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.

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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*

Bangkok in the first week of school! [Part 1]

hello!! (: starting on my bkk post first, even though this trip was later than my Aussie trip last december because i think this should be shorter haha. lots of backlog and i can’t remember half the things that have gone on since then! xP whoops. haha hopefully because bkk was more recent so i’ll do a better job of it! 
anyway, it was a #YOLO and #makingyear4count moment when my bestie & i decided to escape to bangkok in the first week of the school semester this year! ;) perks of having only a two day week hehe *allow me to gush about it for a moment* FINALLY EXPERIENCING THE YEAR 4 LIFE WOOHOO!!!! and i’m lovin’ it! ;) it’s so super shiok to 1) not have any accounting mods 2) not have any morning classes 3) only two days of school a.k.a. school feels like a weekend! or rather i have an extra-long weekend keke. too shiok. obviously i’m not thaaaat free (idk why my days still get filled up all the time. which has made it quite difficult to update this space :p), but this awesome timetable has really allowed me to find time to do many other things i love (: such as cook, bake and experiment with flower arranging! i guess you would probably have seen my cooking/baking adventures on instagram/recipes on my blog (lots more coming up!), but allow me to present the first ever flower arrangement i’ve done ^^ 
it’s really an amateur one, and i think the flowers were rather cui because the florist was mainly stocking CNY plants rather than normal flowers (well at least they were on sale!! haha), but i’m still really happy i took the first step to creating this. i’ve got zero creativity really….need to improve on this (maybe that’s why i decided to venture into flower arranging). anyway, if anyone is interested in giving me some lessons, i would be ever so grateful (: 
okay i digressed really far! :P oops! so anyway yep went to bkk in the first week of school. we almost didn’t get to go because of all the bad news about the protests and stuff!!! :'( gosh it was such a nerve-wrecking week. we’d already paid and everything and were so excited to go!! but parents and friends were worried etc :/ anyway we managed to change our tigerair flight for a minimum fee to come back a day earlier so that we wouldn’t get caught in the shutdown (for those who want to change flights to bkk, i think they will waive the change fee! check with them! cos they might pretend not to know -.- BE PERSISTENT) 
soooo okay bcos this post seems to be getting quite long already (haha), i’ve decided to split it into two parts
Part 1
Pratunam Morning Market 
Platinum Mall
Hotel
SIM Card
Travelling to the city centre from the airport
Part 2
Siam Centre/Square/Paragon/Market
Chatuchak
Union Mall
for shopping, we literally shopped from the CHEAPEST place, to the most expensive (or least cheap one).
our very sleepy morning faces zzz. because we woke up at 5.30am (OMG…) to catch the Pratunam Morning Market. it actually starts at 5am, and lasts till around 9am if i’m not wrong? we figured that it was no point going thaaaaat early because we heard that the stallholders would still be setting up at 5am. so we arrived there around 6am.
sun had barely risen at that time as you can see. so sleepy…but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! ^^ all the stuff there were really really cheap. the rule of thumb seems to be: do not pay anything above 200 baht. they will also give wholesale prices if you buy more than 3 items. is it just me (i haven’t been to bangkok for like maybe 10 years haha) or is there not much room for bargaining nowadays? i really have no idea! bcos a lot of them don’t seem to allow much bargaining and being lazy as usual (haha), ngan and I didn’t bother to bargain too much. the prices were pretty decent already anyway.
and this was our morning loot!!!! can you believe it?!!?!? hahaha just shopping from 6am-8am got us this amount of stuff :P hehe. *proud of ourselves* and everything was so cheap.
we headed to Platinum Mall after breakfast for more shopping! surprisingly covered Platinum mall really quickly. because it was just soooo messy (kinda like far east plaza) which was just too complicated to navigate already. we spent like only three hours there? haha so fast :p and i was absolutely appalled to see that some stuff were so freaking expensive O.O like 600 baht or sth?!?! i mean the quality was definitely good, but still, i was totally not prepared to buy anything in bkk at that price. in fact, i think other than my shoes, i didn’t pay more than 300 baht for anything. haha.
i guess the best part of Platinum mall for me was the FOOD!!!!! on our first night we immediately headed to the Food Court on level 6 to get our thai food fix *woohoo!* pad thai and som tam papaya salad (stall 25 has many options! ask to try the fish sauce though, because it tasted real weird to us :p so you should ask to omit it if you don’t like it). we also ordered the yam-flavoured mini belgium waffles (yummy!! wish it was hot thought xP) and the egg pan, which is the super duper cute dish you see there!!! it’s sunny side up quails eggs! haha i’m super deprived of bangkok k, so please let me go crazy ;) i didn’t experience all this the last time i came here (which was eons ago anyway). totally over-ordred and we were stuffed by the end!! but everything was so cheap (Y)
Platinum mall closes really early though. i think around 9pm? so be sure to go there early to shop/eat!!! i think by the time we went there, there were no more fresh waffles -.- 
okay shall stop here with the malls for now. but just some useful info to add! 
Hotel
we stayed at The 93 Hotel, which we booked through Agoda. if you think it sounds sleazy because it sounds like hotel 88, it’s nothing like that. i thought it was pretty good! 
1. It was cheap
2. Good location (walking distance to Platinum/Siam area, and also right along the street where the Pratunam Morning Market was! so we literally could tumble out of bed and start shopping haha. VERY convenient)
3. Comfy room (the bed was awesomely comfy!! and it was sufficiently furnished/equipped. they even provide toothbrushes! haha not bad)
4. Decent restaurant (we had dinner there on one of the nights. i quite liked their green curry! and there is live music haha)
5. A pretty good massage just around the corner! okay this is quite hard to describe, but when you walk out of the hotel, turn right and walk along the main street and turn left into the first small street. there are signs pointing towards a massage place there. there are two directly opposite each other and we went to the one on the left TWICE because their foot massage was damn good especially after a day of walking & shopping hehe)
SIM Card
we bought it at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. at level one, there are quite a number of shops selling it for around the same price. we bought the one week SIM Card for 300MB of data (more than enough for our stay!) for 399 baht.
we were so amused at their mrt tokens!! haha super cute! you actually tap this little circle token just like an ez link card! anyway it’s really easy to take the Airport Rail Link to the city centre. we took the train to the second last station, and this took around 30min and cost 40 baht.
and i shall save the rest for the next post, coming up in a few days time ;) stay tuned ~