Wednesday, May 28, 2014

BKK Work Trip, Nov 2012: Erawan Shrine & The Garden Lounge

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 {Continuation from Part One} Leecher was sick over the weekend and he decided to recuperate at  home. His method of recuperation? Planting himself across the sofa in our living room and watching Apple TV. We watched a couple of dramas and variety shows - extremely unproductive, but we find it enjoyable that we share each other's interests in life :) Since I have spent most of the weekend doing basically nothing, I decided to switch on the comp and finish my last bit of blogging for BKK work trip.
Grand Hyatt Erawan is situated close to the famous Erawan Shrine, which housed a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu creation god Brahma. I have walked past this shrine a couple of times during my previous trips, but this is the 1st time that I stepped into the compound.
I didn't pray, but just stood at the sidelines to observe the surrounding. At a small pavilion next to the shrine, there were performances by resident Thai dance troupes who are hired by worshippers in return for having their prayers answered at the shrine.
Street vendors selling flowers as offerings are clustered outside the temple.
I even managed to do some shopping within that short walk from Central World to the hotel #shopaholicatheart
Breakfast of scrambled eggs + salmon + bread before I begin my morning. I piled everything onto the bread and munch on it while packing my luggage + sorting out my work stuff.
After my round of clients' visits + meetings, I went back to the hotel for a late lunch and also, to pick up my luggage. I decided to check out The Garden Lounge, housed in the beautiful Atrium Lobby. 
 Fresh flowers are placed on every table :) Doesn't the glass of orange juice complements the flower?
  Lunch :) Over the years, I have gotten used to having meals by myself. At times like this, my trusty iPhone is my companion, not to mention the dramas that I have stored on the phone. 
The Garden Lounge
Grand Hyatt Erawan, Lobby
Tel: +66 2254 6250
Operating Hours: 6am till 1am daily, Afternoon tea from 2.30pm to 6pm
I was stuck in a jam on the way to the airport. The jam was so bad that even the driver had time to read his newspapers!
I was famished by the time I reached the airport. I quickly ducked into a cafe and ordered a plate of basil chicken with steamed rice + thai ice tea before boarding the plane back to Singapore.

Friday, May 23, 2014

BKK Work Trip, Nov 2012: Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok & Nara Thai Cuisine

Honestly, I have not been actively blogging since beginning of this year. Previously, it was normal for me to blog 2-3 entries in a week, I can now only manage 2-3 entries in a month. I'll try to blog as frequently as possible as there are so much things that I want to capture on this blog. Before that, I'll have to backlog some entries, especially on my work trips. I don't want to give up documenting these trips just because it happened a long time ago. Strangely enough, while I'm drafting my posts for the trips, I can still recall the things that happened even though it could be years back.
2 months after the KL trip, I headed over to BKK for a round of client visiting before I "close shop" for the year. When it is nearing the end-of-year, with no holidays planned, I will stay in sunny/rainy Singapore to catch up on administrative work. This is the best time of the year for "clearing work" for the market will slow down and almost everyone is on leave/holiday. I arrived at the airport 1.5 hours before flight. Check-in was a breeze though I was half expecting the presence of the morning peak-hour crowd.
Angry bird in the house, lol! I can never understand the craze of angry bird since I don't play the game. Some of my friends termed the game as du-lan jiao, a literal hokkien translation for it. My little nephews were huge fans of them. During CNY, we even joked that if I were to give them angpao in angry-bird red packets, they will keep the red packets instead of the money, lol! 
Instead of heading to my usual corner for breakfast, I chose to shop around since I'll be having meals on-board later. Shortlisted a few items that I will pick up once I'm back from the trip. 
Brought along my new Naraya purchase for this trip. I fell in love with the sweet pastel pink hue and immediately bought it during my last BKK trip. This bag was roomy enough for my gigantic-and-heavy work laptop, so I no longer have to bring 2 bags to meet clients! 
Airplanes lined up, bringing passengers to their respective destinations. 
After a long ride into the city, I checked in at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok. Located in the heart of Bangkok, this hotel is surrounded by prime shopping malls and conveniently linked via Skybridge to 2 BTS station. As soon as I stepped into the lobby, I was charmed by the resort-style colonial features. At that point, I was secretly wishing that I'm here on holiday instead of work. While making my way to the room, I love the contrast of black doors against a whitewashed wall.   
Since I was only here for a night, I booked the cheapest deluxe room available. I was contented to get a king-sized bed to enjoy my sleep :)
The only grumble that I had was this octagon working table. No matter how I positioned myself and laptop, I'll be bound to bump into something. So I ended up working at the TV console instead.
Unpacked my luggage and took out all the pouches and got ready to head out for work. 3 pouches containing different items - skincare, makeup and toiletries, my travel essentials!
Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
 494 Rajdamri Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10330
Tel: +66 2254 1234
Rushed back in the hotel after 2 meetings. I was lucky to grab a cab from client's place and escaped the peak hour traffic. It was a brief 30 min ride back to the city. By then, I was hungry and had a craving for Thai food, so I decided to take a short walk to Central World for dinner. 
 The notorious BKK traffic. While heading to Central World, I was on the phone with Leecher and all he could hear on the other end was the honking from cars.
Gigantic Xmas tree in the middle of the mall. While seeing this, I'm reminded of the times that I spent in Finland last year. Really wished that I can head for a winter holiday this year end.   
 I headed straight up to 7th floor where most of the restaurants are housed. I caught sight of this restaurant and was captivated by the decor. The restaurant was quite crowded and there was a queue for walk-ins. The plus point about dining alone is - you'll get a table faster even if the restaurant is crowded. 
Nara Thai Cuisine, one of Thailand's best restaurants from 2007 till 2012. Nara is famous for its Boat Noodles and authentic Thai dishes. The ala carte dishes are derived from authentic recipes which have been adapted into a modern context suitable for Nara's dining ambience. 
It did not take long for my name to be called. I was ushered into the restaurant and a menu promptly arrived at the table. After checking on the size of the serving, I placed my orders for 3 sides and my must-have Thai iced tea.
Green Chicken Curry, Nara Spring Rolls with pork and vegetable fillings and chicken wrapped with pandan leaves were enough to satisfy my craving :) These are individual servings and I was really full by the end of it.
Nara Thai Cuisine
7/F Central World Ratchadamri Road
Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 0 2613 1657/8
Opening Hours: 10am till 10pm daily            

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunday Brunch: Strangers' Reunion

Brunch date at Strangers' Reunion with the uni gang, and also to celebrate the March babies' birthday. As this cafe is opened by Ryan Kieran Tan (Singapore's National Barista Champion for 2011 & 2012), it is natural that this place is well-known for its coffee. When I told Leecher of the agreed brunch place, he was looking forward to have a cup of their specialty. 
#00td in front of a residential home, just because I like the green wall, haha! 
Giant rilakkuma, with hidden treasures in the body - tsk tsk. 
The whole stretch of Kampong Bahru was littered with pubs/bars. This was the only place that was brimming with life. Regardless of whether you made a reservation or not, be prepared to wait 15 min or more for a table to be freed up. We had to wait for our reserved table in the narrow footpath outside the cafe. 
Once we were shown to our table, the menu + water + cups promptly arrived. A quick glance on the menu, I was ready to place my orders. I needed a cold drink to cool myself down from the sweltering heat, so I promptly ordered an Iced Chocolate ($7.50) while the rest headed for a cuppa of their signature coffee.
3 cups of MAGIC ($5.50), which was one of their signature brews. Their coffee prices range from $3.50 to $7.50, with additional charges for doubleshot ($1) or using soy milk ($0.60)
Before I proceed further, this gathering was held for Leecher & Yaozu. Their birthdays are days apart, so we had a joint celebration for them. The next will be Boss Khim's  in Oct followed by the rest of us in Dec, lol! For once, December babies rule since we are the majority :) 
Dec babes unite, lol!  
Since the guys took one pic for us, we must return the favour back :)
 Pumpkin Soup ($10.90) with homemade goat's cheese and croutons to share b/w Kenneth & Meiqin.
Being one of the highly-raved items, we ordered a couple of their waffles as well. Their signature buttermilk waffles comes with maple syrup & fresh fruits ($11.90), with strawberry maceration & ice cream ($13.90), with artisan greek yogurt/vanilla ice cream & fresh fruits ($12.90). When 2 orders of waffles arrived, I was half-expecting my waffles (with greek yogurt) to come next. However, it only came after we checked with the waiters twice. Slightly disappointed with their service. This also happened to my main course :( Nevertheless, I think greek yogurt paired with waffles is a great combination!
Truffle fries ($12.90) is the must order item for us, but I love love sweet potato chips ($12.90) as well! I couldn't stop my fingers and they headed straight to the bowl time after time. These were wiped out within minutes.
 Fluffy savoury crepe ($12.50), served with mozzarella , sour cream, beetroot relish and mixed greens. I added on sauteed mushroom ($3.50) and smoked salmon ($4.50). This crepe was a disappointment as it was too soggy.
 Casserole Chicken ($21.90), comes with a choice of Italian pork sausages, chicken sausages or braised lamb.
 Parma Ham Benedict ($19.90), served with fresh shaved bone-in prosciutto, hollandaise sauce, poached eggs and a side of mixed greens. 
Table filled up with all our orders! 
We had to sit through our brunch listening to "sales" talk from Boss Khim (backed by Kenneth), selling his idea of a road trip to Australia. Though we can't join you guys, but do enjoy yourselves. Drink lots of wine and win $$ at the casino!
With the hubby :) 
Signing off, till the next brunch date! 
Strangers' Reunion
37 Kampong Bahru Road
Singapore 169355
Tel: 622224869
Opening Hours: 9am till 10pm daily (Friday till 12 midnight)
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