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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What did we do during our 4 days in Bangkok?

Honestly, nothing much as my main purpose was for Kaira to spend time with her cousin :) 

But we did make a visit to Asiatique, the night market. The environment is clean and the whole set up very well thought through with lots of dining options.  We took the boat ride there ( quite easy, take the BTS train to Saphan Taksin station on the silom line. The boat piers are a short walk from the station). And took the taxi home. 

The night market is clean and comfortable (unlike chatuchak or rather what i remember about chatuchak!) but also expect higher prices ;) there is a price to pay for comfort ....heeehee. There is also a ferris wheel which  the kids enjoyed that. 

On our last day, we had lunch at Baiyoke Sky tower - tallest building in Bangkok/Thailand.  The buffet lunch was OK but the views were excellent!!  Years back, I remember that we went to the bar at Banyan Tree for the night view - but I think Baiyoke offers something more as it has a revolving ride on the top floor giving me a 360 view of the city.  Only pity is that the restaurant and it's waiting/Bar areas are not well maintained. Felt a little run down. Plus there were many tourist groups so expect a crowded time during lunch! The buffet spread is ok, not overly impressive. 

However, it was again an enjoyable time for the kids as there was a magician and clown to entertain the young at heart and lots of photo opportunity with tuk-tuk, 'hot air balloon', 'garden' etc. 


Baiyoke is near the Platinum fashion mall and there is a local market just across it. In fact, cross the road from the hotel is the local market, walk through it and viola, one is at Platinum FashionMall.  So one can easily make it a one day outing to this area. I didn't - we came on separate days ;)

happy Shopping!!

Bangkok

We were in Bangkok last week.  Seems like a long time ago that I last visited BKK! Think it was in 2005/2006 for biz. I remember in the mid 90s till early 2000s w hubbie and I liked to visit bangkok.  It was cheaper than Singapore - so eating and shopping was a pleasure! Haha.  But after some time, prices became to creep up and it was not as 'value for money' a destination for us any more . Heehee.

Anyway, I made a rather last minute decision to bring Kaira to BKK to visit my brother and family.  So it was a short trip and coincided with hubbie's biz trip to US - so it was a mum and daughter bonding trip :)) my first time going on a holiday with Kaira without papa! I wasn't so worried about being able to cope more that I may not be used to not having hubbie around during a holiday! Heehee.

True enough, I missed him when  I am packing the luggage and when I was shopping alone!!! LOL.

Kaira had a great time with her cousin and I can see that she was truly enjoying herself and she was happy staying home to play with Samuel. 

While Bangkok has changed quite a bit since I was last there, yet some areas have not changed - one example being the taxis. I absolutely dislike having to check if they would take a metered fare and it gets frustrating that there are many taxis around yet we can't get one.  Plus the traffic jams are terrible!n That's why i try to always take the bts trains ...... However sometimes one cannot help it. Wish this will improve .... O well, juz glad that we are but temporary visitors :) and the train.... If one thinks the Singapore mrt is crowded during peak hour, one hasn't seen the Bangkok trains during peak hours! Granted the population is bigger but whatever it is the crowds are overwhelming..... Can faint! 

Whatever, as long as my brother and family are there, I suppose we will be visiting again some time in the future!




Friday, May 10, 2013

Vietnam Central - Hue


Hue is the ancient capital of Vietnam -- so for the ignorant me -- it was a good place to learn about the history of Vietnam.  I honestly didn't know that Chinese influence is so great in Vietnam that it has its own version of the forbidden city ;p See how ignorant i am.

On hindsight, we could have stayed 1 night in Hue-- that would give us more time to explore this city rich in history. But for a 1 day trip i think we covered quite a lot of it, starting from the forbidden city to the pagoda to the "french quarters" (so to speak, as there are many french-inspired colonial buildings there) to the local Dong Ba market -- we caught a glimpse of this ancient capital.

Lunch was good, in one of the garden homes -- it was on my "to visit" list, so i was glad it was included as part of our private tour. 

All in an enjoyable city and outing.  My usual complaint applies -- very hot!! ;)





Sunday, May 05, 2013

Central Vietnam - My Son

I was initially undecided whether I want to visit My Son as i have read that it is not as 'magnificent' as Angkor Wat as most of it were destroyed. But it is actually older than Angkor Wat and I figured it will not be so soon that I can visit Angkor Wat (after this trip, maybe that's no longer true as I am very encouraged by this trip and am keen to explore visiting it next year :p) -- so might as well visit it and see if kaira likes it.

As we didn't want to wake up too early (taking into consideration Kaira's need to have enough sleep) we set off at 8 am - personally if u can make it earlier, that will be better cos it's really very very hot with very little shade.

It was nevertheless an enjoyable outing and with the guide, provided us with greater understanding of Vietnam's history.

No regrets taking the day trip :)) despite having to bear with the glaring sun and heat. Remember to bring insect mosquito, hat, sunglasses and sunblock!!




Saturday, May 04, 2013

Central Vietnam - Hoi An

We visited Hoi An a total of 3 times this trip - so you can imagine that it must be quite a nice place :) plus as its convenient and near to get here from our resort, we visit here for our meals too (in addition to da nang city).

While I don't deny that it's quaint and well preserved and very easy for tourists, somehow by the third visit I felt that it's a little too touristy - maybe I didn't go beyond the main town area which is full of shops selling souvenirs or fabric and tailors.

In fact We did most of our shopping here, buying paintings, pouches, fans, tableware and what nots :p whilst I read somewhere that there isn't much room to 'haggle' on the prices - I felt that shops near the 'Viet Town Garden and Restaurant' (where most of the resort bus shuttles stop) have more room for negotiation - so do some homework before parting with your hard earned $$! :)

Enjoy Hoi An!







Friday, May 03, 2013

Excited!!!

This central Vietnam trip has been so enjoyable that it has gotten me and hubby quite excited about travelling in the region!

For some reason there was initially reservations and I wasn't very motivated to even plan for our holidays.

But now!! Haha we were discussing about the possibility of visiting siem reap with kaira. And juz last night the possibility of Chiang Mai came up as his colleague is moving back home. And when I did some research online Chiang mai seems like such a lovely destination I can't wait to visit it! Haha!

But it will have to wait as our next family hotel is scheduled for August when we will join our friends in club med Bali. I m looking forward to that!! Almost 20yrs ago was my last visit to club med Bali and with the same fren. :)) this time our daughters can have a blast together! Can't wait for August to come! In the meantime I will be being kaira to Bkk for a short trip to visit my brother while hubby is away on biz trip.

This year is turning out to be an exciting year for travelling! :))

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Central Vietnam - our 6D5N itinerary

While there are direct flights between Da Nang and Singapore, they are not daily and some flights have a stopover in siem reap.

I wasn't keen on a stopover and wanted direct flights. Initially I wanted to be in Danang for 4 days, max 5 but because of the flight schedule, I ended up having to spend to stay for 5 nights. I was initially concern that it will be abit too long a trip but It turned really great!!

Day 1 - We arrived in the resort 4+ in the afternoon and after checking in etc, we were at the beach by 5pm. We decided to stay in and explored the resort and having dinner in one of the hotel restaurants by the beach

Day 2 - we took the hotel shuttle bus to Hoi An at 10am and returned to the resort ard 330pm, leaving Kaira enough time to go to the beach and pool before we headed into

Day 3 - we booked a private day tour with the hotel to My Son which included Hoi An too. Leaving at 8 am we got back ard 4pm. Again a visit to the pool is a must for Kaira.

Day 4 - we left hotel at 8am for Hue and didn't return till bt 7pm. Long long day.

Day 5 - we were glad to just relax by the pool. Kaira went to camp Hyatt for half a day and after time in the pool we got ready to go to Hoi An at 5pm for our dinner. Took the hotel shuttle there and cabbed back.

Day 6 - as our flight was in the evening we had or rather I had ambitious plans to visit the Cham museum marble mountain in the am or early afternoon. However we decided not to be so hurried and instead spent the day flyin life, enjoying the beach and pool before we leaving at 4pm. Felt totally rested after 2 relaxing days and I am glad we had these 2 days to recover after 2 rather long days of moving about.

Actually there is more to do and see but we decided we will 'keep' them for the next trip ;) heehee. Yes it is likely that we will be back to Central Vietnam, hopefully not too long from now!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Vietnam Central - Scenic drive from Da Nang to Hue

The drive to Hue from our resort was about 3hr 15mins. Considering that we have done longer drives in Europe before we thought this should be a pretty smooth ride and indeed it was! Kaira enjoyed the very scenic drive via Hai Van pass which was essentially a mountain drive. The pit stop provided lovely views :))

After that we drove past idyllic villages and had a glimpse of local life after which Kaira fell asleep and it was a very peaceful and quiet drive all the way into Hue. Definitely worth the time!






Vietnamese Cuisine

Honestly, I am not a great fan of vietnamese cuisine :p

Prior to my trip, my knowledge of vietnamese food = Beef Pho, deep fried spring rolls and rice paper wraps They were pleasant enough and i don't mind having them ocassionally :)

This trip, i had the chance to try more of the local cuisine and i can tell you that vietnamese food do not rank very high on my "must eat" list except maybe for their salads -- those that i tried during this trip were awesome -- light and refreshing!! 


The reason i don't quite like vietnamese food i think is because of the herbs/raw vegetables that are added into their dishes -- some of them taste too strong for my liking ;p

Whatever it is, here are some food pictures to share! Look at the salads -- don't they look awesome ?



Seafood Pomelo Salad


My Quang (Noodles)


Hue specialty - forgot its name!


Beef salad with Young Banana & Starfruit


Hoi An specialty - White Rose Dumpling