Sunday, 26 August 2012

What Went Down In Bangkok // Hotel Recommendations

This was how i spent my day during a week's stay in Bangkok! =D

Waiting for a cab outside the hotel @ Novotel Bangkok.
Having my picture taken with 招财猫 @ Terminal 21. 

Getting out of a phone booth in London while travelling by Floo powder.

The "Freaky" Piano that plays on its own @ Siam Paragon.

Dinner at the Vanilla Brasserie @ Siam Paragon.

Vanilla Latte

Cream of Mushroom Soup
Chef's Salad
Linguine with Garlic Mussels
Beef Ravioli 
Caramel Banana Crepes
Chocolate Banana Crepes
Finally, getting my hair done @ Old Siam Square before hitting the clubs.
Wished i had more time in Bangkok! I always enjoy my trips to Bangkok, but that's because i always have awesome company with me and i think a good hotel plays an important part in making a holiday truely relaxing and enjoyable. :) 

So if you're travelling to Bangkok and need suggestions on where to stay, here are some of my recommendations:

Novotel Bangkok Platinum

This hotel is relatively new with unequalled prime location that is just a few steps away from shopper's paradise, Platinum Mall. 
Breakfast is one of the better ones i've had out of all the other hotels i've stayed in. 
Even though i hate that i didn't spend enough time shopping, i couldn't help sleeping in  because the room/beds were SOOO comfortable! 
This is by far, the MOST CONVENIENT hotels because it's located right in the centre of Bangkok and most taxi drivers would know where Platinum Mall is, so getting a cab back to the hotel shouln't be a problem at all.
However, if traffic gets real bad, you'd still be able to walk to all the nearby malls within 10-25mins. 
Naturally, no taxis would take you around the city during peak hours unless you pay them at their rate (without meter) which could be 200 baht/ $8 for a 10min walk to your next destination.

Prathumwan Princess 

Being one of Bangkok's leading 5-star hotels, you'd be expecting first class service and  a refined stye at the Prathumwan Princess but be prepared to pay a premium for their luxury rooms/suites.

The interiors are simple, classy and modern with an awesome room service menu :)
Did i mention that they also have one of the best Indian and Korean restaurants in town?!
I personally love the Indian restaurant because the food was so authentic and flavourful and stayed true to its indian roots. It's a charming restaurant and service was impeccable which made the dining experience alot more pleasant.  :)

The other restaurant that i dined in was Kongju Korean Charcoal Barbeque. 

Good selection of ala carte items, side dishes were passable and service was prompt.
It was really cold inside though so if you opt to dine in here, remember to bring a jacket/cardigan! 

In case you're wondering which other hotels i'm making comparisons with, it would be the Indra Regent, All Seasons Siam Bangkok as well as the Baiyoke Sky Hotel

These are cheaper alternatives to the above 2 but only one was reasonably priced yet still clean and comfortable. 

And that would be the All Seasons Siam Bangkok located away from city near Ratchaprarop. The first time i put up there, my friends and i were ignorant and took an hour long walk  before we reached Platinum Mall. If you take a cab during non-peak hours, it would probably take you 5-10mins to reach the hotel from the mall. During peak hours, i'd advise not to travel by cab at all. Go by foot or stay put wherever you are til it's past 10 or 11. 

This is by far the cheapest hotel i've stayed in, they have adequente amenities and a decent breakfast. 
You'd have to purchase the wifi though, i think it was $10/day. 
Other than that, given the price which was $60/night/room, i wouldn't complain at all.

The other 2, i'm not so sure about, Indra Regent is just a 15mins walk from Platinum Mall via the Pratunam market. 

Breakfast was far from good and the rooms were dimly lit at night, so i had a really terrible time getting to sleep on most nights. 
I'm very anal about the atmosphere in hotel rooms as i've had my fair share of spooky hotel  experiences and i'd say for $120/night/room, this wasn't worth the money! 
We were welcomed by a frosty hotel recep and the lobby looked really miserable!
The rooms were not well-maintained and the cleaners didn't do a good job of keeping the rooms clean. Showering was a pain in the ass as well due to the insufficient flow of water from the showerhead/faucets. 
Baiyoke had a creepy vibe too and coming from my niece, she had a really terrible experience during her stay there last month. 
I wouldn't advise anyone to stay there either, i'm sorry!

To end off the posts, here are some recommendations on the places i'd usually go for food in BKK =]

1. Ar-Charn's Place, Pub & Restaurant

107 Rangnam Road
Tel: 02-2452775

Frankly speaking, food here is f***ing amazing, their Cha yan (milk tea) is one of the best in town because it's not too sweet and their appetisers are simply divine!

Didn't post alot of photos since they are not doing the food any justice. 
You'd just have to believe me and try it! 

This quaint little restaurant is near Ratchaprarop and a walkable distance from All Seasons Siam Bangkok. Opposite the street is an expensive massage parlour but service/massage is highly recommended by hotels and patronised by tourists.
A foot massage there will set you back 600 baht/SGD 24 but... being the budget Singaporean, i'd always go to the one just down the street along the hotel, which only costs 180 baht for a relatively good thai foot massage. 

2. Zi Char & Bird's Nest in Chinatown

GO to the zi char stall with the green waiters! 

I will never miss a chance to have dinner there when i visit Bangkok. 
Order the kangkong, grilled/steamed fish, tom yum goong, shark fin soup and deep fried prawns,  they are insanely fresh and i eat at least 2 even though i may suffer from a bad allergy later on. 

3. If you're lazy to travel, just head to the 6th level on Platinum Mall where they have a wider selection of thai food at an even cheaper price. 
Tom Yum Goong is Thailand's most distinctive dish, so it's a MUST order at the food court!
The other dishes i like are the Kway Teow Noodles with Pork in Gravy, Pad Thai and Satay. 
Watermelon Ice Blended is a must have for every meal. 

In fact, just try anything and everything you can! Even sweet treats like Mango Sticky Rice and Red Rubies are some of the classic traditional thai desserts you shouldn't miss out on!

And the NUMBER #1 tip in Bangkok is to..

TIP TIP TIP. Doesn't matter if it's 20 baht, 50 baht or 100 baht, good service or bad service, JUST TIP. Tipping goes a LONG way and if service/staff/food is reasonable, TIP! Even if service isn't up to your standards, tipping the staff instantly gets you better service, and a very grateful waiter. 

20 baht may seem little to us but the average thai graduate makes less than SGD 700/month! Which means.. the waiters, masseurs and chambermaids who slog daily to make ends meet earn about $120/month. =(
Offering a small tip every time a service has been delivered would be most welcomed by these hardworking professionals.

Hopefully, this post has been of some help if you are travelling to Bangkok for the first time!

Good luck and have fun! =]

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