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Monday, August 13, 2012

2 Months And A Half Off

This series of posts is a day by day account of my two-month-and-a-half trip that begins with a stay in Bangkok, followed by a train ride Amritsar, a bike trip from Leh to Manali and a yoga teacher training in Kullu Valley, the end of the habitable world.

Day 1: The Beginning

Trang Palace (Wisut Kasat, Bangkok)

The Trang Palace Hallway

The Trang Palace Superior Room

The Trang Palace Swimming Pool
Knowing that waiting for a shuttle can take a long time, I got myself a taxi to get to my hotel from the airport since it's not near any of the stops of the railway system. This is actually one of the downsides in staying in this hotel.

Although it's far from any of the railway systems, it's quite near some tourist attractions. Wat Indraviharn, which contains a huge Buddha relic, is practically next door. Other tourist spots are ten to fifteen minutes away from Trang Palace, that is if you don't mind walking in the heat. From here, you can also take a walk to Khao San Road or Rambuttri Street. Although the hotel staff said that it's only a fifteen-minute walk, it took me about 25 to 30 minutes to get there.

The rooms in this hotel are very pleasing to the eyes. And, as long as the faucet doesn't leak and the sink doesn't overflow, I suppose that it's alright to have a sink in your bedroom. The hallway that leads to the rooms, however, is an eyesore. It's a very plain looking area in white and gray.

The indoor pool and the lounge chairs make up a very relaxing space for swimming, reading, writing and lounging. In fact, I'm writing this entry here right now.

They also have a beautiful outdoor dining area with a fountain in the background. The tables are lit with candles, making it quite a nice place to have dinner in. Unfortunately, you'll have to pay a huge sum for average food. The shrimp wanton soup, beef Masaman curry and bottle of water I had cost me almost 400 baht because of the added vat and service charge. The waitress was very smiley and friendly, however.

Another downside of staying here would be the staff. As friendly as they try to be, communicating with them can be very difficult. They're level of English isn't very good and asking for special requests like late check outs can often lead to major discussions. When I was there, I witnessed two heated discussions between the receptionist and the hotel guests. One of them was about an Australian family who were being asked to pay an extra amount despite having paid the full amount through Agoda. The other one was a guest who was harassed to eat in the hotel restaurant.

I booked the Trang Palace Hotel through Agoda. I requested to be in a room with a shared balcony overlooking the pool. I also requested to be picked up from the airport. Both requests were ignored. They didn't bother responding by e-mail.

So, adding up the pros and cons of staying here. I can say that despite the beautiful pool area that closes at 9 PM, the hotel is mediocre.

Samsen@samsen3 (Samsen Road, Bangkok)
Tom Yum With Seafood and Mushrooms

I found this place as I was walking towards Rambuttri. It's a small restaurant that serves traditional style Thai Noodles.

I ordered the Seafood Tom Yum for 60 baht. It was tasty and creamy and filled with huge portions of seafood - around two prawns, 4 calamari rings and a huge mussel. And, it wasn't too spicy. I also ordered a lemongrass juice which only cost me 15 baht. With their delicious good value meals, I thought that the place was A Plus!

The Butterfly Bookshop (Rambuttri, Bangkok)
Of course, that's not the real name of the bookshop. I don't really know what it's called but its one trademark is the butterfly stamp at the bottom of each book they sell. If you walk along Rambuttri Street from the yellow bank at the beginning of the street, this is the first book shop that sells real books.

I often return to this shop whenever I'm in Bangkok because of their reasonable prices and their offer to buy back the book they sold you for half the price as long as it's still in good condition. Also, they have an outstanding collection of books and the staff is super friendly.

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