Monday, March 31, 2008

A break, after a holiday

Recently I was invited up to Bangkok for a friend's wedding dinner at the Sukothai Bangkok. Took the opportunity to spend the weekend there too.

My accommodation while in Bangkok is Citi Chic Hotel. Located deep in Sukhumvit Soi 13, it has comfortable rooms, a pool at the rooftop, and a tuk tuk shuttle to the nearest BTS station. At 2000-2500 baht per night, it is reasonable to pay for a nice room to settle in after going about in the city.

I committed a faux pas at the wedding when I extended my hand for a handshake instead of clasping them together to perform the wai, which is the more common form of introduction in Thailand. I realized it only after the 3rd handshake when I noticed the surprised faces on the locals when they saw my hand hanging out there.

Getting around is easy if you just take the BTS, Bangkok's equivalent of our MRT. Easier to buy a stored value card than to queue up each time to buy tickets. Trains can be very packed during the day, but most just squeeze into every inch of the cabin and are quite tolerant during rush hours. They also have an underground system called the MRT, so coupled with the BTS there really isn't a need to use the local taxi, whose drivers may or may not turn on their meters.

Tuk tuks, while a novelty ride, are not really comfortable and haggling over fares with the driver is not what I would recommend. They have an army of motorcyclist who zips you in and out of traffic, but again there is a fare to discuss and being foreign one may actually be taken for more than a ride too.

Nightlife is the best at RCA, with Route66 and Slim/Flix holding the fort at a stretch of road not different from Mohammed Sultan in it's hey days. A bottle of whisky with mixers cost just around 2000 Baht, the equilvalent of entry for 2 to the "farang" clubs like BedSupper Club/QBar at Sukhomvit district. Good mix of locals and tourists, highly recommended.

Near our hotel is a pool hall where we chilled out. We were fortunate to enter one where the bar maids were more like big sisters to us. So other than the usual coaxing to play more games, buy more drinks than we need, we were not hustled too much during the time we were there. My friend even managed to rally them to support the Arsenal when they played it in their pool hall! I had to be stuck in traffic, not realizing that Bangkok time was an hour behind Singapore, and thus missing the great comeback by the Gunners!

The day of departure we were treated to lunch by a Bangkokian couple whom I know. More window shopping followed, till we had just about enough time to have a last round of pool with the big sisters at the above mentioned pool hall. Then it was a short ride to the airport for our flight back to Singapore.

My friend and I mentioned that some people need a break, after their holiday break.

I am thankful I don't start work till Wednesday...


Siren said...

That's a BIG Arsenal shop!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for arranging for the wonderful trip. It was great.

I never knew, I can have great fun watching an Arsenal game with 4 aunties. You missed the fun with the traffic.

Unknown said...

ya...all the Aunties to yourself, you should be so lucky hehe

Unknown said...

AA- Arsenal Aunties!!