Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The next 24 hours in Bangkok

It was a Monday so friend had to work and I had some dirty laundry to wash, literally. I set out about noon time from Silom. The only itinerary plan was to Erawan Shrine to pray. Friend suggested that I should maybe contribute more to Thailand economy and shop a bit, friend suggested Pratunam Market.

Next up for lunch. Due to my non planning and without my trusty local guide with me, I just ate some random place.

Pad Thai, mm.. this one only so-so

Lup chup - I bought this simply because it looks pretty. Haha. Gullible

Mango sticky rice / Khao Niew Ma Muang
As I had 2 desserts for lunch, I had to walk them off so I just wandered around the area. Dinner was at Suan Phlu area, apparently it is now an upcoming hippy area but we had dinner at some neighbourhood thai eatery. The shop that my friend wanted to bring me to was closed that evening so we went to Larp Suanplu. They actually have a branch in Silom too. Price was most reasonable.

I think on top of that, we have another dish and a drink each. All the food costs less than 300 baht from memory, courtesy of my friend too. After meal drinks was at Smalls.

Side note: It appears that all ATM machine in Bangkok charges an ATM fee. :( I tried the whole row of ATM in the airport...

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The first 24 hours in Bangkok

I have just realised someone was posing for me in the photo... don't know who that was... 
Long, long time ago, Thailand was associated with voodoo, no thanks to all the movies back then and my mother's nerves. Despite growing up in north of Malaysia, I have not been to Thailand, not even Hatyai which was only about 2 hours away from my hometown. My first visit to this neighbour country of Malaysia was in 2006. Many Malaysians probably visit Thailand once every few years or even once a year. This was my second trip to Bangkok, after a long ten years. That's a scary thought, isn't it? I mean ten years.

Ten years ago, I travelled with a friend. Ten years later, this friend is now living in Bangkok. What's better than to include a visit since I am back to the good old South East Asia. As I have been to the usual touristy spot albeit a decade back, I just want to eat and walkabout. I left it all to my awesome friend for his recommendations.

First order of the day - food! In my probably dazed state, I thought we were going to have lunch, then back to his place before heading out again so I left my camera in his apartment. My friend had other plans. It was food and walkabout till night. I decided to let it be and asked my friend to loan me his phone to take photos when I want to... hahaha. Imagine me putting out my palm, not for money for to borrow his phone and yes, we are still friends. Hahah.

Chicken rice at a road side stall in Silom, if my record is correct, 2 plates for 120 baht
We had the main meal, so next up was Shibuya Honey Toast at After You Dessert Cafe. We went to the branch in Silom Complex and there was no queue at all. Maybe was our good timing. I don't remember the cost, my friend picked up the tab for this.

After keeping the tummies happy, he brought me to a museum. I have not been to this one, whilst I am not very big on museums but it was an interesting museum. My friend called it the Multimedia Museum but after asking the old-wise-Google, I think the full name is Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall. Entrance fee was 100 baht / ~RM 13 / ~AUD 4. Audio guide was free but not a complete guide; however maybe because I was the only one who don't understand Thai language, the staffs would come over to give me some explanations of the exhibition.

At the time of visit, there were two different exhibition. We did the one showing interactive multimedia giving information on history, arts and culture of the Rattanakosin era and the past kings. Photography is allowed but as I was playing along with the multimedia exhibition, I didn't really take any photo along the way. There is also an observation area on the upper floor.

After I bought the tickets (my friend entered for free due to a train card, I think) but before the start of the exhibition tour, we went to have an early tea time. Haha, yes, there was a lot of eating. According to my friend, this was a popular place called Mont Nom Sod. These two pieces of toasts cost 40 baht / ~RM 5 / ~AUD 1.60. I know they don't really look appetising but they were delicious. The one in yellow was corn cream soup and the one in green is pandan kaya. I picked the pandan one and my friend chose the other. When he told me he wanted the corn cream soup toast, I gave him a suspicious look and even asked him if he was sure that was what he wanted. Surprisingly it was good, my apologies for being skeptical. :P

We didn't order any drinks (friend said it was the bread that was famous) but picked up a coffee each from the road side. It was good coffee, mm.. actually any coffee is good after spending 2 weeks in Sri Lanka.

After a couple of hours at the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall, we walked around the old city area towards the metal temple first because we were unsure if the temple was closing soon. Metal temple or Loha Prasat, located in the grounds of Wat Ratchanaddaram is an impressive structure. At a glance, the obvious difference is the black metal unlike the rest of the temple. I was told though that works are being done to cover the black metal with gold. Personally I prefer the raw black metal colour. I didn't go in to the temple as I was in shorts and t-shirt, and wasn't sure if I was dressed appropriately.

From there we backtracked to the opposite direction, passing Democracy Monument then towards the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration City Hall.

Bangkok aka Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit
Crossed the road from here to the Giant Swing and continue onwards to Rommaninat Park. 

We took a cab to the Chao Phraya River side after that and walked a bit before settled for dinner at one of the restaurants. I don't know the name of the restaurant but my friend referred this as touristy eating place, after all it has river view.

After drinks dinner was just downstairs from here, we just picked one of the stalls and sat on the bench. Haha.

Side note: I was going to write 48 hours in Bangkok but I got too long winded, so I changed it to this current title. Haha

Friday, January 13, 2017

Sri Lanka: Itinerary for 2 weeks in Sri Lanka

Pre-travel / Others
 - 10 random things or thoughts about Sri Lanka
 - Breakdown of travel days and links to accommodation
 - Food in Sri Lanka

Day 1 - A relaxing day in Colombo

Day 2 - Getting to Habarana and stayed for 3 nights
Day 3 - Climbing the lion rock, Sigiriya and checking out the roof of Dambulla caves
Day 4 - Back to the ancient Polonnaruwa in the hot sun and getting up close with some elephants in Minneriya National Park

Day 5 - A lazy day in Kandy
Day 6 - An attempt to see the tooth on a Poya Day and other things

Nuwara Eliya:
Day 7 - Train ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and things to do in Nuwara Eliya.

Nuwara Eliya / Ohiya: 
Day 8 - Short morning in Nuwara Eliya and moving on to the middle of nowhere, Ohiya

Day 9 - To World's End and back, followed with a train ride in the observation car in the hill country to Ella.

Day 9 & 10 - Getting up to Little Adam's Peak and a cheat version of Nine Arches Bridge, finished with a cooking lesson in the evening

Day 11 & 12 - Bumming on the beach and some whale watching

Day 13 & 14 - R&R in the fort

Side note: Emirates global sales ending 23/1/2017. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sri Lanka: Here comes the food!

Making of a kottu
Ok, I'm just going to go through all the food photos that I have taken, some might be taken with more effort, others not so because my friend doesn't really do the taking picture of the food thingy...and the first one that came up was rice and curry... so, here goes.

1. Rice and curry
There is no bad rice and curry, and you can get it anywhere in Sri Lanka but the best one according to S was Matey Hut in Ella. So if you find yourself in Ella, do try it at Matey Hut. There were always option of vegetarian or non vegetarian and if you opted for non vegetarian option, the norm choice were chicken curry or fish curry and they would be served with the vegetarian curries as well.

2. Hoppers
Hoppers are Sri Lankan version of thin pancake with crispy edges and thicker middle part. The main ingredients are rice flour and coconut milk. There are also version with egg, just referred to as egg hoppers. They are served with chilli and/or dhal.

This photo is probably the only one I have of vade, definitely need to mention them too as they are delicious.

3. Devilled dishes
We probably had a poor version, none of the food was tasty. Devilled dishes were described as sweet, sour and devilishly hot  but the one we had was a different version of sweet and sour dishes.

4. Kottu
Kottu or kothu is a Sri Lanka dish made from roti chopped into small pieces and stir-fried with vegetables, egg and/or meat and spices. It is easy to hear when kottu was being cook as the chopping of the roti with a blades looking like dough scrapper makes loud clang sound. (See the first photo).

5. String hopper
String hoppers, I think usually sold by 10s and eat with dhal and/or curry, also made with rice flour. I personally much prefer hoppers, not so these stringy ones.

6. Roti
There is the plain coconut roti (or pol roti) that is usually served during breakfast or the ones with fillings. Dewmini Roti Shop in Mirissa does good varieties of roti with filling.

Cheese, egg and prawns roti
Cheese, tomato and avocade roti
Coconut flat bread
7. Red rice
I'm putting this here because it was served as one of our breakfast and I have not had red rice before this. Brown rice yes, but not red rice. It was a simple cooked red rice, served with onion, tomato, cucumber and dhal.

8. Lamprais
It is a Sri Lanka Dutch Burger delicacy and consists of wrapped and baked rice and other components to make up a complete meal. I really enjoyed this, I think it is time to google if I can find this in Melbourne.

Side note: Have you read Marie Kondo books?