And ALLAH is Sufficient as a Guardian
And ALLAH is Sufficient as a Helper
~ Quran 4:45

Monday, 1 May 2017

Bangkok 2017 Day 1: SIN -> BKK, Klub Hotel & Halal Street Food

I better start writing my first ever trip with Angah to Bangkok before I forget all about it. It was our first time there and just the 2 of us travelling without the parents! #milestoneachieved We were there for 5D4N from 21.4.17 - 25.4.17.
Orang sebelah merenung ke luar jendela dalam kerisauan dan kerinduan. Eh?
As I mentioned previously, I'm a freak-a-zoid (is that even a word?!) I have been doing TONS of research prior to this trip. From comparison of flight fares, hotel reviews, study of location, reading halal travelling guides, noting down places to go, etc. One good advice I can give to those planning trips on your own, ORGANISE!

Thanks Mummy, Daddy, Abang & Ahfat for sending us off!
We were actually quite late for the flight that would depart at 1600hrs and we only reached Changi Airport at 1525hrs. Lucky enough that Mummy & Daddy was on their off days so we get to save on cab fare! Daddy drove at almost 120km/h in order for us to make it on time. Thanks Dad! We did a quick check-in of our luggage and that was when Angah's drama started. So much for being a Drama Queen! *roll eyes* She insisted that she needed the bathroom or she's gonna soil her pants and was in there for a freaking 15 mins. I was starting to get anxious coz it was our last call. A lucky thing that I'm kind of well-trained in the departure hall, so I knew exactly where to head rush to.
Passport & Boarding Pass Mandatory Shot!
Though we were late, still managed to do a few Instastory (Lol!) before eventually boarding the plane. The steward that greeted us from the entrance even made a joking remark as to our late arrival. Hahaha! 
One last photo uploaded before our phones were on flight mode!
In-flight entertainment
Halal Airplane Meal
Since we were flying with Singapore Airlines, in-flight meal was included with the price we paid for inclusive of 30kg checked-in luggage and 7kg hand carry luggage and yes, we opted for halal meals. All and all for the first time flying with SQ, it was AH-MAZING!!! As I was scouting for flights and did a price comparison, it's true that all those budget airlines are giving a rather impressive, competitive price that is mind-blowing. However, when you decide to opt in the additional package of 20kg checked-in luggage, the price tends to be comparable when you fly with top notch airlines like SQ & Thai Airways. In case anyone is wondering how much I paid for the tickets, S$237.50 with tax. Not too bad considering the fact that I only book the tickets exactly a month before the trip.
Finally, we reached Suvarnabhumi Airport at about 1735hrs (Bangkok Time, btw Singapore & Malaysia is 1 hour ahead), a lil blurry on the time though as the runway at Suvarnabhumi was congested hence there was a slight delay upon our arrival. Angah was holding tight to my pants during take-off and landing. Forever drama queen this one!
 Elevator to Custom Immigration & Baggage Claim
The moment we landed, Masya Allah, everything felt so surreal! I have never been apart from my parents and only travel with them all this while. Not even for overseas school trips! All of my siblings had travelled with the school at least once in their lifetime and there I was sitting under Mummy's armpit the whole time. Hahaha! Well, there has been some plans previously when I was in high school etc., but then every single time there is always a disease outbreak or the time is not right to go, so it always ended up being cancelled. Boohoo! Oh, also when I was offered to pursue my degree programme in Newcastle but I decided to let go of that offer coz Mummy's afraid I'll experience culture shock when I study abroad. Lol!  

Makcik always bergaya
Clearing customs was quite a breeze for us, Alhamdullilah! Probably because we are holding on to Singapore Passport and we didn't take too long to clear customs as compared to other nationality when we queued behind them. I cleared the customs first so I went ahead and check on the board for our luggage belt. There was a tiny, weeny bit of mistake, we were on board of SQ 976 and the display was showing SQ 876, so I just went ahead with my guts and headed for the mentioned belt on screen and true enough our luggage has been going round the conveyor for quite some time apparently.
First thing we did after clearing customs & collecting luggage was to go ahead and purchase our SIM card. After all the research and reviews, I have only 1 provider in mind, DTAC! We head straight to Gate 6/7, the booth is kinda in between these 2 gates and made our purchase. True enough with the info I looked up online, there's this 7-days package of Unlimited data and about 20ß
 of call time which costs us about 299ß each as we both bought our own SIM. And true enough, it was more than enough throughout our stay of 5 days there. Though we purchased via the self service counter, there will be someone there to help you with the whole process and even configure the SIM to your phone. So, no worries. 
DTAC self-service counter
Updated the family via our family Whatsapp group since that was the countless reminders we received prior to take-off. So, that was exactly what we did before we proceed to take the Airport Rail Link (ARL). As I mentioned, just do your research, it's not difficult to understand their public transport system and definitely could save you more bahts for spending. *winks* It's ok if you really want to take the taxi to your hotel and if you are travelling with a group of 3-4 friends so you can share the cost. But since it was only the 2 of us and our luggage is not that heavy, I decided to just dragged Angah and take the ARL. This is where you have to go to the basement level of the airport and purchase the tokens first before boarding the ARL. Kind of similar to Singapore MRT system. And don't worry, just follow the signboards and if unsure, just ask the people. They are surprisingly friendly, well-mannered and very polite. I wasn't quite expecting that!  
Airport Rail Link token machine
Our happy faces

We were headed to Phaya Thai, the last station for the ARL and it costs us 45ß each. We saved almost 10x on transportation if we decided to go ahead and take the taxi and definitely would take us longer to arrived coz of the peak hours and everywhere in Bangkok is usually congested. For every station the fares differs and it increases every 15ß for each station.


Boomerang Video Credit: Angah
I was too focused studying the map, going thru the itinerary for the first night so not much time to take videos or photos. When we reached Phaya Thai, it was getting quite dark and the idea to walk in the Soi/alley wasn't quite ideal since it was our first time and still unfamiliar with the roads there. So, we decided to take Grab/Uber from Exit 1 of the ARL, but alas, I booked on Grab and the driver claimed to have arrived but was nowhere insight and then after calling and everything and she didn't speak much Thai, I decided to just cancelled the booking. Then Angah proceeded to make a booking with Uber and the same thing happened again. What luck! We were stranded at the entrance for almost 45 minutes when I relented and suggested Angah to just hail a cab.
Unfortunately for us, Klub Hotel Bangkok is a new hotel but a highly rated one and not many drivers knew of it so we got rejected. As we were bickering by the road side, Allah swt decided to save us by sending a fluent English speaking lady and she helped us with the directions to the hotel since I was already on Google Map the whole time. She then directed us to actually go over the other side of the road via the ARL platform and from there we should be able to walk to the hotel which was just around the corner.
So with our luggage, we head over to the other side of the road and as Angah was buying bubble tea (apparently she tried almost all the bubble tea sold at each station that we visited) I was contemplating to walk or take a Tuktuk instead. Angah has gotten a lil bit cranky with the setback so I relented and we took Tuktuk to our hotel. Show the Tuktuk driver the hotel address in Thai and he charged us 100ß and we arrived in less than 2 minutes. That was how near it was!
Our first Tuktuk ride!

Our 1 night reservation at Klub Hotel Bangkok
Our room!
Checked in, placed our deposit, rested for a bit. I have not even the slightest complain on this hotel. Though it's a boutique hotel, their service is excellent and the rooms, immaculately clean! Nothing not to love about it, with the price offered, it's an amazing deal. Just a little downside would probably be the location. It's not too near to the central area, so for first timer, I wont recommend this place. but if you are used with Thailand, please try this hotel. Will definitely stay here again since I kind of understood the area. It was only about 2100hrs (Bangkok Time) so we washed up a little and Angah made a booking via Grab to head to the famous Halal Tom Yam Paa Nga.
Credit: Google Maps
We took Grab there and was informed by the driver that it was near a night market. So after about 4-5 mins journey, we alighted and walk around. Unfortunately, we couldn't find Tom Yam Paa Nga at first and saw an alternative Halal stall, so we just bought the food there. Along the way when we were in the car, saw a Muslim lady selling halal Mango Sticky Rice so after we placed our order we headed there and walked a bit to the nearest shops and was hooked at one shop selling sandals for 100-120ß. Bought for myself a sandal since I didn't bring my flip flops along and was wearing sneakers.
Halal Street Food Stall
Honestly, the people of Thai are so soft spoken and very well-mannered from those working as professionals to those mending the stall for street food. I am amazed! My initial itinerary for that night was actually to head to Palladium Night Market (DIY market), but Angah was tired and she's afraid of the dark alley back to the hotel, we ended up taking a Tuktuk back to the Hotel. This time round, we got a cute looking driver (didn't take a photo of him though. I shy!) but his Tuktuk didn't have a step up to the seating area and Angah had difficulties going down and he was being so straight forward saying she's fat! Lol! I was laughing right there and then at the Hotel entrance.
Our first dinner in Thailand!
As you can see from the video, the stall looked kind of 'bodoh-bodoh' but the food... Sampai termimpi-mimpi beb! We ordered Chicken Thai Basil Rice with Egg and Seafood Tom Yam! It was mind blowing!!! Authentic and definitely worth the money. It only costs us 220ß and the portion is huge! After the hefty meal, both Angah & I terbongkang and had an early night.
That kind of sums up Day 1 of our Bangkok Trip! Phew! *wiped sweat from forehead* Super lengthy post. I will continue updating the other days there as memory and keep sake purpose for me. If anyone one of you visiting are planning to visit Bangkok, hope whatever I shared here can be of a certain help for you since there aren't many halal guide available.
Till then! Stay tune for Day 2 and take care lovelies!