2012 - Backpacking to Bangkok, Thailand p1

Backpacking to Bangkok
Shopping Eating Sleeping
12th June to 22nd June 2012
at Hua Lamphong Railway Station, Bangkok

Day 01 (12.06.2012) Ipoh, Malaysia to Bangkok

This Bangkok trip for my wife Catherine Oon and I came unexpectedly when my son Ching Jin Wei who works in Western Digital Malaysia as Asia R & D SPW Engineering engineer was requested to support the Bangkok plant for two weeks that was badly affected by the worst flood in 2011. Jin Wei insisted that we should visit him in Bangkok and stay with him in the hotel. And why not with free 5star hotel; we immediately accepted his request this time and I decided to give my wife the experience of traveling by train from Butterworth. We missed the 3 month trip to USA in March 2011 when he was sent to Saint Jose California for new project training which coincides with my China backpacking trip.

Getting there we took the 8am Sri Maju bus (RM13.90pp) from Ipoh to Butterworth arriving at 11am. Had lunch at the bus station and then walked to the train station and also to a money changer. The train: 36-Ekspres Antarabangsa a Thai aircon second class berth (RM111.90pp) departed at 2.20pm sharp for Bangkok. The time schedule listed below:

Butterworth to Bangkok
KTM Train – 36 Ekspres              
depart at station            time
ALOR SETAR              4.47PM
ARAU                           5.21PM
PADANG BESAR        6.14PM
HAT YAI                       9.09PM
THUNG SONG           12.09AM
SURAT THANI             1.54AM
CHUMPHON                4.42AM
HUA HIN                      8.34AM
PETCHABURI              9.34AM
RATCHABURI            10.24AM
BANGSUE                   12.49PM
BANGKOK                    1.24PM
Bangkok to Butterworth
Thai Train SP 35 Express 
depart at station        time
BANGKOK              3.45PM
BANGSUE               4.05PM
RATCHABURI         5.42PM
PETCHABURI          6.19PM
HUA HIN                  7.10PM
CHUMPHON          10.45PM
SURAT THANI         1.40AM
THUNG SONG         3.50AM
HAT YAI                   7.50AM
ARAU                     10.40AM
ALOR SETAR        11.27AM

Train fares from Butterworth to:
Stations        Lower berth      Upper berth
HATYAI            RM81.90        RM73.90
SURATHANI    RM92.90        RM84.90
CHUMPHON    RM97.90        RM89.90
HUA HIN          RM105.90      RM97.90
BANGKOK       RM111.90      RM103.90
the new railway track under construction across the Prai River, Butterworth
another view of the railway track under construction
the containers at Padang Besar - Malaysian and Thai immigration check point
At about 6pm the train stopped at Padang Besar for immigration check and then continued the journey with several stopped along the way to Bangkok. On board the train we made many friends from Malaysia and as well as from Europe. Steven Chin and his two lovely daughters were next to our berth and we exchanged and shared lots of our past travel experiences. All of us were saddened when informed that the train canteen is not available for this trip, so we rushed to buy bread, biscuits and water at the next stop in Hatyai.
Steven Chin and his two daughters were next to our berth

Day 02 (13.06.2012) Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Sofitel Centara Grand Hotel

We had breakfast near Petchaburi when vendors came on board to sell sticky rice with fried pork (TB40) and a piece of fried chicken (TB40). After a 23 hour overnight train journey from Butterworth we arrived at Hua Lamphong Station Bangkok at about 12 noon. The first thing we did was to purchase our return ticket (TB1,210pp) then a cup of hot coffee (TB60) each at the Black Canyon. The journey may be lengthy; but amazingly Catherine enjoyed the train ride as it was her first. Although she did not sleep through, it was a comfortable and pleasant ride.

At MRT Hua Lamphong Station we took the subway towards Bang Sue station (TB40pp) and with 14 stops we were at MRT Phahon Yothin station getting out by exit 4. From here we walked along Phaholyothin Road on a sky bridge for about 100m and then through the Central Plaza Shopping Mall and a car park to get to the Sofitel Centara Grand Hotel where we stayed.

After a short rest and washed up we walked out to explore the Central Plaza shopping mall. My son came back from work at 7pm and we had authentic Thai food for dinner together at Tops Market food court inside the Plaza. We went back to hotel room for some Chang beer before sleeping at 12midnight.
Catherine and I survived the 23 hour long train journey

the Hua Lamphong Railway Station, Bangkok

Hua Lamphong Railway Station, Bangkok

the main entrance to the Central Plaza Shopping Mall

Catherine at one of the floors of Central Department Store

one of the biggest in Bangkok with 300 shops, boutiques, restaurants and multiplex cinema

Central Department Store

Jin Wei at Tops Market Food Court
Jin Wei enjoying his noodle soup
Catherine loves the fried oyster pancake
I loved this Thai 'padthai'
this comfy king-size bed definitely fit for three of us

Jin Wei is hard at work - sending email reports back to Head Office in KL

this spaces 5star B3,300 a day room is very comfortable with fruit basket delivered every two days

Address: 1695 Phaholyothin Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand
Phone: +66 (0) 2541 1234 Fax: +66 (0) 2541 1087  Email: cglb@chr.co.th
DD Latitude & Longitude: 13.81794215886448, 100.56001245975494
DMS Latitude & Longitude: +13° 49' 4.59", +100° 33' 36.04"

A newly renovated 5-star Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao is superbly located near the elevated highway system, the underground Mass Rapid Transit and the BTS Sky-train, thereby ensuring that any district within the city is very easily accessible. Shopping here is a pleasure, with a covered walkway providing a direct link to the adjacent Central Plaza shopping complex.

Day 03 (14.06.2012) Central Plaza, One Park and Union Mall

My son woke up at 6am and left for hotel breakfast and then straight to work. As for both of us this morning was window shopping - we walked though all the three shopping places as they are located next to our hotel.

Central Plaza Ladprao shopping mall is anchored by a 41,000 square meter Central Department Store, a Tops Market supermarket, and a nine screen 3,000 seat cinema by SFX Cinema, a 565 room Sofitel Centara Grand hotel and the Bangkok Convention Centre or BCC. The shopping mall has approximately 350 stores, it also has some 90 restaurants and food stands.

The One Park outdoor shopping at Phahon Yothin Road is right in front of Central Plaza Lardprao.
Opposite Central Plaza Lardprao is the eight-story Union Mall, which opened in February 2006.

We had very good chicken rice for lunch at Union Mall Basement Food Hub Dinning. Here we were surprised to meet Steven Chin and his two daughters whom we met in the train on the first day. In the evening Jin Wei joined us at 7.30pm for dinner at the Tops Market food court and then adjourned to Swensen’s for the signature ice-cream
pleasant sunrise view from our hotel room

the One Park in front of Central Plaza Lardpra
the shops inside One Park
the covered sky-bridge connecting to Union Mall
a view of Lat Phrao Road from the covered sky-bridge
another view of Lat Phrao Road with the colorful cars
the 50m Sky Walk into Union Mall
the unique Union Mall telephone booth on the 5th floor
the delicious rice, vegetable and pork at Tops food court
the fantastic fried oyster pancake at Tops food court
the tasty bean-curb soap at Tops food court
the ultimate Thai BBQ sausages at Tops food court
this is the best for Catherine's sweet tooth - Swensen’s signature ice-cream
we all loved the Swensen ice-cream

Day 04 (15.06.2012) Chatuchak Park, Or Tor Kor Market and Chatuchak Day Market

The morning was walking through the Chatuchak Park. We could see many health conscious people walking or jogging along the green tracks and the weight lifting equipments for the public. There is a big lake runs along this thin and long park with three bridges crossing the lake, the Train Museum and a Youth Traffic Garden.

We then continued our walk to Or Tor Kor Market which is a super clean fresh open-air supermarket neatly categorized and well-designed with broad lights. Plenty of local and imported fruits, vegetables, Thai snacks and ready-to-eat delicious Thai meals at the attached food court. We bought some cut pineapples here. From here we walked towards the Chatuchak Day Market and I bought a bag-pack for B800.

Evening was walking around Central Department Store and had spicy dinner with my son at Café’ Chilli Zaap at 1st Floor, Central Plaza: Lardprao for some fiery flavors.
we walked on the sky-bridge across the elevated highway system into Chatuchak Park
the big lake in Chatuchak Park
the long bridge in Chatuchak Park
the Train Museum in Chatuchak Park

the children's discovery museum
Welcome Rotarian Ching - walking along the road to Or Tor Kor Market
the Or Tor Kor Market is a long-standing fresh market and is open everyday from 6am to 8pm
it is well stocked with fresh meat and fish
other traditional Thai sweets available here that are not easy to find elsewhere
plenty of fresh vegetables for sale
the neatly arranged Thai durians - very expensive
this JJ Mall shopping complex is located next to the weekend market
hard woven fiber lamps all over and the rivets lining the furniture in this Cafe Chilli
dinner - fiery flavors for a change and Jin Wei is on fire
the rice is also fiery hot with pepper
even the fried rice is fiery hot

Day 05 (16.06.2012) Shopping around Siam Square

Today is really a shopping / walking day. We first took the hotel shuttle bus at 10am to BTS Mo Chit station (N8). From here we took the BTS sky-train (B30pp) to BTS Ratchathewi station (N1) and walked through exit 4 to get to Phetchaburi Road. We walked along the road passing by the First Hotel, Metro Fashion and arrived at Pantip Plaza. We spent some time here looking at all things IT related: PCs, parts, printers, digital cameras, lens, laptops, iPhones, and more.

We then proceed along the Phetchaburi Road to Platinum Fashion Mall which is a 5 billion baht shopping mall in Pratunam District, specializes in fashion clothes and accessories retail and wholesale. It is a six-storey complex with an 11-storey condominium building above the complex. The clothes shops operate on the principle that buying 1 piece is a retail sale and warrants retail price, but buying 3 up (or sometimes more) pieces is wholesale and you get the wholesale price. An example of pricing structure is 1 shirt retail at 250 baht, 3 shirts wholesale at 500 baht. We had lunch at the food court on the 6th floor. Here we met again our new friend Steven Chin for the 3rd time – 1st in the train, 2nd at Union Mall. We then walked to another building which is Zone 3 that houses all the shoe and bag shops. We had very good coffee at Let’s Sip Coffee beside the mall.

We turned right into Ratchaprarop Road passing by the Big C to Central World Plaza. Central World Plaza is the largest shopping complex in this area and is the site for the yearly Bangkok New Year Countdown celebrations. Catherine bought a shoulder bag at Naraya. We then walked by Zen and Isetan turning right into Rama 1 Road onto the sky bridge to Siam Paragon and spent some time there before walking to Siam Center and the four-storey Digital Gateway.

As we were about to get into Siam Square, my son’s Bangkok colleague called to pick him at 8pm from our hotel for dinner, clubbing and entrainment. We therefore had to rush back by taking the BTS Siam sky-train (B35pp) to BTS Mochit station (N8). From here we changed to MRT Morchit to Phahon Yothin station (B15pp). We got back to the hotel on time at about 7.20pm. In the room we were watching the in-house movie till 2am waiting for our son.aa
walking along the Phetchaburi Road
the famous Pantip Plaza
this made in Thailand Honda model not available in Malaysia yet
on display in-front of Pantip Plaza
along the Phetchaburi Road to Platinum Fashion Mall

lunch at the Platinum food court on the 6th floor
met again our new friend Steven Chin for the 3rd time – 1st in the train, 2nd at Union Mall

what a relief with just a cup of coffee after lunch - me too 'same-same'

walking along Ratchaprarop Road passing by the Big C to Central World Plaza
Trimurti Shrine or Bangkok Lover's Shrine in-front of Centerpoint
walking along Ratchaprarop Road passing by Novotel Hotel
Jade Buddha image on display in-front of Central World Plaza

this is The Central World Bangkok
NaRaYa the bag shop is very popular in Bangkok
purchased a bag at NaRaYa bag shop
Jin Wei standing beside a gigantic Levis jean on the sky-bridge
along Rama 1 Road onto the sky bridge to Siam Paragon

Siam Paragon


  1. Thanks Ching, enjoyed your tour very much....

  2. Thanks for these posts... I will be staying at the same hotel in Lad Prao in October, so I really appreciate your guide!

  3. It was a very good and interesting presentation. Neat and meticulous. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Hi Ching,

    Well documented travelouge written.
    You have capable, handsome son and a charming wife; a wonderful family. BackPacking to Bangkok but
    stayed at 5 star-rated hotel. What a wonderful world!

    Your net friend
    Alan Kok

  5. Great trip..been to bangkok twice with my hubby but havent tried the train yet, though we really want to, but due to time and arrangement..next year march holidays will definitely go to Bangkok by train...

  6. Jackson Au27 June, 2012

    Hi Ching,
    Wow, it is quite an interesting for you and wife travelling to Bangkok via train. Really happy to see your son is doing so well in life and his filial piety is praise worthy. Wishing you & your wife a truly wonderful and memorable trip to Bangkok. Thanks a lot for your kind sharing. Kindest Regards, Jackson

  7. Hi Ching,
    Its good to know you are enjoying another honeymoon with your wife. Yes, Bangkok is a good place for food ,shopping and sightseeing. Pls keep us updated on your adventure in Bangkok for our /my reference when next visit to Bangkok. Thank you and God bless you and your family.

  8. Annie Chan28 June, 2012

    Hi Ching, thank you for sharing your wonderful moments & experience to Bangkok with us. It is indeed a great help to me especially when I will be going to Bangkok next year in Feb.

  9. John Yeap01 July, 2012

    Thank you, Mr Ching, your son looks exactly like you.

  10. Thank you Ching for the lovely in-depth sharing. Yes, BKK is about shopping till you drop (Bargain3), Food and Fun :-) Well put together! Keep it up and congrats to you and family!

  11. Thailand is a nice country with lots of interesting things to offer. By reading your post, I believe you had a very awesome Thai travel together with your family. I am curious to taste the fried oyster pancake at Tops Market Food Court in Bangkok!;)

  12. Hi Mr Ching,
    How are you? Looks like you had a good time in Thailand.. A lot of tasty food... I already booked everything for my trip to Sri Lanka in September.. driver + accommodation... The driver is cheaper than yours but accommodation is more expensive but I guess it's alright since you told me that it's troublesome to go and find motel one by one.. Oh yes AirAsia going to start flight to Kathmandu,, you might interested.. Keep travelling.. & do take care!! Regards.

  13. khoo phaik lin19 August, 2012

    It looks interesting to travel by train to Bangkok.. I would like to experience it too.. Is there a website that I can book my ticket or I have to go to Butterworth to purchase the train ticket, pls advise.. I will travel alone to meet some friends there.
    Thanks and regards

  14. Hi Khoo Phaik Lin,
    yes, you could buy ticket online, but, I have not done that. What I did was I book my ticket in Ipoh or any railway station I think so. Wherever you buy your train ticket you still have to get to Butterworth to board the train. You can only buy one way ticket, so when you arrived in Bangkok do get your ticket there.

  15. khoo phaik lin19 August, 2012

    Mr Ching,
    Thanks for the info. The only way I have to go over to Butterworth to get the train ticket, seems the website was closed. It would be fun to travel by train, I read about your trip to BKK when you post up.
    Take care and happy holiday...

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  17. Thank you so much for sharing your traveling experience. I always enjoyed your informative and well organized traveling blogs. Been to Bangkok several times, once a year but never explore as much like you and your family did. My family and I always stick to Central Plaza and Platinum areas for shopping only. Will definitely save this blog for my guidance which I am going in December. Glad you have a healthy and happy family. May god bless you.

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