After the Myanmar trip in December, I went on a short vacation with my family & relatives. Going to BKK for shopping and also exploring some scenic parts of Thailand we have never seen before!

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DAY 1

The start of the day begins with a really good flight. I believe good flights start good trips okay, HAHAH especially when you’re taking planes so often as if you’re taking the public bus. I don’t usually go to airplane toilets but I was forced to cos I fell sick a day prior my flight. It was terrible then—all the doctors were not in town as it is the holiday season and I had to search high and low just to find one clinic nearby.

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Anyway, I was cured (or so I believe I was at that point in time) and the airplane served really good food, hot towels, a wide range of movie selections, blankets and more hehehe. Call it comfort when you travel with family 💕 It’s Thai airways by the way. Hehehehhe

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We arrived at Centara Grand Hotel and checked in safely. I’m super excited because I’m meeting Amm, my Thai friend, that day. We haven’t seen each other for more than a year already can you believe it!! The last time I saw her was in Singapore. Miss her so much. Amm is a great friend whom I met during Singapore Poly’s Learning Express Trip during 2015. The original plan was to check in with my relatives and family, then separate from the group to find Amm.

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“No la Grace, ask her to come and find us instead, let her join us for lunch,” my uncle suggested after learning that I am meeting up with my friend.

“Really? I can do that??” unable to contain my excitement, because that would mean I can be with my family and Amm at the same time! I delighted at the idea. My uncle is too kind. Furthermore, it is Amm’s birthday that day (22nd Dec) and I’m really happy that we could treat her to a meal.

“But is it inconvenient though? Would Uncle Sam mind?” on second thought, I was a little worried that it’s quite rude to drag my friend along, especially when I’m not the one paying. Uncle Sam is another uncle of mine who has been staying/working in Thailand for over 10 years now, and we’re going to visit him. He’s the one bringing us to lunch, and my family is not a small group that’s why—say about 20+ people on the trip—it’s really in a ‘adult situation’ when I have no say in everything hahah.

“Nah, just come, introduce her to Uncle Sam. He knows how to speak Thai.”

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About 20 minutes later, I heard footsteps behind me. “Hey, your friend’s here,” mum said the minute Amm stepped into the hotel lobby on the 23rd floor. I spun around..”Amm!!” we ran into an embrace. So that’s why she arrived and we reunited in the lobby 🙂

“Happy birthday!!! Let us treat you,” I really wanted to make it the perfect one for her. She declined, but I told her it’s only right to treat her (tour guide fee lol). I passed her the present I’ve been holding in my hands for God knows how long.

“How are you??” she said, it’s been such a long time & we have so much to catch up on, we looked at each other, now knowing where to start. We’re just so happy to see each other.

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My mum with my aunt!

Amm had an English class that day and we were almost worried that the timing might clash but wow, lady luck shone on us and her class was cancelled that day! Don’t know if it’s fate but her teacher was sick that day so we’re pretty lucky (not trying to sound saidst here) ps/ She speaks really good English by the way

And here’s my kind dad writing wishes/condolences for the Thai King

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Centara Grand was really great! We have a bathtub and a huge bathroom with glass window panes (adjacent to the bedroom) all to ourselves. I liked their bathroom best and wew the view from the window is so nice, it’s a pity we’re staying only for a night! Wished I took more pictures.

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We left the hotel after unpacking, and went to this Chinese-Thai restaurant for lunch. The food was really heavenly!! Amm was impressed at my uncle’s fluency to speak Thai. I remember this funny incident. The waiter was speaking to us in Cantonese and when she saw Amm seating among us. Amm must have looked very different from all of us because she asked her, “Where are you from?”

“I’m a local!”

The waiter looked so surprised. Why on earth is a local seated among so many Singaporeans, she must’ve thought.

After lunch, I parted ways with my family. I wanted to spend the whole day with Amm. We only have one day, Amm is flying to Vietnam the very next day! The rest plan to meet up again at maybe 6pm in front of Isetan, but I told mum that I won’t be joining for dinner. “Meet you back in the hotel tonight, stay safe,” she called after me, and I thought how lucky am I to have a mum like that who trusts me so much and grants me such freedom, and is so understanding. I understand not every parent will let their child roam alone in a foreign country like that, let alone with a friend my mum barely knew. I wouldn’t comment if this kind of parenting is right or wrong, but I wouldn’t tolerate it if someone else tried to question my mum’s parenting methods (lol someone did). Was pissed because I know what my mum does, she has my best interest at heart, and she wanted me to be happy. And I knew spending time with Amm that day would make me happy.

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Amm and I went to 4 malls: Siam Paragon, MBK, Central World and another mall opposite Siam paragon (I forgot what it’s called). The first day was the day I did the most shopping. HUEHUEHHUE. I knew that if I go to Khao Yai the next day, I will not have the chance to do so already hahha so being the ‘kaisu’ person, I bought one elephant print pants (yknow those baggy and comfortable ones that are really popular nowadays), one J’dore perfume and some hair ties because I always LOSE HAIR TIES when I travel goodness gracious, no matter how hard I try at safekeeping.

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I bought my perfume from Eve & Boy, it’s just another version of Sephora, a 2 storey, HUGE make up store. Only that it’s slightly cheaper! Amm told me she got her make up there. I bought the perfume for 180SGD, it was 199 at first. Not bad isn’t it hahaa.

“When you go BKK you don’t pack a luggage, you bring an empty luggage.”

From my diary on 22nd Dec:

I found out 2 shocking things about Amm today! This girl never fails to surprise me. It’s really funny cos we started talking about guys. She talks about her taste in guys: must be 180cm and above, & she reveals that she doesn’t not like Asian guys haha. I knew it. She only likes white guys hahhaa. She have Tinder, so she even let me read her Tinder convos (they’re all trash hahhaha) Mostly guys looking to take advantages of girls. I think I was so worried and pissed I asked her to delete all the chats at once (none of us took offence, by the way) 😂

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The 2nd shocking thing is that Amm got a nose job! I didn’t notice it at first until she told me. After a closer look, it’s actually a significant different lol (in a good way). Anyway, its super tiring cos I kept walking in my heels for the whole day & Thailand’s transit have very few escalators—BUT side note: no transit in the world can be as savage as Hong Kong’s MTR—we have to take stairs…oh gosh…I have to stop being pampered.

Amm & I talked about plans after graduation, travelling, her wanting to go to USA for a year or maybe even migrate there. She says she doesn’t want to live in Thailand. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad because USA is so far from Singapore. I cannot go to Bangkok hoping I’ll find Amm there again.

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TRANSIT

I am totally clueless about buying transit tickets and made a fool out of myself. The first time I was in Thailand, I didn’t have to buy transit tickets. We had a bus to ferry us to our destinations. (we had one this time too, but I’m not with my family at this point). The first step was to change our notes into coins at the station, and then select the amount we want in our card. The value to Asiatique from Central is about 34 baht. Step 2, press ’34’ on the machine and drop the coins in. A one way ticket would come out from the machine.

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Honestly, it reminds me a little about our old bus paying system, where we have to press some buttons on the machine ourselves and the ticket comes out. Unlike Singapore which goes by tapping, we have to slot the one way ticket into the machine in Thailand, cross the barrier, then take the card out from the other slot when the gantry opens. Upon arrival, we do not need to take back our ticket when we ‘tap out’.

ASIATIQUE the RIVERFRONT

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This is the highlight of the day. At around 6pm, we already started to head towards Asiatique. After taking the transit for around 5 stops, we have to take a ferry to Asiatique. The ferry is free, just like Hong kong! Singapore’s RiverExplorer should seriously start considering free rides.

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“The ferry is usually very crowded,” Amm said. “We have to queue to get in, it’s a 5 mins ride.” Being on the ferry really reminds me of Victoria Harbour. I think it is the feeling of riding a ferry in the water, in the middle of a big city and vibrant lights.

Amm knows me very well. “You’ll love it there, I’m positive you would love that place,” she told me beforehand. And…she’s right!!!!

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As the ferry approaches Asiatique, I was filled with awe. It looks like a small little civilisation from afar but up close, it reminds me of laketown. I can see the flurry of activities going on from the ferry. I can see the bright lights, the dazzling shop displays, and hear the laughter that gets louder and louder as the ferry draws near. It looks like a wonderland. Makes my heart jump with joy.

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In Asiatique, you can see the ferris wheel, quaint little shops selling the best of souvenirs, eating places, etc. The decor for each shop is on point, selling clothes, purses, accessories, shoes. I even discovered they were selling my baggy elephant pants for 140! The same one I bought earlier…….Amm had to drag me away, saying, “Don’t look at the price don’t look at the price don’t look at the price..” I had anger mixed with the laugh cry emoji face AHHAHA. I bought it just a few hours ago for 180 baht 😭

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In the middle of Asiatique, there’s an area where people can sit and chill and drink beer while listening to really good music. Oh gosh I miss beer. I know I said it a lot of times but I haven’t had it like, since September in Hong Kong where I drank that horrible Blue girl beer (sorry not sorry). That area of Asiatique has fairy lights everywhere. Looks a bit like CHIJMES. I don’t know if they placed that up specially for Christmas, but it definitely reminds me of Singapore’s Night festival too. I had many memories there. Mostly happy.

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DINING

Both of us, were super famished. After a round of walking and deciding what to eat, we finally headed for Ajisen Ramen. You might think, “Come to Thailand, eat Jap food!?” but the places at Ajisen were not cheap alright. Thus, I am surprised and elated when we found a cheap Ajisen ramen store (I am sure it is not an imitation).

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This one bowl of Ajisen Ramen actually cost 5SGD in Thailand! That’s freaking cheappp!!!!!

Not to mention it’s really delicious.

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Suddenly, Amm hollered. “Thai Actor!!” she pointed towards the carousel, where a tall dark handsome guy was leaning against. Surrounding him was the cameraman & crew, having some sort of photoshoot. Should’ve asked Amm for his name so that I can report it here but oh wells of course I don’t recognise him rights. Amm placed her chopsticks down, took out her camera immediately and started snapping. Several passer bys started taking pictures too.

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“Would you date such a guy?” I asked out of curiosity.
“If he’s this type of handsome, I don’t mind,” a playful smile creeped up on her face again. She picked up her chopsticks and resumed eating, the mood was light.
“But he’s Asian,” I teased. “You said you didn’t like Asians.”
Amm says he’s very famous!!!!

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GOING BACK

Finished our walk with Asiatique and went back to hotel at about 9.30pm. Mum wasn’t in but I started to feel this sixth sense throughout the day that people might not be happy about me suddenly wandering off with another friend. It’s like we go as a team and we’re supposed to stick together and not ditch my family or something like that. True enough, my sixth sense was correct hahaha.

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Heard from my mum that she & my family went to some rooftop bar at night when I was out with Amm! Sounds pretty amazing isn’t it. They went to drink wine at the 54th floor and the whole time my mum wished I was there. Awww. A part of me wished I had joined them because I’m sure the ambience was pretty great but I also don’t regret spending my time with Amm. And that’s it for Day 1! Stay tuned for part 2.

With Love,
Grace