Hua Hin and Santorini Park – Bangkok

Last post I mentioned that Hua Hin and Santorini Park were not worth a visit. Amidst all of the reviews which we realised were overrated, you could really do with a little bit of excitement though (no thrill rides, sorry to disappoint for adrenaline junkie!). Get away from the busy and over populated city of Bangkok!

Hua Hin is about 2 hours 30 minutes drive from Bangkok. There are a few travel options for you to choose – by bus, train or flight. We went by Grab Taxi. The convenience of Grab, I know!

To start with, breakfast by the street. We googled for halal food joints and found a few but located quite a distance from our hotel. We walked for about 15 minutes before reaching the place. A little exploration as we walked.

It was scorching hot in Hua Hin and we were not dressed for the beach cause we never intended to stay there long. There were pretty horses for ride at the entrance.

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We took a stroll along the beach. It was supposed to be calming but I spent more time meddling with my camera actually. My lense just had to fail on me, out of all time! 😓 So, I had to find the right setting and doing it under the hot sun really got me on my nerves. I really wished I had brought along a point to shoot camera instead. Pfft!

There were resorts and villas facing the beach but most of it were empty, not many patrons on the beach. I can count the number of people sun bathing with my hands.

Not long after we left, it started to drizzle and we took shelter at Hua Hin Market Village.

The road along Hua Hin reminded me of Bali and Mui Ne. Or maybe all of the roads to the beach were built to look like that? Freshened up and the rain finally stopped so we head out and asked the tuk tuk how much it would cost to drive us to Satorini Park. The first two drivers we asked charged us 120 baht to Santorini Park while the third offered to take us to Santorini Park and The Swiss Sheep Farm for 200 baht round trip for one person. So be smart to ask around before hopping on the tuk tuk.

To our dismay, it started to rain heavily when we reached Santorini Park. The theme park was not closed but the rides were. Only the indoor games were available. And it was kinda confusing how they charge for every entry. For example, you bought yourself a pass to enter the park. Then, to go on a ride, you’d need to pay with the pass you got and some rides may require additional tickets or you’d have to pay cash on top of it. We wouldn’t be keen if the rides were opened.

Since my camera failed on me, I couldn’t get a pretty picture of the Ferris Wheel at the entrance.

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We were given an hour by our driver but because it was so bored, we left early. Have you been to Santorini Park? Tell me your experience below.

The Swiss Sheep Farm didn’t have much to offer either but thank goodness the rain stopped so we had our chance to feed the sheeps. Since it was only November, they hadn’t remove their Halloween props. Kudos to their Halloween decorations.

Apparently, every visitors who interacted with the sheeps had their pictures taken.

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This was taken off the frame they sold at the exit.

If you don’t wish to buy the photo which comes with a frame, you are allowed to take a photo of it. Too bad they didn’t sell just the photo. I would have gotten it otherwise.

Another long journey back to Bangkok City by the minivan. Took us so much longer than expected. I don’t remember how much we paid for the van but I know it was cheap! Howver, it took us longer than expected. There was one stop for toilet break and multiple stops to pick and drop people off. I remembered reading somewhere on trip advisor that the van rides cost them somewhat 120 – 150 baht. And it was an express ride. Guess we should have checked on that before boarding. Lesson learnt.

Later, there was a small confusion about the drop off due to language barrier but was saved by a local who could speak basic english. She guided us to our next destination. Thank you for kind people!

The van dropped us off at an MRT station and then we had to make the switch to BTS and head over to Saphan Taksin. Take the exit to the Central Pier and take a boat to the Asiatique Mall. You could go the easier way by just flagging a cab there.

For easy navigations and references, you can refer to the BTS and MRT map which looks like this.

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Or you can just easily get it off the internet.

I found Asiatique Mall to be a food heaven. We were surrounded by food trucks, restaurants, bars and cafes. I would love to walk around for a bit more but my legs were screaming for help! It’d been two days straight we spent walking from dawn to dusk! That must have been my calling! Time to do more exercise. Ah, maybe I do have a resolution after all. 😂

We took our exit and bought ourselves dinner by the road side. There was a halal chicken rice food truck and the famous banana pancake with nutella! Or it was really just prata with banana and drizzles of nutella and condensed milk. I’m not a fan of nutella but if you’re in Bangkok, you can’t miss their banana pancake!

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Well, it’s been quite a lengthy post for just a day out, guess I’ll keep the rest of our story for another post.

Laters,
S

Bangkok Day Two

Day two started super early. First stop was to Amphawa Floating Market. Reviews said to be there early to beat the crowds. Also, because it will take almost an hour or more to drive there from Bangkok. We went there by Grab Taxi which costs us less than 40bahts not inclusive of the highway toll. Of course, the driver tried to bargain with us initially but there was nothing much he could do. The price was stated clearly by Grab.

After an hour journey, the ambience that greeted us wasn’t what we expected or not how it looked like on the internet. Amphawa Floating Market was closed to our dismay due to no crowd. Well the driver was kind enough to suggest Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and drove us there with an extra charge. Fair enough.  

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Damnoen Saduak is about 20 mins away from Aphawa. There was a mix of emotions seeing the condition of living there. Most of the peddlers were elderly who set out in the wee hours hoping to earn some honest living from tourists and locals. While my heart swell a bit for them, I am amazed at their detemination though.

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We didn’t go on the boat ride because it started to drizzle when we reached. We walked around, snapped some photos and bought some fruits before we made a move. There weren’t any Grab drivers available on our location and we were lucky that the earlier taxi driver was still around. Apparently, there weren’t many people getting out from there. Most of the tourists came in vans and minibuses. So, when he quoted us 60bahts to Chatuchak, we agreed.  

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I’ve been excited about Chatuchak. Heard so many reviews and I was psyched to shop! My cousins went to Bangkok to shop with only SGD200 and came home with amazing loots. I had more than SGD200 but I couldn’t find anything much that I like! I bought a pair of sandals, a bag that has an image of a cat on glasses, a cat-shaped wallet, a drawstring backpack, two sleeveless tops (which I had no idea why I even bought them since I’m in hijab but then I thought they’d go well with my jackets) and we had lunch there.  

I’m not sure about the weather in Bangkok but I was pretty sure it was the same like Singapore at that time. But I felt it was hotter! Hot and humid. During our stay, it barely rained in Bangkok except for two days and on a very small part of the City. But that was only for a while before the sun started to shine back on us. 

By 5pm, We made our exit from Chatuchak and booked a Grab Taxi to Talad Neon!

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This night market lives up to its name – even the hipster cafes were decorated with colourful fairy lights, dimmed deco lightings and neon lightings!

Our favourite night market because there was delicious halal food.   

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Crickets, larvae anyone?

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There was a cafe which had cats, rabbits and tortoises but we need to order a drink to enter. No regrets for not getting a drink because their glass table tops had a live python inside.

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This photo was taken from an overhead bridge.

We have walked around so much that my legs were screaming for help. I could barely feel them. I was secretly hoping that all the walking would have helped me shed some weights.

Next post will be on our trip up to Hua Hin and Santorini Park which we thought wasn’t worthy of visiting. I’ll tell you why in the next post.

Laters,
S.

Welcome 2018!

Goodbye 2017, and thank you! 2017 in two words, was challenging.

Let’s go down the road and zoom in on the significant events that happened in 2017:

1. I’d fallen on hard times since the company I worked for got into an economy crisis. The situation called for an adjustment to some personal life choices. Not only it affected my spendings,  I had to shift my focus and put some plans on hold too. That includes my social activities. I chose to stay in during those times because staying home would mean a clean expenditure list, except for my subscription to Netflix. I avoided friends for a long time that some of them probably thought I was kidnapped by the aliens.

Of course I wouldn’t have been able to go through all of that alone. I’m thankful for parents who are ready to have my back during difficult times. You’d realise, family is all you have when you lost everything else. Looking back, I’m amazed at how calm I’ve been. Tough times dont last, tough people do, remember?

2. Rehome-d Tommy. This was the toughest decision ever. I hate to let him go but I was forced to and I’m still not over that truth though I know he is in good hands now.

Though it might seem like I have not moved on by posting pictures and videos of him on his Instagram account, I am happy to know that he has adapted well in his new forever home. I keep his Instagram running because that’s all I have left of him that keeps my day sane, sometimes. I’ll always love you Tommy, you’ll always be my special charm.

3. Falling in and out of love and, in love again. Life is really full of surprises huh AK? It’s weird to look at the uncanny resemblance we bear, I swear.

4. Deactivating social media accounts. While this may seem as irrelevant to most of you, this shall be my self-proclaimed proud moment. Took a break from social media and only activated it three months later when I had to help a friend rehome her pretty Jelly. There is finally a utile reason to go on Facebook. On a sidenote, we’re still looking for potential adopters. I’m waiting for Jelly to be safely rehomed before I shut Facebook down again. Like I did my Instagram. I logged in to post photos from my Bangkok trip and it started to bore me. Oh wait, what is wrong with me?

Above all, I’ve learnt to build a more meaningful relationship with human and engaged in a more productive conversation with no distraction from checking social media feeds. If you demand respect, then earn it.

5. Change. I don’t know what is good change or bad change. But I do know that change is the only constant. Old ways won’t open new doors. But I’m certain this new change is what brings in the good things now and if God wills, later.

6. I found myself. Maybe there is good in the new change after all. Things I learned about myself:

– Forgiving – I started by forgiving myself before I can forgive others. It was easier to let go when I learned to forgive.
– I hate crowded places these days.
– I enjoy dining at the coffee shop more than some lepak/western/mediterranian wannabe cafes and restaurants.
– Stopped trying to blend in, can’t fake it anymore.
– My love for animals, except reptiles!
– Anything minimalist and simplicity; can’t believe I sold my Louis Vuitton for a trip to Bangkok. Desperate moments call for desperate measures.
– My inclination for perfection just got crazy. Not the OCD kind of perfection though.
– I value my privacy more than anything that I wished I had dumped social medias earlier!

6. Social circle – Keep it small and real. People come and go but true friends stay. And it was easier to recognize who my friends were in times of my downfall. I stopped going to some people with my baggage because many times I did, it didn’t help to improve things. Things turned sour, problems remained unsolved and I ended up hurting for taking the wrong advise.

So sometimes, no matter how close you’ve been, it is always safe to draw a line.

Last year may be full of bumpy rides and unxpected revelations, but things definitely got better than previous years. I’m proud to say I’m much calmer in tackling unwarranted criticism. My younger self would have been less patient.

Over time, I came out stronger and wiser. After all, Allah has promised, ‘For indeed, with hardship, (will be) ease.’ – Qur’an 94:6

No new year resolutions. If you noticed, I’d never practised having new year resolutions.  I was never one for resolutions. Simply because I lack the consistency to follow through. Or, it just seems that I can never set realistic goals for myself.

As cliché as it may sound, 2018 started off on a very good note. I got an advance birthday cake that comes with a letter stating my salary adjustment. Alhamdulillah ‘ala kuli haal. Allah heard me and my effort has been paid off. What could be better than welcoming the new year with my people whom despite having witnessed my downfall, still stayed. And the same people rejoice with me when I shared the good news.

With that, I bid a final goodbye to 2017. Thank you for the memories and struggles. I hope for all of you reading this humble piece of mine, to have a great year ahead. Time will heal whatever you’re struggling with. Doesn’t matter if you didn’t have a good start, what matters is you never give up and strive for what you desire. Do not beat yourself up if you fail halfway, tell yourself, it’s okay and that you are a work in progress. We all are, remember to have fun while you’re at it. You’ll discover new things and the end product will be beautiful.

Let’s spread love and more love and be kind. Bring it on 2018!

Laters,
S

Life

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Last weekend, my mum got a message that a young man had jumped to his death from his unit. It was hard to stomach the videos. According to my mum, those videos were circulated on Whatsapp/Facebook and family of the deceased had plead for the public to stop sharing the articles. My mum is the best source of info these days. Hehe. Have I not tell you so, that disconnecting will help me to connect with people better? I think it’s best I shan’t go into greater details of his impulsive act. The least we could do is to respect the dead and his family.

Though, I can’t help but to wonder what went through his mind before he took the plunge. Couldn’t he talk about his problems? Did he even try? Isn’t there anyone who could coax him to step back? Was he bullied? What sort of problems he could have had that can’t be solved?

It is not my place to talk about this but it’s scary how people took to suicide as an easy way out. Students taking on their own lives after exit examinations. Gamblers found hanged in their rooms. Teenagers found dead with their wrists slit. God forbids any of that happens to us or our family and friends.

Life is not all about good grades and a high-post profession in the workforce. Life is not all about being rich. Life is supposed to be fun and memorable. Life is a cycle. You can’t forever be on top. We learn to get up after every fall.

Life to me, is too precious to waste it away. No matter how hard life gets, always remember the people around who cares and matters. If you think you have no one to talk to, please seek help from the counselors. They are around for these reason.

Most people would have said, it’s fated. But truth is, fate lies in our hands. Sure, we can’t choose our own life lessons and tests, but we are given the power to ask/pray to God.  Sometimes I too, almost lost it. We are no saint. But I’m grateful for He always guides me back to the path of faith.

Then again, if only life is so much simpler and less complicated.

Laters,
S