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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

(Copied from Facebook notes)
Postcard from Pattaya - No 2

Another rainy day, so we headed to our favourite place in Pattaya (Central Festival) and caught a movie in a swish Thai cinema this afternoon. We opted to pay the extra 20 baht (40p) and get VIP seats that reclined, whilst we watched Disney's new release "G-Force". Great way to spend a couple of hours whlist the thunderstorms passed by outside - and the price for this experience - 3 quid each! Bargain.... I think we'll be heading back there on Friday when we have to entertain ourselves for 8 hours after checking out of the hotel and before our taxi comes to pick us up.

We also got to experience the best of Thai patriotism when we all had to stand and pay respects to the King as they played the Thai national anthem before the film started. Oh, and their 'switch off your phone' clip features a cute panda - beats the Orange one hands down.

The storms were here yesterday too, but cleared up in time for us to go and accomplish one of our missions for this Pattaya trip - to go and check out the baby tigers at Sriracha Tiger Zoo. Okay, this place may have had some bad press about how they are treating their animals and we did see one or two elephants that were going a bit doolally and they do keep animals in cages, but on the whole there were many other animals that seemed to be quite comfortable and it is the only way that Joe Public can go and get close to these wild animals in some way. Ethics aside, Tony got to feed his baby tiger...

Hope the weather clears up tomorrow, we're going on a boat ride to Ko Lan (Coral Island) to go fish-spotting on a glass-bottomed boat...


Sunday, October 04, 2009

(Copied over from Facebook notes)
Postcard from Pattaya - No 1

Arrived safely in Pattaya yesterday and checked into our hotel - The Siam Bayview on Pattaya Beach. It's a bit old and dated, but it's really handy because it has 2 pools, is across the road from the beach and most importantly, it is right next door to Pattaya's brand spanking new shopping complex Central Festival. Important for 2 reasons: aircon and places to eat.

I think we got a bit spoiled in Bangkok because we got a deluxe suite (with kitchen and huuuuge bathroom) to ourselves when we were there, so the typical sized hotel room here with diddy bathroom isn't so great in comparison. On the bright side though, we don't need to get skytrains or taxis to go anywhere and we got a fab nights sleep because the aircon temperature in the room is just right.

Started the Pattaya leg of our food journey with Burger King ('cos Tony wanted to know if it was any different from UK - the answer, UK BK is much better). Then in the evening, we went to Sukishi - a kind of fusion Korean BBQ / Japanese Sushi place. Tad pricey for Thai standards, but still bargain at UK standards and we don't get KBBQ in the UK, so didn't need any more justification than that really. Also, BBQ king gets to show off his cooking skills...

BBQ King shows off his skills at Sukishi...

(Yeah can put pics up on this computer!!)
The set included chicken, beef, pork, scallops, octopus and tiger prawns. We also got some teriyaki pork chops just in case it wasn't enough for us.

Then we picked up some fruit, water and other provisions at the food hall - I got some fresh pomelo.

Lovely fresh pomelo!!

Said last time I'd talk about the food a bit, so here goes - with pics as well....
The guidebooks say that the best food in Thailand is served on the streets on plastic tables and chairs, but with all the traffic fumes in Bangkok, we didn't opt for this for fear that our stomachs wouldn't last til the end of the trip. Instead, the closest we got to street food was the MBK foodcourt, where you'd buy coupons to exchange for food at their indoor street market (and of course we had aircon seating too). Here's what I got for 45 baht (90p) - crispy roast pork rice and soup:

My 90p lunch at MBK.

Then there's the fair share of chain restaurants such as Mos Burger... this was my chicken teriyaki burger meal.

Mos Burger (this one's for you Kin...)

We also got our fair share of high end stuff (well, we justify this by not spending money on alcohol), but unfortunately in these places, there is a strict 'no photo' policy, so you'll just have to take my word for it. On our last night in Bangkok, we decided to splash out at the 18 pound a head 'Oishi Grand Buffet'. Even though this is the equivalent of about 75 pounds to a normal Thai worker, it still gets really busy, so we went early at about 5pm and were surprised to be told that we could stay until 10pm if we wanted. We didn't, but did get our fair share of food in, starting with a tray each of teppanyaki, then bbq tiger prawns, sashimi, sushi, tempura and then desserts. Lovely...

Right... off to do some sunbathing now that my breakfast has gone down!

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

(Copied over from Facebook notes)
Postcard from Bangkok - No 2

It's a bit rainy today, so we decided to head back to the safety of the shopping centres and as there's only so much wandering around on hard marbled floors you can do before the feet start aching, we're back in one of our favourite haunts at the rooftop internet cafe above the Paragon foodcourt. Today there are a bunch of kids here also hiding from the rain and they are all playing online games. One of them is a little kid who looks about six years old playing some war game with his headphones on and Tony is in awe of how skillful he is at his "trade".

We took an excursion out of Bangkok yesterday on a river cruise down the Chao Phraya river to the old capital at Ayuthayya. It was perfect cruising weather in the morning, just a little cloud and not too sunny nor too rainy. The temperature was just right and it was so relaxing sitting on the top deck, enjoying the scenery and counting the temples on the riverside. The sun came out when we arrived and we started off our tans with a walk through the King's Summer Palace at Bang Pa In in glorious sunshine. Final stop of the day was the ancient ruins in Ayuthayya city, quite eerie seeing the skeletons of what has been reproduced in Bangkok.

The 85km journey from Ayuthayya back to Bangkok took about an hour. Then the 3km journey from the riverside back to the hotel took about an hour and a half..... such is the crazy Bangkok traffic. Thank goodness we are staying near a skytrain station!!

Off for a seafood buffet tonight.... next postcard will talk about the food I think!!