Travel | Thailand - Shopping

Apr 4, 2015

So we dedicated one full day for shopping.
Because why not!  

Bangkok is like Manila, it has numerous malls you can go to.
Here I am at Platinum Fashion Mall - One of the best place for cheap affordable clothing and souvenirs. This is where we stayed and shop the most. It is near MRT Siam Station.
Be ready though, Platinum is not a shopping haven for no reason, It's a huge mall divided into three zones with 5 floors. 

Travel tip: Buy in bulk for discounts! Don't be shy to haggle.

Walking around the mall can be tiring, don't worry if you get hungry Platinum has a food court area.
Mango Sticky Rice!
When we got out the mall it was already dark. 
Heavy traffic exists everywhere. huhu
Tuk-tuks are a fun way to go around but I don't recommend riding one if you're on a budget. They have fixed rates on certain places so getting a metered cab is much wiser. Ride only for experience.
Another place to go to are night markets. We were lucky to find out that there is one near our hotel.
It is near MRT Saladeng Station.
Our place is actually a tourist area because we are near the red light district HAHA shhhhh

Other malls are more catered to high end customers like the ones near MRT Siam Station.
These malls have luxury brands, fine dining restaurants and cafes.
The only place where I saw a queue outside brands like Hermes. Wow.
Travel Tip: if you're not well versed in Thai or actually know your way around. Better stay away from local buses. Most conductors don't communicate well in English so telling where you're headed to is hard and like what happened to us... you can get lost.

We were supposed to go to a famous shopping area called "Khao San Road" but we failed miserably on finding it. We were able to reach a tiny quiet residential district with no signs that we're near Khao San at all. Speaking of signs, some areas have no English signs or whatsoever so going around and finding a certain place will be hard.

Travel Tip: If there are no tourists around, you might be at the wrong place.

Luckily during our desperate attempt at asking random people where the hell Khao San is. A young man who can undertsand English well overheard us and helped us. He helped us hail a cab and he was the one to instructed the driver to take us to Khao San road, Because people can't understand us when we say it.

/random funny moment: We entered a 7-11 store hoping that the cashier can help us. When we asked where "khao san" is. She pointed us to a sack of rice. Apparently with the wrong intonation, Khao san means rice orz
Hello Khao San road! (finally)

 Khao San road and it's adjacent streets have stores everywhere from clothing and souvenirs to massage parlors and restaurants.
We had lunch at this open restaurant wth interesting sculptures and art pieces.

Shopping around Bangkok is easy (and tiring) as long as you know what you want to buy and where to go, then you're good! Haggling is advisable esp if you think you're getting ripped off because you are a foreigner. I haggled a wallet worth 150baht to 100baht. It sounds not that much but you can already buy lunch with that 50baht.

photography (c) ian cartalaba

Travel | Thailand 2014 - Kpopped in Bangkok

We only stayed at Siem Reap for around one and a half day to catch up on smething important at Bangkok.... KPOP.
We rented a service with the help of the hotel manager from where we stayed in Siem Reap.
The cab service drove our sleepy butts to the borders and transferred to a Thai cab service.
The immigration part was very basic and no fancy office buildings there. The queue was literally outside the immigration office building. It wasn't that fast since i think there were only 3 immigration officers and a lot of tourists, but it didn't bother me that much anyway.

After the immigration frenzy, our Cambodian driver lead us to the Thai driver and once it was settled. We drove for another 3 hours I think to get to the city from the borders. Initially we asked to drive us straight to our hotel but since we were rushing for an event. we asked the driver to take us to the event area. Still with our big backpacks with us we headed to a Korean group's presscon.

After the presscon we searched for our hotel. 
The next day was Concert day! 
We were early the the bar, we met alot of local fans and there were non-thai fans too from Indonesia and Japan. These rich fans are crazy XD 

We watched Korean rock group Royal Pirates' Love Toxic showcase on our second day in Bangkok.
We've been following the group for years now and who would've thought we were able to watch them live on a different country! hahahha  

Don't know them?
check out 

After the concert we went home to rest because partying is hard!
 We found this street stall near our hotel selling Phad Thai.
When you see her prepare each dish you will be amazed on how fast and entertaining she is when cooking. The resulting food is as amazing.
Nothing can beat the authentic. Best Phad Thai I ever tasted.

Time to rest tomorrow is shopping day!

Travel | Cambodia 2014 - Tonle Sap Lake

Feb 28, 2015

After our tour around Angkor Wat our tuktuk driver suggested if we wanted to go the the lake since it was still quite early. We said yes.

As we were heading downtown, we noticed that it was getting far.

At first we were like "this lake is kinda far compared to the map, huh."
and then after a few more miles, where we were driving through started to look really "province-y"

"damn, this lake is far!"

At last we arrived at this pier like establishment. We didn't know that IT was already the ferry terminal to Tonle Sap Lake.
Initially, we planned to go there before the trip but we thought it was too far from Siem Reap so we dropped the idea. but due to our randomness and whatever serendipity coincidence that happened so quickly we were able to go to Tonle Sap Lake without even knowing it! Cray!
After getting ferry tickets, we went down to the docks. I thought it will be like a group tour thing together with other tourists, but no. We got the whole boat to ourselves. hahaha
The driver and the tour guide are both young locals so it felt comfortable and they were funny.

They even let us drive the boat!
Yes that's me driving a motorboat in the middle of Tonle Sap river going to the great lake.
Not bad for a first timer since the maneuver was quite simple and it was thrilling!

The river opens up to the lake and from there you will see the famous floating village.
Part of the long stretch of houses and establishments. They were practically complete with temples, schools, marketplace and even restaurants for tourists.
I am standing in the middle of the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia!

The village has a struggling economy, our guide asked us if we wanted to visit the school and get to mingle with the kids and see their actual daily life and if we wanted to share a little donation. 

This is one of the classrooms we visited with very active kids!
There was no class that time so they were just playing around.
You see that murky water on the side? We saw one kid drank from there like it was the cleanest pond in the woods. It was shocking and troubling. We offered to give them distilled water as donation, it was not much but at least it would suffice for the next few days. They really need clean water.
Don't let go of an opportunity to share.
After the school tour we dropped by a floating market for a quick drink. There were souvenirs and food stalls. but what caught our attention was the live crocodile farm.
Yup a herd of crocodiles just a meter away from where we are standing.
super safe! hahahaha
This is us on the boat with the floating village at the back.
It was an amazing and eye-opening experience for the three of us.

This is why we travel.

Tonle Sap Lake and the Floating Village
Cambodia, 2014

Travel | Cambodia 2014 - Angkor City

Feb 22, 2015

Me and my friends decided to have a partial indochina trip during the holidays last year. 

Our first stop was Cambodia.
Of course Angkor City is on our to go list. We hired a tuktuk to take us to the ruins.
tuktuk rides are fun!

Walking around the ruins is so surreal. It felt like I'm in a different world.

All of the Buddha statues here doesn't have heads. They say it was stolen. 

where Tomb Raider the Movie was filmed! 

Cambodia 2014