Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Bangkok Shopping Escapade, 18 to 21 Feb 2017

We made impromptu weekend trip to Bangkok on 18 to 21st February 2017 to join Alicia who was already in Bangkok due to a prior arrangement.

The girls were looking forward to non stop shopping and food indulgence while the old man had to entertain himself while the girls shop.

Three and a half days spent shopping without leaving Platinum Mall, Pratunam shopping district, Centralworld, Talad Neon night market and Chatuchak weekend market.

For sure they bought alot of clothing, shoes and fashion accessories and the occasional foot reflexology to soothe​ their aching feet.

Flight was by AirAsia and accomodation at Hotel Vista Express, 3 pax for a total price of RM1,694.78.

Pedestrian bridge to Platinum Mall

Lunch at CentralWorld food court

Must try to cool down when in Chatuchak

Morning market at Pratunam

Wide array of dishes

Wantan noodle shop at Pratunam. The queue is long way before it opens at 9 am!

Food is fairly good

Our hotel. You have to look hard for the entrance as it is shared with clothing outlets

Friday, 30 December 2016

Hoi An and Danang, Vietnam, 11 to 15th December 2016

This is our third trip to Vietnam having previously covered Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. Da Nang, a coastal city, is the 3rd largest city in Vietnam and Hoi An is a Unesco World Heritage site 22 kms from Da Nang international airport. Hence, a balance of an old town and a new bustling city.
Note: Metered taxis from Da Nang International Airport to Hoi An cost 560k (5k dong = RM1) dong plus tax whereas the hotel we stayed offers airport pick-up at 350k dong.

The flight to Danang was by AirAsia, it cost RM750 return with selected seats and travel insurance. The travel time took about 2 hrs and 40 mins.
Immigration was quick without the need to fill the visitor form and so was with Customs.

Hoi An situated along Vietnam's central coast is well known for its well preserved ancient town with many canals.  The former port city's melting pot history is reflected in its architecture,  a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colourful French colonial buildings,  ornate Vietnamese tube houses to an iconic Japanese covered bridge.

We stayed at Golden Bell Boutique Hotel just off the old town. It just opened about 5 months ago. Good clean accomodation reasonably priced at RM150 per night and it comes with a good buffet breakfast considering it is just a small hotel.  This what I noticed even from our previous hotel stays in Vietnam.
Service was good and friendly.

November and December is the monsoon season. It rained almost our entire trip, a continous steady drizzle that last the whole day. It certainly dampened our walking tour of the famous old part of town. On the way to the old part of town, we had late lunch at the highly rated Ba Le Well restaurant. Take a seat, order your drinks and you be served in a jiffy a set meal of satay with dipping sauce, deep fried spring rolls, fried egg pancakes with bean sprout filling, pickled salad and a big plate of fresh raw vegetables. Unless you are famished, a single order for one is sufficient for a couple. We think it is only above average despite the many tourists and hyped.

Vietnamese coffee, strong, aromatic and robust roasted coffee

Egg pancake filled with bean sprouts

The old part of town.  All within walking distance.  Take a leisure walk,  explore the alleys & shops

The same dish at the central market

Their local 'tong sui'.  As a tourist,  she charged 20k dong just for a small bowl. Ask the price before ordering! 

Breakfast spread. Good selection. The soup noodle was nice. 

Weather reprieve on 2nd day. 

Along the river bank. There are boats for charter for a short river cruise or to the nearby islands. 

Some of the art houses found in the old part of town 


Cofee break along the way. Local Vietnamese coffee with egg yolk, delicious though. 

Their popular chicken rice. Our own Hainanese chicken rice is better . 

The famous Ba Buoi chicken rice shop

An Bang beach about 4km from town.  Rented a motorbike from the hotel for half day for about RM15. 

Stalls at the night market

River front at dusk. Great timing to snap some photos 

Serene and beautiful
Diamond Sea Hotel

Great views from 20th floor

Buffett seafood in town. The garlic oysters were delicious

Cao Dai Temple.  The religion founded in southern Vietnam in 1926 combines Confucianism, Taosism, Buddhism,  Christianity and Islam! 

The Lady Buddha can easily be seen from afar

My Khe beach aka China beach by GIs during the Vietnam war

The odd round bottom boats common in Vietnam.