TBT: The Banyan Tree, Bangkok

One of the highlights of my Bangkok trip was sleeping at this ginormous proud tree (pun intended haha) in Silom. Yes, I am that lola.

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I never planned to book a room here at first because it was intimidating but I really do want to give myself a reward (yuck, self-serving, but read on) and I don’t wanna go here just for Vertigo (later) and Moon Bar. At 61 floors, this is one of the highest towers in the Bangkok Skyline. I booked a room for a little above PhP8,000 per night.

IMG_3767 I love the lobby… idk how they do it but you just can’t sense the noise even if everyone’s talking

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IMG_3773And et voila, the suite! We weren’t upgraded or anything but our suite sits atop at the 58th floor.

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IMG_3777And that bed might be the most comfortable bed I’ve ever lied upon

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Banyan Tree offers the works of a Bangkok holiday — from temple tours to culinary indulgences to a tour of the famous floating markets! We could’ve availed of those but then again, I’d like to wing and DIY shit when I’m traveling. But extra brownie points for the full-circle offerings, Banyan!

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At 58th floor, this is the view which will wake you up each day! I cannot even believe we’re staying at the topmost rooms (floors 59th – 61st are already amenities and restaurants). This is a a true testament to Thailand’s value for money. We can go dirt cheap on accommodations and still enjoy BUT if there are options like this… WHY NOT?

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Tuk-tuk and van transfers to the nearest train station is also available for free from the concierge. It’s very convenient especially if you consider that’s one less concern to think about.

IMG_3812Some much-needed pool time after a day of strolling around the megalopolis

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We wanted to try the Thai selection from the hotel, but we settled for Japanese instead. Taihei is Banyan Tree’s premiere Japanese restaurant, serving only the freshest sashimi and other Japanese favourites. We were the only ones to dine their that time, so I guess we experienced the ultimate service. Extra brownie points for an open kitchen!

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It’s a hotel restaurant, we thought, it might be over-the-roof expensive. But Banyan Tree continues to sweep us off our feet and were surprised when the bill came. I think we spent just a little over THB2000, and I think it is well worth it!

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IMG_3822Cha Soba for the warm Bangkok nights

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Then we spent a few hours at Moon Bar on the 61st floor. It’s an upscale watering hole atop the Banyan Tree and it provides you a good 360-degree view of Bangkok’s skyline and oh, was that a beautiful sight! Save for the crowd because it was sooooooooo packed it’s hard to get a drink.

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I really do hate to leave 🙁

Banyan Tree Bangkok
100 S Sathorn Rd, Yan Nawa
Bangkok, TH
+66 2 679 1200
[email protected]

All photos taken using iPhone 5

Where to stay at REP: Banyan Leaf Hotel

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This is the view that will greet you upon arriving at Banyan Leaf Hotel, and most prolly the one thing that made me choose this — plus some other things! On a serious note, it really doesn’t look so big (picture in Agoda looks so big) but it does look like somewhere to dip yourself after a hot day at the Angkor. There’s a dedicated time for pool time in the itinerary, I tell you! That and a cocktail, aaaaaaaah.

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It’s not that bad, really. I got the room for under PHP2500 ($60) for two nights and it was a lovely stay. Even I can’t believe that this is already a 2-star hotel rate. In Singapore, it’ll cost the same for a hostel. I am truly amazed how affordable Cambodia is so far.

DSC_0020 I really like that the walls are green, very refreshing!

DSC_0018 Not bad at all! I just wish they have hot shower

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While the room is nothing to rave about, it’s comfortable enough to shelter us in our stay in Siem Reap. One cannot deal with bad room and service after temple tramping, shopping, drinking, and more temple tramping in this land of wonder. I like that when you arrive – backpacks, heavy stuff, and all that shnazz – they offer you a drink. And immediately, you’re led to your room. Wi-fi is complimentary — and more! Breakfast is complimentary! It’s nothing local, though. Sausages, eggs, beans, pancakes, bread. Usual stuff, but still really important!

It is a small place, that the bar is right across the pool and the concierge, and behind is the dining area. No frills, if you ask me. Pretty much how I live now, so who the hell cares. I like that they offer drinks til the wee hours of the morning. It’s a quiet alternative to Pub Street if you’re in for a quieter night. (Not for me that time, lol)

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And if the temple run becomes too much to bear and you just need a good kneading, they offer massage in your room. This one I didn’t get. I’m not the massage type of person, but I did ask if you get to choose between a masseur and a masseuse and they do offer that!

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I think the most important thing to consider here is how near it is to Pub Street and the night market. It is a 15 minute walk from everything, even 10 if you’re a brisk walker.

DSC_0021 Banyan is roughly 30 minutes away from the Angkor

Plus you can always take a tuktuk for a couple of dollars. Really essential thing to remember when you’re going home a bit more drunk than you’re used to (hello people who make me drink so much at Pub Street!)

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Banyan Leaf Hotel
Taphul Road, Taphul Village
Khom Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap
www.banyanleafhotel.com
+85563967968

P.S. I can’t wait to blog about the temples!

Matchbox Concept Hostel

What to do on an impulsive trip, with a 20 grand budget minus music festival ticket and airfare? If we’re on the same page, then read up.

First things first. Don’t. Deprive. Yourself.

One of my concerns when I was in Singapore for the Laneway Festival was an affordable place to stay. And I didn’t just go to the cheapest hotel I found in Agoda, no matter how I wanted to. While this hostel might not be the cheapest place there is, I booked impulsively, just as before the beds ran out, because it’s beautiful. And I have to admit, they had me at unlimited cereals and milk!

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Matchbox has been recognized in the hostel industry as one of the most creatively thought of places, not only in Singapore, but also in the world. And not to my surprise, it did match my expectations – from the reviews I read and from friends’ recommendation. I really liked that the beds are in pod style. Apart from the aesthetics and the space saving, I’d just really really like to sleep in a pod. My favorite place was the loft though – where I spent my first night.


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They really don’t offer the loft for sleeping. It was more for lounging around when you feel like just staying in the hostel. But do let me allow myself a little digression.

In the spirit of maximizing my budget, I booked a flight that arrived in Changi Airport by 1am. While there is nothing wrong about that – the city is still much alive even if you land by 4, I entirely forgot to book an earlier day just to save my bed share. (Personally, I think my system in tipid, thirift in English, mode made a subconscious decision to just leave that one out.) So I arrive in the hotel, bed-less and no sleep from the flight, they let me sleep in the beautiful designer loft upstairs. I just had my first impromptu couchsurfing experience in a hostel. I’m really thankful that they did not throw my out and instead let me sleep in the couch. These little things add to the overall feel of the hostel for me. And I love staying in that couch, may I just say!


Tripadvisor

Anyway. Enough of that. It was fun to reminisce though.

Amenities-wise, You just gotta love everything in the hostel. The toilet and shower room is clean, complete with toiletries so you wouldn’t need to bring your own. Just bring your own toothbrush and toothpase, or buy at their store. Aside from that, everything’s provided. You can even do your own laundry for a small fee there!

I think I cannot emphasize more that breakfast cereals and milk are unlimited and available throughout the day. When you lose your money there and go practically broke, you can live out the rest of your days with cereals – I’m pretty fine with that scenario (but. not. hoping. for. that.)

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Matchbox is in the middle of a quaint, artsy street in Chinatown, so explore a bit when you’re around the area. Ann Siang Road is pack full of similarly quirky restaurants and bars, and is quite accessible to hawker center (Maxwell), museums (Red Dot Museum) and the train (Tanjong Pagar station).

When booking a bed with them, you may go directly to their website and watch out for last-minute beds ’cause they go on a sale! I got mine for S$75 instead of S$90 for two days (and yes, that free night on the loft). This is my first time to stay in a hostel, and I’m really happy to stay in a dorm-type room instead of having my own. I got to meet other people and even met a couple of Filipinos who are there for Laneway as well! But if you’re iffy to share a room with a couple of strangers, then you may book for their solo rooms – which are of course available for a higher price.

God, making this post makes me wanna go back. AND OH! They give you 10% discount if you’re a returning customer! If it’s your first time to stay in a hostel like me, then I highly suggest you try Matchbox. Or if you’re the veteran hostel-staying backpacker, give yourself a treat once in a while, won’t you?

Say hi to Shah for me if you’re there!

Matchbox Concept Hostel
39 Ann Siang Road
+65 6423 0237
[email protected]

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