A New Day. A New Adventure.
The SunPower women installing solar at #SOLARTHON

The SunPower women installing solar at #SOLARTHON

Day 33 - Pattaya Thailand

So blogging about this trip has been way overdue, but I’ll try my best to continue it and keep this adventure going.

Day 33 - Pattaya, Thailand

Today was probably the most vacation like day of the trip. We got picked up from our hotel and took a 2 hour drive south of Bangkok to Pattaya! Our original plan was to go to Phuket, but Pattaya offered a more convenient solution as a quick day trip to a beach resort like city. I mostly slept in the car, or at least tried to. The driver was a bit crazy with his maneuvering of our tour van and there were also no seat belts. O_O

Anywho, 2 hours later we made it to Pattaya! We were greeted with the tourist agency and were told of the many water activities we could choose from. These ranged from sea walking (literally), snorkeling, jet skiing, parasailing, or simply beach lounging. Before we knew it, we were directed towards our speed boat that would take us to the coral island off the coast of Pattaya to enjoy these activities!

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image Daddy and I by the speedboat!

First stop: Parasailing. After paragliding last year in Switzerland (and falling in love with it. I still have to try hang gliding…), I jumped at the opportunity for para sailing over the Pattaya waters. The people helping us with the equipment were super fast! My sister put on her harness, walked up to the group of men strapping on the parachute, got strapped in, and was flying in the air in less than 30 seconds. I went right up after her in the same fashion. I loved the feeling of flying in the air. Even though it didn’t last all too long, it was quite the experience just closing my eyes and stretching out my arms and legs into the air and imagining that it was real. Well…it was real, until I slowly floated down to the crowd of workers who just as quickly unbuckled every clasp from my harness to the parachute. 

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 Christina strapped in, feet already lifting off the ground...

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 and off she goes!!!

After our parasailing adventures, we hopped back onto the speed boat and were on our way to the coral island! This time, Christina and I rushed to get seats right at the front. =)  

image Cruising to the island. =)

So…speed boats look super glamorous in movies, and it was kinda fun to think we were super cool with the wind blowing in our face on our speed boat, BUT one thing we didn’t anticipate was the lack of suspension that came with the speedboat bouncing on the water when it went over waves. THAT was painful. And if you look very closely, I have a death grip going on with that handle bar.

A few shots from the beach:

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image Putting our sun hats to use!

image Sand poop.

image My sister spotted the shot of this little girl playing in the sand.

After 20 minutes of bumping super cool speed boat riding, we made it to the coral island! First thing was first, we ate lunch at one of the restaurants on the coast, but soon after changed and got ready for some snorkeling adventures! 

I don’t have any pictures from the snorkeling adventures because we weren’t sure about getting the camera wet, but here’s what went down! We took a boat out to another area of the coast near the same area they did the sea walking. Christina and I were the only people on the boat who weren’t Thai and couldn’t speak Thai. Interesting communication ensued when we tried to figure out the snorkeling gear and the fish feeding with bread…yeah. The people were all really friendly and helped us get set up so that worked well. Once me and my sister actually got in the water, that’s when we realized that our generic snorkeling goggles were not really made for our smaller faces. This was especially noticeable with the water that seeped in as we were looking at our sea creature friends. We spent a good 15 minutes flailing around in the water trying to get the goggles to work until we finally got them to work! It was a bit complicated, but we finally got to enjoy checking out all the fishies and coral below us. 

There were these species of jellyfish that were every where. They weren’t dangerous, but more rather like pod-like jellyfish. Still, I managed to freak out in a panic as I saw hundreds around me. BUT that wasn’t really the scariest part. The scariest part was as I was trying to splash these little pod jellyfish away…I spotted one with tentacles gliding right in front of me. At that point, I splashed a lot more frantically and swam away. It was a bit comical, but just the idea of getting stung by a jellyfish worried me much more than all the mosquito bites.

image Our snorkeling boat/glass-bottom boat skipper!

After our hour of snorkeling was up (it was quite the adventure with Christina), we headed back to the beach and met up with the rest of the tour group only to find that we were going to get back on the same boat that we took to go snorkeling on. The only difference was this time, we got to the see the glass bottom of the boat and saw just about the same things we had just seen while snorkeling. 

After a brief 5-10 minutes of ocean viewing, we transferred back onto our speed boats and sailed off back to Pattaya. We made a stop over at the gem museum in Pattaya from there. Over there, we took a tour of the gem mining process and got onto a ride that almost made you think that you were in Disneyland. Btw, after learning about all these different mining processes (natural gas mining a.k.a. fracking, gem stone mining, oil mining, diamond mining, etc.), I’ve come to the conclusion that just about EVERY mining process is terribly detrimental to our environment (I’ll probably have a separate blog for all my other thoughts on these things in the coming future). It really makes me think about the bigger effects of our desires to get gem stones and diamonds as presents…

Anywho, after the tour was done, we headed back to Bangkok where we ate at the Baiyoke Sky Hotel Buffet in celebration for my dad’s birthday!!! It was amazing food of all cuisines, and we got to go to the top floor of the hotel (the 84th floor!!!) and got a 360 degree view of Bangkok! Sweeeeet deal. 

image Enjoying the Baiyoke Sky Cocktail.

image On top of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel on the 84th floor!

That’s all for now. Last day of Bangkok and the rest of the Singapore trip coming soon! =)

Day 31 - Chatuchak Weekend Market, Day 32 - Platinum Wholesale Mall

Day 31 - Chatuchak Weekend Market

So, if you ever come to Bangkok and are looking for one crazy shopping experience…you MUST check out Chatuchak Weekend Market! Based on Bangkok.com (Read more: Chatuchak Market in Bangkok - Bangkok Weekend), the area of Chatuchak spans 35 acres and boasts over 8,000 market stalls! You can basically find anything there from home decor, to clothes (both men and women, casual, work, and all), to toys, to food, to just about anything you would normally be looking to buy. It’s pretty ridiculous navigating through here too because there are just so many shopping stalls. It is pretty cheap for the most part, but it doesn’t beat out on places like Platinum Wholesale Mall (which will be described later) or other street wholesale shops (which I will talk about more in depth with Platinum Mall). Regardless, GREAT PLACE TO SHOP AND A MUST SEE IN BANGKOK!

Today, we were happy because we had an honest taxi driver. Yay! Again, watch out for those taxi meters…We actually were a bit lost at first, but found one of the many entrances to Chatuchak!

image The layout. It’s broken into different shopping sections, but don’t let this colorful map fool you…once you go in, you get lost in the biggest maze of shopping in your life.

Regardless of the sectioned map, we actually just kinda got lost shopping in all the sections. To be honest, there was just no orderly way to go about it. We tried to go down line by line, but something would just catch our eye, and then the system just fell apart. We resorted to wandering aimlessly among the clustered shopping stalls.

image At one of the entrances to Chatuchak! Food stalls are right there to welcome you in. =)

image About to munch on some quail eggs.

There are many stalls around, but there’s actually a lot to see even outside of the shopping. 

image Outside the market, you can easily find people selling snacks or full on food stands. I wasn’t sure exactly what they were selling, but it looked pretty neat. Wish I tried one now.

image This girl  was singing along the main street of Chatuchak Market. 

image THAI TEA! This guy was “pulling the tea” which was a way to mix the thai tea. He basically poured thai tea from one cup to the other, but spun and almost danced with it. Pretty cool way to prepare thai tea. 

Speaking of good drinks, another MUST TRY thing in Thailand are the freshly squeezed orange juices. There are a lot of bottles that are already sealed from normal street sellers and those aren’t bad at all, but the ones you REALLY WANT are the sellers who actually have oranges at their cart and are actually squeezing the juices either directly into your cup or into the main orange juice dispenser. Trust me, this was one of my favorite things to drink here next to Thai Tea and I LOVED IT! There was a stand like this at Chatuchak and I don’t think I have ever tasted such fresh and delicious orange juice everrr!!!

We spent from the morning until late afternoon at Chatuchak before catching a taxi back home. After that, we sorted out our goodies from the day and this was one of our fun finds. =)

image Little voodoo keychains my sister bought…random, but cute. 

Good night!

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Day 32 - Platinum Wholesale Mall 

So today, we had another big day of shopping at Platinum Wholesale Mall! Good thing for us, was that Platinum Mall was only a few blocks away from our hotel, so if you’re up for some serious shopping check out Baiyoke Suite or Baiyoke Sky (This one has a revolving floor on the 84th floor) Hotels. I’ll talk about the Baiyoke Sky in the coming days.

Anywho, Platinum Wholesale Mall is 6 floors worth of wholesale shopping! By wholesale, I am referring to purchasing 3 or more pieces of clothing from a stall, but the term wholsale varies between different sellers, so always double check. On the top floor is a massive food court with foods from all Asian cuisines, so no matter what, you should be able to find something that suits you. If you’re not up for Asian food, there’s a KFC too! haha  

image I <3 RICE NOODLE…STUFF!!!

Word of advice to anyone looking to shop at Platinum Wholesale Mall, just like Chatuchak, save a good day to shop here. Day is a bit loosely defined, but to put things in perspective. We spent an hour at Sun Star, which is this big shop full of stationary and random things that have all sorts of Disney characters and such. We spent another hour and a half on the 5th floor, and another on the 4th. By the time we were really tired, we had only done justice for the 4th and 5th floor. The 6th was mostly food, so that wasn’t toooo bad. 

Believe it or not, everything ranges from as low as $3 (~ 100 Thai Baht) for an article of clothing (usually on the sales for shirts, dresses, but these aren’t always guaranteed to be the best) to an average of $6/$9 (~200/300 Thai Baht) for most other things. Sweet deals! It also helps to have a shopping partner with similar taste to pick something else from the same store to get the wholesale price on things. Christina was quite a lot of help with this.

Well we spent most of the day inside…so I didn’t even realized it rained!

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Walking back to the hotel wasn’t all too fun because the rain made some lovely Bangkok mush on the street. My legs had quite a few black splash marks from the puddles by the time we got back to hotel. Sad thing was it wasn’t even far from Platinum Mall. =(

Anywho, it was a big shopping day and I am spent! Blog on Pattaya, Thailand coming up! 

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Day 29-30 - Bangkok, Four-Face Buddha, Exploration!

I’m finally onto my Thailand trip! Yay!!!

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Day 29 - Bangkok 

So I actually didn’t sleep at all the night before our flight to Bangkok. We woke up at 4am to leave for the airport to make sure there were no chances of missing our flight. Unfortunately for me…I couldn’t sleep that night so, I was pretty exhausted at the airport. Hence…

image Bumming it at the airport.

We ate some Kaya French Toast for breakfast at the airport, which was a nice breakfast in the early morning hours. I had never tried kaya before but it was a good first time to have it. Kaya is a coconut jam that is spread on toast as a sweet spread. Quite delicious indeed.

Anywho, after a 2 hour and 45 minute flight, and a good wait at customs…we took one of these brightly colored taxis to our hotel, Baiyoke Suite Hotel, in Bangkok! =D

image Taxis of all neon colors!

We actually got there pretty early, but luckily were able to drop off our baggage. We headed over to Platinum Wholesale Mall (which I’ll report on in a day or two) for lunch. The location of the hotel was pretty sweet because below down the street was a whole street of shops for wholesale products!! 

image This was the main street, but every block had extra aisles and alleys (but not the scary scary ones) just filled with clothes and accessories. Shopping galore!!

image One of many street food vendor selling freshly cooked corn.

At Platinum Wholesale Mall, there was a huge selection of foods, but I opted for my favorite Vietnamese Spring Rolls for lunch. image

From there, we headed back and wandered around the area. We nearly got lost in all the small aisles within the block. We spent a good 3 hours shopping and covered about the area of 1 block…maybe even less because the shops were so densely packed with one another.

image One of the street vendors selling toothbrush holders. He was super nice and let me take a picture of him (as you can tell…)

After a good first day shopping trip, we headed out to MBK Shopping Center to explore a little. We took this lovely Tuk Tuk to get over there!

image Tuk tuk!

It was kinda weird because he made a stop at a jewelry factory where he asked us to look at the products, act interested, and take our time walking around the store. He said in return, he would get 5 liters of gas for free from the company. We figured why not, since we could spare 5 or 10 min to help him out and went around the factory store pretending we were interested in stuff… Smart marketing on the part of the jewelry factory for working with the tuk tuk drivers. I spotted a couple who had also gone there to help out their tuk tuk driver who in the end just bought something that they could find for a cheap price. Anywho, kinda strange, but oh well.

We spent some time at MBK eating, but didn’t do all too much shopping. One GREAT discovery that we made was the store of NaRaYa! It’s a Thai brand that is known for it’s cheap, yet very well made handbags. AH! Dawn was there to buy some stuff, but me and my sister went crazy! Not TOO crazy just yet, but we did go back the next few days…more on that in future blogs.

As we were leaving actually, we witnessed a near smackdown! One of the tuk tuk drivers pulled up and I guess he was arguing with his two passengers about something. As the two guys were leaving the tuk tuk, one of them jokingly fake donkey kicked the tuk tuk as he was walking away. Well…the driver saw it, and was noticeably angry with this and actually lifted the tuk tuk seat up and almost grabbed the bat that was attached below the seat. Luckily, the situation didn’t get any worse because by then the two guys realized just how serious the driver was and walked away, and the driver decided to put away the bat. Crazy stuff!

On our way back to the hotel, the taxi driver also ripped us off. Before finding the taxi we took we were offered 150 Baht for the trip to get back, but thought that was too much. We opted for our chosen taxi driver because he had a meter, but his meter was definitely messed with and racked up a taxi toll of 200 Baht. Not that that was a crazy amount, but the feeling of being cheated is never a great one. While we were stopped in traffic, the meter would sometimes go up by 2 baht in less than a minute (the official rate is actually ever minute and a half in traffic). -____- 

Note: Not all taxi drivers have tweeked meters, this actually was the first time where I had encountered a taxi driver with such a bs meter in Bangkok. In my previous trip, all the drivers were honest about the taxi fare. We just unfortunately had to run into this one. =/ Regardless, when getting a taxi meter it, or you can bargain it too. But in the end, ALWAYS ask how much your ride is to where ever you are going before investing in a taxi or tuk tuk. You might just be able to bargain it down to a lower price.

After MBK, we headed back to the hotel and checked out the night market. Not too much after that other than KNOCK OUT! (I was pretty tired from not sleeping for a day…). With that, I will end with some pictures and captions on these night time food vendors!

image Daddy next to steaming corn.

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Steaming corn!!!

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Day 30 - Four-faced Buddhas and Exploration!

Today we did less shopping and more EXPLORING! First stop…the Four-Face Buddha! This is actually a really big spot for both locals and tourists to ask for blessings

image In front of the four-faced Buddha

image People lighting incents, some holding flower offerings.

image A closer look at the Four-Face Buddha

It was actually really crowded there with many people praying to the Four-Face Buddha. I didn’t know about this before, but you can also pay for traditional Thai dancers to dance for the gods as you prayed. 

image The dancers with the golden hats, and the musicians who played as they sang and danced for the gods as people prayed in front of them (not pictured) 

After visiting Four-Face Buddha, we headed to Siam Paragon Mall for lunch. We sampled some more good Japanese food. Ironically they were having another Japanese food fair. Mmmmmm =)

We then explored the rest of the mall and checked out their Underwater world…area. The Underwater World was actually really big and had a lot of attractions…but ee ended up not going in because it was ridiculously expensive. Oh well…WE LOVE THE OCEAN!

imageFake Nemo loves the Ocean too…so let’s take care of it. =)

image Ronald McDonald from Thailand!…Still just as creepy though.

We then made our way to Central World to explore a bit more as well. And guess who I ran into???

image Bumblebee!

We encountered another NaRaYa…and did some more bag shopping. Once that was all finished with, we walked around outside where we came across another Buddhist shrine. This time, instead of honoring it the yellow and white flowers, red roses were placed on the fountain area. So…here are some pictures!

image Rows of roses actually spanned a good 30 feet along the fountain. 

image One of the shrines. The other was of a golden elephant. I don’t know the exact names of the gods though…

From there, we rested again. It was a pretty hot day and it was full of walking. We ended it well with a nice Seafood Buffet at the top of the hotel! Yay!

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Goood Night!! =)

Day 28 - Botanic Gardens

Trying something new today. Since this was more of a picture day, I just have pictures with captions. Just click on the pictures to scroll through the full sizes and captions. =)

Today, Christina and I strolled around the Botanic Gardens! There’s not too much to say about it other than it’s a great place to just walk and take pictures at. It’s a huge park and there are tons of areas to picnic, take a nap on, and explore. So if you want another break from the city buildings, the Botanic Gardens aren’t too far away from Orchard Road. Hopefully they’re not grainy. My ISO was really high during the day and I had no idea…=X 

Enjoy the pictures!