Bangkok Trip 13th – 16th July 2013

This is our second trip to Bangkok this year, and indeed there are still so many new places to check out other than the usual shopping places!

Meander from Plane

The main reason for my trip is to tailor shirts and pants for my work. Paul’s Fashion, whose clientele is 90% Singaporeans, is located at Amari Watergate Hotel, 2nd floor. It costs about $40 per piece for the basic shirt or pants, and it takes about 4 days to fit, try, and collect. Make sure you go and try it on, because when I did their measurements were pretty off. For example, one leg was way tighter than the other…

From their FB page, I realized that they are actually coming to Singapore soon!

https://www.facebook.com/PaulsFashionAmariWatergateHotel

We stayed at Grand Diamond Suites Hotel this time, conveniently located just next to Platinum Fashion Mall, and opposite Amari Watergate Hotel. It was affordable for the suite that we were given! There is a room for the King-sized bed, and another room for the television, sofa and mini kitchenette. The other best thing is that there is a Starbucks just below the hotel, hence I got my Thailand Elephant Starbucks card the morning that it got released.

http://www.granddiamondsuites.com/

This rest of this post is probably going to all about food because shopping wise –> Platinum/Chaktuchak Weekend Market/Terminal 21 everyone knows and goes there already~

There is an awesome pig’s intestine and wanton mee stall opposite Grand Diamond Suites Hotel, and on the lane beside the Shibuya 109 mall. It was about 40baht per bowl but it tastes so good we came back here AGAIN for more.

Wanton Mee

We heard decent reviews about the restaurant Cabbages & Condoms, and it sounded pretty interesting so we gave it a try! It was quite disappointing though. The concept was cool promoting safe sex, but the food was mediocre and overpriced.

Cabbages & Condoms

There were some models on display, almost entirely made out of condoms… got to go see it to believe it.

One cafe that I HAVE to blog about is Roast!

Roast Newspaper Menu

The ambience there is good, and their coffee is up to standard as well.

Roast Coffee

Roast Eggs Benedict

Try and go on a weekday because the crowd is insane during the weekends. They’ve won many awards and is voted one of the best restaurants in Bangkok!

Jeremy & Michelle at Roast

We dropped by Mr Jone’s Orphanage because they are just opposite each other at SeenSpace Thong Lo, and their cakes and decorations look really interesting. Perhaps we were too full from our brunch at Roast, so the desserts there were “nice to see only”.

Mr Jone's Orphanage

Mr Jone's Orphanage Cakes

We also went to Kuppa cafe. I thought it was quite a famous restaurant, but it was really really quiet. Their coffee was so-so, but their bread pudding saved the day! Their menu is a bit pricey, and I would prefer Roast over this place unless you want peace and solitude.

Kuppa Bread Pudding

I took an Instagram video of us pouring the vanilla on the bread pudding~

Kuppa Coffee

The last cafe that I’m going to include here is Cafe Tartine! It’s a french cafe that serves huge portions of choose-your-own salad, and croissant sandwiches!

Cafe Tartine Salad

I liked this place, but I guess it’s a little pricey for Bangkok food and we only saw ang moh tai-tais or ang moh businessmen eating here.

We re-visited Som Tam Nua, the famous Thai restaurant at Siam Square that serves a mean plate of papaya salad and chicken wings! We remembered the last time we ate here, it was way too spicy, so we informed them “less spicy” and it was perfect this time.

Som Tam Nua Chicken Wing

Som Tam Nua Papaya Salad

I especially loved the crunchy “I don’t know what it is” bits they put into the salad. This restaurant is just next to Mango Tango, which I blogged about in the January post

Bangkok Trip 1st – 4th January 2013

Siam Square also has another local restaurant called Inter that has yummy fried rice! The crowd here is 90% local and the place is rather full, so I suppose they have pretty authentic Thai food.

One FINAL recommendation – this time it’s a drink that I had THREE times while I’m there. It’s Kamu Iced Latte with 25% sugar. It’s really good and it gives me the caffeine high that I never ever had before with other coffee. You can actually see them pouring the 2 shots of fresh espresso from the coffee machine into the milk, something you don’t get at Singapore’s bubble tea shops. They have a stall at Terminal 21 and another at Siam Square Digital Gateway, amongst other places.

https://www.facebook.com/kamukamu.tea

That’s about all regarding my Bangkok trip this July, I didn’t buy as many clothes because I’m probably not going to wear them as much once I start working.

I’ll be saving the starting-to-work post for another day~

Taiwan Trip: Taipei (台北) Leg 30th June – 4th July 2013

The well procrastinated final post of my Taiwan Trip holiday is finally here!

Throughout my 4 nights in Taipei, I stayed at City Inn III near Taipei Main Station. City Inn has a few branches in the vicinity and rumor has it that 90% of the occupants are Singaporeans.

http://www.cityinn.com.tw/EN/Cityinn3/index.aspx?lan=en-us

Anyway, I liked that place because it’s clean and affordable. Plus point – They have free milo/coffee machine in the lobby, but I only found that out on the last day!!

The first place we went to in Taipei was XiMenDing (西門町) and we were really spoilt for choice because there were so many streets selling food and fashion. We did some research beforehand and went to try the famous Ah Zhong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線). The queue was very long but fast-moving, and there were very few seats so most people just stand around and eat with only a spoon.

Ah Zhong Mian Xian

To be honest, I never really liked these kind of mee sua so I didn’t find it very special. We were too full for dinner so we walked around a bit and found a small risotto restaurant with a huge golden retriever just lying around sleeping in the middle.

Ah Mao Risotto

I assume his name is 阿毛 and his life must be very good. I would be very tempted to give some risotto to the doggy.

The highlight of the night was our buffet steamboat dinner at 馬辣頂級麻辣鴛鴦火鍋 recommended by Yiling.

Ma La Huo Guo

For just SGD$20+ we got free flow of many kinds of beef/pork/chicken, vegetables, seafood, Haagen Daz ice-cream, as well as Taiwan Beer! Good food = long queues, so the best thing is to arrive early to leave your name down and walk walk around for 1 hour before it’s your turn to feast.

The next day was a day trip to Jiufen (九份) and Shifen (十分). There’s actually not much to do at Jiufen other than walking through their 老街 and eating their famous 芋圆 that my family all don’t really like.

Yam Balls

There’s also some ice-cream with chopped peanuts wrapped in popiah skin that was quite refreshing but can be finished in 2 bites.

Peanut Popiah Ice-cream

In Taiwan, they are also famous for their white bitter gourd juice. When mixed with honey, it’s a refreshing and healthy drink for summer! Try and spot them behind the huge watermelon.

Bitter Gourd Juice

If I had the choice, I would allocate more time at Shifen instead. The thing with getting around is that Ruifang Station is the common point between Jiufen and Shifen, and the train intervals are not very frequent (including the train ride back to Taipei).

Shifen Station

Due to not very proper planning on my part, we only had around 30 minutes at Shifen to do a quickie 放孔明灯 there. Thankfully they were all within walking distance from the station and the shop-owners there are so experienced that it could all be done under 20 minutes.

Sky Lantern

Evidently, you can see that our words are written in a hurry.

It’s a pity though because there’s a waterfall nearby and some beautiful scenery and walking trails that we passed along on the way there. I would have loved to explore Shifen a bit more.

The next day was a trip to XinBeiTou (新北投) for our hot spring experience! It was actually pretty ironic because the weather was hot as hell and we were sunburnt, but still we wanted to go to a hot spring. We didn’t regret it though, because it’s a first for my parents. The place we went to was a hotel called Sweet Me.

http://www.sweetme.com.tw/English/1_About/default.php

We booked a private room that allows us to wear swimming costumes to soak (due to modesty reasons for my mom). It was a pretty tiny bathtub meant for 2, with another tub for cold water.

Sweetme

They also had a separate gender hot spring area, but you have to go in naked and there are more pools with different minerals and temperatures there.

We walked around the XinBeiTou area and we found a Thermal Valley (地热谷) that has fumes rising out of the pool. The place did smell very sulphuric though, and we didn’t stay for long other than to snap pictures because it was burning hot.

Thermal Valley

After having a relaxing bath, we went to Danshui (淡水) Fisherman’s Wharf (渔人码头) to catch the sunset!

Fisherman's Wharf Sunset

We had a spectacular view on the 情人桥 and it was another “watch the yolk drop into the sea” moment.

Qing Ren Qiao

Our dinner was at Shihlin Night Market (士林夜市) and by now, we were so sick of night market food that we mainly just browsed through the stalls without eating much. Finally understood the saying that too much of a good thing, is not good after all.

Our second last day was spent making a pilgrimage to Taipei 101. It’s the must-go building that everyone knows about.

Taipei 101

However, I would like to recommend another place called 四四南村 that is a 10 minutes walk away.

 四四南村

It used to be military barracks/hangars, but now it’s a quaint area with a cafe called Good Cho’s (好丘) there that’s famous amongst the locals. My Taiwanese friend introduced this hippy place to me, if not I will probably never find it on Tripadvisor or Google etc.

Good Cho's

Brunch

So if you’re reading this and going to Taiwan, do give that place a try!

Our last interesting place for the trip is WuFenPu Wholesale Market (五分埔) where the girls can go crazy shopping there. For them, wholesale means 2 items or more and I don’t think that’s very difficult when the clothes there are so cheap. Thankfully, there are some shops that sell guy stuff nowadays, but I didn’t get myself anything.

Once I start working, I hardly think I will be wearing casual clothes anymore =/

Anyways, there is a famous 鲁肉饭 in between the train station and the entrance of WuFenPu. Their portions are very small, so do order more because each bowl is only like $1.50.

Lu Rou Fan

This about sums up my very lengthy post on Taipei! Along the way we visited XiMenDing and Taipei Main Station Underground Mall a few more times, and ate plenty more food that probably wasn’t that memorable.

I had a wonderful time with my family for the 9 days that I was there, and I do hope that we can still continue going on vacations like these in future!

Cheers to quality family bonding time!

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Taiwan Trip: Hualien (花莲) Leg 26th – 28th June 2013

Taiwan Trip: Taichung (台中) Leg 28th – 30th June 2013