#Bangcock Day 3: #Foodcoma at Baipai Thai Cooking School and Khao San Road

This post definitely made me hungry... and maybe it will make you hungry, too!

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One thing I really wanted to do in Bangkok when I got back was to take quick cooking classes. There was this class held by someone recommended by Jamie Oliver (oh god, I was fake dreaming he’d appear for a surprise visit) but it was fully booked even a month away from our trip. So I instead googled and compared a lot of classes around Bangkok – all ranging from as cheap as 900 baht to as expensive as 4,000 baht. Among those choices, I went to Baipai Thai Cooking School – and they did not disappoint *insert Jonver face of approval*
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At first glance, Baipai does not look like a cooking school. The whole place looks like a spa or some expensive villa. Now I really do wonder if they offer accommodations. Haha! Upon entering the school you’ll be welcomed by the staff while they serve lemongrass tea – the freshest I’ve ever tasted. IMG_6009IMG_6011IMG_6012

Fone welcomed us to the school and gave us a crash course on herbs and Thai seasonings. She even let us taste the herbs – some of them tasted quite a bit strong – which represented Thai food for me. I was so excited to learn more how Thai food is done correctly!IMG_6013IMG_6014IMG_6016That chili is naaaaasty but I like the green one

IMG_6017IMG_6018IMG_6019IMG_6021Insert dramatic quote while grating coconut

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Puu, one of the chefs who teach here, also taught us how to get fresh coconut milk. And man, it wasn’t easy.  We enjoyed trying it out but I don’t think I can do it for two more coconuts. However, fresh coconut milk tastes so much better than the canned ones available in the supermarket. If you have time to go to the wet market, it’ll be better to use those though.

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While we were touring the place, the staff prepared the kitchen for us. It was a lovely setup! I am not even joking – because I love kitchens and if I have a place of my own I’d have the kitchen bigger than any other room. Back in my hometown, I’d entertain guests while I cook and it still is the best part of my home for me to host. IMG_6028IMG_6029

First up, we learned how to cook Thai Satay – which involved a lot of herbs and spices. Puu made the peanut sauce for everyone which was so tasty I actually wanted to ask her to cook some more to bring back home (perishing was an issue, though). Making the peanut sauce involved so much smoke I don’t think I can make it at home – unless I go back to my parent’s place and cook outside.IMG_6313_1400x1050Jonver (2)_1400x1050Skewering so hard especially the meat was so thinly sliced

IMG_6031That peanut sauce tho

 

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Then we made a quick salad – Spicy Prawn and greens – which Asian vinaigrette was really refreshing and citrusy. It’s one of the those quick fixes you can whip up in five minutes. Perfect for the lazy bachelor that I am – or that homemade quick date that can help bring you the home run!Jay, Susan & Jonver_1400x1050Jonver (6)_1400x1050IMG_6040

We had two dishes which we cooked on fire. Asian dishes spells stir fry for many people – so we made stir fried beef and beans. We didn’t do Pad Thai though (I’ll be back to learn authentic Pad Thai because it is bae) but we did Thai noodles which is kinda Pad Thai, too, with different ingredients.Jonver_1400x1050IMG_6043IMG_6044IMG_6045Perfect way to cap this experience? Thai Milk Tea!

IMG_6046IMG_6048Group Dinner (1)_1400x1050Meet the whole class!

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The class went for half a day but spending it here was all worth it! DSC02253DSC02255DSC02268

The next day will be our last day so we drank our last drop of our alcohol in the famed streets of Khao San Road and Soi Rambuttri. DSC02278IMG_6055IMG_6057

Paid 10 baht to take a photo of these but we weren’t brave enough to try. My body isn’t ready for that. IMG_6058IMG_6059Internal joke. Nvm lol.

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Our last night in Bangkok was hella fun!

Baipai Thai Cooking School
8/91 Ngam Wongwan Road
Soi 54 Ladyao, Chatuchak
(They pick you up from your hotel)
+66 2 561 1404
http://www.baipai.com

Other places in this post:
Khao San Road
Soi Rambuttri

#Bangcock Day 1: NAIA and Suvarnabhumi, Baiyoke, and shopping (also, money matters when traveling)

But first, let me take a selfie

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And -fies of random afams in the airport. Hello, Northern European-looking guy!

20141118_085223IMG_5832IMG_5833I want this pop art-inspired luggage cover!

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NAIA Terminal 2 was still a bit gloomy, yet buzzing with travelers, when we got to the airport. A lot were boarding for different flights so we easily found a spot to lounge. We arrived an hour early and we were enjoying the silence… when the President arrived for a flight… (What were we thinking, it’s the national carrier PAL’s terminal after all.) Lol, no pictures because I was so tired, coming from work and shit.

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The flight to Bangkok was usual – though I can bet a finger that PAL’s food could improve. And I hope there were no crying kids, because god knows I needed sleep that day. Seeing Suvarnabhumi airport again was refreshing though! The space-inspired international hub was in its usual hustle and it was energizing to be back!

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First order of business though when we landed was to get some baht. I used to lug around dollar notes when I’m traveling but due to recommendations from Val and the internet, I had to try withdrawing from the local ATM. I was curious if I can save a few hundred pesos… but turns out it’s just the same. The exchange rate in the Philippines for buying baht was at 1.6, and I think I saved only a couple of ten pesos, since essentially the Bank in Thailand will convert your pesos to dollars then to baht… plus fees from both banks. Basically, I approximately got an exchange rate of 1.45. If you have some tricks up your sleeve with these currency exchange, please hit me up huhuhu.

IMG_5842Hello, photobomber!

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This time around, we opted to stay at Baiyoke Sky Hotel, only Bangkok’s tallest skyscraper at 89 floors. Thanks to Val who treated us the hotel room, being it her birthday treat! The hotel is kinda old though… you can literally smell it. The actual lobby is at the 18th floor and if you go down on lunch time be prepared to the swarm of tourist groups as the tower is also a tourist attraction. So. Many. PEOPLE. FML (for my life, that is.)

IMG_5849IMG_5850Well I have to give it to them for having a fruit stand — INSIDE THE HOTEL LOBBY!

IMG_5851IMG_5852The bar near the smoking area on the 18th floor also has a driving range. If you got golf skills, time to show off!

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The view of the Pratunam skyline from the room pays for what seems to be things that need attention. For one, I think Baiyoke needs to be more conscious about attendant’s behavior — especially those who are in the front desk… Everything’s bearable if their people are smiling.

/endrant

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There’s nothing much to do at the hotel, so off to the nearest mall/market we went! Right outside the hotel is the Pratunam Market and it’s a hella big market – food, clothes, accessories, and all sort of Asian Market fare can be found there. If you walk a little further, it’ll bring you to Platinum Fashion Mall – where you’d find one the best deals on clothes, all the more if you buy in bulk. I guess, businesses here in Manila who source in Bangkok get their stuff here! Plenty of good stuff… and I love their foodcourt – where you need to exchange your money for a card you swipe to buy food. Snazzy!

IMG_5863IMG_5864The first of many Tom Yum Goongs for this trip!

IMG_5866IMG_5867IMG_5869IMG_5870IMG_5871IMG_5872IMG_5874Almost bought this!!!!

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It was just the first day, but coming from work I just felt very tired and I crashed the minute I saw my bed after walking in the humongous Platinum mall. We even rode the tuktuk, who totally scammed us with a 100 baht charge, but kebs we’re too tired to argue.

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The next day we’ve had the party of our lives so stay tuned for more stories!

*With photos from Con and Val

 

First few hours in Thailand

Wow! Has it really been just six months since I was on a trip? It feels like forever though. Not that I don’t like my job now (which admittedly was one of the reasons why I went on this trip. When I do most times, I need to clear my head.) Now I just wanna go… especially I get to use my leaves now! *brings out a map, closes eyes, drops a pen* Wanderlust is real, once you pop you just can’t stop!

We arrived in Bangkok via Poipet border before dusk coming from a temple-tramping beer-swiggin’ adventure in Siem Reap. It was a painful six-hour (was it, or eight?) overland trip. While I made it clear to drop us at Silom, where we stayed in Bangkok, the minivan driver decided to drop us at Khao San Road instead. I didn’t know what to do already, and we really didn’t want to take the cab. So with huge backpacks, and tired selves determined to take a shower and stretch our legs and feet, we walked to the Chao Phraya pier and took the Skytrain to the hotel. I know what it feels to be tired, but it’s different when you’re in transit for almost half a day already.

But I was so ready for the night! Even I surprise myself when I’m traveling. All we needed was to freshen up in the hotel, stretch a little, then we were headed out again.

I was so determined to see the Thailand Creative and Design Center, which is just a train ride away. But that’s for another post just because I was so thrilled to see a museum inside a mall. After visiting the museum though, we took a short train ride to Thong Lo to see if we can grab something to eat. By then, I can imagine how famished we were for some Thai food!

It’ll help a lot if you get a reloadable rabbit card for your stay in Bangkok!

Just a few walks away from the station was this strip of street food vendors and some hole-in-the-wall eateries. In the middle of the busy buildings and roaring roads was this street which I forgot where the food was without frills and null of any pretension. I was so thrilled to see it not that crowded too like what we see in travel shows. I guess this is not the main thoroughfare for street food, but idc really. Food was good, and the people were friendly – a couple expats here and there, and locals as well!

We settled in this eatery and ordered phad thai, and spring rolls. Then a couple struts would bring you to a satay stand and just beside it was a drink stand (Thai milk tea for me of course!)

We tried to find Ella’s favorite banana-milo crepe but to no avail. Plus we were full anyway! That mean phad thai can really get you filled to the brim. Wash it with Thai milk tea and it’s the perfect end to a meal. I wish I can find that good of a plate of phad thai here in Manila!

A walk around the Thong Lo neighborhood was a sight in itself, too. It’s not urban escape for nothing. Design is strong in this country, and I hope it continues to grow. I like the minimalist touches, and the subtle merge between traditional and contemporary. It’s weird but I do get giddy when I see design this good. Plus, here in Thong Lo, you can notice that there’s a lot of izakayas, ramen-ya’s, and teppanyaki places, among others serving authentic Japanese fare. It’s because it’s the Little Tokyo around here. (A clue where I’m planning to go next *crosses fingers*)

We did stroll at the mall near our hotel, and found these pretty restaurants

I was tempted to buy one of each at a local specialty bookstore!

It wasn’t a fast nor a slow night. We just wanted to take it easy and stroll around the neighborhood, as the following day we were headed to the Grand Palace to see some temples.

Few more tips when in Bangkok!

  • We were mostly in Sukhumvit and Silom, and that left us no time for Khao San Road — where there is relatively cheap food and booze plus backpackers (ergo, cheap accommodation as well!). I’d love to go back there and have the full Khao San experience!
  • What Sukhumvit and Silom lost in grittiness and temple-tramping, they make up for with museums and cafes around. I love that there’s even a museum inside the mall! It’s a fast-paced neighborhood, but it’s you who really choose the pace anyway.
  • Oh, and malls abound the city center, too! Take the train to Siam station for the more famous malls like Siam Paragon and MBK Center.
  • Speaking of coping, you’d never need to worry about your mobile phone bill with Globe Telecom’s fixed roaming rates on mobile surfing! Enjoy unlimited mobile surfing while in Bangkok for just PhP 599. You don’t even need to register, that easy! Learn more here.
  • There is no direct train to Rattanakosin, where the Grand Palace and other temples are.  So you may need to take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to get there without taking a cab.
  • From Sukhumvit or Silom line, take the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin, then find the pier just near the station. Get off at Tha Chang pier for the Grand Palace, at Tha Tien for Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha).
  • Take the ferry shuttle in Tha Tien to take you across the river in Thonburi for Wat Arun.
  • The Wat Arun is majestic at night!
  • Also, take the boat if you want a scenic way to see both sides of the river (Old and New Bangkok). Mingle with locals and expats alike, and get to know their everyday life by way of the river.
  • If I had more time in this place, I’d probably gone to see the local third wave coffee scene. But that’s for another visit, I suppose.

Photos taken using an iPhone 5

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