Saturday, July 25, 2009

Story Behind The Picture (Part II)

I love taking pictures and am working on how to take a very good shot. After HongKong, here's some of the pictures from Singapore Trip last November 2008.

travel with a child....

It was my first time to travel abroad with kid. Here is my godson, Simon Gabriel, 4 yo & my friend, Cecille's son. There are good things having kid on flight - we were on priority for the airplane front seats, not too many questions in the Immigration and most of all our sort of stopper for shopping too much. Is there any kid who would find fun in shopping???? Perhaps, this is just a practice for me when my time comes that I need to bring my own kid to other places like Singapore.

experience commuter's life

Whenever I travel abroad, I make sure that I would ride a bus other than their subway trains. In Singapore, the buses are numbered so make sure you know the bus # that will bring you to the place that you want. But unlike in HongKong where the bus stop are announced, in Singapore you should take note the # of stops or else you'll get off in the wrong bus stop. When I was in Singapore last June 2009, I tried riding a bus from City Hall and hopped from one bus stop to another until I reached Orchard Road. There were four stops. I just take note of the bus# that brought me to Orchard. In one of the buses, I met some Filipinas on their day-offs and were going to some place to celebrate one of their friend's birthday. They brought a cake, spaghetti and some chichiryas (chips). I realized that eventhough they are away from home, they still find to have a sort of family bonding with their kababayans.
foreigner kids...
I'm amazed with foreigners' kids.. how they loved to travel abroad with their kids... they let them enjoy on their own, let messed up their faces with ice cream and chocolates, run on their feet, they are always carefree...

try their food (cuisine)
After visiting Singapore Zoo, we ate at food booth outside the mall in Ang Miok Yo. I forgot the name of this menu but this is with tofu, fried kangkong and boiled egg. When travelling abroad, don't be afraid to try their cuisine, ask questions from the server and let them practice their English a little bit. If you need to practically point at the menu if you can't read them well, then do it. If you find other customers' food more appealing, then just point discreetly to their plates. Just be polite and smile. Don't be grumpy! If they end up giving you a wrong order, just enjoy it. It is part of the experience.
take a slow pace for once, take a walk and enjoy the view
When we are travelling, we tend to beat the time to make sure that we visit all the places in our list and follow the itinerary... but always take a moment to enjoy the view, walk slowly and appreciate the place. I took this picture of Cecille and Simon walking along the side of Marina Bay after we bought our coffee in Starbucks. It was 9 am and we just enjoyed the dry breeze of the wind, enjoy the sun and the humid weather in Merlion Park.

use your charm, huggle in a friendly mannger
This is in Bugis, Singapore's Largest Street Shopping. You got a freeby with a charming smile.. Shopping in flea market is always included in my itineraries. But I shop only because I enjoy it and not to spend too much. One thing that I have proven, whatever nationality, whenever the place, a charming smile could always give you discount. Observe. Be courteous. Respect their culture- their ways of living.

Try adventure.. conquer your fears
I'm adventurous in some ways but not with extreme sports - no heights pls. I loooove go carts. So when I learned that there's a luge in Sentosa, I asked Aileen to try it. But for us to experience the luge, we need to ride the skyride. It's like a swing in an open air as high as five times of Meralco posts that will bring you to the luge located at the upper side because you need to drive down to the sky ride terminal. Aileen has heart ailment and so am I but in order to get what we want, we need to conquer our fears. The skyride took about 30 minutes. If the cable car is in a confined space, this one is literally in the open space. The breeze of the wind got to my nerves that I end up singing. hahahah! I was much concerned of my slippers to drop. But it was really, really fun! And I love to try it again.

Meet some friends..
I have so many friends in Singapore.. so we make sure that we met them. I met Ate Mers in Jurong Station and gave her Lapid's Chicharon which she missed so much from Manila. Raymond met us on our first day and brought us to a restaurant in Suntec. Then, on our third day, we had dinner at his place. Melvin and his family came over too. We drank, we sang, and we're bloated. Who would think that I could eat a delicious kare-kare in Singapore? Thanks to Mae. Then, Anabi gave us a dinner treat in a Japanese restaurant in Suntec near the Fountain of Wealth.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Birthday Bash in Bangkok, Thailand (March 2008)

When I started earning on my own, I celebrate my birthday to its grandest every five years. So I gave myself a treat last March 2008 and celebrated my 30th birthday in Bangkok, Thailand with Lea. Main itinerary was to go shopping and river cruising. Never did I know that I'd be amazed with the architectural tourist spots within the City of Bangkok.

Culture & Tradition, Historical Venues and Temples

Grand Palace Temples
I witnessed how Thais showed their reverence to the Royal Family as evident to the King & Queen's billboards in every district and main streets of Bangkok. When we cruised Chao Phraya Rivera at night, the Thai band stopped playing, pause for short silence and stoop up as we passed the Grand Palace. Grand Palace once served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th century onwards. However, at the present King Rama IX does not currently reside there but at the Chitralada Palace. Bangkok is somewhat relaxed as the city offers enormous amounts of getaway locations. The city itself offers many historical venues mostly temples such as Grand Palace, Wat Arun, etc. I admired how Thai maintained Chao Phraya River for tourists for cruising at night and hopping from one temple to another during the day.

Shopping, Massage, Tuktuk, Thai Cuisine

Bangkok is a haven of street smart and quality and fashionable clothes, accessories, bags and shoes. Famous for the cheap wholesale items is Chatuchak Market or Jatujak Market which is also known as Weekend Market. This is the largest flea market in Thailand that offers variety of products including clothing, household items, Thai handicrafts, collectibles, religious artifacts and even live animals. Most stalls are only open for Saturdays and Sundays. Wholesale came in 3 pieces and my tip is to haggle up to 50% of the original price. Use your charm and haggle with all your might. Speak slowly as there are some Thais who cannot speak straight English and be a little friendly. It really helps!

MBK is also one of the largest malls in Bangkok. In downtown Bangkok where we stayed are nearby malls like Platinum Fashion Mall, IT Mall and the famous night Pratunam market. If Hongkong and Singapore offers outlet stores for branded and signature clothes, Bangkok offers variety of fashionable items with unique style but of good quality also. One thing why I loved Bangkok is because of their cuisine. They are abundant with sidings and garrnishing ingredients like fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. We were too delighted with all the food that we ate in a restaurant in Platinum Mall, Riverside Cruise, foodcourt in Platinum Mall and even in the cafeteria in the Chao Phraya Pier.

Cruising Chao Phraya River during the day and View of Bangkok City at night in Baiyoke Sky Tower
Aboard Riverside Hotel Rivercruise

On the eve of my birthday, we tried the night cruising with Riverside Hotel Cruise. I enjoyed the scenic views at night, the music of Thai band and dinner of some Thai cuisine.
Chao Phraya Unlimited All-Day-River-Pass @ Baht 120 only

And on the day of my birthday, with the all-day-river pass, I & Lea cruised the Chao Phraya River and hopped from one temple to another.

Baiyoke Skytower 360 degrees roofdeck

The Baiyoke Sky Tower also offered a different experience of capturing the best view of Bangkok and beyond the metropolis to the Gulf of Thailand for 360 degrees in an open-air at the 84th floor. Being the highest hotel in Bangkok, the hotel is rising with 88-storeys above Bangkok’s skyline. The observation deck is located on the 77th floor while the Sky Walk-Revolving Roof Deck is on the 84th floor.

Here's my itinerary for this trip:

March 14, 2008
22:00 Departure from NAIA 1 to Suvarnabhumi Airport .
01:00 Arrival BKK Airport

March 15, 2008
01:00 Check-In Grand Watergate Hotel
08:00 Wake up Call
09:00 Breakfast at Grand Watergate Hotel
11:00 Chatuchak Market Shopping
14:00 Platinum Fashion Mall, IT Mall, Pratunam Market
16:30 Foot Massage at Lavender Spa
17:00 Riverside River Cruise along Chao Phraya River
22:00 Back to Grand Watergate Hotel

March 16, 2008
06:00 Wake Up Call
08:00 Breakfast
09:00 Rivercruise
02:00 MBK/Platinum Fashion Mall
18:00 Baiyoke Sky Tower
21:00 Departure to BKK Airport