Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Bangkok's Sky Bar: Lebua vs Baiyoke

I went to Bangkok again and this time I managed to enjoy it a little more. The highlights of the trip are the sky bars. Visiting a sky bar is actually a must-go tourist attraction, and let me tell you, you won't regret trying it.

For my boyfriend's birthday, we decided to dress up and go somewhere fancy place in town. After dinner, we went to Lebua Sky Bar. There are a quite a few staff at the front door, carefully directing us to the elevator. They speak good english and are very friendly. The elevator took us all the way up to the 63rd floor. We were escorted to the outdoor bar by the staff as soon as we stepped out of the elevator.

I was stunted by the breathtaking view and literally froze in my steps for a few seconds. I couldn't believe that it was real. There's was a band playing soothing music throughout the night. The bar was crowded and ordering a drink can take awhile. We had two Mai Tai and they were good, and why won't they be? They cost RM80 ringgit each. But honestly, they're definitely  worth it. Great service, friendly staff and spectacular view.

FYI, the dress code is casual smart, so guys, no flip flops and shorts.

On the last day, we went to the tallest building in Thailand, Baiyoke Tower. The lobby was so crowded because there was only one elevator to go to the 77th floor which is the skywalk with larger viewing windows. From there, we took another elevator to the 83rd floor. We chilled at the bar first before going up to the 85th floor. The entrance fee was RM25 per person and is entitled to a drink at the bar. 

Baiyoke Tower has a revolving roof deck, but it's a quiet old and may need some maintenance as it makes noises. It's not disturbingly loud, just a little uncomfortable when you're on top of a 997 feet building. The fence by the edge are quite high for the viewers' safety, so in order to get a decent photo you'll have take photos between the bars.

 This is how we get a decent photo.

So, Lebua vs Baiyoke? Well, it's a question of Luxury vs Budget. If you're going to enjoy a bird's eye view of Bangkok in style, Lebua is the place to be. But, if you're on a tight budget and still you want to cross off "visit a sky bar" on your to-do list, then Baiyoke is just right for you. Basically we're looking at the same city but just from a different angle and environment.

For me, I personally loved Lebua Skybar. The environment isn't like any typical cliche tourist spot. It's so classy and romantic. A perfect place to just have and drink and relax.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Loy Nava Dinner Cruise, Bangkok

Since I'm in Bangkok solely for business, I didn't have much time to go to any tourist spots. So, please don't ask me where and what about Bangkok, unless it's related to shopping. Haha..

So, I took one night from the whole trip to go relax and have a nice dinner. And since Bangkok is famous for its river, Chao Phraya, I've decided to enjoy a dinner cruise. There are lots of cruise in Bangkok, but I found a lot of recommendation to Loy Nava Dinner Cruise, so what the heck, I'll just go for it.

Reservation can be made online. Payment can be made when you're on the boat. It costs 1400 baht-1850 baht depending on the package that you selected. Loy Nava arranges a bus to pick you up from your hotel to the Si Phraya jetty. So, don't worry about how you're going to get to the jetty. Just make sure you leave your contact number, or your hotel contact number. They will give u a buzz when they arrived at your hotel. Mine was beyond punctual, they stated 7pm in the email, but the driver arrive at the lobby 6:30pm. Click here to visit their website.

When I saw the boat at the jetty, I was skeptic. The boat looks so wobbly compared to the other boats cruising by. It looks like a big old sampan. But after I boarded the boat, those feelings just disappear. The interior and setting feels like a traditional royal thai feast. A very authentic environment. After every guest settled down, we start our cruise down Chao Phraya.


We started off with appetisers, which is Satay.Oh yea, there are 17 tables on the boat. 15 tables of guest are mostly from Europe. So I did feel a tiny bit awkward. So, when they served satay, everyone was so anxious, I was like "oh, satay". Next, we had soup, Tom yam Gong and coconut soup. Apparently, the food on the cruise have been commercialise, and the spiciness of the tom yam have been reduced to its minimal. Suitable for foreigners who are not used to spicy food. However, its flavour is still great and if you're a chilli-loving Malaysian like me, they do provide you with lots of spices to spice up your food.

While waiting for our food, we get to enjoy the night view of Bangkok. The owner of Loy Nava is a very pleasant man, he personally come to welcome us table by table and asked of our how-about all thought the dinner, making sure we have the best service he could provide. He gave every guest a map of the Chao Phraya river with all the tourist attraction all stated out along with some historical information. And it was given to us as souvenirs. And throughout the whole cruise, he was our very own personal tour guide. I couldn't take any good picture without a DSLR which i did not bring. So here's a couple of crappy photo.

The main course was served. Its's very similar to Malaysian seafood, just that it's drizzle in thai sauce. Tasted good. There are 3 options actually. All Thai, half Thai half seafood and Vegetarian. I opted for the second menu. The mussels were my favourite. In between, there were also some traditional Thai dance performance to entertain the guest.

The boat have reached the end of the it course and it's time to turn back. Dessert was served on the way back. And it was starting to get windy as we went back. I guess we were going against the current. We did stop by a couple of tourist attractions and this time the boat was nearer to it for all the guest to take a better picture of it. Here's one that I took of Wat Arun.

The cruise took about two hours to go back and forth. Though it's not as glamorous as the other cruise, but I think you'll get a full Thai experience on Loy Nava. Amazing service. Friendly staff. Good food. Great environment and memorable tour. Definitely worth the money. 4/5 stars!!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Winter in Seoul Part 2

After an exhausting weekend selling clothes at ST3 CNY Shopping Bazaar, I can finally continue my 2nd post on my trip to Korea. So, here goes:)

DAY 3:
This was the first time we took the subway without the help of our "translator", but it went very well. Looks like my Korean classes wasn't a total waste! *so proud of myself* To get to Hoegi, my brother's place, we had to go through a lot of stations and transits. Tiring but worth it. What is this place you might ask? Well.. It's a small and peaceful area. Suburb I might say. The main attraction is  actually Kyung Hee University. You might be wondering what the hell am I doing in a Uni?  Let me show you why:

*Hall of Peace a.k.a The Harry Potter Building, lots of Korean award ceremonies were held here!*

Beautiful isn't it? Honestly, I feel like I'm in Hogwarts. Old castle and enchanting gardens. And the view is just "spellbinding". Get it? No? Moving on..
The last time I visited this place, it was autumn and it was all covered in golden and orange leaves. Here's some photos I took last year.

*Looks totally different right?*

Not much to do in Hoegi, but just chill and enjoy the surroundings. Food here are cheaper and more authentic. We had great meals here. OK, I'm not sure where we had this because it was dark and we took lots of shortcuts. So, here it is! HAEJANGGUK.

I know, it doesn't look really appetising in this phot. But, this stuff is delicious! It's Korean's version of Bak Ku Teh. Haejangguk is actually known as a hangover cure in Korean cuisine, usually drank after a night of heavy drinking. It's made from ox bone broth with soybean paste and lots of veggies. Taste? Beefy and spicy! This soup comes with a bowl of rice and of course other Korean side dishes, but there's a lot of ways you can eat it. First, the civilised way, soup and rice are ate in separate bowls. Second, MY way, I ate most of the meat in the soup first, then I dunk all the rice into the remaining soup and made it in to porridge. Sounds sloopy right? But I personally think it tasted better like that, plus my method saves time and keeps the table clean. haha..

*MY way*

DAY 4: 
"AHHH! Lotte World!!!" is what I would say if I was still twelve. For those who didn't know, Lotte World is a theme park like Genting but bigger. You can get to Lotte World using the subway to Jamsil Station. The admissions fee is 25,000 won/ RM75 per adult. Get info on other rates here. The saddest part is that most outdoor rides are closed during winter. So, we only paid for half a park.*tsk tsk, what a waste* But, I must say, the rides looks more challenging and scarier. Bad news was that the queues are very long! Yes, I said "are" because no matter what time or season it is, there's always a long queue. We managed to hop on a ride or two, and it scared the living daylight out of me! 

Oh yeah! There's a ice rink there, but we didn't go ice skating, instead we stood on the balcony laughing at those who fell down. Quite entertaining! *Hey, I'm only human, how could I resist not to laugh when someone falls flat on their ass? I know most people would. haha..* 

After Lotte World, we headed to the place that PSY made famous! Yes, Gangnam! Gangnam is the wealthier part of town. Lots of celebrities live here and the living standard here are higher compared to others. Everything here is very classy and organised, the whole area is neatly divided into blocks unlike other parts of Seoul. 

* see? all in perfect blocks*

*where as, other parts of Seoul looks like this*

OK, enough with the Geographic facts! All I can say is, this is the place where rich fat cats go. High end retail shopping and leisure all the way. Oh! And this is definitely the place for people interested in doing plastic surgery. We saw a handful of plastic surgery clinics in just one block! 

DAY 5: 
I'm going to keep this short because this very typical tourist stuff. So, this is the one place that all tourists would visit, GyeongBokGung. Entrance fee is 3,000 won/ RM 9 and you can get here using Subway line 3 (Gyeongbokgung Palace Station, Exit #5) Again, this is my second time here.*yawn* However, like Kyung Hee University, it looks different under all the snow.

* it was the coldest day out of the whole week while we were in Seoul, -12 degree Celsius*

Last year? 

*My next trip to Korea should be in spring, then I can just say I've experience all 4 seasons. Screw Summer, it's summer everyday in Malaysia. Planning mode ON*

Next stop was Insadong. Insadong is where tourist go buy trinkets, art and souvenirs. Not much I can say about this place, but it's a must-go-to-place if you're visiting Seoul for the first time. I had fun there the first time I was there. Food there are pricey and taste so so, I had better. If it's possible, avoid dining there, totally not worth it. 

DAY 6:
The highlight of the whole trip: We went skiing! Usually people would plan to stay at a ski resort overnight, but it was a little expensive, so we decided to go to the nearest ski resort we can find for a day trip. *Thank goodness, it was only day trip, keep reading and you'll know why.* It took us an hour by bus to reach Bears Town Ski Resort. The name sounds western, right? Visit their website to learn more. 

Anyways, it cost 50,000 won/ RM 150 for the whole package which include the rental of the ski or ski board and ski attires. I had a choice of picking of ski or ski board, and I chose skis. *big mistake* I tried it out a few time at the bottom of the slopes. It wasn't that bad. So I took the lift to the top of the slopes. Here's a picture of me before I realised what I've got myself into.

*Awww..Beautiful. But wait! I have to ski down this slope? gulp*

"Here goes nothing," and there I went. And probably just 10 feet away, I crashed. Took me 10 minutes just to get up again. Another 15 feet further, again, ass flat on the ground.  Falling down wasn't the hard part but getting up with two long sticks attached to your feet is the challenging part. I was constantly falling down and getting up that I've only managed to ski down just a quarter of the slopes when the guys caught up with me on their second round. Yes, you heard me, SECOND round, when I haven't even reached the bottom of my slopes once! They stopped and were there to assist me, making sure I'll make it back in one piece. Wait.. Let me rephrase that, they were suppose to assist me down the slope. Instead, they ended up laughing at me. But who can blame them, I even laughed at myself. Half way down, I was too tired to continue, I gave up and opted to walk down the slopes to the waiting area. I don't think sports is suitable for me. However, the boys had so much fun they stayed out there till closing time. 

* I'm so jealous of them*

Day 7: 
It's pretty much a shopping day. We did our shopping at MyeongDong and later in the afternoon we headed to Hongdae for more shopping. The price range is the same as Myeongdong, only Hongdae has more boutique where Myeongdong are mostly retail. But price range can go really high in Hongdae if you stumble across vintage or one of a kind items. Hongdae is quite a happening place at night, lots of clubs and bars there. Around 9pm, lots of people from around Seoul were coming to Hongdae, the subway station was so crowded and everyone were dressed to party!

Our last night in Seoul, we stayed up late drinking. We had some siblings bonding time. It's going to be awhile for us to see my little brother again. I miss that bastard already. 

*I love these people to pieces!*

Winter in Seoul was seriously fun. But I do feel like we couldn't go to a lot of place because of the weather *As a second timer, I didn't mind* Then again, there are some activities you can't do in other seasons, like skiing, winter fishing, skating etc. Different activities for different seasons, that's all I can say. So, if you're planning to visit Korea for the first, I would suggest going in Spring and Autumn for the full experience.