Malaysia Day 3.

Haircut, people watching at a casino and food.

So I’ve been meaning to get a haircut for weeks. The combination of hot weather and a very unkempt hairstyle is a big no no for me so first thing we did was head to the local salon (Yes, before eating any food. Can you believe it? I can’t. Especially since I only woke up at noon again and lunch time was beckoning). A whole bunch of us got our hair cut (me, wifey, sister-in-law, grandmother-in-law).

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Haircut at the local salon. Cheap and good. Can’t go wrong.

So today’s plan was to go to Genting Highland. This is basically a casino area, high up in the mountains. There are many shops, food and drink outlets and entertainment activities. So off we go.

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Driving to Genting Highland.

The drive is about an hour from KL. The roads are ok but there are a lot of curvy left and right turns as you go up the mountain. It wasn’t my turn to drive so I occupied myself in the backseat by taking some photos and dozing off.

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Artistic shot attempt in the car on the way up the mountain to Genting Highland. Matching gear.

First stop was a halfway point up the mountain. Time for eating.

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Somewhere halfway up the hill to Genting Highland. Lots of shops, hotels (for those who can’t get bookings at the main casino hotels, this is where they stay) and of course, restaurants.

And finally lunch time! Some food at last! Hurrah! I’m freaking starving. Please put food in me now!

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“Restoran Foon Lock”. What a lovely place. Fast and great tasting food. The broth they used in all their dishes was so delicious. I would be content with having a bowl of white rice and just the sauce.

So now I’m happy and satisfied. Let’s continue our journey.

We arrived at the car park and made our way to the cable car station. The one we went to is the newly built extension so here we are checking it out for the first time.

Cable cars run from I think 6am – midnight. And you can bring a bag with you, as long as it meets the following requirements.

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I interpreted this as “If you can fit one person in the bag which doesn’t exceed these dimensions, go ahead and bring on board!”

If your bag is bigger than this, or if you have more than one bag, there is a MYR 20 additional charge. Next part is lift off!

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Artistic shot attempt through the viewing pane of our cable car before it launches out from the station. Yes, it was drizzling.

I have never felt at ease with hot air balloons and cable cars. But its been a long while since I’ve been on either of those. Perhaps this time it will be ok?

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Up we go the mountain. My facial expression doesn’t show it but I was terrified.

The view was nice. But I was sh*tting myself. I’m such a wimp.

So here is the main concourse. Huge LCD screens adorn the walls and light up the whole area with life.

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Beautiful large LCD screens at Genting Highland’s newly built extension.
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LCD screens everywhere. They absolutely lit up the place and really made the whole hall feel alive.
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A wefie of the wifey and I.

Then we made our way into the gambling zone.

Note that they have a ‘no back pack / ruck sack’ policy. If you have a sling bag or hand bag, then that’s ok. Oh yes, bring a jacket. The weather up here is much cooler, and combined with the air conditioning, it can be quite chilly.

After getting through security, we walked in and wow were we impressed. The area was so huge and there were so many gambling tables, machines, screens etc. Once again, LCD screens were everywhere. They had them on the ceiling and the walls. It was actually quite magical.

I’m no gambling man. In fact, I have zero interest and talent in gambling. But I do enjoy watching other people play. Watching their expressions change from ‘ahhh I know I’m gonna win this time’, the ‘awww f*ck I lost’ to the ‘ok let me give it one more try’ was quite entertaining for me.

Coffee, tea, juice and water are free. I guess this helps keep the pundits refreshed and keep them at the gambling zone. After a couple of hours, we headed to the bar.

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My 94 year old grandmother-in-law enjoying a cold pint of beer, exhausted after hitting the gambling tables (no big bets of course, just some fun). Respect.

Though I wasn’t gambling, people watching can be quite exhausting too. Time for food again. This time we headed to a restaurant inside the casino. There were quite a few selections on offer, ranging from chinese to western types of foods.

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A place of ‘Char Kway Teow’. Typical fried flat noodles with pork fat, egg, chinese sausage and bean sprouts. Extremely popular local dish which you will find in most restaurants.
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A hot bowl of ‘Ba Ku Teh’. This is a pork bone broth that is very popular in Malaysia. This particular version we had contained too much ginger in my opinion. This dish is served with a large bowl of rice and should always be accompanied by a bowl of chopped chili and soy sauce. A great combination on a cold day.

After dinner, we left the gambling zone and walked around the retail areas. There are a ton of restaurants and cafes. Had a coffee at ‘Street Churros’.

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A hot cup of ‘Spanish Latte’ from Street Churros, located within the new extension of Genting Highland. Sweet and gooey.

Then we made our way down back to the car park. Time to get back on the cable car again.

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A photo from our cable car viewing pane on the way down.

Came across this funny looking plug on the way to the car. Cute huh?

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Hello Mr Froggy. That’s what the socket on the right looks like to me anyway.

And then we called it a day. We head back to Bangkok tomorrow.

Ciao.

Malaysia Day 2.

Another round of food and, well, more food in Malaysia.

So a new day beckons in the land of ‘makan’ (eating). Being consistent with my pig like abilities, this was another late slumber as I finally got out of bed around noon.

If you haven’t seen my blog on Malaysia Day 1, go check it out first.

Let’s get on with the food adventures.

Just before I was getting ready to sleep last night, my sister in law knocks on the door with some late night snacks. The wife was busy working on the laptop (I know we are supposed to be on holiday but work is always there, like a little bug eating away at the back of your brain). So naturally, and very unhealthily, we snacked. And when we woke up today, we snacked again before lunch.

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Pan fried gooey yumminess. Though it was a little bit burnt, the snack on the left side quenched our late night stomach murmurs. The snack on the right side was a quick pick me up (crispy and savory). Delicious.

So what do you after snacking? Go and eat more of course! We headed off to my favourite ‘nasi lemak’ restaurant in Uptown. Now for those who don’t know, nasi lemak is a traditional malaysian dish comprising of a scented rice served with sambal, fried chicken, peanuts, cucumbers and other condiments to your liking.

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Village Park Restaurant in Uptown. My favourite! Totally recommended. Lots of seating but always packed.
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My plate of nasi lemak. They ran out of cockle rendang – oh well. But I come here for the fried chicken. It is simply out of this world. Crispy and crunchy on the outside, flavourful and juicy on the inside. Simply one of the best gastronomical experiences I have had.
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Ordered a ‘Milo Dinosaur’ to wash it all down. Basically a sweet ice blended milo drink (cocoa and malt) with tons of milo dumped on the top for some texture and crunch as you sip away.

With our stomachs full, we went walking around the shops around Uptown. Whilst the wife and mum-in-law headed off for some shopping, I paid a visit to one of my favourite vape shops (Panda Vape – but perhaps more on this later in another blog).

Then we headed to a ‘pasar malam’ (night market) in SS2 for a stroll. I know its not yet night time but the shop vendors were just setting up.

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Lots of stuff to see and buy. And definitely lots and lots of food and snacks.

After that, headed back home to rest for a couple of hours. Watched some Netflix (am watching ‘Designated Survivor’ at the moment – love it. Can’t help imagining Kiefer Sutherland breaking from his Presidential role into bad ass 24 Jack Bauer. Doubt it will ever happen but my fingers are crossed anyway). Then it was time to eat again.

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Home cooked chicken rice prepared by my mum-in-law. Very popular dish in Asia generally but there are variations from country to country.

After wolfing all that down, we rested our bellies a bit more until it was time to go out for a few drinks at the local bar (there was a rather annoying hostess that kept trying to make the wife and I neck down our drinks – but I suppose she was a bit drunk and just doing her job). So what typically follows some beer? Late night mamak of course! My favourite, Nasi Kandar. This is a very popular Malaysian type of dish which is basically rice topped with your choice of different curries, meats and vegetables. The wife went for a roti (something like a fried dough pastry) served with some chicken curry.

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I should not be eating this. I really should not. But its just so damn f*cking good.

And now I’m back home, regretting all the unnecessary calories I have injected my gut with and telling myself that I should wake up early and go for a run. I hope that happens. But then again, I was thinking the same thing last night and that did not go exactly to plan.

Ciao.

Malaysia Day 1.

Another quick trip to Malaysia but this time I’ll be taking notes on what I eat and see!

Had an early start to attend an ex-colleague’s wedding in Nakhon Nayok, Thailand which meant a speedy drive back to Bangkok in the afternoon and some last minute packing before flying off to Malaysia.

We were booked for Malaysia Airlines outbound and Thai Airways inbound on the way back (different airlines because of timing).

So the overall flight experience with Malaysia Airlines was ok. We were in Economy Class. It was a small plane which comprised of 3 seats on either side with a single aisle going down the middle. The entertainment console was ok (though the touch screen sensitivity setting was a bit off). Seats were appropriately sized and the staff were quite attentive, zipping up and down the aisle as they rushed about preparing refreshments and other errands.

The flight was a little over 2 hours so we had a main meal included (dinner). There was a choice of chicken and pasta or fish and rice. Being me, I went with the rice option.

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Simple box presentation. You get a cup of water and your main meal. No sign of desserts, starters or other condiments here.

The taste was alright but it was definitely on the salty side. After meal drink options were also quite limited. I think Malaysia Airlines needs to sort themselves a bit in the catering part of the flight which I found quite pale in comparison to other Economy Class flights (excluding budget airlines). It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either.

Anyway, we landed safely at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. My wife’s mum and sister came to pick us up and drive us back home.

Before passing out for the night, we had a quick stop at the local Hokkien Mee restaurant. I didn’t eat anything. After reaching home, my mum-in-law gave me an iced homemade ‘Lo hon go’ drink (this is a herbal type of drink which I find quite refreshing – also good for suppressing coughs) and a hot bowl of clear chicken soup.

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Iced ‘Lo hon go’ drink. Yummy.

I slept like a pig. I think by the time I got up it was already past noon. Had a quick egg tart before heading out with the in-laws for a visit to a seaside village next to Kuala Lumpur.

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Egg Tarts are everywhere in Malaysia. Hmmm, may have to do an Egg Tart Review Blog next time.

So we made our way to Tanjung Karang in Kuala Selangor. This was about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.

Our first stop was to pick up some seafood. There were quite a number of fisheries in the area – we ended up choosing Yu Soon Fishery. We got some fish and prawns.

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Yu Soon Fishery.

The surrounding area of the fishery was kinda cool and I managed to get a few artistic photos.

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Seth’s attempt at an artistic photo shot #1
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Seth’s attempt at an artistic photo shot #2

So now armed with our fish and prawns, it was time to go eat. We went to ‘Restoran Suang Le River‘.

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Very popular restaurant in the area. Be prepared for queues unless you drop by during non-peak times (ie: hours after lunch but before dinner).

We got our fish steamed and our prawns fried in butter. Also ordered steamed clams, fried battered squid, chili crab and noodles with clams.

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Our feast!

The food was sooooooo good. Overall cost (including the purchase of the fish and prawns) came just under MYR 200. What a f*cking bargain.

We washed the food down with some chinese tea and Hungarian dessert wine (I know, random huh?).

With our bellies full, we went to visit a few of the local attractions. We paid a visit to a temple that was being refurbished.

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This temple is dedicated to the Monkey God. They tried to make the exterior look like a cave.

At the temple car park, I noticed a car which had a very interesting repair job on their bumper. I thought the stitching was done quite well though I’m not so sure about its durability and safety.

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Have you tried ‘stitching’ your bumper back together before?

Paid a visit to a roadside coconut vendor for some coconut juice. Refreshing.

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She was very good at carving coconuts as you probably can tell from the picture above.

Then our last stop was a monkey / wildlife sanctuary. The monkeys were their usual curious selves but quite well behaved. The monkeys in Thailand can be very naughty and aggressive.

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Monkeys to the left of me, monitor lizards to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.

So here I am, back at home and writing up this blog. May pop out later tonight for some late night ‘makan makan’ (Malaysian slang for ‘eating’) but I can hear the rain and thunder outside. Perhaps this is just a test…….haha.

Ciao.

Germany and Austria – beer and food!

Work hard, play hard.

Yes ok, this was a business trip but who says you can’t find some time to unwind as well?

So last month, I had to go to Germany and Austria. Flew Etihad Airways so there was a stop over in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Decent airline though I still could not fall asleep.

The weather in Thailand was beginning to get hot so it was a nice change to land in Europe with relatively much cooler temperatures.

Look at the blue sky. I’m so jealous of my previous self now.

So the first night was at Hotel Augusta in Augsburg. Small room but comfortable enough for a good night’s rest. But not yet. Time for some food and beer.

Went for a stroll near the local fruit and vegetable market. The strawberries were f*cking awesome. Washed them down with some nice beer at the town square.

Big, juicy and tart. Fantastic strawberry.
A walk around the city square.
Beer!

Had dinner at the Osteria Albero Verde. A German / Italian restaurant serving great steaks in a beautiful old building. 

The hotel breakfast was quite nice. Breakfast was a buffet of cold cuts, breads and a small selection of hot foods. More than enough to kick-start the day right.

Stuffed to the brim and ready for productivity!

Lovely platter of pastries and cold cut sandwiches for quick lunch.

Aren’t they simply georgous?

Off to Munich! Some familiar sights and sounds from my previous trips here.

Selfie time at Marienplatz.

When in Munich, do as the locals do. Have a nice beer and do some people watching.

I could totally be a full time people watcher!

Had dinner at the Augustiner restaurant. Superb food and great atmosphere.

One of my all time favourites. Liver dumpling soup. Hot, hearty and wholesome.
Suckling Pork Roast!
Yummylicious beer.

And of course the pretzels. Oh my gosh. The salted pretzels. I want one right now damn it! So freaking good.

I really want a pretzel now.

Woke up early and had breakfast hotel. Another lovely buffet.

Needless to say I was very full.

Headed off to Austria straight after. Beautiful blue skies and cool weather. Great driving conditions. Next meal was a quick working lunch.

Sausages and pastries galore.

Stayed at Hotel Attersee. Beautiful view of the lake from my room.

Taken from my room balcony. What a view eh?

And of course next up was dinner. Yummy.

Boiled beef. Yumm. Beefy.

Followed by a lovely dessert.

Spatzle! Waffle pancake thingy with powdered sugar and steawberries.

Had a great sleep after. In the morning, had another nice breakfast and headed off to the airport back to Bangkok.

Zzzzzzzzzz.

As much as I really enjoyed the German and Austrian food and beers, I missed spicy Thai food and rice.

After landing back in Bangkok, I couldn’t help myself and got a plate of hot stuff before heading back home.

Kapau Moo Korb a.k.a. rice topped with stir fried basil and crispy pork at Lee Cafe restaurant in Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Until next time. Ciao.

20170415 Ho Chi Minh

We fly back tomorrow morning so have got to make the most out of today in Ho Chi Minh.

Another late morning but what the hey, we are on holiday! Screw the alarm clock. After breakfast at the hotel, we made our way into Benh Thanh market (aka Ben Ten – well, thats how I pronounce it anyway).

A lot of souvenirs and stuff to buy. Don’t buy from the first shop you see – visit a few and as you walk away, the vendors drop their prices like crazy. Then you will have a better gauge about what is considered to be the market price.

Settled on this beautiful large decorative plate. We were quoted 1.2m VD but ended up with one at 290k VD. I’m sure you could squeeze the price down lower but I was ok with that.

Had some lunch in the market as well.

Bowl of pho was about 60k VD. Pricey, but what is there to expect in a market filled with tourists?

A bowl of Bun Mam noodles at 60k VD. Ouch. Not cheap but at least it was very tasty.

Had some great coffee at Trung Nguyen opposite the Benh Tenh market. Cup of the special legend coffee was 150k VD, a cup of latte with jelly was 59k, and 500g of ground coffee (Sangtao 8) was about 402k VD.

Cafe Latte with Jelly 59k VD.

Decided to rest the legs a bit today. Took a taxi to the Emperor Jade Temple from our hotel which was about 60k VD. 

Entry was free.

After the temple, we went walking around and stumbled across this corner restaurant selling roast duck and chicken. Lovely.

Roast duck restaurant near the Jade Emperor temple. Not a tourist in sight which must be a good sign!

Lovely meal. Half a roast duck 130k VD. One whole chicken baked in bread / crackling? 270k VD. Didn’t order because it was too big of a portion.

Stopped by a dessert place. Ordered a Che.

Che. Dessert drink with assorted fruits and nuts. Sweet and refreshing. 17k VD.

Taxi to 718 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, 1, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam (grab car) 81k VD.

Our next stop was a famous dessert place called Quán Chè Hiển Khánh. 

Bowl of sweet syrup with fruit, glass of sago puree and some various snacks 53k VD.

We then tried to find the ‘oldest coffee shop’ nearby but it was shut for the day already.

Settled on another coffee shop nearby. Cafe Tram.

Ordered a cookies and cream coffee. 33k VD.

And finally, the highlight of the day. Went walking through narrow alley ways that peeked through the local’s houses to find this place.

Nice walk through the small alley ways. It was an interesting insight into the locals’ routine as they headed home after work.

We arrived at our destination. The famous Dao Snail Restaurant! Wow. What a great place. Packed with locals. 

Had snails, scallops, octopus, razor clams and beers. 384k VD. Bargain.

With our stomachs full, we walked back towards our hotel to wash up and rest for a little bit. 

Popped into a local massage place to soothe the aches and pains from all our walking. Foot massage for one hour was 220k VD per person. The masseurs expect tips from 50k – 100k so be prepared.

And our last stop of the night. Lets have more noodles by the street!

Simple, authentic and delicious. Dining with the locals this way was really quite enjoyable.

A bowl of noodles was about 50k VD.

And that’s it folks! Time to head back to the hotel, pack and sleep. Tomorrow we fly back to Bangkok. Ciao. 

20170414 Ho Chi Minh

Well rested yet somehow still a bit blur, our adventure in Ho Chi Minh continues.

Went to bed super late last night. Ended up watching a handful of episodes of ‘Doc Martin’ to fall asleep. Thanks netflix LOL.

Our room without a window played all sorts of havoc on me. Couldn’t quite tell whether it was time to get up or continue sleeping. I recall my alarm blasting away a few times but I remember turning it off as well! Damn that snooze button.

Made it to breakfast at the hotel lobby (thank goodness their breakfast hours are from 6-12noon! Perfect for late starters…no finger pointing please.

After a few minutes planning away, a guy from the street approached me and wanted to clean my shoes. He wouldn’t take no for an answer and proceeded to peel my shoes away. After that, we headed back to the hotel room to wash up and get ready to venture out.

2pm. First stop. Dropped in for a drink at ‘Phuc Long’. Interesting name huh? Nice coffee shop just next door to our hotel. Appears to be a franchise of some sort that is very popular with the locals. Ordered a rich milk coffee (1 hot and 1 cold).

So first up was the rich milk coffee. Delightful. Cold, thick, earthy and delicious. I wouldn’t describe this refreshing, but rather more dessert-esque. The hot rich milk coffee was sweet, caramel and made my eyes pop open. Didn’t realise it was like an espresso shot. Still went down nicely though.

Coffees were about 25k-30k VD. Sweet, creamy and tasty. Quite filling mind you.

Have got a few things planned for the rest of the day – mostly food adventures. Plus a couple of the landmark ‘must visit’ sites. 

Whist on the way to the War Remnants Museum, dropped by the famous Ban Mih place. A stuffed french bread sandwich that is simply to die for. Sweet, savoury, crunchy, chewy, creamy, spicy. Wow. All in one. What a treat indeed.

A Ban Mih sandwich at this place was 35k VD.

Another pit stop along the way to the museum. More coffee! Sweet with condensed milk and chocolatey like a mocha. Divine. Had some spillage due to lack of knowledge of how to prepare the hot coffee and transfer it to the iced glass…oops.

Traditional drip coffee. Was about 25k VD if I recall correctly. Hot water is poured into the top canister filled with ground coffee. The hot water seeps through the holes and you get droplets of delectable coffee in the cup below (pre filled with condensed milk). Once all the hot water has gone through, remove the dripper, stir your coffee with the condensed milk and pour into an ice filled glass. 

Will we ever make it to the museum? Only time will tell.

….And we made it!

15k VD entrance fee. Interesting, informative and overall quite depressing.

And back to the food. Amanda picked up a ‘bone’. 

15k VD.

Then we went hunting for a famous Pho shop. Unfortunately, it no longer existed. So we ended up wandering around. Partially joined mass at Notre Dam church.

Free entry though, they do restrict tourists during holy prayers.

Then a quick stop at Hard Rock cafe for a beer.

More expensive than local joints of course, but at about 40k VD, I thought this was still pretty reasonable.

With our stomachs now growling from the amount of walking we did today, we made our way to ‘Secret Garden’. Scary at first with a totally uninviting entrance and a spooky staircase to match, we were pleasantly surprised by this hidden roof top restaurant that was super packed. The food was great and cheap too! All for circa 360k VD. We had squid / cucumber salad (which tasted like assam laksa!), sour fish soup and stuffed snails. Delicious.

Creepy stair cases. But rewards come to those who preservere!

Stuffed snails. Horrible to look at but really tasty.

Sour fish soup. Really tasty with some rice.

Then we went wandering again. Quick pit stop for a steamed bun.Steamed plain bun 10k VD.

A wander around the square…

Bustling with locals and tourists. 

And then we arrived at our destination. An apartment block filled with cafes!

Really quite remarkable. Don’t know how long this will be here for. Heard that it will be torn down or refurbished for apartment use again in the near future.

An uninviting entrance and spooky stairs (sound familiar?) but still a lot of character and very interesting.

Do you dare to continue?

Decided on ‘Boo Cafe’. Cute little coffee shop on the 8th floor. Coffees go for about 25k VD per cup.

And now, high on coffee and stomach satisfied, crawled back to our hotel and called it a night. Ciao.

20170413 Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh

Bright lights, good food and Pho everywhere. We must be in Vietnam!

It’s Songkran in Thailand which means either a choice of staying in Bangkok to enjoy the festivities and easy going traffic or a quick trip outside Thailand. This time round, we decided on Ho Chi Minh. 

It was a late night packing session. Not quite sure why I always take so long. In my mind, it is always simple, straightforward and quick. I can visualise it from start to end. The reality ends up being quite different. I tend to get caught up with what to pack and what not to pack. I put things in my bag then take them out. I think I have packed enough, but I always want some contingency so I throw in a few extra sets of stuff. Then I will start to think I’ve packed too much and then take some stuff out again. Arggh. Anyhoo, after packing, finally dozed off to sleep.

Was supposed to have an early start but got up at 10am. Whoops. After a quick wash up, the wifey and I were ready to head to the airport.

After checking in, we had plenty of time. I was paranoid that there would be massive queues at the airport which didn’t turn out to be the case. So we had a casual wander around the airport and had some lunch.

 Lunch at the airport and last minute booking of the hotel!

Though there was a minor delay in boarding, the cute and bizarre uniforms that our air stewardesses wore were entertaining (not the bikini airlines mind you!). We flew Vietjetair.

An hour and a half later, we landed in Ho Chi Minh. Took a shuttle limo to the hotel (10 USD). We stayed at the Zoolut Hotel in District 1. The hotel and rooms were nice, though our room had no window! That was a first. On the other hand, it was a large and clean room, recently renovated so that was a plus as far as I was concerned. 

After settling down and a quick wash up, we went to Benh Thanh Street Food. A beer was about 25k VD.Benh Thanh Street Food. An assortment of hawker food stalls. Lots of tourists so a bit pricey and not so authentic. But we were hungry and this was really close by.

Salad noodle 50k VD.

Pancake. Crispy on the outside and soft chewy goodness on the inside 75k VD.

With our bellies half full, we went exploring and ended up at Tan Lap. Can of pepsi at 20k VD and local beer at 20k VD. Pho noodle 50k VD.

Fried frog in butter 95k VD.

We made our way through Benh Thanh market (street side) towards river.Walking the streets late at night was a breeze. Lighting was very good and not once did I feel unease or fear. Pretty safe so far.

Coffee at Coffee Cowboy infront of the river. About 25-30k VD per cup.

Quiet stroll along the river. Alot of couples sneaking in kisses on the river facing benches.

Feeling blur and satisfied. Time to call it a night. Sweet dreams and ciao.