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Sunday, 8 May 2016

Tackling Thailand - Bangkok (new - Asiatique Riverfront and Chocolate Ville)


In furtherance to my Thailand post (click here) giving an overview of the food, malls, temples, museums and Bangkok Palace etc as some of the main venues of interest in Bangkok, I shall now do a quick update on the newer and more exciting spots I have visited during my most recent trip.

Be warned that this is a very photo-heavy post. Also, I have forgotten the price for some items in Baht so I have rounded them up to Sing Dollar; the current exchange rate as of May 2016 is around SGD$1.00 = 25 Baht.


HOTEL AND SPA





This time, we stayed at The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam, for various reasons - relatively new, good location (amongst many shopping malls and near Chit Lom BTS station), spacious rooms, enticing photos, comprehensive facilities, very reasonably-priced and at the strong recommendation of a family member who'd just returned from there.

Address: 559 Ratprarop Road, Makkasan, Rachatewi, Bangkok 10400, Thailand.
Tel: (662) 309 -9999
Website: http://www.berkeleypratunam.com



While service crew on ground level (concierge, guest relations officers etc) provided impeccably excellent service, we were very disappointed with the Housekeeping here - if they didn't take a good hour to attend to our requests, they left out replenishing something everyday (first day no soap, second day no water); on top of that the shower stall's drainage system was terrible, leaving the stall flooded after every shower. Not very recommended - top up a little more for a better hotel, really.


The Natural Retreat Spa & Massage, located on level 10 of the hotel itself, was not bad though. They offer a variety of massages - oils, traditional Thai, head & shoulder, to name some. Facilities were posh and clean; service polite and professional. They charge around SGD$36.00 (or 900 baht) for 90 minutes' traditional Thai massage and SGD$60.00 (or 1,500 baht) for 90 minutes' oil massage. Options are available for 60 minutes' massages as well - SGD$28.00 (or 700 baht) for traditional Thai and SGD$48.00 (or 1,200 baht) for oil massage. Reservations are very strongly recommended as they are extremely popular, even on weekday mornings! They open from 10.00am to 12 midnight everyday.


RESTAURANTS





Karmakamet Diner
Address: 30/1 Soi Matheenvet Sukhumbit 24 Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Tel: (+66) 2262 0700
Website: http://www.karmakamet.co.th
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Karmakamet-Diner/446021698824192

This beautiful "secret world" cafe hides amidst lush greenery and it's just a short walk from Phrom Phong BTS station (past Emporium Suites, turn left). Started out as an essentials oils stall, it has morphed into an exquisite and stunning cafe from inside to outside, get your cameras ready for the lush greenery outdoors as well as lovely decor indoors. I heard the food is good, too bad we went after lunch (it was an impromptu decision), so we enjoyed some coffee as well as the famed Strawberry in the Cloud (around SGD$16.00) - gigantic candy floss sitting atop a cup of ice-cream and fresh strawberries - nearly every table orders that dreamy, pretty mess.





Noodle Restaurant, Level 4 Food Park, Big C Supercenter
Address: 97 /11 Ratchadamri Road, Lumphini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: (+66) 2250 4888

Very affordable Thai-style noodles and rice. I really enjoyed my Special Combination Noodles of Pork and Chicken - the noodles (I chose glass noodles) were fine and infused with the spicy sauce tinged with heavy dose of zest. It was utterly appetizing. The Beau also enjoyed his Pork Balls with Rice and we shared a refreshing glass of Iced Lotus Root drink.







MK Restaurant, Level 4 Food Park, Big C Supercenter
Address: 97 /11 Ratchadamri Road, Lumphini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: (+66) 2250 4888

A restaurant with a very clean and spacious decor as well as friendly staff who performed a short song-and-dance halfway through. They serve Thai-Chinese cuisine as well as hotpot, if you'd prefer. The Beau had the Crispy Roast Pork Rice with the most crackling good pork I have ever eaten, and I enjoyed my Shrimp Wanton & Roast Duck Jade Noodle tremendously as well - the green spinach noodle was springy and dry so it was almost like al dente.




Kuang Heng Chicken Rice Stall
Address: 936 Phetchaburi Road, MakkasanRachatewi, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Tel: (+66) 0225 18768

We decided to try the chicken rice here because The Beau loves chicken rice, and so we were curious to see how Bangkok Chicken Rice would differ to the ones in Singapore. Furthermore, whenever we passed by here, we would be greeted by wafts of aroma, and we would also see a long queue.

We ordered a plate of Chicken Rice to share, as well as the special Spring Rolls. The chicken meat was tender, and there was also a piece of chicken blood on the plate; rice was mushy and did not taste flavorful or despite its fragrance.








Restaurant at Chocolate Ville
Address: Soi Nawamin 74, Yak 3-8 Kaset-Nawamin KM. 11 Road, Klong Kum Subdistrict, Bueng Lum District, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: (+66) 81 9212016
Website: http://www.chocolateville.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chocolateville

This is one huge restaurant encumbered in a vast, fairy-tale setting. As the entire park is made up of interesting landmarks, one may choose to dine indoors (within one of those interesting, fantasial houses), dine by the canal or on the grass patches. Retro music (think Marilyn Monroe style) and a multi-cuisine menu add reasons to dine at such beautiful settings - feel free to choose from burgers to Mexican food to Thai / Asian dishes on one thick menu.

We started with drinks such Iced Lychee Lemon Tea, Mojito and Chang Beer, Red Curry Pork, Tom Yum Goong, Papaya Salad and Deep-fried Shrimp Rolls (in lieu of the unavailable Duck Confit Rolls). Food was good and service was quite commendable as well. We dined by the canal so it was incredibly romantic. The only pity was that desserts were not available on menu - all we saw were shelves of cakes.





The Dishes Seafood & Restaurant @ Asiatique The Waterfront
Address: 2194 Charoekrung Road, Wat Phaya Krai, Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok, Thailand

This must be a pretty new restaurant since I could not find any information on it at all, and it is not updated on Asiatique's directory list. Love the retro setting of monochromatic linoleum floors. We shared a huge pot of Green Curry Chicken, a Pineapple Fried Rice and a huge Coconut.  The curry was spicy and flavorful but the pineapple fried rice was rather bland in taste.





Mango Tango @ Asiatique The Riverfront
Address:  2194 Charoekrung Road, Wat Phaya Krai, Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: (+66) 81760 1469
Website: http://www.mymangotango.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mango-Tango-at-Asiatique/423561514450895

Mango lovers would dig this mango dessert cafe - their love of mango is evident in the decor as well as music (yes, they have their own mango song and the lyrics are on the blackboard). We shared a platter of Mango Sticky Rice, Mango Pudding and Mango Ice-cream all in one, loving the redolent sweet aroma of the mango.


Lebua @ Mezzaluna Hotel
Photosource: http://www.thailandtouroperator.com/hotel_bangkok_lebua_hotel_silom.html

Unicorn Cafe
Photosource: http://www.thailandfans.com/blogs/details/2329

We didn't get to go to these 2 places, but they were in the list - the former is a beautiful, elegant dining concept overlooking Bangkok City's vibrant nightlife, Lebua @ Mezzaluna Hotel; the latter is a dreamy, girly concept, Unicorn Cafe - be prepared to be dazzled and tossed into a fantasy world of ethereal colors.




We also tried a couple of fast food restaurants, namely McDonalds - for the Samurai Pork Burger which The Beau liked - and KFC, just for satiate his craving for deep-fried chicken. Fast food here cost a lot - their sets are almost equivalent to Singapore's prices - yet the Thai / Western restaurants cost so much less.


SHOPPING

Besides the usual night markets at Chatuchak, Patpong, as well as well-known malls such as MBK, Platinum Fashion Mall etc, there has been some new malls springing up around Pratunam area itself - like a multi-storied Isetan, Big C Supercenter, Palladium IT Mall etc.



A few stations down, we have Emporium and Glass Quarter Malls with many well-known brands. The latter even has a striking Water Garden on level 5, for relaxing in as well as photos. This is the perfect way to unwind in between shopping.


OTHERS

A couple of newer discoveries that we hung out at, and were enamored by. By the way, if you are a dinosaur fan, there is also a Dinosaur Planet in Bangkok for you to have fun at, with your favorite prehistoric creatures.








Asiatique The Waterfront
Address: 2194 Charoenkrung Road, Wat Prayakrai District, Bangkor Laem, 10120 Bangkok, Thailand.
Tel: (+66) 02108 4488
Website: http://www.thaiasiatique.com

This is a scenic tourist attraction comprising a theme park with its prominent Ferris Wheel, rows of restaurants and pubs, and an entire square of retail shops- all by the Chao Phraya riverfront. Street performers such as painted characters and singers jazz up the vivacious ambiance by another notch - whether you are here for the sunset, the food, the shopping or the rides, it is a charming little island reachable by free shuttle ferry at   Saphan Taksin BTS station.  We rode the ferris wheel (around SGD$12.00 for 10-minute ride) and had dinner here, after which we shopped at the night bazaar - lots of souvenirs and fashion accessories.










Chocolate Ville
Address: Soi Nawamin 74, Yak 3-8 Kaset-Nawamin KM. 11 Road, Klong Kum Subdistrict, Bueng Lum District, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: (+66) 81 9212016
Website: http://www.chocolateville.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chocolateville

A very charming park filled with lots of fairy-tale enchantment, around 30 minutes' cab ride from Mo Chit BTS station. Whether you are looking for pretty houses, inns, clock towers, bridges or fountains, this place has it all. On top of that, there are also ferries, polar bears, windmills, Christmas characters and dolphins to reckon with - all set around a canal. This very photo-worthy and picturesque jazzes up the ambience with retro songs and encompasses a huge multi-cuisined restaurant - we had a lot of fun posing around for photos and exploring what each landmark had in-store for us. It was almost surreal being here, thrown back in time among beautiful settings.

My only complaints were that there weren't anything related to chocolate here - no chocolate house or at least a shop selling chocolates (inspite of its name); and that it is not too easy getting to here. Many cabbies have not heard of this charming little place so be prepared to have the address ready, or turn on your GPS to help guide them. When we got here from Mo Chit BTS station, the fare (by meter) was around 200 Baht, though if traffic is heavy it could go up to 400 Baht. Don't worry about transportation from Chocolate Ville - because there's a "taxi dock" here where they could take you to Pratunam, Asiatique, Mo Chit BTS, Airport, etc.


For other posts about Thailand:
1) Bangkok
2) Pattaya
3) Koh Samui Resort 

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