Cafehopping in Bangkok

It’s my third consecutive year heading to Bangkok, and it seems to be coming a ritual for me. It isn’t often that I revisit a country/city in succession because there are just too many on my bucket list to repeat one of them. Though there are places that I’d love to go back to, like Bali, but nope, I haven’t been back. Bangkok though, seems to be a different story. I don’t love it, ironically. But there just seems to be so much to do there, that it gives me a reason to return. Eat, shop, massage repeat. Doesn’t sound like much, but somehow each 4 day trip that I take to this city doesn’t seem to give me enough time to cover all ground.

This trip, we had a pretty strong focus on food, which was really fun! Going there in a group of 10 meant that we had all sorts of preferences and tastes to accommodate. Not easy at all, but we did it! Bangkok’s cafe scene has exploded in the last couple of years, and this trip, we stayed at the Sukhumvit area which was right smack in the hipster area of Bangkok and gave us easy access to new places to check out.

We stayed at Salil Hotel Soi Thonglor 1, which is walking distance from Thong Lo BTS. It was a cosy boutique hotel that was comfortably furnished, and we enjoyed our stay there. If you’re going to spend most of your time around the Pratunam area, this would be a little out-of-the-way. But if you’re looking to check out a different area of Bangkok and want to soak in some hipster vibes, Sukhumvit/Ekkamai is the place to be.

So, when in Bangkok, these are 6 cafes to check out:

1. Roast

img_0580_zpsmdx8bp4oTheCOMMONS is the place to be if you’re cafehopping in Bangkok. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the options available, and as you make your way up to the top deck for Roast, you can be sure that you will be tempted with the other food places calling out to you. The spacious cafe exudes chill vibes, and we soaked in the ambience as we devoured our first meal in the city. One thing to note is that cafehopping in Bangkok is not cheap, but it’s worth checking out this place for brunch with a twist. We loved the Crab Cake Benedict (360 THB) in particular, for the incredibly fluffy, and generously portioned crab cake which went so well with the potato rosti and sweet, caramelised onion jam that was to-die-for. For drinks, I’d highly recommend the Acai Berry Smoothie (220 THB) for a refreshing thirst quencher in Bangkok’s scorching weather. Also, you may be happy to know that the brunch menu was still being served even when we reached the restaurant around 4pm! #alldaybrunchftw.

Unit #T1 (Roast), The COMMONS, 335 Thonglor Soi 17, Sukhumvit 55
Open Mon-Thu (10am-11pm), Fri-Sat (9am-11pm), Sun (9am-10pm)

2. Karmakamet Diner

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img_0702_zpsndqfwcy8This cafe oozes beauty from its dark, seductive interiors to the aromatic scents in the air (the washroom smells uh-mazing, I’m not being sarcastic) and the Strawberry in the Clouds (390 THB) rainbow candy floss dessert. So much effort is put into the decor of this place, which originated from an essential oils shop. It is an experience dining in this cafe, which features rustic furniture and vintage menus/placemats (in the form of the Karmakamet newspaper)/coasters (handwritten letters), and you can also buy essential oils from their shop.

30/1 Sukhumvit Soi 24 Bangkok
Open daily 10am-11.30pm

3. On Lok Yun

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img_0600_zps8hrdl6lnOkay, so this technically isn’t a cafe, but it seems like the most happening people are flocking here, that its hipster status has been elevated. For a local brunch that isn’t too far from Singapore’s breakfast, but at super duper affordable prices, this is the place to go. They manage to make a simple bread with butter and sugar taste so incredibly good! Plus points for the thick toast of course, and the delicious butter spread on top. Their “big breakfast”(50 THB)  is probably one of the cheapest you can ever find. Though the portion is small, but for the price, and those scrambled eggs, no complaints at all. Don’t forget a glass of Thai Milk Tea (25 THB) to go with your breakfast!

The location of this cafe seems really difficult for taxi drivers to grasp, for some reason. But tell them to head to Old Siam Square and you should be able to navigate from there pretty easily.

72 Charoen Krung Road, Talat Noi, Samphanthawong
Open daily 5.30am-4pm

4. TrueLove @ Neverland

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img_0636_zps1vbrddybIf you’re a pooch-lover, and you like big dogs especially, you have to check out this cafe. Not too far from On Lok Yun, you can head over for post-breakfast desserts and some doggie fun just like what we did. For 350 THB, you get a choice of a drink and cake, and most importantly, 1 hour playtime with the huskies! Imagine being surrounded by 20+ huskies, plus a little shih tzu called Momo whom you can play with to your hearts’ content. Okay, to be honest, they tend to squirm away quite a bit, but once they get tired and start lying/sitting down, that’s when you can jump in and take as many selfies as you like! The service hours are at 12.30pm & 3.30pm on Tue-Thu (closed on Mon), with an additional slot at 6pm on Fri-Sat. Do try to visit at these timings to get the full 1 hour experience with the doggies! Food-wise, we really enjoyed the ice cream cakes that were perfect for the hot weather! You can leave your drinks in the cafe while you play with the dogs in the playground, and the staff will remind you to stay on till the end to take a video of the dogs running back to their enclosures, and capture it on slo-mo.

153 Soi Ari Samphan 2, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai

5. After You

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img_0758_zpszmsbmgqsThe popularity of this cafe is evident in the number of outlets that have mushroomed all over the city. It’s a cafe I would ALWAYS go back to, whenever I’m in Bangkok, if only for their original Shibuya Honey Toast (185 THB) which is the most amazing creation ever. The thick toast topped with two huge scoops of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on the side looks simple, but dig into it to reveal an interior slathered with butter and a drizzle of honey on top, it’s mind-blowingly good! They have many other flavours of the toast, but the original is still the best, with it’s well-balanced flavour without being overly sweet. Surprisingly, we enjoyed the seasonal Thai Milk Tea toast as well!

For the full list of locations, click here.

6. PABLO Cheese Tart

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img_0756_zpsf73vlwioThe hunt for cheese tarts continues in Bangkok. When I saw an Instagram post of PABLO in Bangkok, I got so excited because it looked so amazingly yummy!! It seems pretty new too, judging by the snaking queue in front of the cafe. Thankfully it wasn’t as crazy as Singapore’s queues for BAKE, and I had to wait for less than 30mins before it was my turn. PABLO’s freshly baked signature cheese tart (415 THB) was a rather big sized one! It came with a delightfully smooth and creamy interior, with a fruity glaze on top and flaky pastry crust. It seemed a little lighter than BAKE cheese tarts, but I probably should compare it with the mini (75 THB) version for a more accurate assessment. What really stole our hearts was the mini matcha cheese tart (90 THB). The fragrant matcha flavour was just so good!! I’d go back for the large version the next time round ^^

Siam Paragon Basement
Open daily 10am-10pm

If there are any other must-try cafes in Bangkok, do drop me a comment! I might just return again next year.

Krabi under $500 (all-inclusive)

Hi! (: I just came back from Krabi recently and it was probably one of my most budget trips ever, without having to try too hard at all! I spent less than $500 all inclusive of flights, accommodation etc. Sharing my itinerary with all of you, if you happen to be going there sometime soon ^^ 

I guess this is the Ao Nang Cliff?

Ao Nang Beach

Accommodation
I stayed at Ao Nang Cliff Beach Resort, which was a short 5min walk from the beach. The location was pretty awesome because the resort was surrounded by food and massage places, so there were plenty of options for us. There’s also a 7eleven, McDonalds and Starbucks just next door, just in case you need them desperately (though I can’t imagine why you would). 

The room was pretty big and had a huge comfy bed. It was really well equipped, and even had holiday essentials like a picnic basket and umbrellas! 

We had breakfast included in the price of our room, and I’ve got to say that we were pretty impressed with the spread! Honestly didn’t expect much since it wasn’t a luxury resort or anything, but it was definitely more than decent. Loved the eggs station, where we got our daily dose of omelette/sunny side up/scrambled eggs, and there was salad, bread, yogurt and other cooked dishes as well. 

The hotel has a daily themed BBQ buffet dinner at an astonishingly affordable 390 baht! It was great for a lazy night when we didn’t want to step out of our hotel for dinner, and for SGD 16, I would say it was a pretty good deal!! There was a decent selection of BBQ items cooked on the spot, a salad bar, cooked items (which change based on the theme of the night), dessert, and (my favourite) a pad thai station where you can get it fresh, a la minute. 

Ao Nang Cliff Beach Resort is affiliated to Andamana Beach Club, which is a stretch of private beach available for hotel guests. We went there full of expectation, but I guess we should have known better :P Do not be fooled by this photo – it looked much less impressive in real life. The good thing was that it was quiet and peaceful, but other than that, there was really nothing to do there besides lazing around. There is a free shuttle bus to the beach club, and you can book the transport there with the hotel reception.

Food
We were pretty nuts with this, and we kept going back to the same place because the food was SO GOOD!!!! And I would say that it’s definitely affordable by Singapore standards. We ordered so much food between the two of us till we were stuffed, and only paid about 250 baht (SGD 10) each!

Go check out Aree Ba Ba, especially if you’re staying in the area (: It’s kinda just diagonally opposite the road across Ao Nang Cliff Beach.

Massage
I went for massages every.single.day while I was in Krabi. #thingstodoonabeachholiday. It’s sooooo cheap here! Literally. Whether it was a foot massage or full body massage (and they had so many types of it), we only paid 200 baht (SGD 8) for each of them. The trick? Bargain. I had lots of fun with that in Krabi heh ^^

Activities


We were such lazybones on this trip that we didn’t do many activities. Possibly one of the reasons why we spent so little as well, because the activities would probably have been the bulk of the costs. But the tip here is to do your research online before you head to Krabi! This is not just to find out what to do there, but also to get a sense of what is a reasonable price to pay for the activities.

Case in point: I checked out how much it cost to book an island-hopping tour online, and it was roughly 500 baht. Went to the hotel, and the price was 650 baht. It is usually more expensive to book through the hotel, so unless you don’t want to take the risk of booking through a random agent, or you just don’t want to spend the extra effort to search, I wouldn’t recommend that you go for the hotel option. Along the streets, we saw that prices were generally 450 baht, which was even cheaper than online!

We were spoilt for choice, and decided to just approach a random stall. Guess what? They quoted us 1000 baht??!?!?!!?!?! WHUTTTT. This is why you have to do research. Imagine paying that amount of money for something worth less than half the price! We immediately bargained and offered 400 baht. And they accepted immediately! Gosh, which actually meant that we could have got it for even less. But it was only SGD 16, for a four island tour including lunch. Really quite a good deal to us, and we decided to just take it. I don’t really know how to tell which stall was legit or not, but it turned out alright for us.

Tup Island

Chicken Island

I’d definitely recommend the four island tour! We opted for the long tail boat, which is not just cheaper, but also less bumpy than a speedboat ride. I took the speedboat in Phuket previously and nearly died from seasickness x.x This was wayyyy better. And because the beach at Ao Nang is really nothing fantastic, we were so happy to find the pristine clear waters on the various islands which we visited on the tour ^^

Flight: SGD 126 per pax
Accommodation: <SGD 300 for 2pax
Massage: 200 baht (SGD 8) per massage
Food: 250-390 baht (SGD 10-16) per person for each meal
4 island tour: 400 baht (SGD 16) per pax
Airport transfer (round-trip): 1400 baht (SGD 60) for 2pax

To Krabi, With Love

I’m back from my Krabi trip and completely refreshed and happy ^^ It was such a great break away from work – holidays are the best motivation to keep me going at work. It was our first “real” holiday together, and our first ever beach getaway. Full of anticipation, and yet also a tinge of apprehension. I needn’t have feared though :) It turned out to be perfect. I guess after nearly three years, we’re finally getting the hang of travelling together.

Thanks love, for the wonderful memories

Bangkok 2015

I don’t know why I took such a long time to post this bunch of photos xD It’s been…two months since I went on this trip haha. Perhaps I was hesitant about blurring the lines between work and play, but, I’m really glad to have colleagues who feel more like friends than anything else (: We’re all going through the same thing together, and I’m so grateful for this bunch! Never thought I would go on a holiday with my colleagues, but it happened! And it was so so so much fun, I would do it all over again ^^ 
BKK BOUND!!!!! WOOHOO! 
This was after the crazy CNY period and we all couldn’t wait to get on the plane and out of Singapore. Food, massage and shopping — here we comeeee!
Our first stop in bkk! Straight to Chatuchak for some coconut ice cream. Oh how I missed this!!! Been craving it since I went there last year. Ngan & I shared one the other time. I don’t know how I could have done that. It’s so small! Finally had one for myself the time ^^ And it was barely enough haha. But I decided not to be greedy :P
Had so much good food in bkk this time, but half the time we didn’t eat thai food. For the life of me, I’ve got no idea why. But the good thing is that I just followed and didn’t have to think. Haha! Perks of travelling with more guys. They did all the navigation and we just followed and ate xD This super shiokkkkk pork was, by all means, not cheap at all considering bangkok prices, but it was so good! :O We came here for the “famous” wanton mee, which I honestly didn’t see what was the big deal about it. But this, was SO.WORTH.IT.
With our tiny bowls of wanton mee, which we had to queue for, and finished in 5 mouthfuls. Oh wells. Haha I think I’d rather stick to my pontian in Singapore. Lol.
My shopping buddy & roomie! <3 Much love hehe. We had so much fun shopping together, honestly 4 days weren't enough. Yikes. Hahaha. And I really love Union Mall hehe, still the best ever!
FINALLY TRIED AFTER YOU. This highly raved-about cafe. And it was SOOOOOOO GOOD. I can’t believe I was so silly the last time, and didn’t know there was more than one outlet! We were so disappointed then because the outlet (we thought it was the only one) was closed for renovation. Oh gosh. I would fly back to bangkok just for this shibuya toast. I need this right now….please open an outlet in Singapore? :’)
Also had the best mango sticky rice on this trip!!! This was such a huge portion and super worth it for the price! :O I think it cost 100 baht or something. I have no idea how to get there though :P that’s what happens when I just follow along haha. All I can remember was that it was a roadside stall. 
Went for a girly breakfast on our last day! (: We ate three cakes between the two of us…Lol. Totally felt like bursting after that x.x But the cakes at Petite Audrey are really awesome!! No regrets hehe. 
Just in case you need evidence of our shopping :P 
No Monday Blues cos we were in Bangkok :)) 
Thankful for colleagues-turned-friends, and for all the fun we had during this trip! Now excuse me while I jet off to my next holiday tmr ^^ WHEEEEEEE~

Bangkok in the first week of school! [Part 2]

hello! as promised, this is part II of my bangkok trip! (:
after Platinum Mall (see previous post), we headed to the Siam area! 

Siam Centre was really nice for all its cafes and food places. I FOUND MR JONES ORPHANAGE!!!! ^^ SO HAPPY! i’ve seen so many pictures of it on instagram (thanks to ladyironchef lol) and i’d been wanting to go there since f.o.r.e.v.e.r. and i’m so glad it lived up to expectations :’)
so gorgeous!!!!!!
and omg, doesn’t this look simply orgasmic? :O :O :O sooooooo goooooood. luckily there was ngan to restrain me. i was half-tempted to choose a few cakes because they all looked so good! >.< hahaha. we decided to order one first, and another one if we were still hungry. and that was after lunch :p well, luckily we only ordered one. because it was SO DELICIOUSLY RICH that we couldn't have another slice after that haha. and this only cost 100 baht if i rmb correctly! (: more affordable than in singapore, and absolutely worth every cent :) 
we had lunch at Som Tam Nua, which serves all kinds of salads! or papaya salads. well we ordered three salads to share (haha so healthy right) – papaya salad, mango salad and vermicelli salad. all of them were scrumptious!! but oh gosh. they were so spicy hot!!!! i think my chilli tolerance is pretty good already (ngan’s tolerance is like, zero? haha) but i found these wayyy too spicy! we actually asked for less chilli already! (idk whether they heard the opposite, because the staff’s english was really bad), but it was insanely spicy. it’s the kind that tastes alright in the first mouth, but just gets hotter and HOTTER as time goes by! :O even my eyes felt like they were on fire haha, not to mention my tongue and stomach. luckily they were nice enough to change it for us when we couldn’t stand it anymore. and they actually gave us brand new servings! wow. oh and try their thai iced tea too! (: it looked really different from what we’d expected, but it was definitely necessary considering the spicy level haha. 
we didn’t really shop in Siam Centre, because it was all the shops like h&m etc, which we didn’t go to bkk for. but!! we discovered a really interesting place there ;) guess where this is!
the toilet. 
the most atas-looking toilet in the whole of bangkok hahaha (i don’t know. but it’s definitely a strong contender). we took AGES to find the toilet, because the staff just kept pointing downwards, and we were on the third floor and wondering WHY THERE WAS NO TOILET?! finally found it after really going down down down all the way, and realised it was at B1. and oh boy, it was HUGE. walked in to this touch-up area for people to rest and re-apply their makeup. there were curtained changing rooms along the corridor, and (of course) the toilets. it was amazing! very impressive, i’ve gotta say. 
we then headed to Siam Square for more shopping. it was pretty hot in the outdoor areas there! but then we found an air-conditioned area after that which was more conducive for shopping (: bought quite a few pairs of shoes there! ^^ wheeeee. 
have to say that our afternoon-evening shopping experience was much more disappointing compared to the morning one though! 
i’m really sad that we didn’t go back to the Siam Night Market! :( we actually saw it on the first night! but it was SOOOO CROWDED (it’s practically impossible to stop and shop. i’ve got no idea how people do it) that we didn’t stop, because we were just recce-ing. second night we decided to go home early, and third night we were broke haha. i actually saw a lot of nice tops there which i wanted to buy though :( sigh.
also didn’t manage to go to Siam Paragon, because After You cafe was closed for renovation!!!! :”( unbelievable!!!!! i was so sad because i was totally craving it after hearing so much about it. anyway, that’s a great reason to come back haha.
the next morning, we got up bright and early to go to Chatuchak! it’s a weekend market, so you’ll miss it if you’re not here during that time. this was a bit more troublesome to get to because we had to take the train (rather than walk), but their public transport system is really quite convenient (: we took the BTS Sky Train to Mo Chit station. it’s impossible to miss because EVERYONE would be heading there haha. no kidding. oh yes! a tip that i got from reading other blogs is that you should bring a huge bag along to put all your shopping! so that you don’t have to carry around a bunch of small plastic bags there, where it’s so crowded, chaotic and hot. 
there, you have it. crowded, chaotic and hot xP personally, i didn’t like chatuchak much. it was really unbearably hot!!! Thailand’s hot weather was really OMG… and another tip i got is that you should go to chatuchak in the morning/evening because it’s really crazy hot at midday. trust me. i was there at 10am and it was scorching already. and bring lots of water!!!! 
the good thing is that you’ve got a lifesaver from the heat, in the form of this coconut ice cream :)))) looking at it makes me drool already. it was so so so yummy!!!! i never really expected it to taste THAT good. i’d heard a lot about it, and i was really trying to keep my expectations down. how could something that looked so simple be that good? seemed too good to be true. but IT’S TRUE!!!! the next time i’m gonna eat one whole thing on my own haha. this, in my opinion, is the ONLY thing worth going to chatuchak for. haha. i didn’t buy anything there at all because it was just too confusing already -.-
there are lots of street food there, and i wished we could have known that our stomachs could take it (didn’t dare to risk it >.<) so that we could try all the food! saw so many people eating, and it all looked darn good! we tried this coconut thingy that sam recommended though! haha we thought it was a little strange :p because it was coconut that was sorta sweet & salty? haha dunno :p anyway, that's pretty much all we did at chatuchak – eat! 
and then came my favourite part!!!! :) our last stop of all. and where we accumulated this much of stuff in 7 hours of shopping hehe. TOO SHIOK. Union Mall was awesome!!! there aren’t many recommendations of this place because it seems much less touristy. but thanks sk for telling about this gem of a place!! the moment we stepped into the mall, we were floored. a super duper long row of shops extending from one end of the mall to another. multiply this by 4 parallel rows, and 6 floors (i’m estimating, but it’s really a lot!!!!) and we were in shopping heaven! loved how Union Mall was arranged in a grid, which made it really easy to shop. each level sold a group of merchandise, e.g. clothes or shoes, which also helped in allowing us to compare prices across shops. have to concede that goods are more pricey here (like i said, we shopped from the cheapest to most ex haha), but it wasn’t too bad! still managed to find really affordable clothes. and the staff don’t speak as much english here (also in the restaurants!), but for some shops, they allow you to try the clothes which is super useful. 
we found that Tienchai Thai Cuisine (i think it was on level 4 or 5. it was called a ‘food hall’ level or something like that) served really good and cheap food (i think our lunch cost us 50 baht each?!) and we had both our lunch and dinner there ^^ i recommend the green curry fried rice, green curry and pad thai! 
and we finally settled for our mango sticky rice at this place just across TienChai called Crazy for Mango. actually…i wouldn’t recommend you to go there. we probably paid for the presentation rather than the mango sticky rice itself because the portion was quite small, and didn’t quite taste like what this dish should taste :/ i’m so sad we couldn’t find Mango Tango!!!! does anyone know where it is??? we went to so many places to search for it but couldn’t find it :'( i think the airport mango sticky rice which i da-baoed back to singapore (yippee!!) tasted better than this one haha. 
so this is the end of my bangkok adventure (amidst the “protests” which we never encountered. phew!). hope it was useful/interesting! and i would definitely come back again for more shopping/eating/massage *hehe*