Enthralled by El Nido

I found my paradise in the Philippines.

Spellbounding Siquijor

A brave girl's first ever solo trip was to this mystical island.

The Quiet Charm of Cagbalete Island

Outdoor serenity at its best.

The Rugged Beauty of Islas de Gigantes

The off-the-beaten rockin beauty of Northern Iloilo.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A "Holiday" in BKK


Every time I go out of the country, I see to it that I stay in at least one of our properties. We are given 7 nights per hotel per year to use our employee rate at any destination we like. It is roughly seventy percent discount off the rack rate which is already huge. :)

However, I do not stay in a hotel for long. Not only because of the budget, but it really doesn't suit my travel style. I more like rough backpacking than fancy glampacking. It is also not practical to be spending so much on a hotel when you'll be out most of the time to explore. Maybe my purpose of trying out our properties are, to see if the same standards are being met, to observe how the cultural differences is being manifested to the interiors and to meet my colleagues from different countries. :)

We had 4 properties in Bangkok alone (now they're 5 already and will soon become 6). I chose the Holiday Inn Bangkok which is just beside InterContinental Bangkok (also one of our hotels) due to its superb accessibility. It's just a spit away from the BTS Chitlom station.



IC shot from the BTS Station


I arrived very early at the hotel. The doorman and the front desk officers greeted me courteously. I was so early that there are no other people in the reception yet which is an uncommon sight in a hotel hehe. Even the establishments outside were all still closed.



empty hotel lobby



I liked the very zen feel and scent of the hotel lobby. It is very spacious and it looks fresh. Free wifi is also available in that area. I lounge around there whenever I need to go online and check my emails.



my gloriously comfy bed :)


The rooms are pretty small. It is the smallest Holiday Inn room I've ever been. It is cramped. But why would a solo traveler need a big space? Hehe. It is perfectly fine for solo and couple travelers. Maybe not for families.



cramped up space


The work desk almost overlapped the TV stand. That's how limited the room space is.



my travel buddies as always :)


Even the toilet and bath are miniscule. There is no bathtub! But I didn't mind, the shower head was awesome hehe. It was also very Thai.



the  tiny toilet


Of course, there's always that complete set of toiletries. Love it that it's all organic.



forgot to bring some?


Oh, the shower room was so bare by the way and of course also small.



care for a shower?


I'm not very much complaining about the limited space but it could have been better if it is bigger hehe. All that matters to me is the comfortability. A place where I can have total relaxation after a tiring trip.



relax, it's Holiday Inn :)


I always loved the beddings of our hotels. I always wanted to slumber longer, but I'm always on a  holiday so I needed to be out most of the time. It feels good to be rejuvenated after a long day in a very relaxing bed. If I can do one whole day of just sleeping in our hotel, I definitely would. Maybe I should try a pure "staycation" next time. :)



gotta get going :)


The property itself is downright. My only thing is the small room space hehe. But I think if you'll get a suite, it is definitely bigger. The entire hotel and the room is immaculately clean and smelled good. From the lobby all the way to the room, the scent is very nice. The staff are amazing (which is very significant for me) and the service, outstanding. The fantastic location is another thing. It is very convenient, right smack in the middle of the city and the shopping area. It is very accessible too. You can go to any part of the city by riding the BTS train just outside. I never get the chance to try the restaurants though because I was always out.

Overall, it was a very pleasant stay. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a terrific place to stay in Central Bangkok.



Accommodation Information:

Holiday Inn Bangkok
Address: 971 Ploenchit Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
Reservations Line: 1800-1651-8888; Front Desk: +66-2-6560444
Website: http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/ihg/hotels/us/en/reservation
Room Rates vary. Please check the website for that info.



Accommodation Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Traipsing Thailand


Last year, I decided to join a Backpacking Indochina trip with Travel Factor. First, I thought I'm going to be alone. Second, I found it "cheap". Third, it seemed more convenient for me to just pay then just pack my bags on the day of departure. But then, after doing some research I found out that it will be way cheaper if I'm going to do it by myself. So I started to plan my own itinerary but the plane tickets I had were the same flights as theirs. They became my plane mates in short haha.


A few weeks before the trip, my travel partner said he can join me. But he can't leave on the same day I was because he still have to go to work. He flew out the following day after my departure. So, for the first time, I was going out of the country solo.


After a 2 or 3 hours flight delay, we touched down to Suvarnabhumi Airport. Gosh, it was already 3:00 AM when we arrived. I was so groggy that I didn't take as many photos as I would if I'm feeling alive. When I'm done with the immigration and customs, I exchanged some money. Since it was a wee hour and I was a lone female, I did not take the risk of commuting to the city. That time I just wanted to sleep.



no one has the authority when I arrived ;)


I slept for about an hour in one of the benches in third floor. But the aircon there was so freaking cold and I was always awaken by people going to the wrong escalator. Those freaking escalators there were confusing and it beeps every time you're using the incorrect one. By the way, sleeping travelers is a common sight in Suvarnabhumi. Others were so prepared they have sleeping bags and blankets. I went down to the ground floor to look for another place to sleep. I found myself in front of the TAT counter.



perfect spot to sleep ;)



The place was deserted that only a few people were sleeping in the area. I think there were only four of us there. I was able to sleep a couple more hours. After refreshing myself in the restroom, I just bought something to munch on, then left.


Airport Express Bus' operations has been canceled already so I looked for the bus that would take me to the Terminal going to the city proper. I guess they're not treating me like a tourist because we also looked like them and I was alone. So I pretended I am familiar with all the sights but I was actually observing if I rode the correct bus haha. I apparently did. The last stop was the Terminal. I was looking for the Bus Number that I'm supposed to get into but there's none. I asked a few people but they couldn't understand me. Waaahh! Good thing, there was a van (like GT Express here) going to Victory Monument. I asked the driver how much the fare is and hopped in.


The Victory Monument


After about an hour, the driver dropped me off. I felt so victorious seeing the Victory Monument haha. I went to the nearest 7Eleven Store to buy a Thai sim card. My Globe roaming request did not go through argh! Outside, I asked some vendors to tell me where the BTS station is. I was so glad and thankful that even though they can't speak English, they were helpful enough to point me to the right direction.
 


another Victory :)


Oh yes, I found the BTS station hehe. Now I'm just a train ride away to my hotel. It was still early when I got to the hotel. It was eightish I guess. I was so relieved that I can already check-in despite of my very early arrival. Maybe there were only a few guests because it was the height of the Thailand flooding.



my travel book and maps :)


I took a shower and had coffee. I didn't want to sleep because I knew if I do, my whole day will be wasted in bed. I also ate the bread I got from the airport the other night. It was like the pork floss bread from Bread Talk hehe. It was good.




my 1st bkk breakfast hehe


It was too early to go out so I rested for about two hours. I really tried not to go to sleep. I took a walk around the Siam area at around 10:00 AM. It is just walking distance from my hotel. I passed by Erawan Shrine on my way there. I just took a photo from where I was (train station skyway).



Erawan Shrine


A few more minutes later, I reached the Siam Paragon. It has Discovery Center and Ocean World inside. It also has IMAX theaters like what we have in Mall of Asia. I guess it is one of the biggest malls that they have in Bangkok.



Siam Paragon fountain grounds


I entered the mall and check out some shops. The items are expensive. Even their department store sells premium items. I'm not going to buy anything there haha.




malling, anyone?


When I had enough of window shopping, I went down to the food court for lunch. I had chicken in brown curry sauce. As expected, Thai dish is delish! A Thai woman shared the table with me. I just nodded and smiled even though I didn't understand the words she said haha.



my 1st Thai food


I really felt tired sooner. Maybe because I did not have a comfortable and enough sleep the other night. I no longer went to the National Stadium and Jim Thompson House. I walked on the actual road back and noticed some government structures along the road.



a random shrine along the road


I dropped by to Amarin Plaza and bought some souvenir items. Unlike Paragon, there are tiangge-like stores in there that sells cheap items. When I got to my hotel room, my body gave in. I accepted the invitation of the bed and the pillows for me to sleep.



When I woke up, it was too dark (I slept with the curtains drawn). It was already 10:00 PM. I wondered where will I have dinner. I just decided to wait for my beau to arrive. It was October 29th, so all the movies being shown in HBO were scary movies. I just watched one while lying in my bed lights off haha! Totally not afraid of the dark. :)


It was almost 12:00 AM when my company arrived. We immediately went out and ate at McDonalds across the street.




my Mc Iced Cola and Spinach Pie


Took a picture with Ronald outside. If you noticed the pile of sandbags, it was their precautionary measure in case the flood in the city got worse.



sawasdee kap


We hurried back to the hotel after filling our tummy. We were leaving in the morning for Khao San and to explore the Rattanakosin area.




This is Part 1 of my Bangkok travel series.