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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Day 2 : Bangkok - Hua Hin

We woke up and got ready quickly, and went out to the alley to walkabout at 6.30 a.m., and we were so surprised to see a morning market! Again, stalls were aplenty and they were selling lots of food and fruits, clothes and undergarments, and shoes and accessories. We browsed and surveyed the prices. 


 Walking towards the morning market 

Really, fashionable clothing for women were in abundance, and at an average price of THB150 per piece. Of course, the downside was that we could not try on the clothes, and had to buy them based on our judgement. That morning, I saw a floral cotton blouse which I liked ... but did not buy it yet. 

Though much tempted to eat at the streets, we returned to the hotel for breakfast. There was a buffet - a sufficient but limited spread. There were fried rice, fried noodles, sunny side ups and scrambled eggs, poached mini chicken sausages. Vegetables consisted of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and peppers, and 2 types of dressings. Then, there was a choice of white and wholemeal bread, tubs of cheap butter and fruit spreads, yoghurt and fruits - usually watermelon. There was also a tray of pork sausages and ham. Of course there was juice, coffee and tea.

 The usual fare every morning .. 

Some fresh veges .... 

 Toasts 

 Our favourite pork sausages and ham

We eventually found out that the breakfast menu was the same every morning - with different variations of the fried rice and noodles. I did find the food to be palatable though - the fried rice and noodles were tasty, and we especially enjoyed the pork sausages and ham.

Every morning, I would make myself a ham sandwich. Yums. 

After breakfast, we checked out. That morning, we would travel to Hua Hin and stay there for the night. On the way to Hua Hin, of course, we would visit some attractions ...

Our first stop was the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market - the most well-known floating market in Bangkok. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is at the Ratchaburi province, about 100km from Bangkok.

We were brought to a private tour site, where we were welcomed with a coconut drink each. After the drink, we were brought to the small jetty, where we were told that we needed 2 boats to accommodate all 7 of us. We were charged THB3000 per boat. It was a definite rip-off.


The private tour site from where we boarded our boat

There were houses like this along the canal ..

I totally enjoyed the boat ride. It was a cool and cloudy morning with the occasional drizzle ... such a perfect morning for sightseeing. I climbed into the front longboat, and as it sped along the waterways, I enjoyed the cool breeze on my face.

Speeding steadily down the canal ... 

The boat navigated the long canal and soon, we could see stalls on our left and right, selling food and drinks, clothing, souvenir items, handicrafts and so on. We could indicate our interest to buy and the boat would stop in front of the stall. Besides the stalls, there were people selling from their boats as well ....

 A stall that we passed by, selling souvenirs of all kinds 

How about a photoshoot with a Burmese python?

At the Coconut Sugar Farm, it seemed compulsory for us to get off the boat. I was reluctant to climb in and out but had to anyway. I suppose I would be manhandled if I refused to get out.

The compulsory stop 

This was coconut sugar, used to make drinks
We sampled the drinks, served to us iced cold. It did have that fragrance of coconut, but I found it too sweet. I didn't buy anything here.

Soon, we got back into the boat and continued our ride down the canal .... 

A boat vendor  

The boat brought us to the market proper. Here, the engine had to be turned off because traffic was just too congested .... our boat glided slowly through the waterway slowly, bumping gently into each other once in a while ....




 Oooh ..... boat jam .... 

I totally enjoyed myself here, soaking in the bustling atmosphere of this very colourful market on water ... :))

The next compulsory stop was Wat Phrok Charoen - which had a unique statue of Buddha called the Luang Poh Daeng. None of us went inside the temple to see it ....

 Wat Phrok Charoen

From here on, we went back to our little jetty. After Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, we had lunch at a restaurant nearby - I'm not sure of the name because it was written in Thai.

The name of the restaurant

Because of the hefty sum we paid for the boat ride, we had to tighten our purse strings and control our spending. We had to scrimp for lunch .... unfortunately. Thankfully, we weren't too hungry after our heavy breakfast that morning.

The menu here was totally hilarious! We had a hearty laugh if nothing else.

Blush!  

Taken from the farm? 

Anyway, we ordered only medium servings of these to share among the 7 of us ....

 Seafood fried rice

Thai-style fried noodles 

 Seafood tom yum .... 

My platter

Beautiful grounds .... we actually choose to sit in one of the kiosks for lunch 

The food was good! I especially loved the Tom yum and the noodles! The noodles had this refreshing taste to it - probably because it was spicy, sweet and sour, and with the added crunch from beansprouts, chives and shredded cucumbers, tofu and chopped roasted peanuts. Yummy.

The next stop was Maeklong Railway Market. It's one of the biggest fresh seafood markets in Thailand centred along the railway track. So, I navigated the uneven tracks (quite a challenge in my slippers! Felt like I could trip and fall flat on my face anytime!) and browsed at the various stalls along the track ....

Stalls selling fresh produce

Here, we bought some fruits to eat .... langsat and mangosteen were in season it seemed. I also bought a 500g packet of crispy rice puffs for THB80. Then we heard that the train would be arriving .... so we stood at the side to watch the vendors pull down the canvas flaps in preparation for the train's arrival ..... 

The man in brown checking that the access is clear

Train approaching slowly! Note that the fresh produce and the crockery just beside the railway tracks need not be kept! 

What an interesting market! First in my life I'd shopped along a railway track and first in my life that I'd watch a train go past me from such a proximity!  

After Maeklong Train Market, we climbed back on board our SUV, all hot and sweaty and sleepy ... and dozed off along the 1 hour journey to Cha-Am, near Hua Hin. We visited the Swiss Sheep Farm. Entrance free was THB120 each.

Hmn ... I do not know what to say about this place. It's not an amusement park, not really a theme park ....

Hmn .... is it Halloween yet? 

Well, there's sheep .. 

What's a Beetle doing here? 

There were a couple of horses too 

 Eh, a windmill? 

So I think there's fascination with Jack o'Lantern or something .... 

There's a a couple of 3D photo opportunites in there .... 

Funky strawberry structure

So what's the Swiss Sheep Farm? 

Hmn .... I came out pretty confused. I wasn't quite interested in random European curios in Thailand .... I wanted an authentic Thai experience. 

And so I began to realise that there were plenty of fun parks in Hua Hin.

 The Venezia
This was supposed to recreate the Venetian experience in Thailand. 

We were supposed to visit The Venezia too ... but we decided not to save up on the entrance fee and forego this attraction. Some of us have been to Venice already! So why visit a fake Venice. 

Our driver took us to Plearnwan Eco Vintage Village at downtown Hua Hin. Admission was free ... but there was a guard at the entrance who checked my bag. He confiscated my water bottle. I did not know whether it was because of the recent bomb attacks in Hua Hin or whether he wanted us to buy water in here. 

Entrance 

 Basically consisted of stalls selling food and souvenirs .... 
My friends bought bottles of lemongrass balm here .... 

Oooh ... saw a bridal shoot at the entrance as we claimed back our water bottles and exited the place .... 

We left for our hotel, the Amara Resort Hua Hin and checked into our rooms ....

 Spacious room .... 

Check in was easy as we had prepaid via Agoda, but our rooms were on the first floor and we had to lug our own bags up the stairs. Room was big, with en suite bathroom, air-conditioned; there was a fridge and tv; we got a hairdryer upon request. Wi-fi was available in the room. 

We were supposed to have dinner at the Cicada Night Market. However, Cicada Night Market did not operate on weeknights. As an alternative, we went to Chatsila Night Market in downtown Hua Hin.


We browsed the stalls slowly, deciding on what to eat.

I had a corn - the one with black and pale yellow kernels; The kernels were densier, waxier, but sweet and juicy and I loved the rich flavour; Each cob was THB20.

 We shared a coconut ice-cream; the ice-cream had a faint floral essence ... jasmine? Hmn .... 

 I also ate these pork and chicken skewers; the meat marinade was rather ordinary, but I thought it was cheap at THB20 each ....

We ordered pork satay at a stall and sat down at tiny tables and chairs behind it to eat .... 

Condiments with our satay included a wedge of lime, chives, cucumber pickles and satay sauce

Pork satay, THB4 each .... 
The meat was soft as the satay wasn't overgrilled, the taste was on the savoury side

Pad Thai
I think there was sugar in there, making the noodles a little sweet 

Dessert 
You could pick the ingredients you wanted to go with either coconut milk or longan syrup; I chose barley, Thai chestnut rubies, and Nata de coco in longan syrup. I did not quite like this dessert which I found to devoid of any taste, except cloying sweetness

The last thing I ate here was a flat sheet of bbq cuttlefish; only THB10 each. 

Opposite the night market was a large shop selling leatherware .... we hanged out here for sometime while waiting to be picked up ... we found the shoes and bags to be of reasonable price and did try on a few pairs of shoes. Only that there weren't in the right sizes .... and in the end we did not buy anything. 

Soon, the driver picked up us and sent us back to our hotel. :)) 

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