Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thailand - Part 2

Chiang Mai, jewel of the north Thailand. When I took a train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, 1001 of question triggered in my mind. How it look like? Is it like Bangkok, metropolice city? I've never been there before but I've heard a lot of good things about Chiang Mai. When my wife and I arrived at the railway station, we took a "tuk-tuk" to Soi 4, Tha Phae Road and cost us about THB 100. It a bit pricey since the distance only about 2-3km but we have no choice. Chiang Mai do offer a lot of attraction to budget travellers. A lot of guest house, budget hotel and even high rise hotel (Le-Meridean) available to choose as your accomodation while in here. The price range from THB 200 per room with basic amenities up to THB 5000 for luxury suites. My suggestion, you don't need to pre-book any travel tour before arrive here because along Changkan Muang, Loi Kroh, Chang Klan road, hundreds of travel tours counters do existed and offers a lot of option to choose.

How to find HALAL food in Chiang Mai?

I relieve that I found a mosque in Chiang Mai (night bazaar area in Changklan road, Charoen Prathet Soi 1). The signboard also help us to figure out where the mosque is. Within the vicinity of the mosque, there are 2 row of Muslim halal restaurant.

Where to dine in Chiang Mai? Halal restaurants as below :

1- Pakistani Restaurant, offered a lots of Thai-Middle East food. I forgot the exact location but it is not far away from the mosque but in the different soi (street). My wife had tandoori chicken with rice. It's very good.

2- Khao-Soi-Islam, next to mosque. There were about 4 restaurants nearby the mosque. Khao-Soi-Islam restaurant is on your left handside after exiting the mosque. It served Halal Thai food, satay, noodles and most importantly, the chef was wearing a scarf (women chef). I did found few others Muslim friends (from Malaysia, Indonesia, Middle east) while having lunch.
3- Thai-Muslim restaurant at Anusan Market. There are few HALAL food around Anusan Market. One Pakistani restaurant do accept Visa or Mastercard. There were about 20 restaurant in Anusan Market, but only 3 served Halal food.

Where to shop on local products/handicraft in Chiang Mai?

1- Anusan Market, near Night Bazaar.Don't try to bargain around Night Bazaar because you hardly get the good price. Go to Anusan Market, it a bit hidden due to Night Bazaar. The location is not far from McDonalds and Le Meredien. Open daily starting at 7pm. Normally on Sunday, there were few traders left since all of them going to Sunday Walking Street Market (item no-3 below) 2- Waroros Market. Open daily. Only for daylight. Offered a lot of local fruits, apparel and etc. 3- Sunday Walking Street Night Market. "Heaven for shopping"..Too many to choose, it going wild after 9pm because you hardly can squeeze to move. It's packed with tourists and local people. The bazaar probably 3-5km long and it spread to a smaller soi. From paintings, pillows and cultural shows was just a few example you can found here. It's marvelous.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thailand - Part 1

TRICKS and ADVICES while in Bangkok :

1- Take an airport bus from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to the city center. It had 4 normal route, which each route assigned to different buses. Just shows your hotel address to the counter and they will guide you by selecting the buses. It is a cheap option (circa 150THB) compare to taxi (600 THB on way), limo and etc. The service was good (they will briefly explain the route, remind the passenger of the destination). The driver will kept the passenger list and towards arriving the destination, he loudly informed the station name e.g. Chitlom, Nana.It takes about 1 hour to arrive city center but sometime longer due to traffic congested.

2- The convenient area to stay especially for budget travellers mostly in areas such as Sukhumvit, Silom, Nana and others to be named. It because this area being flooded by hotels, restaurants and easy to get in public transport e.g. BTS Skytrain. Bangkok have 2 type of LRT which consists BTS line and MRT line. The famous Hua Lampong Railway Station is connected through underground MRT Station via Hua Lampong. For full details of BTS route, please click here

3- From Hua Lampong, we can access others part of Thailand via reliable Thai's train. One-way ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai cost me about THB 770 for 2nd class sleeper. The train depart at 830pm and arrived in Chiang Mai at 8-9am in the next day. You may save your penny since it is an overnight train. To avoid any hassle, you may bought the ticket via online website but the price is a bit expensive. Its worthwhile to buy ticket through ticket counter 1-2 day before your departure date.

Where to find HALAL food in Bangkok :

1- Bangkok is not far away from Muslim resident but most of them live in suburban of the city. If you fully enjoying scenery from Suvarnabhumi to city center, you might found mosque along the road. But for travellers, it hard to get there since it is far from the city and costly to take a taxi away from the city. Below are few suggested location to find HALAL food in Bangkok :

- Arab street (near to Nana BTS station). The exact location of this street is a bit hard to find since Bangkok do have a lot of street (soi) intersecting to main road. When you arrived at Nana station, walk down the staircase and walk toward Phloen Chit BTS station. The street located on your right from the main road. The price of the meals is moderate and you can order a plain rice with mutton curry and a bottle mineral water for about THB 250 for 1 person .

- There is one "Thai-Muslim" restaurant at the Central World Plaza. It is located on the top most floor, where all the restaurant located there. It a bit pricey but cleanliness and the atmosphere was great.