of 3D jeans. I am telling you, you will be amazed and think that there’s something magical about them; it fits just as perfectly, like custom-made, faultless. No more panic-buying-coz-I-don’t-know-when-I’ll-be-back-again-in-HK. Uniqlo Thailand, you make my heart sing! (I just hope the price will be so much like those in Japan because seriously it’s a bit higher in HK).
How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain to Chit Lom or Siam Station then walk going to the intersection of Rachaprasong.
Ikea. Can I just say, “Wow!”. And I also hear the cupboards in our kitchen say “wow”. Lol, my pamangkins are whispering “wow” too.
Ikea Thailand will be opening this coming November in Bangna (city outside Bangkok, near the airport—don’t worry BTS Bangna will be opening soon, but you can take a taxi though) and it’s going to be the largest Ikea store in the Southeast Asia with a 45,000sqm space; 1300 parking spaces, 7500 items to “wow” you, and 700-seat restaurant and café.
Though easily, we can raid Ikea in our neighboring countries like Singapore, Malaysia, or Hong Kong however the excess baggage will be a problem. In Bangkok, you can easily find forwarders to ship your goodies with a low-cost rate.
How to get there: I will let you know asap.
A taste of New York, Japan, and Sweden…oh Thailand, you are truly amazing!?
From posh spots for sipping wine to inconspicuous corner for a bottle of beer, Bangkok is a barfly’s haven. Though liquor ban starts at 2am, you can find a place to quench your thirst anywhere in Bangkok. Apparently, I saw a multi-cab turned into a mini bar by the street road at 4am in Sukhumvit Soi 11. That tiny bar with wooden chairs and tables, mini disco light, and a chillin’ music serve beer and cocktail drinks…it’s “Whoa!” when I saw it.
So here are some posh places to have some romantic talks while sipping wine or just beer booze while having fun.
Vertigo at 61st floor of the Banyan Tree
Moon Bar is the cocktails area of Vertigo
Latitude Lounge is al fresco bar at 51st floor of Banyan Tree. I love the glass-like chairs and tables with flowing water under the glass-like floor. Do I make sense? Hahahah!
Skybar at Sirocco located at The Dome. This has been tagged as the world’s highest al fresco dining and bar in the world with the view of the whole city of Bangkok and the Chao Phraya river.
The Roof Champagne and Wine Bar located at the 25th floor Siam@Siam Boutique hotel. After your Hot Stone Grill dinner at The Roof Restaurant, you can transfer the wine bar for some great talks while chillin with the view of Bangkok.
Spring Summer at Sukhumvit Soi 49. Set in an old house transformed into a chic restaurant, you can have cocktails in the lawn on big big cushioned pillows.
Tawandaeng Brewery. If you are a “beer person” then this place is for you, I am not but I liked their tangy sweet beer (they have 4 selections) and finished a pitcher. They brew their own beer and best matched with crispy pork knuckles. Tawandaeng is located at Rama III.
Where to party?
Bed Supperclub. This upscale club is located in Sukhumvit Soi 11, this club is divided into 2, the dining and clubbing. Dine in or drink wine on a “breakfast in bed” tray while the DJ spins some chillin’ music. Food selection is divided into a 3-course meal (price: 1500-2000Baht/per head). On the other room, a thumping music welcomes you as you open the door. Do not forget to bring your passport ( I’m just not sure if this applies until now but I remember the last time I went there, I had to go back to the hotel to get my passport–strict with foreigners eh?).
Q Bar. Just another “farang” club in Sukhumvit Soi 11 is where I first met “Jager bomb” some few years ago. By the way, Jager bomb in Bangkok is called “Up all night”.
Flix/Slim in RCA. Gone are the days when I go to “farang” clubs, this is my most frequented club in Bangkok. Most club goers are locals so you’ll get the feel of the real Krungthep atmosphere. I would say Flix/Slim is like Manila’s Ascend and Encore, if you know what I mean. Hahahaha! How to get there? Just hail a cab and tell the driver the magic word “RCA” and they’ll know right away where to bring you.
Shock 39. A newly opened club in New Petchburi Road. Cool music, awesome local DJs, and a rockin’ sound system. I love the cocktails here too. While clubs in Bangkok closes at 2am, Shock 39 is open until very very late.
Muse. Been there only once but I love it when the club is full of locals (for this particular bar– hi-so young locals) so I will definitely go back. Located at Thonglo in Sukhumvit.
Fly, fly! You, Barfly, you!
If you have read my previous post about dining in Bangkok, it has probably stirred your interest for a clearer picture of their glorious foods.
These are some of the delightful Thai foodie:
Khao Phad Moo – Khao means rice, Phad means fried…so there goes your fried rice and comes with fish sauce with chili as dip sauce. Khao Phad goes with a selection of pork (moo), chicken (gai), prawns (goong). Unlike what we usually order at SR Thai (this is for my UST friends), I haven’t seen a beef fried rice in Bangkok.
Khor Moo Yang – this “Grilled Pork Neck” is also a hawker menu with its chili dip. I think it is a mixture of chili powder (with chili seeds), some spring onions, and I think vinegar? I am not sure but I am drooling now just thinking about it.
Tom Yum – Thai version of “sinigang”. Sour soup with coconut milk and different herbs and very spicy too. Even if you request to make it not too spicy, remember you are in Thailand and “not too spicy” is still spicy for a Pinoy palete.
Namtok Boat Noodles – You have a choice of just plain beef noodles with lotsa herbs and pork balls or make it namtok style with pork blood – sweet, salty,spicy taste. I know it may sound eeeeewy but it’s damn delicious. You’ll never realize that it has blood in it. In my case, I have been eating this noodle for like 4 years already before someone told me that my favorite noodle soup has blood as one of the main ingredient.
Price:THB5/piece wing part
THB10/piece leg part
Waan Yen – it’s like our very own “halo-halo”. Different fruit varieties (they also put some sticky rice in it) in shaved ice with coconut milk (though in some hawker, you can ask to put milk instead of coconut milk).
Cha Yen – Thai iced tea!!! Brewed Thai tea with condensed milk with lotsa ice—like 60% ice, 40% milk tea. Refreshingly yummy! Another favorite is the “O-liang” or Iced Thai coffee sweetened with condensed milk –drooool!
The best place to find and taste the scrumptious foodie is on the street but whether it is street food or fine dining, I would say Thai food is royally yummy – fit for a King!Learn More
The best and authentic local food and delicacies are found in the streets of Bangkok. Hawkers are everywhere. They are found at street junctions, along Soi or anywhere as long as there’s space and crowd hungry for real food. In the morning, side streets and pavements are means of keeping you safe as you walk on the streets, and at night it transforms to a mile-long carinderia as monoblock chairs and tables come out like wild mushrooms frequenting every corner, in the most awkward and absurd spots.
Bangkok comes alive at night, so the best time to feed your appetite is past dinner time until wee hours of the morning. On the streets you can find noodles, yummy fried chicken, iced coffee and Thai iced tea, ready to eat fresh fruits, grilled sausages, fresh Thai orange juice, sticky rice with mango, fresh fruit shakes.
One of the famous hawkers is in Sukhumvit are at Sukhumvit Soi 38. To get there ride the BTS going to Thonglo station. There are nice hawkers in Sala Daeng Station, Siam Station, and Khao San Road.
Being a little picky with food, sure there are nice restaurants in Bangkok too that I can recommend (stated in random order):
The Good View Restaurant – a restaurant by the Chao Phraya river. Just take a taxi to Rama III and look for Charoen Krung.
Buri tara – by the river ambiance too and excellent Thai food. To avoid traffic, ride the BTS to Silom station and take a taxi to Rama III and tell the driver to take you to the new Chatujak market.
Baan Khanitha – Old Thai house converted into a restaurant and art gallery. Food is okay but a bit pricey. They have branches in Sukhumvit and Sathorn.
Joe Louis Resturant – good Thai dishes ( I love the fishballs in green curry and the fried seabass) and located at Joe Louis Puppet Theater in Suan Lum Night Bazaar.
Spring Summer – Thai food and fusion, really cozy ambiance. To get there take the BTS and get off at Thonglo station. You can take a taxi to Soi Promsri.
(website: www.springnsummer.com )
To Die For Restaurant – alfresco dining is set in a garden. Good for some drinks and chat. Located at Thonglo in Sukhumvit.
Bliss – a newly opened contemporary restaurant. To get there, you can get off at Phrom Phong station and take a taxi to Soi Sawasdee Sukhumvit 31. The desserts are to die for, especially the restaurant’s signature dessert—WBC “Wow Bliss Chocolate” served with a special presentation by the head Chef (and happens to be the owner).
The Roof – the restaurant is at Siam@Siam Boutique hotel. They serve nice wine and stone grilled dishes, walking distance from BTS National Stadium station.
Silom Village – Frequented this restaurant on my first few trips in Bangkok. Good food and fresh seafood, you can also watch a cultural dance show while having dinner. Located in Silom Road but they also have a branch in Sukhumvit.
Mango Tree – I loooove the food here! Authentic Thai dishes and the branch in Surawongse is set in an old Thai house, my favorite lunch resto at the airport too before heading back home.
The Vertigo – an open-air rooftop restaurant located on the 61st floor of the luxurious Banyan Tree Hotel. This is where I first tried eating Sting Ray. If you are up for a romantic dinner over-looking the whole city of Bangkok, then this place is for you.
Now grab that purse and dine in style.Learn More
Traffic in Bangkok is awful! Rush hour in the afternoon usually starts at 4PM and could last until 8-9PM. And I mean it when I said awful, it’s like the roads could pass like a long parking lot, hardly moving. So, knowing which means of transportation to take is very important to save time and money.
This is how I rate the means of transportation there:
BTS (Bangkok Transit System)Skytrain – Like Manila’s MRT, BTS only covers the central city (that has easy access with shopping malls and some hotels) but this is the fastest (not fast enough than the motor taxi though) way to get you to your destination. BTS has 2 routes (or should I say Line/Platform), the Silom line & Sukhumvit line. To transfer from one platform to the other, interchange is at Siam station on Sukhumvit line. From 6 in the morning it runs until midnight daily. Tickets may be sold at vending machines in the stations.
Here is the copy of the map (click to enlarge):
Tip: If you think you will be coming back to Bangkok that often, you can buy a reloaded card – BTS Sky SmartPass that costs 100Baht (30Baht issuing fee and, if I remember it correctly, 30Baht for deposit ) which you can refill for a minimum of 100Baht as well. The last reload expires in 2 years and the card is valid for 5 years from the first use. This saves time in queuing at the vending machine during rush hour and as well as queuing at the counter to change bills as the machine only accepts coins.
They also have One-Day Pass for an unlimited pass, of course, just for a day. I am not sure about the price but it should be around 100Baht or so.
If I need to go to places that the BTS doesn’t cover, I get off at the station nearest to where I am going.
Motorbike Taxi – You’ll know it’s a motor taxi because drivers wear orange vest. You can find them inside or at the corner of the Soi, main roads, outside the shopping centers and malls, offices, as well as under the BTS stations. These motor taxis provide a helmet (sounds eeew knowing that fact that it’s a “public helmet” so be sure to have a hanky or tissue or even a cap to at least cover your head before wearing the helmet) just to be safe because I tell you, they fly like jeepneys when there is no traffic, and of course it is safety policy by the traffic authorities there or you pay the fine.
These motor taxis are my favorite means of transportation in Bangkok! And why oh why? It is because it IS the fastest and most convenient way to go around the city. Motorbike taxi drivers are brave enough to counter flow and could squeeze-in in between cars and buses especially during traffic.
Though, I only recommend this one to those who loves adventure and who has been to Bangkok for quite a few trips already. And the why question pops out again. Motorbike taxis are not metered and you have to know the place or area for you to haggle and negotiate for the fare. Given the fact that you are a tourist for sure they will give you a fare that will surely rip off your wallet.
Tuk-Tuk – is a three-wheeled colorful motor rickshaw. I used to ride this one because on the road they are faster than taxis, but not until I tried the motorbike taxi. The pros, cons, similarities and difference of Tuk-Tuks and Motorbike Taxis:
Both are fast but while motorbike taxis can squeeze-in in between cars and buses, tuk-tuks can not.
Both doesn’t have meter and would require your power to haggle and negotiate, plus your knowledge about how far or near your destination is.
Tuk-Tuks can seat 3 people or 2 people with a handful of shopping bags, while only 1 person with stuff or 2 small passengers for motorbike taxis.
Tuk-Tuks scams tourists while Motorbike taxis don’t.
Taxi – cute colored taxi. Flag down rate is 35Baht for the first 2 kilometers and adding 2Baht every kilometer. They have a taxi fare matrix inside the cab and I would say that they are accurate. They are easy to find because they are everywhere but I try not to use cabs on rush hour.
Unless I have no other way to get out from where I am but use them, I get off at the nearest BTS station and ride the Skytrain from there.
Other means of transpo that I haven’t tried:
MRT – this is their subway. On the map above, it is the thin blue line. I haven’t tried this one because the BTS is more accessible to my places of interest.
Buses – If I have plans on getting stuck in traffic, I’d rather use the taxi than ride a bus. Hahahaha! Kidding! I heard that buses in Bangkok are numbered, unlike here wherein the routes or destinations are flashed on the bus’ window shields. People who use buses are locals who work in the city but reside outside Bangkok (like Makati – San Pedro Laguna). Some say that bus drivers in Bangkok are more horrible than those we have here in Manila. And I confirm, YES! I was riding the motor taxi and the bus (particularly that Green, rubbish bus) almost smashed the life out of me.
Boats and Ferries – They run across the famous Chao Phraya river and they connect the city to the nearby suburbs. On the map above, the terminals are in gray tab. If you have more time to spend and opt not to use the other means of transpo, can ride the ferry when visiting the Grand Palace or other temples that are accessible through the river.
Enjoy the ride!Learn More
This is one issue that I address to friends who ask for advices when traveling to Bangkok. Avoid interaction with the word SCAM. It’s like tourists has this magnet and invisible mark on their forehead that reads “Tourist I am. Come and scam me!”.
In those Bangkok days I have yet to consider myself a Dek Krungthep, I was one of those with that stamp on my forehead. I have been fooled. Shame on me, but had it not happened, I wouldn’t have this chance to save you guys. Hahaha!
So let’s get back to business. One of the famous and common scam is called “The Gem Expo Scam”. The trick is this, when you hail a Tuk-Tuk (motorized rickshaw) going anywhere around Bangkok (especially if you are going to the temples—The Grand Palace and Wat Po), the driver will lure you to drop by at this Gem Expo before going to your destination. To get you into the crappy scheme, the crazy drivers will reassure you that it is okay if you will not buy, just get inside the shop and pretend that you are interested with those friggin’ blings and precious stones. This, my friends, is in exchange for a free 5-liter gasoline for the tuk-tuk as their commission for bringing in customers to the shop. What a win-win business model for both the shop and the drivers! And why is that? Well, I left the shop with a pair of earrings. But wait! It’s not that I really want to buy it, but the pressure’s on me that if I don’t get anything from the shop they may not give the free gas to the driver and the driver might get angry and he won’t give me the agreed fare we have negotiated earlier. Oh vulnerable days please don’t ever come back!
Tip: If Tuk-Tuk drivers offer you 30Baht-below fare for a 1 kilometer distance ride, it is a scam.
Let me remind you that this scam happens most of the time for tourists going to and from the temples of The Grand Palace and Wat Po. And here’s another style. One of my friends almost fell for this trap. Since Tuk-Tuks are all over the place in the temple area, they decided to skip the cab and take one of those tuk-tuks to the Central World Mall. The driver told her and her companions that the mall is closed and will open at noon for that day because it is the day of worship, like it’s a holiday or something. She thought that it could be the scam I was talking out so they just made an alibi and looked for a cab. It was around 11 in the morning when they reached mall. It was already open!
Fraudulent business schemes do not only happen in Bangkok. It is everywhere but just as long you do your homework (research and ask around) before going to a foreign country and always vigilant, scammers will surely miss you.Learn More
Which flight to choose is very important as it will greatly affect your itinerary. Sorry but I had to include this issue because some are asking which airline I fly to Bangkok too.
I often take PAL because as much as possible I should arrive in Suvarnabhumi Airport after lunch for me to reach Bangkok (town) before 4PM or I will be stuck in traffic. The worst flight I took was the 2PM flight off Manila, arrived Suvarnabhumi at 4:30PM and daaang, reached town after almost 4hours. Half a day wasted from traveling.
Thai Airways is cheaper compared to PAL but mostly they only have afternoon flight from Manila to Bangkok. Return flight however is an hour later than PAL (mid day).
As much as I want to take Cebu Pacific because of much cheaper fare, their flight schedule is a problem. I think it is midnight out of Manila and midnight out of Bangkok. The thing is, the latest time one can check out from the hotel is at 2PM and if you are planning to do some sightseeing and last-minute shopping, repacking the luggage or looking for a place to freshen up will be a slight problem. Anyway, you always have an option. It’s just the maarte in me minding this issue. Hahaha!!!
Off to the city you go. If you have not arranged land transfer through a travel agent, you can always take a metered taxi to the city. Make sure to get a cab on queue to avoid scams. Keep your hotel information with map in handy because you will be surprised to know that some taxi drivers doesn’t know the place (even a 5 star hotel) . Tip: If you can, research how to say the Soi name in Thai or at least you have the address in Thai characters, it would be much better.
The metered taxi charges additional 50Baht on top of the meter bill. I would also suggest for you to take the toll way because you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a damn traffic jam. Toll way fee is 70Baht (25 and 45 for the 2 toll gates [note: this rate is from Airport to Sukhumvit and Silom areas). Normally, my total bill for the cab is 370-400Baht for the surcharge, toll, and meter. Well it is much cheaper than the AOT (airport limo) that costs 1500-2000Baht (it’s a Mercedes or a Camry though).
And once you’re there, check in, freshen up, and enjoy Bangkok!Learn More