Shopping, Eating and Sleeping
12 June to 22 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
BUKIT MERTAJAM 2.26PM
SUNGAI PETANI 3.41PM
ALOR SETAR 4.47PM
PADANG BESAR 6.14PM
HAT YAI 9.09PM
THUNG SONG 12.09AM
SURAT THANI 1.54AM
HUA HIN 8.34AM
NAKHON PATHON 11.22AM
Bangkok to Butterworth
Thai Train SP 35 Express
depart at station time
NAKHON PATHON 5.00PM
HUA HIN 7.10PM
SURAT THANI 1.40AM
THUNG SONG 3.50AM
HAT YAI 7.50AM
PADANG BESAR 7.55AM
ALOR SETAR 11.27AM
SUNGAI PETAN 12.39PM
BUKIT MERTAJAM 1.27PM
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|
|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|
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|