Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Temple Running" in Bangkok

Before we took the flight to Bangkok for our all girls trip, we asked Stephie - the bachelorette to decide what else she'd like to do.

And she said, temples! But of course!

I forgot Bangkok is beaming with beautiful temples, that I only remembered the shopping part of this city. So I did all my research and suggested a few.OK - one day for temples it is :)

We started the day the usual.

Headed to Terminal 21 for a heavy brunch, sort ourselves out, learned our saved maps in our phones and then made our way out. It seemed like the best way to navigate to all the places that we wanted to go was to go back to where we were yesterday (Taling chan "floating market") which is Saphan Taksin/ Chao Phraya Pier, I've got so many inverted commas for this day please bear with me...

So we did just that.

We took the train straight to the last station towards the big river, queued for the boat and started on our first temple which was Wat Pho (the lovely Reclining Buddha). When we reached the stop... we were melting....

Even more when we walked out of the area. I think it was 12 something in the afternoon and I was already getting disillusioned by the heat #drama. When we saw a few tourists eating ice cream, I thought it was salvation. So we stopped by and ate the coconut ice cream we love so much under our tourist hats.

Luckily, Wat Pho was only within minutes walk from the ice cream stop. We took the time to explore Wat Pho, reading inscriptions, admiring the beauty of each carvings, and especially the main star - the reclining Buddha.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

3D/ 2N in Intercontinental Pattaya Resort

This is going to be a straightforward post of how lovely the Intercontinental Pattaya is. The more interesting ones are coming up in a few weeks time :)

I actually won free stays from my company's annual staff party and I for one would not give it a pass. I coincide the trip with Stephie and Ingrid, but this time with Jessy (because I promised her).

Jessy and I head to Pattaya by bus we took from Victory Monument in Bangkok to Pattaya around 4pm. We were expecting to reach Pattaya around 6/7 pm, just in time for dinner, and a good sleep when we reach the hotel.

It was quite smooth sailing, except, by the time we reach Pattaya every other cabs we hailed said "they don't use meters". I don't even know what that means, but after living in KK for so long, I think I'm beginning to adapt to it. Doesn't mean I condone it, taxis should always have meter charges.

Once we reached......

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Airbnb at Venice, Mirano

Some of you may have seen my instagram posts @jacqkierowena on my Italian trip and may have wondered whether any of the posts I shared were too good to be true.

Well yes, they were too good, but still very true.

Staying in a place that looks like it came straight out of a postcard, with the friendliest of furry friends that would rub against you and shake your hand (YES) and with the loveliest family that would be kind enough to bring you to church together with them.

I don't usually endorse a lot of things, but I have gained so much from my experiences through Airbnb, that I admit it was what I have been looking for during all my travel years. To be able to meet locals from the places I've visited, ask questions, see them live. From Sri Lanka, to Japan, and now Italy. I'm just a young traveler, cool with innovations, and loving the idea to keep people around the world connected. So I'm always up for trying these things.

I'm dedicating this entire post about staying at the countryside in Venice because that's how lovely it was.

First, meet Cecilia. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Cost of self-planned 10 days 9 nights - Venice & Rome

This post was 3 months in the making!

(I know I owe other posts about Bangkok, which are in queue..)

But no seriously.. I started this post end March so that I can be diligent with my posts and tips. I wanted to include all the numbers and facts first before I impart all the photos (from the actual trip) and here goes:

1) Return flight KK - KL (has to be accounted for since we had to fly from KK) 
Total per person: MYR 350.40nett per person via Malaysia Airlines. They had the best deal for the best times at that time so it was a no brainer. And the whole trick of getting tickets, before and after the flights to Rome.
2) Overnight in KL (also to be accounted for because this is part of the cost) 
Total per person: RM 56.10 per person. Including taxi and airport transfer to and fro. We stayed in Youniq Hotel because it was cheaper than anywhere else, plus it could host us 3. And I remember the airport transfer from the hotel to the airport which I thought was cheap and convenient. Mixed reviews online, I think generally okay but I felt the frontdesk blokes could be more helpful. They were just giving me one word answers sometime which can be annoying after a flight :p

3) Return flight KL - Italy (Rome) 
The trick is to buy a return ticket instead of a one way and come back to the same destination, because for whatever reason, one way tickets are MUCH MORE expensive than return tickets. Even doubled/ tripled the price. We were toying with Emirates, Qatar and KLM in the first place and eventually decided on Emirates for the best price and time. We had no issues with this, because we wanted to do only two cities in between 9 nights anyway.. There was one qualm though, well not quite for us because we've never been there - but if you choose Emirates there are possibilities that you'd have to transit in Dubai. Some like a direct flight, while others prefer to cut it in between. As you want. Total per person: MYR 2577.90 per person. 

3) Accommodation in Rome (6 nights) 
We had to stay somewhere near the airport the first night of arrival, because we expect to arrive late. And then expected to leave in the morning to Venice in between. First night's accommodation (with breakfast): B&B La Brezza Marina  (MYR 337 per night/ for 3).  Airport Transfer from Fiumicino Airport to Roma Termini Station, we used a cab just cause we wanted to wake up slightly later: MYR 99.84nett per person. Remaining nights in Rome (with breakfast): La Rotella Nel Sacco (MYR 440.57 per night/ for 3). Total per person:  MYR 700nett per person. 
  • Booking.com (I prefer to book through Booking.com because of the non-chargeable conditions) 
  • Both the places we stayed in Rome and Fiumicino (Airport area) were great. La Rotella Nel Sacco, the second part of the Rome trip was an interesting choice at first, because it was located towards the end of Roma Termini station, like seriously, and we thought we could carry our own luggage and walk all the way, probably a kilometre walk. I would recommend, if you have big bags like we did, especially for my poor 60 year old mum, to take a cab or tram or bus to get to her place. Otherwise, her place is central! You can hop on and hop off from her place to anywhere you like or as a jumping off point to Termini which can get you anywhere! 
  • You can also choose to airbnb :) 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Shopping in Bangkok

Best friends Ingrid, Stephie and I have known each other most of our lives. When I say most, I mean at least 13 - 18 years. Now some say, 13 years is nothing, on the other hand, some say a decade is enough to know.

Well I think, who gives a fk.

20 years, 3 days, 5 months, a lifetime. 
When you've got a good friendship, you've got it good. 

We've always talked about taking a trip together, now that Stephie is finally getting hitched, we thought it's the perfect excuse to go for an all girls trip, like I did last year with the rest of the girls. AND IT WAS SO MUCH FUN.

We decided that it was going to be ALL about shopping. That we'd come to Bangkok, enjoy a little bit, and spend most of our waking time shopping. I've never had a shopping holiday........ I must say....... Now that I'm older and earning my own...... It feels DARN GOOD.

We stayed in The Blocks Hostel, which was a quirky hipster hostel managed by youngsters. I chose that hostel because of it's excellent reviews on Tripadvisor,, value for money and apparently great location. In fact, IT WAS. We were away throughout the day most of the time, so we only wanted to stay together in one room, with our private bathroom - so The Blocks Hostel was an alright choice. The only hassle was when we first checked in, or rather throughout our stay, their elevator was broken so we had to climb four floors up every, single, time.

  • The Blocks Hostel: I booked via Booking.com, but you can compare the best prices in Tripadvisor 

This is only an issue because we've been maxing out our body and legs walking around the entire shopping complexes or street every, single, day that by the time we reached our hostel, WE WERE SO EXHAUSTED thatthe idea of going another four floors up again - is insane.

Actually, technically, this isn't a post about shopping in Bangkok because there are barely photos.... and actual testaments about what's selling on the malls that we went.... just a random post about me going shopping ^_^

Ratchada Train Market 

We heard about the original Ratchada Train Market but was made to understand that it was far from where we are and was told that the one near city is this one.. Which was fine by us, if it saved us some time, and we could explore an interesting night market, we wouldn't pass that for sure.

After a day full of adventures, or misadventures in Taling Chan, we wanted something easy to cool us down. A good dinner, some drinks, and coconut juices maybe. Ratchada Train Market in the city has such a hipster feel to it.

Some pop up cafes, restaurants, and food trucks. Loved it.

Stephie and her beer. This was such a good meal.