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The Scam, Bangkok style November 3, 2013

Posted by hslu in Travel.
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“You have to watch out because there are many pickpockets here.”

That’s how the conversation got started. It was also the beginning of the scam, Bangkok style.

Here is my advice to you: Read this post before you visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

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We just got off from a water taxi and were on our way to the Grand Palace in Bangkok. We actually didn’t know where the entrance of the Palace was but someone had pointed to the right hand side at the end of the open market and that was where we were headed to.

The sky was very cloudy; a light shower was coming down but it wasn’t too bad. We heard that the Grand Palace is the most beautiful palace in Bangkok. We were excited.

I turned my head to the voice and saw a middle-aged guy walking a couple of steps behind me. I didn’t notice where he came from but I subconsciously touched my wallet in my pants’ back pocket.

Yeah, it was still there.

This guy was nice, I thought, to remind me. Maybe I should put my wallet in my pants’ front pocket because the Grand Palace was a very busy tourist spot in Bangkok.

The guy looked like a business man: well dressed in a tan-colored uniform of some sort. He was well groomed compared to many other Thai people. His skin color wasn’t very dark and I knew he was part Chinese and part Thai.

I turned to my wife and wanted to walk away from him. He took out a small decal and said he worked for the police department: He was a tourist police. He then showed me a badge in his wallet which looked like a police badge.

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I kind of let my guard down somewhat because he didn’t look like a crook.

He then said: “Are you going to the Grand Palace?”

I said: “Yes. But we don’t know exactly where the entrance is.”

Of course, we were actually heading in the wrong direction but we didn’t know that. 

He then said that the Grand Palace was closed now and it won’t open until 2:30 this afternoon. He explained that some dignitaries were visiting the Palace so that it would not open to the public now.

It was a lie but we believed him. That was our second mistake.

The first mistake was that we thought he worked for the police department and he was trying to help us.

Hmmm.., what should we do?

It was about 12:30 PM and we’d have about two hours to kill. Maybe we could get something to eat first, I thought.

He then suggested that we could get a taxi for 50 Baht to see the Big Buddha that’s covered in gold. He said the taxi driver could then take us to the Royal Cemetery. Although the cemetery was only for the royal family, it was open to the public today: only one day every year and today was the day. He said that we were lucky.

Well, since the Grand Palace was closed now and there were two hours to kill, we could take his advice, see the Big Buddha, tour the Royal Cemetery and come back later to visit the Palace. 50 Baht was just $1.50 US. $1.50 US to see two more places sounded like a good deal.

We agreed to his offer and he got us a tricycle taxi. He then reminded us that only gave him 50 Baht after we arrived at the cemetery. He’d wait for us at the Big Buddha.

That was our third mistake.

Off we went to the Big Buddha which was about 10 minutes away.

Light rain continued but it didn’t bother us too much. We had an umbrella if the rain got heavier.

I  actually didn’t know how tall or how big the Buddha was but I decided that: let’s go and take a look. The worst of the deal was it was a small and unimpressive Buddha. 既来之则安之。大不了,菩萨不大可总是个菩萨吧!看看无妨!

Sure enough, the Buddha was a big one and it was covered in gold. Impressive but the Buddha wasn’t a nice looking one; I said to myself.

The Buddha is big. About 60' tall. It is called Luang Phor To. The name of the temple is Wat Intharavihan.

The Buddha is big:about 60′ tall. It is called Luang Phor To. The name of the temple is Wat Intharavihan.

Well, we finished our tour in less than 10 minutes and our taxi driver was waiting for us.

The Royal Cemetery was another 10 minutes away. When we got there, we asked the driver to wait for us so he could take us back to the Grand Palace. He said he couldn’t park his taxi here. He had to leave.

We gave him 50 Baht and walked into the Cemetery.

It was a quiet and secluded place. It housed the tombs of past kings and other royal family members.

A few people were there sweeping the ground to clean the falling leaves.

We walked around and saw a sign which explained to us what we were seeing here.

A person walked toward us and said that this place was usually closed to the public. Very few tourists knew this place. How did we got here?

I told him about the tourist police, the temporary closing of the Grand Palace and our taxi ride to see the Big Buddha. I said that this was our second stop.

He then said that a prince was actually visiting the Grand Palace this morning and the Palace would re-open at 2:30 this afternoon.

He then said that he was responsible for the upkeep of the Cemetery. He said that he worked for the Royal family and has been at this position for ten years.

He said that he had 10 workers working for him and all the guys we saw here worked for him. They swept the ground once every hour, maintained all the buildings in the cemetery and there were enough work to keep them busy for ten years. He said that the main temple was closed right now because several monks were still chanting inside but they should finish in 10 to 15 minutes.

Initially I didn’t feel comfortable with talking to him but after he talked about his believe in Chinese culture and how he grew up being part Chinese and part Thai in Thailand; his Mom is Chinese and his Dad is Thai, I slowly let my guard down because he seemed sincere and personal.

That was our fourth mistake.

He gave us a personal tour of the cemetery and the main temple and showed us the tomb for King Mongkutthe king profiled in the movie “The King and I.” Our conversation later went back to growing up being a Chinese in Thailand. He said that many Chinese people in Thailand worked very hard all their lives and saved as much as they could. His Mom also saved a lot of money and used that money to buy jewelries such as ruby and emerald because these precious stones appreciated in value over time. He showed us his huge ruby ring which was given to him by his grandfather.

As he showed us around, he continued to emphasize that his ruby ring has gone up in value many times and his wife wanted to do the same but he won’t let her buy jewelries from Chinatown because he could buy it from a wholesale dealer at 30% less.

In fact, she went to this wholesale jewelry store this morning and got a ruby ring and a matching earrings because this place, usually closed to the public, was open today. His wife was happy and he was happy because she got them at a wonderful price.

He suggested that we shouldn’t miss this once in a life time opportunity. The place would not open to the tourists tomorrow. 

My wife was excited and wanted to check the place out and the guy got us a taxi and we were on our way to the wholesale jewelry store. 

That was our fifth mistake.

When we arrived at the store, Royal Lapidary on Sawankhalok Road, the place was open and was busy with many tourists. A Chinese-speaking lady walked up to us and greeted us warmly. She said that she could take us to see what they have in the store.

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Lotus flower bulbs are used as offering to the Buddha..

Lotus flower bulbs are used as offering to the Buddha..

Inside of the royal cemetery.

Inside of the Royal Cemetery.

Impressive interior of the Royal temple.

Impressive interior of the Royal temple.

How would you like this for your front door to your house? Thailand's king really lived like a king.

How would you like this as the front doors to your house? Thailand’s king really lived like a king.

He was the one who talked us to buy the ruby ring. Very slick talker. Walk away from him.

He was the one who talked us to buy the ruby ring. Very slick talker. Walk away from him.

The front door of the Royal Lapidary on Sawankhalok Road, Bangkok.

The front door of Royal Lapidary on Sawankhalok Road, Bangkok.

Royal Lapidary business card.

Royal Lapidary business card.

The ring.

The ring. The real thing looks a lot better than this. The person who posted on the internet said that the stone is real but it was at least 30% over-priced.

Receipt.

The receipt.

Display inside the Royal Lapidary.

Display inside Royal Lapidary.

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20130912_14400920130912_144248As we walked around she said the merchandise on the first floor were cheaper compared to what they have on the second floor. My wife saw a few ruby rings and she decided to go to the second floor.

That was our sixth mistake.

She compared several rings and decided on one which had a large ruby stone with bright and shinning diamonds around it. I asked for a magnifying glass but couldn’t tell whether it was worth the price she quoted to my wife: 127,000 Baht. The original list price was 137,500 Baht; a 7% discount.

The ruby diamond ring looked very beautiful and my wife loved it. Our sales lady said that the company is a reputable company and the ring comes with certificate and guarantee.

We paid for the ring with our credit card and walked out of the jewelry store. The sales lady also offered us a ride on company van to the place we wanted to go. Since it was too late to go back to the Grand Palace, we decided to go to Central World.

Shortly after we walked out of the store, my wife felt unease because everything came together so smoothly: Grand Palace closed for 2 hours, the guy at the Royal Cemetery, the rise of ruby’s value, the usually closed jewelry store, the Chinese speaking sales lady and the 127,000 Baht purchase.

I kept saying to my wife that there was no way they were all in it to scam us. I might not believe the tourist police but I trusted the guy at the cemetery. He was so much into the Chinese culture that he won’t cheat us. We went to Central World, had dinner and went back to the hotel.

Once we got back to our room, my wife googled Lapidary Bangkok. Sure enough, someone wrote a story that sounded just like what we just went through. The person in the story ended us losing some money because she already came back to the US after the purchase.

For the entire evening, my wife couldn’t sleep and regretted her impulse purchase. Early next morning we had our breakfast at the hotel and went to the front desk for help.

The guy at the front desk said that we had three options: 1) negotiate a new price, 2) return the merchandise and pay a penalty, usually around 20%, or 3) exchange for something different. My wife didn’t like any of the options and said that she wanted a full refund. The guy explained our situation to the hotel manager and the manager agreed to help us. The hotel manager called the company and asked to talk to the owner of Royal Lapidary. The owner promised to give our money back and offered to send company’s van to pick us up.

At that point, I decided to hold off my phone call to Visa and see what we could get from the jewel store. We got all our documents ready and went to the store. Our Chinese speaking lady was waiting for us. She apologized for the hassle we had to go through and took us to a conference room upstairs and credited the full amount of the purchase back to our credit card.

She gave us another set of documents which spelled out that Royal Lapidary has agreed to return the full amount back to us. There was even a signed letter and a credit card refund receipt.

She repeatedly apologized to us and said that the owner of the company kept reminding those people not to lure customers to their stores.

She then offered to take us to where we wanted to go using the company van. We decided to go to a subway station because we wanted to visit the Grand Palace.

Once we got off the water taxi, we traced the same route we took yesterday because I wanted to see if I could catch that tourist police in action again.

Lo and behold, I saw that guy again. He recognized me immediately and started walking away from me. I did get a glimpse of him.

We then found the entrance to the Grand Palace and the first thing we saw was the sign that says” OPEN EVERYDAY.”

Wow, what an experience in Bangkok. Fortunately for us, we got all our money back. Although we were disguised by the scam, we liked the way Lapidary handled the entire situation.

Here is the moral of the story: Don’t talk to strangers in Bangkok unless you initiate the conversation.

The sign reads "Open Everyday."

The sign inside the Grand Palace”

The tourist police was the guy in the middle of the picture.

The tourist police is the guy in the middle of the picture.

Shabushi, Bangkok November 2, 2013

Posted by hslu in Food, Restaurants, Travel.
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We came back to Central World 曼谷中央百货购物中心 to have dinner again because it offered so many choices; this time a casual dining.

There were simply too many selections to choose from and we had to walk from one side of the mall to the other before deciding on Shabushi Buffet. It offered shabu shabu (hot pot) and sushi buffet

Shabu shabu was a Japanese style food where we could choose thinly sliced meat, vegetables, noodles, seafood (selections were limited and they came less often,) fish balls and fish cakes to cook in your own hot pot. They came to customers via a conveyor belt and we picked whatever we like and someone would take the empty plates away. Three types of broths were offered at Shabushi: a clear broth (shabu shabu,) a milky broth called miniku and a spicy and sour broth. It also had sushi and deep fried chicken fingers and some kind of fish. But they were just ordinary and not very appealing to us. Fruit and ice cream were available too. Buffet cost 355 Baht per person: about $12 but you only have an hour and 15 minutes to eat. Additional time would cost 20 Baht per every 10 minutes.

We were in there exactly an hour and 15 minutes.

Very elegant. 秀色可餐。

Very elegant. 秀色可餐。

Not sure how much for them though. Looks great!
Not sure how much for them though. Looks great!

A coffee shop on the first floor.
A coffee shop on the first floor.

Most restaurants were on the 6th and 7th floor.

Most restaurants were on the 6th and 7th floor.

 

Rice, meat and vegetables in a hot stone pot: Korean? Kind of like dolsot bibimbap.

Rice, meat and vegetables in a hot stone pot: Korean? Kind of like dolsot bibimbap.

Couldn't believe this restaurant offered so many varieties on sizzling plates.

Couldn’t believe this restaurant offered so many varieties on sizzling plates.

An angry pig.

An angry pig.

Grill your food on a bed of charcoal fire. Interesting! It offered sushi too.

Grill your food on a bed of charcoal fire. Interesting! It offered sushi too.

KFC, McDonald's and other types of fast food were also available. This combo plate was about $5 US. Looked like a good deal.

KFC, McDonald’s and other types of fast food were also available. This combo plate was about $5 US. Looked like a good deal.

More all-you-can-eat buffet.

More all-you-can-eat buffet.

A Cantonese Restaurant.

A Cantonese Restaurant.

Shabushi buffet offered by Oishi. It has multiple stores in Bangkok.

Shabushi buffet offered by Oishi. It has multiple stores in Bangkok.

Conveyor belt moves raw food to customers. You cook it in your personal hot pot.

Conveyor belt moves raw food to customers. You cook it in your personal hot pot.

Oishi is Japanese which means delicious or 味 in Chinese. This small fish cake has a pink 味 in it.

Oishi is Japanese which means delicious or 味 in Chinese. This small fish cake has a pink 味 in it.

I didn't count how many plates we went through. Many!

I didn’t count how many plates we went through. Many!

Deep fried fish and chicken fingers. Looked very greasy to me. Not popular here.

Deep fried fish and chicken fingers. Looked very greasy to me. Not popular here.

Ordinary.

Ordinary.

Open kitchen. You don;t need expensive chefs to do the cooking. The customers do it themselves. All raw food looked fresh because the restaurant was very busy when we were there. Turn over was quick and nothing got to stay in the kitchen, if you can call it kitchen, too long. I guessed that they had to prepare the broths in there.

Open kitchen. You don;t need expensive chefs to do the cooking. The customers do it themselves. All raw food looked fresh because the restaurant was very busy when we were there. Turn over was quick and nothing got to stay in the kitchen, if you can call it kitchen, too long. I guessed that they had to prepare the broths in there.

It spells out the concept of Shabu Shabu style in four languages: English, Chinese, Japanese and Thai.

It spells out the concept of Shabu Shabu style in four languages: English, Chinese, Japanese and Thai.

 

 

Tapas Y Vino, Bangkok, Thailand November 1, 2013

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We had planned to have a quick lunch near our hotel before heading out to the airport on the day we flew out of Bangkok. Since we didn’t stay too long at the weekend market, we had almost 2 hours for lunch.

We decided to try a tapas place just off the Sukhumvit subway station about 10 minutes walk from our hotel. The restaurant was located on the second floor of the Grand Millennium Hotel.

It was Saturday morning around 11:30 when we got there. We were the only two customers the entire time and we felt relaxed and took time to enjoy our meal.

We ordered the set lunch at 400 Baht per person so that we could have a variety of dishes to try. We each had a glass of Spain’s red wine: 2006 Promesa Reserva at 470 Baht which were great with the food we had. I just wished we had a full glass instead of just a quarter or so.

Our waitress was a good looking Thai girl and our chef was a young man who was in his early 30’s at most. The open kitchen was just on the other side of the narrow and long dinning room. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a picture of him and his kitchen because the camera was lost.

It took us almost 2 hours to finish six tapas. We didn’t order Gazpacho because we just fought tour way through a down pour and wanted some thing not cold.

The garlic shrimp was great! Perfectly done! It looked good and every one of them was tender and juicy. There wasn’t too much butter either. Just a great dish.

We also order a plate of Cinco Jotas (5J) Spanish Acorn-fed Iberian Bellota ham (black Iberian pig) at 650 Baht per 20 grams. It was not cheap but it was worth the price. Great with the wine we ordered. I should have ordered some cheese as well but we simply had too much to eat. By the time we got to the last tapas , chicken wings, we simply couldn’t eat anymore. Well, we actually didn’t like chicken wing that much anyway.

Dessert was Santiago almond cake. Great finish.

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Black Iberian pig: 5 slices. About $4 US per slice. I need another glass of wine, please!

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5J.

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Another restaurant at the grand Millennium Hotel Bangkok.

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Our waitress prepared wine for us.

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Regular menu

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鼎泰丰,曼谷 November 1, 2013

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Food, Travel.
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Bangkok World Center is an Upper scale shopping center where every Bangkok tourist have to go. My wife went there to 逛街. I went there to have a nice dinner.

There were many restaurants there and majority of them were Japanese. There were only one Chinese restaurant there and it was 鼎泰丰。I actually didn’t want 鼎泰丰 because I could have 小笼包 in Taipei but decided to compare it with ones in Taipei.

We’d have something else like a buffet tomorrow night.

Well, all I could say was Bangkok’s 鼎泰丰 wasn’t as good as the ones we usually go in Taipei: 鼎泰丰 SOGO 忠孝复习 and 鼎泰丰 the original store.

 

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These were fake But looked like the real thing。

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$13 US. All you can. Very cheap.

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I have never liked Thai food served in the US. Many were actually Chinese dishes in disguise with the addition of Thai peppers, lemon grass, basil and other spices. In general, most dishes were too sweet for my taste.

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Beautiful cup cakes. Very popular in the States. Some cupcake places can have a line of 10 to 15 people waiting to get in once it was promoted by some one on Yelp. We avoid them because they simply have too much sugar and butter for anyone, young or old, who remotely care about their health,

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Not the best presentation I have seen.

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Not as tasty as the ones we had in Taipei. Needed a little more soup inside too. The skin was good.

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Very fresh. Very crispy. Light yet refreshing.

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牛肉面 was a disappointment. it wasn’t as good as some we had at Taipei’s night markets. The taste was too simple and the meat was over cooked.

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Steamed vegetarian dumplings. This one got an A and they were very authentic too.

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very cute. As long as you are alive and healthy, you can have 小笼包 at 鼎泰丰。

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Simple setting。

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Food total was 1195 Baht. Added 10% service charge and 7% VAT. Total came to 1407 Baht; about $47 US.

Food total was 1195 Baht. Added 10% service charge and 7% VAT. Total came to 1407 Baht; about $47 US.

 

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok October 28, 2013

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Our flight out of Bangkok back to Taipei on Saturday was at 5 PM. We have to be at the airport by 3 PM. We decided to check out the Chatuchak Weekend Market (乍都乍周末市场)in the morning, have a quick lunch at noon, go back to our hotel before 1:30, get our luggage and be at the subway station by 2 PM. With our luggage packed and stored at the front desk, we had our breakfast buffet and headed out at 8:30 AM. We planed to be back at 12 noon and have a quick lunch near by.

The Chatuchak Market is one of the most popular shopping destinations in Bangkok. It is huge and has hundreds of shops in several sections. If you like to shop or if you just enjoy 逛逛 and see other people spending their money buying things they probably don’t need, you just have to check out Chatuchak. It is one of the kind shopping experience. For us, it certainly was.

The weather was nice. It was clear and there was no sign of shower or rain. I took a lot of pictures but most of them were gone with the lost camera.

We took the subway to the market on the other side of the city center. We got there rather quickly because it wan’t a workday.

The huge market was just outside of the subway station and there were a lot of tourists helping with local economy already. My wife did some shopping and even got us a pair of matching Thai shirts. Well, no more than 40 minutes after we got there it started to rain. It was steady to begin with and soon it started pouring and pouring with no sign of stopping anytime soon.

The narrow walkway inside the market started to accumulate water and soon it was flooded. We basically got stuck became the pathway became impassible without getting our shoes wet. I noticed that basically the floors of almost all shops were raised by about 6″ from the ground. They have been very used to the rain and were well prepared for it. At first, we took it easy and thought the rain will stop soon. We stopped by a cafe which was soon filled with many people like us who got no other place to go.

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All entrances were flooded badly.

We finished our drinks and started to get edgy because we still have a flight to catch. But we couldn’t go anywhere.

Rain showed no sign to stop. We didn’t bring our umbrella. We didn’t have sandals on. The entrance to many sections of the market was flooded and was crowded with people who tried to make a dash toward the subway station.

We finally decided to make a go for it: we took off our shoes and socks. Bought a pair of flip flops for each of us. Found a shop that was doing a great business of selling cheap, transparent, plastic poncho like raincoats.

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With shoes in hand, we needed something to cover our bodies.

Make sure you are prepared when you visit the weekend market. Rain could come at anytime.

Make sure you are prepared when you visit the weekend market. Rain could come at anytime.

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Time to say goodbye to Chatuchak Weekend Market. Time to say goodbye to the Chatuchak Weekend Market. It was fun!

Now that we were properly equipped, we braved the still very heavy rain and ankle-high water on the street and walked slowly towards the subway station.

We finally made it to the station and managed to change back to our regular dress.

What an experience!

Now that we had more time on our hands because we didn’t stay as long as we first planned, we could spend more time to have a decent lunch.

And that’s what we did. We took the subway back to the Asok Station and walked a few block to try tapas at Tapas Y Vino at the Grand Millennium Hotel in Sukhumvit, Bangkok.

曼谷机场 – Suvarnabhumi Airport October 24, 2013

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This is the departing area of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.It is vibrant and unique. It projects the mystic side of Thailand and its culture. The staff at Thai Airline ticket counter was courteous and amiable; a lot friendlier than the custom agent we met when we arrived at Thailand.

I guess that working for government has its drawbacks: boring job, unhappy life, mediocrity all his or her life and got stuck in a system, among others; comparable to what US federal government has demonstrated recently with Obamacare or Obamashame. A side note here: I have to give praise to the county office I went to in Taipei: Daan District Office (大安区公所.) People there always greeted us with a smile to begin with. They are polite and more than willing to help. Best of it all, they are efficient too. In short, doing business with 大安区公所 has been a pleasant experience.

Well, back to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport 曼谷蘇凡納布機場. In Thai, it means Golden Land or 黃金大地, The airport is not big even though it is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Of course, we have only been to one of its terminals. 

Take a look of the brilliant display in the airport and you will be amazed at the images which made us wanted to find out more of the sculpture and the story behind it.

Unfortunately I lost a camera at Bangkok Airport right before boarding the Thai Airline back to Taipei. With it I lost a lot of pictures too. Too bad. Until today, I still couldn’t figure out how I lost that camera.

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Bangkok Blue Elephant Restaurant, 曼谷蓝象餐厅 October 20, 2013

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As part of our tour package, we had a quick (50 minutes,) simple but wonderful lunch at Bangkok‘s Blue Elephant Restaurant 蓝象餐厅 on the second day of our trip. The reason for a short lunch was because we spent about an hour at Elephant Village earlier.

Blue Elephant has 11 restaurants around the world: Bangkok, Bahrain, Dubai, London and Copenhagen, to name a few.  It also has a very reputable cooking school in Bangkok and Phuket, both in Thailand. Some tourists include the cooking class as part of their tour in Thailand too. I might want to join one some day too.

The restaurant occupied a three story building but it was not big by any measure. It gave us that cozy feeling as soon as we stepped into its dinning room. The ambiance was pleasant. The wait staff was polite and friendly, always showing us a big smile even though they knew we were just another two tourists from a foreign country not to mention that we were totally not dressed for the occasion.

Blue Elephant Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand.

Blue Elephant Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand.

 

The Lobby.

The Lobby.

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Cookbook could be bought here.

 

 

 

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DSCF1354 Something spicy and something sweet to stimulate your appetite. The deep fried wonton had crab meat inside.

We didn’t get to see its menu because the meal has been prearranged. Wine and cocktail are extra.

The restaurant enjoyed many awards and was selected one of the best restaurants in Bangkok. It is also a “must Eat” restaurant when you are in Bangkok.

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Papaya Daiquiri. I had a glass of Khao Yai Shiraz from the PB Valley in Thailand. It matched with the spicy food perfectly.

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I suggest that you try it out before you leave Bangkok too.

Two kinds of rice were served by a waiter who carried two baskets with him.

Curry chicken, vegetables and spicy fish.

Curry chicken, vegetables and spicy fish.

 

Didn't have enough time to try its coffee. But dessert was coming.

Didn’t have enough time to try its coffee. But dessert was coming.

 

Red bean and tarot root paste  topped with savoy and sweet coconut milk.

Red bean and tarot root paste topped with savoy and sweet coconut milk.

 

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泰国曼谷 – Siam Niramit 暹罗天使 October 20, 2013

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A dinner buffet and a music show at Siam Niramit were included in our 2-day tour package。The food was okay but the show was entertaining.

 

Host and hostesses at Siam Niramit.

Host and hostesses at Siam Niramit.

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The dinning hall.

The dinning hall.

The stage show building.

The stage show building.

I hope you know what this is about. I feel sorry for her/him.

I hope you know what this is about. I feel sorry for her/him.

Many of you probably don't know what this is: it is used to separate rice's kernels from straws: all done by hand. I grew up in Taiwan surrounded by rice field and have seen this device many times.
Many of you probably don’t know what this is: it is used to separate rice’s kernels from straws: all done by hand. I grew up in Taiwan surrounded by rice field and have seen this device many times.

Making a meal the slow and old-fashion way. Banana leaves are used instead of a metal pan or pot.

Making a meal the slow and old-fashion way. Banana leaves are used instead of a metal pan or pot.

A small patch of rice field.

A small patch of rice field.

Dolls sold at the shop in Siam Niramit.

Dolls sold at the shop in Siam Niramit.

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The dinning hall.

The dinning hall.

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The dining hall.

Fruit station.

Fruit station.

Curry with chicken, I think. Didn't try.

Curry with chicken, I think. Didn’t try.

Salad station.

Salad station.

Didn't try.

Didn’t try.

Hot food. Look better than they taste.

Hot food. Look better than they taste.

Cheese and fruits.

Cheese and fruits.

Thai beer is on my money.

Thai beer is on my money.

Ice cream.

Ice cream.

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Ice cream.

Beef with vegetables. Didn't try.

Beef with vegetables. Didn’t try.

Deep fried chicken nuggets.

Deep fried chicken nuggets.

Believe it or not, this is fish.

Believe it or not, this is fish.

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Multi-grain rice is better than white rice.

Multi-grain rice is better than white rice.

This dinning section looks nicer than the one we went to.

This dinning section looks nicer than the one we went to.

This dinning section looks nicer than the one we went to.
This dinning section looks nicer than the one we went to.

 

 

泰国曼谷Temples and Palaces – Grand Palace October 18, 2013

Posted by hslu in Travel.
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On the first day of our self-guided tour in Bangkok, we chose to visit The Grand Palace in the early afternoon. However we were distracted by a side trip and ended up at a place we were not supposed to be. We din’t get to see the palace until the next day.

We took the subway from the Sukhumvit Stationto the Saphan Tak Sin Station‎ on the BTS line. From there we took water taxi (about once every 20 minutes) and got to Grand Palace in about 15 minutes. Very convenient and very cheap too. A tour guide on board talked about the city but we couldn’t hear anything because of engine noise.

From the pier, there wasn’t a clear sign to tell you where the entrance to the Palace was. We started on the wrong direction (to the right after the open market near the pier) but eventually found the entrance gate (along the Na Phra Lan which is straight ahead from the open market.)

Here are a few advises to whoever wants to visit the Palace:

  1. The Palace is open every day of the year.
  2. If anyone who wants to strike a conversation with you, walk away. Do not talk to him.
  3. If anyone who tells you that the Palace is closed, do NOT listen to him.
  4. If someone tells you that he works for Bangkok’s tourist police department, walk away from him immediately.

With that being said, we spent about 2 hours inside the Palace and found it beautiful yet majestic. Worth a trip there for sure.

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Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River. 湄南河。

A Chinese temple on the Chao Phraya River on the way to the Grand Palace.

A Chinese temple on the Chao Phraya River on the way to the Grand Palace.

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Water hyacinth is everywhere in 湄南河.

Water hyacinth is everywhere in 湄南河.

Ferry boats for guests of local hotels such as The Peninsula on the left bank.

Ferry boats for guests of local hotels such as The Peninsula on the left bank.

Open market at the pier near the Palace.

Open market at the pier near the Palace.

French fries.

French fries.

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Look at the detail of this statue. I particularly like the small face near the top.

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Look closely! Do you see the sign above the heads?

Yes, it opens everyday!

Yes, it opens everyday!

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Gold plating.

Gold plating.

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Look at the details. All hand made.

Look at the details. All hand made.

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Very impressive indeed.

Very impressive indeed.

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