Another Shopping Haven for Ladies – Pratunam Morning Market

Our last stop for this trip, before heading back home, was the Pratunam morning market.  As this wholesale market is only open from around 6 to 9 am daily, although we slept quite late the previous night, I still made it a “must-go” place since it seems like a market not to be missed & highly recommended by many people.  Fortunately we could wake up at the buzz of the alarm & managed to leave the hotel slightly after 7 am. :)

Based on what the hotel reception staff told us, Pratunam market is just located at the street next to Glow Pratunam hotel (turn right once you exit the Shibuya Glow entrance).  But many online reviews mentioned that it’s just outside Baiyoke Sky Hotel, so it’s kinda confusing.  Anyhow I realised that’s because the market stalls start lining up Soi Phetchaburi 19 (highlighted in grey) as seen in the map I extracted from Google Maps below:

Pratunam market map

Not all the stalls were open when we reached slightly after 7 am.  The stalls began to open quickly within the next half an hour or so & soon, the market also got more crowded, with many people pushing large trolley bags around to carry their bargains.  I guess most people come here to buy in bulk given it’s a wholesale market & many items are only priced between ฿100 to ฿200 per piece, especially if you buy at least 3 items of the same kind, you will get the wholesale price.  Otherwise the retail price would likely be around ฿200 to ฿250 per piece.

I think I only saw ladies’ clothing & accessories being sold in this market, so guys can either stay away from this market or if you need to accompany your girlfriend / wife here, then you can help to carry their purchases & have a hearty breakfast at the food stalls here. ;)  For us ladies, the food didn’t matter for we had hotel buffet breakfast waiting for us, so we “concentrated” on the shopping! :P

(Left) market was relatively quiet around 7am (Right) getting crowded as more stalls opened & customers streamed in

(Left) market was relatively quiet around 7am
(Right) getting crowded as more stalls opened & customers started to stream in near 8am

Pardon the lack of photos as I needed to focus on the numerous shops spanning across 2 streets as you can see from the map above!  Although I didn’t get to enjoy the wholesale price for my purchases, I still find the prices cheaper here compared to Platinum.  Beware of impulse buying though as you may be tempted to do so with such cheap prices!  Fortunately I was able to control myself quite well, or should I say, it was because I was lost in the huge selection of choices haha.  A good experience at Pratunam morning market, next time I shall try some of the food here too. :)

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Glow Pratunam, Thailand

Finally, after a long day of shopping, eating & walking, we returned to Glow Pratunam hotel (919 Petchburi Road, Kwang Thanon Phayathai, Rajdhevi กรุงเทพมหานคร 10400, Thailand. Tel: +66 2 257 3999) to get our room keys.  We had checked in earlier that morning before the official check-in time so couldn’t get a room yet.  Hence we parked our luggage at the concierge & went shopping at Platinum Fashion Mall which is just located opposite the hotel.  It was a pleasure to hear that our luggage had been put in our room given that it was late, almost 11pm. :P

Pics taken at the hotel lobby that morning as well as the building entrance before heading to Platinum

Photos taken at the hotel lobby as well as the building entrance that morning (top right)

I managed to take some photos of the hotel in the day before we left to enjoy the day.  Just a note that this hotel only occupies 7th to 20th floor of Shibuya 19, another shopping mall in the area.  Therefore if you notice the top right photo above, the building is called “Shibuya Glow”.  You will need to take the elevator on the left side of the building (after entering via this main entrance) to 7th floor, where the hotel lobby is.

Glow Pratunam is relatively new, only opened in 2012 so its facilities & room amenities still look quite new too.  Although the hotel lobby looked kind of dark & dim, when we went up to our room on 16th floor, it was quite brightly lit.

A brightly lit & long corridor welcomed us upon reaching 16th floor

A brightly lit & long corridor welcomed us upon reaching 16th floor

Our deluxe twin room

Our deluxe twin room

The room looked chic & comfortable.  Although just 29 square meters, it appeared more spacious than Grand Millennium Sukhumvit which claimed that the room size is 38 square meters.  Everything was well maintained too.  If I really had to be picky, it would probably be that the sliding doors of the cabinet often slide too quickly & the bathroom would be exposed to a certain extent (because you can either open the cabinet door from the bathroom or from the bedroom).  Other than that, nothing much to complain about. :)

Complimentary WIFI internet access was available although we didn’t really need to use it since we each bought a Traveller SIM card that provided unlimited data access too.  Nonetheless, I did try the WIFI connection & it seemed to be pretty stable.  I also took photos of the night view & day view from the window of our room:

(Top) night view (Bottom) day view

(Top) night view
(Bottom) day view

Before we retreated to our comfortable room for a good night’s rest, we also had our traditional Thai body massage done at the hotel for 1.5 hours (฿500/ S$21.30).  Originally I had wanted to try out the highly recommended Number One Massage located on Petchburi Soi 15, adjacent to Glow Pratunam but it was raining so heavily we dismissed the idea of looking for it.  Anyway, the massage at the hotel paled in comparison to Health Land that we did the previous day.  I felt my masseur kind of short-changed me, she requested for an urgent toilet break & was gone for a while, but my massage still ended slightly before my friend, although we started same time.  Furthermore she also kept hurrying us while we were changing into the gowns provided, saying that we were “late & the 1.5 hours starts now”. :(

The booking we made at this hotel came with buffet breakfast, & the restaurant was just behind the hotel reception.  It was not a big restaurant, & crowded when we arrived slightly after 9am.  We only had to let the staff know our room number & we could enjoy our breakfast, no breakfast coupons needed.

Glow Pratunam Hotel breakfast

Above is a photo collage of the food I ate as well as a peek into the buffet layout. I also had some fruits that I did not take picture of.  The food was decent though not a huge variety of choices were available.  While there wasn’t much to shout about the indoor dining area, the outdoor dining area gave a bright & cheery feel.  But I guess it’s too hot for anyone to want to eat out there haha.

Nice ambience at the outdoor dining area

Nice ambience at the outdoor dining area

The only downside about its location is that the nearest BTS station is about 15 min walk away – Ratchathewi.  On our way back from Siam area, we took the BTS from Siam to Ratchathewi but lost our way when trying to walk to the hotel.  Nonetheless, getting to the airport was still quite easy.  We took a taxi to the nearest Airport Rail Link station – Rajprarop, upon checking out of the hotel.  The ride took less than 10 min (it was 11+ am then & cost about ฿50) & the airport rail link took about 25 min (฿40/ S$1.70).  So in less than an hour, we arrived at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, so convenient, cheap & fast since there was no traffic jam to be afraid of. ;)

I think this hotel is quite popular amongst tourists, given its strategic location opposite Platinum as well as near other prime shopping malls.  In fact at the breakfast restaurant, I could hear the voices of many Singaporeans, through the way they spoke.  Overall, this is a nice hotel to stay in, value for money too, we paid around S$100 for a night.  I wouldn’t mind staying here the next time again. :)

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Checking Out the Siam BTS Area

After praying at the Erawan Shrine, we continued our way along Ploenchit Road towards Siam BTS station.  Besides a section of Central World which can be found on this road, there are also other popular shopping malls like Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Siam Discovery and Siam Square 1 along this stretch.

We went into these shopping malls, not so much to shop, but to check out what they offer within.  I would say they cater mainly to the affluent & younger crowd, with many international luxury labels e.g. Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc, Rolex available here.  The Madame Tussauds Bangkok museum can be found at Siam Discovery level 6 while the Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World is located at Siam Paragon basement 1 & 2.

In addition to all the fashion & tourist attractions that you can find, there are also a number of worthy cafes to check out in this area.  We didn’t try them out but based on online reviews, as well as the look & feel of the cafes, they do look good to try out. :)

On Siam Center level 4, there were 2 cafes that caught my attention – Petite Audrey and Let Them Eat Cake.

Petite Audrey @Siam Center

Petite Audrey @Siam Center

Let Them Eat Cake @Siam Center

Let Them Eat Cake @Siam Center

We had been to Audrey Cafe & Bistro on Thonglo Soi 11 for dinner on our first day & were impressed by the lovely experience at its flagship store.  The Petite Audrey branch at Siam Center was like an exact replica of the flagship store, just smaller, and like the name suggested, petite. ;) Given that it was dinner time, the cafe was crowded & there were people queuing outside to get in as well.

As for Let Them Eat Cake, I had been craving to try its cakes & pastries since I saw the pictures of pretty pastries that other bloggers had posted online, but was disappointed to learn that its flagship store near Asok BTS station was no longer in operation.  It is a fine Thai-French patisserie & the cafe looked so cosy & chic.  However when we looked at the pastries on display we were somewhat shocked by the prices as a small slice of cake was easily priced ฿150 or more.  Considering that such prices can easily buy you a full meal in Bangkok, guess that probably explained why there was not even a single customer that evening? :P  Nonetheless the pastries looked really exquisite & yummy, probably I will try another time when I feel richer hehe.

Across the road from Siam Center is Siam Square 1, where Bangkok’s first Hello Kitty House is.  It was officially opened only from August 2014, a huge 3-storey unit with a Hello Kitty cafe, shop & spa.  It is located on the ground floor at the back of Siam Square 1 (i.e. not facing Siam Center).

Hello Kitty House @Siam Square 1

Hello Kitty House @Siam Square 1

The whole house is decked in pink (but you can’t really see it clearly from my photos above taken at night) with images of the cute cat everywhere.  There is a takeaway counter just next to the entrance on its first floor so we had a sneak peek at the cute desserts available, which is a bit pricey for the locals I feel, similar to what Let Them Eat Cake is offering.  Nonetheless, I guess this is THE place to come for Hello Kitty fans no matter the price. :P

To get to Siam area, the most convenient way is to take the BTS to Siam station & you will have easy access to all these happening shopping centers in town!  You can also check out the MBK Center, an older shopping mall opened since 1985, connected to the Siam Discovery & Siam Paragon shopping malls by elevated walkways. :)

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The Famous Erawan Shrine aka Four-Faced Buddha

Erawan Shrine (ศาลพระพรหม in Thai) in Bangkok, more commonly known as the Four-Faced Buddha or 四面佛, is not strictly Buddhist, but a Brahma god (of Hindu origin).

During the mid-1950s the Thai government decided to build the luxury Erawan Hotel on this site, but its construction was delayed by a series of mishaps, including cost overruns, injuries to labourers, & the loss of a shipload of Italian marble intended for the building, led people to believe it was because the foundations were laid on the wrong date.  Thus, the superstitious labourers refused to continue unless the land spirits were appeased.

An astrologer advised erecting the shrine to honour the four-faced Brahma God, Than Tao Mahaprom to counter the negative influences.  Hence, the Brahma statue was designed and built by the Department of Fine Arts and enshrined on 9 November 1956.  The Erawan Hotel’s construction thereafter proceeded without further incident.  However, in 1987, the hotel was demolished as it could not compete with more modern facilities and was replaced by the privately-owned Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel in 1991.

Than Tao Mahaprom is believed to be a Brahma god full of kindness, mercy, sympathy and impartiality. Each virtue is represented in the four faces of the image.  As the shrine was originally constructed to grace the old Erawan Hotel, the location became known as the Erawan Shrine.

A little pity that at the time of our visit, the Erawan Shrine was undergoing restoration & we didn’t get to see it.

Aerial view of Erawan Shrine from the BTS Skywalk

Aerial view of Erawan Shrine from the BTS Skywalk

Despite being all covered up, there were still quite a number of worshippers paying respects to the shrine, as you can see from the photo above.  It has been said that Than Tao Mahaprom helped many worshippers to fulfil their wishes, be it locals or tourists, so that probably explains why there is a constant stream of believers making their way there to make ceremonial offerings at the shrine.

There was also a Thai Classical Dance troupe behind the shrine (try spotting it in the background of my photo above) dancing joyfully to the rhythms of the traditional music being played.  Worshippers may also make their cash contributions near the entrance, & these contributions are being managed by a foundation who distributes funds regularly to various charitable organisations and equipment for needy hospitals in the provinces.

Go experience the aura of reverence yourself when you are in Bangkok!

To get to Erawan Shrine:

Nearest BTS station – Chit Lom

Location –  In front of Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, corner of Ploenchit and Ratchadamri Road

Opening hours – 0600 to 2300 hrs daily

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After You Dessert Cafe

I forgot when did I start seeing all the pretty dessert photos of After You Dessert Cafe posted online, but it seemed that everyone who visited Bangkok just had to go to this dessert cafe, so it made me really curious about what magic After You has. :)

After trying out the desserts at After You’s Central World branch, I think I know why now. ;)

After You @Central World 7th Floor

After You @Central World 7th Floor

I wouldn’t say the cafe is very eye-catching from the outside, because I nearly missed it when we passed by, if not for my friend who was more alert in spotting the cafe signboard. :P Nonetheless, once we stepped in, the ambience made me feel comfortable though the design was simple.

We were lucky that there was no queue when we arrived around 4.30pm, but it was almost full house inside.  The waitress at the entrance gave us a queue number, and said a table would be reserved for us while we should place our order at the counter before taking a seat first.  After a quick “discussion” at the counter, we ordered its best seller Shibuya Honey Toast (฿175/ S$7.50) & a Mille Crepe (฿115/ S$4.90) to share, as well as Royal Thai Milk Tea (฿85/ S$3.60) for myself & a Hot Latte (฿95/ S$4.10) for my friend.

After You desserts

The Shibuya Honey Toast was the first to be served at our table & gosh, we didn’t expect it to be this huge!  It came with 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream as well as whipped cream.  The thick toast was nicely done, crispy on the outside & soft & fluffy on the inside, aroi (delicious, as the Thais call it)!  We were given a small jug with honey but we decided the toast was already sweet enough & there was no need to add the honey.

As for the Mille Crepe, it was very good too, with a soft & “melt in your mouth” layered texture, what’s more, the sweetness was just right.  It was hard to stop once you get a bite of this lovely pastry. :)

I didn’t take photo of our beverages because the way they were presented, were too normal, not pretty enough haha.  Anyway I felt my Royal Thai Milk Tea was too sweet, like a sugar overdose, but probably that’s how the locals like it I guess.  Glad that there was free flow of iced tea that we could help ourselves to, it tasted like those Korean barley tea flavour & sort of neutralized all the sweetness we were taking in.

The cafe had a constant flow of customers streaming in throughout the time we were there.  Having tried its desserts now, I think it’s little wonder why this cafe joint enjoys good business, because the Shibuya Honey Toast & Mille Crepe were really good!  Furthermore, with an open concept & brightly lit cafe, this is probably the place where youngsters would love to be seen hanging out at, even if the price may not be that cheap by local standards.

I think I will pop by again to try out its other mouthwatering desserts the next time I visit Bangkok! :) See below for the details of the Central World branch I visited.  There are 7 other branches spread out across Bangkok listed on its website.

Address:

4,4 / 1-2,4 / 4, Ratchadamri Road, Pathumwan, Central World 7th Floor,
Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Phone: (66) 02 252-5434

Open: 1000 to 2000 hrs daily

How to get there:

Central World is a huge shopping mall located near Platinum Fashion Mall.  If you exit Platinum via the Petchaburi Road, head east (right) till you reach the traffic junction about 160m away where you can turn right onto Ratchadamri Road.  Walk along this road for about 350m & you will see Central World, that’s how we got there as well after shopping at Platinum.  Do look out for H&M on the 1st floor as the escalator near H&M will be the closest one that leads you up to the 7th floor where After You is. ;)

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A Shopping Haven for Ladies – Platinum Fashion Mall

Mention Bangkok and the activity “shopping” immediately comes to mind, especially for ladies.  Before this short trip, I always hear girlfriends commenting on how they enjoy shopping so much in Bangkok, particularly at the famous Platinum Fashion Mall (222 Petchburi Road, Bangkok, Thailand) where it is a very big wholesale mall.  Many times, I wondered why, & so this mall was one of the “must-visit” places on our itinerary since we both had never been here.

There are a total of 6 floors in this mall dedicated to fashion wear, of which 4 floors are for women fashion (from basement to third floor)!  Wohoo~  Men’s fashion can only be found on the 4th floor, while the 5th floor houses children’s wear, accessories, gifts and shoes.  There is a huge food court on the 6th floor, which is also linked to Novotel Platinum Bangkok hotel.  So many floors for ladies, that says a lot of the female spending power potential ya? :P

Platinum Fashion Mall is just conveniently located opposite Glow Pratunam hotel along Petchburi Road, via access of a skywalk (or overhead bridge as we are used to calling) on the left of Glow Pratunam hotel/ Shibuya 19 entrance.  The nearest BTS station to the mall is Chit Lom, but it is a bit far to walk from Chit Lom, take a taxi or tuk tuk there for the convenience.

View of Platinum Fashion Mall from the skywalk

View of Platinum Fashion Mall from the skywalk

There are just too many little shops in this mall on each floor, so if you see something you like, you should just grab it & not have the “browse first, decide later” mentality.  Because it will be difficult for you to find the exact same shop back after looking through the numerous shops.  Do note that the mall is only open till 8pm daily though I heard after 6pm many shops start to close so it is better to come here early (it opens at 8 am on Saturdays, Sundays & Wednesdays / 9 am on the rest of the days).

You can’t try on the clothes here, but I heard there are some sellers who will help you to take measurements so that you know which size to buy, or they allow you to try in the fitting room in the restrooms & go back to exchange for the right size if need be.  However, I didn’t personally get them to help take my measurements or try to get an exchange.  The clothes that I bought are all free size & luckily fit me well.  Too bad I am not the petite kind, so I didn’t dare to buy any jumpsuits or bottoms although they all looked so attractive!  Oh btw, I thought that the shops are more interesting on 2nd & 3rd floor for ladies compared to basement (caters to an older age group probably?) & 1st floor.

In addition, as this is a wholesale mall, if you buy more pieces (usually at least 2 pieces) you will be able to get a wholesale price versus just buying 1 piece at the retail price.  Nonetheless the retail price was still very reasonable & affordable compared to what we pay for in Singapore.  The average price per piece of clothing I bought was not even S$8! ;)

Pardon me for the lack of photos of the various levels, but I had to “concentrate” on my shopping experience in order to sniff out the good buys, hence only 1 photo below when I finally remembered this task (on a not-too-crowded 1st floor). :P

A snapshot of how the mall looks like on level 1

A snapshot of how the mall looks like on level 1

After all the hard leg work to get the best buys, it was time to take a breather & have lunch at the food court on the 6th floor.  This is a large food court compared to the one at Terminal 21, able to sit more than 1,500 people.  I wasn’t feeling too hungry having just munched into a hot crepe from one of the snack kiosks at the basement.  So after browsing the numerous food stalls twice, I finally settled for a bowl of fishball noodles because I decided I have to try a nice sticky rice with mango after eating a lousy one the previous day at Terminal 21. :P

Delicious spicy fishball noodles ฿35/ S$1.50

Delicious spicy fishball noodles ฿55/ S$2.30

Sticky rice with mango ฿100/ S44.30

Sticky rice with mango ฿100/ S$4.30

Both dishes I had were delicious.  The fishball noodles had a lot of ingredients put into the soup – QQ fishballs, cripsy fried wanton skin & fish cake slices in Thai-style spicy glass noodles.  The sticky rice with mango did not disappoint me finally.  The sticky rice texture was just nice and chewy, accompanied by the sweet mango slices.  The prices here may look higher than Pier 21 food court at Terminal 21, but I think it is still reasonable as their portions were bigger than Pier 21’s.  Same as Pier 21, the Platinum food court adopts a cashless system and you need to buy its coupon card before you can make any purchase at the stall.  Any unutilised amount in the coupon card can also be refunded at the counter.

After lunch, we continued shopping on the fifth floor for accessories & the likes for another hour or so, before we left to explore other parts of Bangkok.

In the past, I had the impression that shopping in Bangkok is only limited to buying casual wear, but this visit to Platinum has totally changed that idea, because my purchase included a variety of clothing from t-shirts to office tops, as well as some accessories.  If not for time constraint given our short stay in Bangkok, I think I could have been able to purchase more!  Now I no longer wonder why my girlfriends love Platinum so much. ;)

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Health Land Spa & Massage

When a friend realised I was visiting Bangkok for a short getaway, she recommended me to try Health Land Spa & Massage service & advised us to make a reservation as it is very popular.  I checked out its website & found the Asoke branch was the most convenient for us to visit given that it is near to the Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok.

So after checking in to the hotel on the first day, we got directions from the hotel staff & made our way down to the branch, an easy stroll of less than 10 min from the hotel.  Below is a simple “how to get there” map for your reference:

NB: Red box represents Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok

NB: Red box represents Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok

Turn right upon exit from the hotel lobby entrance out to Sukhumvit 21 & walk for a short while down the road till you see a road junction in front of Sino-Thai Tower.  Cross the junction to get to diagonally opposite Sino-Thai Tower, where Serm Mits Tower is (think you can see a 7-11 there).  Then just continue down Sukhumvit Soi 21 & you will be able to see the Health Land Spa & Massage building within 5 min.

Health Land Asoke

Health Land Asoke

It was easy to make reservations at Health Land because there were so many counter staff eagerly waiting to serve us at the spacious reception.  I reserved a 2-hour traditional Thai massage (฿500/ S$21.30) while my friend requested for a 1-hour foot massage (฿300/ S$12.80) that evening. Unfortunately we were unable to return to the same branch for the relaxing treatment as our original plan went haywire due to the flood in the afternoon.

All Health Land branches are stand alone buildings that come with spacious parking lots, like what you see above.  How did I know?  Because we couldn’t get back in time to Health Land Asoke for our massage appointment by 7.10pm after dinner at Audrey, I searched for the nearest Health Land branch to Thong Lo district & found that there is an Ekamai branch.  With the help of the friendly waiter whom I chatted with at Audrey, we decided to find our way to Health Land Ekamai & try our luck in getting a massage done, without any reservations, since it was a weekday night & we reckon it may not be that crowded. ;)

Trying to locate the branch was an adventure by itself, because we had to “brave” through the heavy traffic in the dark, got lost along the way & asked quite a few locals for directions as well.  Luck was on our side that night when we finally reached at least half an hour later & managed to enjoy the massage without making any reservations. :P

As I was too full from the dinner, I changed my mind & requested for a foot massage instead, same as my friend.  It was really an enjoyable massage, quite different from the foot massages I have done in Singapore where the masseur would massage your various acupoints on the feet, causing pain.  This foot massage was so relaxing that we kinda dozed off on the comfortable armchair, probably also because the massage place was quiet & dark, a conducive environment to take a nap in hehe.  The foot massage came with a nice head & shoulder massage as well.

I highly recommend Health Land Spa & Massage for a superb & reasonably-priced massage experience should you visit Bangkok next time.  You can’t leave Bangkok without doing at least 1 massage, can you?  So why not just visit Health Land to make your money worth (if you haven’t done so)? ;)

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Audrey Cafe & Bistro (Thonglo Soi 11)

A cafe & bistro setting inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s costume design & colour scheme in the 1961 American classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, Audrey Cafe & Bistro was officially opened in 2011 on Thonglo Soi 11 & remains as the flagship store for the “Audrey” chain, now with 3 other branches including a Petite Audrey at Siam Center 4th floor.  Audrey serves Thai & European dishes, from simple comforts to twisted fusion recipes.

We were attracted to its charming decor and food recommendations posted online by bloggers, hence this was a “must-do” on our list.  Fortunately the flash flood subsided in the late afternoon & we got the hotel to help us book a taxi to go there as we wanted to avoid getting our feet wet again.  However, it was sheer luck that we had to board a taxi that was “flooded” inside, possibly because the previous passengers brought in the rainwater. ;(  So for the entire journey we had to “hang” our feet up in mid-air, & it didn’t help that there was traffic jam due to evening peak hour, & we could only reach after around 45 min. -_-“

We were so relieved upon arrival at Audrey, especially happy to be greeted by this lovely entrance:

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Perhaps because of the heavy downpour earlier, the outdoor dining area was closed.  Since it was still early for dinner, at 5+pm, there were only a couple of customers in the restaurant.  We had already read food reviews of Audrey & roughly know what to order, but with quite a variety to choose from, we still took some time as all looked delectable.  The service staff were all quite friendly, particularly 1 waiter who gave us not only recommendations, but was also helpful when I checked with him on directions etc.  My friend commented that Audrey reminded her of Antoinette back in Singapore, with similar ambience but lousy customer service.  Indeed, what a stark contrast. :P

Here are some photos I took of the charming ambience as well as appetizing food & beverages:

Banyan tree with lights outside Audrey, adding to its charm

Banyan tree with lights outside Audrey, adding to its contemporary charm

I love Audrey's theme!

I love Audrey’s theme!

& these pretty cushions too!

& these pretty cushions too!

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We shared all the main dishes – mixed fruits fried rice with crispy fried pork (฿220/ S$9.40), 8-inch thin crust baby pizzas: carbonara & tom yum kung (฿190 each/ S$8.10 each); so that we have room for dessert.  I had originally wanted to order the famous Thai milk tea crepe cake but it wasn’t available on the menu, so we chose the Thai milk tea lava dessert (฿150/ S$6.40) instead.

No regrets for any of the food choices because they were all to our liking!  The fried rice was fragrant & its accompanying fried pork was really crispy.  We also loved the baby pizzas, with crusts so thin & crispy, generous with its toppings too.  The dessert had a strong milk tea flavour, really sweet, but glad the flower petals helped somewhat to neutralize the sweetness.  As for our beverages, the blue “Audrey On My Mind” (฿110/ S$4.70) was pretty refreshing at first as it has a tinge of sour taste mixed with sweetness.  But after a while the sweetness overtook the passion fruit sourness, so it became a bit overbearing for us.  We preferred the green “Lychee Chiller” (฿105/ S$4.50) which has a nice consistent lychee taste.

Both of us felt that this was the best meal for the trip, with a pleasant dining experience to remember in an elegantly decorated restaurant.  The total bill came to ฿1,062/ S$45.30, which we thought was worth the buck as we would never be able to only pay such price for all the food if we were back in Singapore (or Antoinette, just for comparison hehe).  So all the “suffering” in the 45-min taxi journey was worth it afterall! :)

I shall end this post with Audrey Cafe & Bistro address & directions on how to get there.  It may be good for you to make reservations before going, especially during meal times as it is a popular hangout. :)

Address:

136/3 Soi Thonglo11, Vaddhana,
Sukhumvit 55 Bangkok, Thailand 10110

Phone: (66) 02.7126667-8 / 089.000.8090

How to get there:

From BTS Thong Lo station exit 3, it is about 15 to 20 min walk to Audrey.  Head northeast on Route 3 towards Sukhumvit 55 Rd. (Soi Thong Lo).  Then turn left onto Soi Thong Lo 11 after you see a police booth.  Audrey is about 300m down the street.

If you don’t want to walk, then take a taxi there, but try to avoid the peak hours as there will be heavy traffic jam!

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Terminal 21 Shopping Mall

Terminal 21, a retail mall cum hotel & residence is located in the Watthana district, situated on the Sukhumvit and Asok intersection. It is conveniently linked to BTS Skytrain Asok station exit 1 & Bangkok MRT Sukhumvit station exit 3 with a skywalk.  The complex was opened only in October 2011, still looks quite new & is well maintained.

View of Terminal 21 from Grand Millennium Sukhumvit entrance

View of Terminal 21 from Grand Millennium Sukhumvit entrance

Just a note that although Terminal 21 is said to be opposite Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok (where we stayed) along Asok Road, to get to the main entrance of the mall, you will have to turn right to Sukhumvit Road at the junction.  The mall looks so near to us but yet the walk to get into the building takes about 10 min because of this.

This little minus point aside, the retail mall concept is interesting, like what its pamphlet says, it “brings you to a whole new shopping journey with more than 600 urbanista shops selected from famous local shops”, while “cruising through famous shopping street atmosphere” from around the world.  In fact, the whole mall looks like an airport terminal, with different city themes on each floor.  Even the security guards at the entrance were dressed like those customs officers at airports.  Shopping here isn’t that cheap so we merely window shopped, spending most of our time admiring the beautiful theme decors on each floor & taking photos.  I think this was also 1 of the few times I spent so much time going to the ladies’ restroom in shopping malls hahaha.  Simply because they are also uniquely decorated in their respective themes!  See what I found on the different floors! ;)

LG – Carribean

The theme on this floor is Caribbean Beach Town, decorated with a beach, a sea anchor and a lighthouse.  The gourmet supermarket is here, together with fast food restaurants, banks, bookshops & convenience stores.  I love the bright & colour theme here, made me feel like going to the beach. :)

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

Beautiful carribean theme Ladies, I don't mind staying longer here :)

Beautiful Carribean theme ladies’ restroom, seriously I don’t mind resting a while more here!

G Floor – Rome

This is where the street level entrance is.  It houses luxury brands & boutiques, with a Heaven of Rome theme.  It is decorated with marble sculptures, Roman mythological figures & well-known paintings.

Even taking a ride on the escalator is like departing for another country!

Even taking a ride on the escalator is like departing for another country!

Beautiful Roman

Beautiful Roman sculpture & fountain

Entrance to the Roman's restroom

Entrance to the Roman’s restroom

Pardon me for not being able to show you the tastefully done restroom interior, because the restroom makes use of full-length mirrors all round to create a very spacious feel, so I wasn’t able to shoot a nice photo without revealing our faces in it. :P

M Floor – Paris

On this floor, the theme is Champs-Élysées Boulevard and Parisian Boutiques Streets, full of Thai designer boutiques & beauty shops.  Sculptures of Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower can be found here.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos here as they somehow didn’t look good on my camera.

First Floor – Tokyo

This floor is themed after the Nakamise-Dōri Market and happening Harajuku Town.  You can find ladies’ wear here, decorated with sculptures of Sumo, Torii, Samurai and Maneki Neko.  Nothing wow about the restrooms here so I didn’t take any photos.

Sumo wrestling

Sumo wrestling

Maneki Neko, aka Fortune Cat / 招财猫

Maneki Neko, aka Fortune Cat / 招财猫

Second Floor – London

Over here, it is decorated with iconic red telephone boxes, London’s double-decker buses, London Underground, the Tower Bridge and a Union Jack Flag.  Oxford Street of London is the theme here, with shops selling men’s wear, jeans and sporting goods.

Telephone booth

Iconic red telephone box

The London soldier

The London soldier

London's red double deck bus

London’s red double deck bus

London theme restroom

Third Floor – Istanbul

This floor, housing shops selling footwear, accessories & gifts, is an Istanbul Market Town theme, decorated with Istanbul style lamps.  I only took 1 photo of the beautiful Istanbul style lamps & the restroom didn’t wow us too. :P

IMG_0012

Fourth & Fifth Floor – San Francisco City & Pier

On the 4th floor, it is Chinatown of San Francisco, decorated with sculptures of the San Francisco Trams and Golden Gate Bridge, with many local famous restaurants housed here.  As for the 5th floor, the food court Pier 21 is located here, together with international restaurants, decorated with the theme Fisherman’s Wharf.  We love the decor on these 2 floors including its restrooms, great for cam-whoring. :P  The S.F. City themed restroom was colourful & cheery but sorry, forgot to take photo without our faces in it, so can’t show you here.

Golden Gate Bridge spanning across both 4th & 5th floors

Golden Gate Bridge spanning across both 4th & 5th floors

Fisherman's Wharf theme restroom on 5th floor

Fisherman’s Wharf theme restroom on 5th floor

In addition, we also had our first meal in Bangkok at Pier 21 food court on the 5th floor.  It was lunch time so the food court was pretty crowded.  We realised that to purchase at the food court, we need to first get a food court card (think minimum amount was ฿100).  Cash payment at the stalls wasn’t allowed.  However, if you are unable to fully utilise the amount in your card within 30 days, you can always get a refund from the counter (which we did after our meal).

I had the spicy medium rice noodles with BBQ pork soup (฿35, abt S$1.50).  Very small portion but rather tasty to me, though my friend didn’t really enjoy it.  It tasted like our local bak chor mee with a Thai twist, with sliced cabbage, char siew (or BBQ pork) & chewy fishballs mixed with the rice noodles, & lots of crushed peanuts added for a nice crunch.

My little portion of spicy noodles was bought at this stall

My little portion of spicy rice noodles was bought at this stall

I also ordered a small portion of Thai sweet sticky rice with mango (also ฿35), but was quite disappointed with the dessert.  The sticky rice was kinda hard & the miserly mango slices not as sweet as I had hoped for.  Do note that the prices at this food court may look wallet-friendly, but the portions are really quite small, maybe that’s the whole idea of getting you to order more food to try. :)

One interesting point to note at this food court was, since it was a weekday lunch time that we went, I noticed that there were many lanyards with office passes, or tissue paper etc being placed on the tables, with no one sitting at the tables.  Whoever thought that the “chope culture of seats” using tissue paper & the likes is a “truly Singaporean” culture must be so wrong since the Thais also do it! :P

Sixth Floor – Hollywood

This is the top floor that is decorated with the Hollywood Sign & an Oscar Statuette.  It houses 8 screens of SF Cinema City, the Fitness First health club, a spa as well as IT & Mobile products.  We didn’t venture on this floor so no photos.

Overall, although this is a retail mall with a higher price point, I think it is still nice coming here to enjoy the different themes & take photos, especially if you are in the vicinity.  Who knows, you may still be able to find some unexpected bargains somehow? ;)

Categories: Asia, Bangkok, Thailand | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok

Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok, located near Sukhumvit & Asok stations, is a 5-star hotel in the prime central area of Bangkok city.  The hotel features a sail-like glass façade and provides spacious rooms and suites.  Getting to the hotel from Suvarnabhumi Airport was easy & convenient, here’s how:

  1. At the Airport Rail Link station (airport basement), buy a ticket to Makkasan station on the SA City Line (฿35, abt S$1.50).
  2. Exit Makkasan Station & walk to Phetchaburi station (6-7 min walk) – just follow the clear signage along the way.
  3. Buy a ticket from Phetchaburi station to get to Sukhumvit station (฿16, abt S$0.70), just 1 stop away. Exit Sukhumvit station exit 2.  You will be able to see the hotel from afar given its unique sail-like glass façade, less than 5 min walk down the road.

Do note that there are different rail systems in Bangkok – BRT, Airport Link, BTS Sky Train, & MRT, and they use different ticketing systems so you will have to buy 2 separate tickets here, once at Airport Rail Link station, and once at Phetchaburi station.  Fret not, the vending machine has clear instructions for you to follow, or you can always buy at the station counter.  Below is a picture to show you how the tickets (in the form of a chip) look like against the route maps in the background:

(Left) Airport Rail Link ticket & SA City Line route (Right) MRT ticket & route

(Left) Airport Rail Link ticket & SA City Line route
(Right) MRT ticket & route

This method to get to the hotel is cheap (only ฿51 / S$2.20), fuss-free & saves you a lot of time compared to taking a cab because Bangkok is notorious for its traffic jams, especially during peak hours.  The airport rail link journey only took about 25 min, the MRT journey less than 5 min, so including all the walking, you can probably reach the hotel in 45 min! ;)  Below is a photo of the hotel exterior for you to recognise it once you get out of exit 2.

Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok's sail-like exterior

Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok’s sail-like exterior

We decided to stay at this hotel for the first day as I thought with my M&C membership, it would give me a higher chance to secure a room before official check-in hours with our early arrival.  However, according to the reception staff, the hotel was full house the previous day hence they could only give us a non-smoking deluxe twin room around noon.  There was a business event that day at the hotel & we really saw lots of guests everywhere at the lobby.  So we left our luggage at the concierge & headed to the nearby Terminal 21 shopping mall, instead of wasting time waiting for our room to be ready.

We spent about 2 hours at Terminal 21, & couldn’t return to the hotel because of the heavy downpour.  Around an hour later, seeing that the rain was less intense, we wanted to return to the hotel to freshen up given that we had been up since 4am that day.  But gosh, the heavy rainfall earlier had created a flash flood for our only route back, & at the worst point the water level was up to my knees!  It didn’t help that we were both wearing 3/4 pants then & not in shorts yet… :'(

Flash flood on Asoke Road (Sukhumvit Soi 21)

Flash flood on Asoke Road (Sukhumvit Soi 21)

So an otherwise easy 10 min walk back to the hotel became a tiring & slow trail. -_-”  We were so glad when we finally reached the hotel lobby & got the keys to our room.

Our deluxe twin room with a see-through bathtub

Our deluxe twin room with a see-through bathtub

Upon entering, we both felt the room didn’t look as spacious as we thought (38 sq.m), probably because of the space the big bathtub, toilet & shower area occupied.  Although the bathtub is surrounded by see-through glass, there’s actually blinds to draw down for some privacy.  Unfortunately ours was faulty & we had to call the maintenance staff to come & fix it.  Glad the staff came promptly and fixed the issue quickly.  Another minor problem we noticed in the room was the missing hotel information booklet.  Although the ring file for the booklet was on the work desk, there was nothing inside the file, but we only found out at night so didn’t bother to feedback.  No great views from the room since hotel is located in a business district, you can see for yourself in the photo below, taken while stuck in the hotel due to the flood:

View from the window of our room

View from the window of our room

Other than these, the room was comfortable and well-maintained.  All hotel staff were friendly and were prompt to attend to our queries too.  It was nice of them to provide a big sturdy umbrella in the room too!  We brought it along when we were finally able to leave the hotel after more than 1 hour.  However, I was joking with my friend, perhaps it was more practical for the hotel to provide waterproof boots to guests since it is located in a low-lying area & probably with bad drainage system, with higher possibility of getting such floods. :P

As we only had 1 free night stay here & the price for the subsequent night was close to ฿5,000 (more than S$200), we decided to stay at Glow Pratunam the following night instead.  No regrets for this choice because of the huge cost savings, proximity to more affordable shopping & dining, & I guess, we kinda avoided the possible flood the next day as well!  ;)

Categories: Asia, Bangkok, Thailand | Tags: | 2 Comments

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