Thursday 21 July 2022

Hua Hin in 4 days

We went from Bangkok to Hua Hin with pre-booked transportation from Hua Hin Plus. The ride was about 3 hours. 

Hua Hin is a quiet and relaxing seaside resort, a laid back and free of hustle and bustle town. It is not too crowded, or perhaps it's the aftermath of covid where tourism is still gradually picking up. An ideal getaway if a slow paced itinerary is on mind. 

We stayed at Hilton Hua Hin Resort, which is a beachfront resort. Booked the twin executive junior suite, and added lounge access for some pampering snacks, drinks and alcohol. A good add-on option if you plan to spend more time in the hotel. With a good range of amenities like spa, tennis and basketball court, table tennis, pool table and kids club. It's ideal for family stay.

We were given a high floor room with balcony, good partial view of the ocean and spacious room. I was grateful to be waking up to direct beach sunrise view. Was so beautiful that it made me jumped out of bed one of the mornings. 


Twin Exec Junior Suite
Hotel's amenities
Some other activities we did, included horse riding by the beach. It's not operated by the hotel. Just walk out to the beach in the evening, and you will spot cowboys and horses.
Hua Hin Night Market
We arrived Hua Hin near evening, and since Hua Hin Night Market was walk able from our hotel, we headed there for some shopping and dinner. Souvenirs, clothing, toys and street food lined the market. It's not extensive or huge, a good market size to walk through. It's opened only in the evening, which is of course, when the weather is cooler than the day.

Many small fishing boats were actually sighted along the Gulf of Thailand, and that's where they bring their night catch to the markets and restaurants. Finding nice Thai food isn't an easy find around the area, instead there are many seafood restaurants with some Thai dishes complementing. Fresh seafood with huge lobster was definitely on our list, pampering delicacy that doesn't hurt the wallet much.

We tried two restaurants in Hua Hin Night Market, Hua Hin Seafood Restaurant and Rodfai Seafood, which are just few doors away from each other. I would highly recommend Hua Hin Seafood Restaurant, food was great and experience was wonderful. Nice sitting at the upper deck for meal, overlooking the market. Had quite a bad experience at Rodfai, the son was served a stale beef steak. They eventually refunded. It's always good to go for what's more popular on their menu than what's not. Considering it's a seafood restaurant, western food stock in their kitchen may be slow moving. And was a little annoyed that the server asked us for tips upfront. Well, a cheerful giver I shall be.


Cicada and Tamarind Market
Two other night markets that we explored on another are Cicada and Tamarind Market. Both opens only over the weekend, Friday to Sunday, and are only 5 minutes walk from each other. Cicada is much more huge than Tamarind. It's aesthetically organized and pleasant to shop in here. I really like the vibes in here, nice live singing with live performance at its amphitheater. A great place to settle dinner in here too, with varying choices of food cuisines that's purchased like food court style. Just that it's in the breezy outdoor. 

And since Tamarind Market is just down the road, we had to curiously visit it. More of food than shopping. Also with live singing, it's a great place to dine, chill and enjoy some good music. Most drinks in Thailand are heavily sweetened, even fresh juices. If 'less' or 'no sugar' is your motto, you may request it upon order. Oh, we discovered a stall that sells extremely delicious cubed beef. Possibly the only one in there. Keep a lookout if you're there. So tender and tasty!

Like how Hua Hin is described, the markets are all laid back, relaxing and slow moving. Nice getaway from the usual hustle and bustle of life.

Hutsadin Elephant Foundation
An experience we can't get in our homeland, getting up close and near to elephants at Hutsadin Elephant Foundation. There were various packages in here, and of course priced at tourist rates. We opted to walk and shower the elephant. Prices go by per head, which I felt didn't quite make sense. It's one elephant we are walking, not like we get to walk one each. I did the aunty thing, bargained down a little. I mean, it was still quite some good earnings for them even after I counter offered. I forgot how much though.

Elephant assigned to us was Song Kran, a lovely gentle giant that we got to spend about 20 to 30 minutes with. Time wasn't in check as we were having fun. We were each given a basket of bananas for feeding while walking. Feeding elephants is easy, we don't even need to peel off the skin on the banana! It wasn't too long before our baskets went empty. After more photo taking with it, we headed back to give it a cool shower. 

It's stated that The Hutsadin Elephant foundation is a wildlife refuge that rescues mistreated and abandoned elephants in Thailand. A non-profit organization. I'm trusting lightly on information that I cannot much verify. Regardless, I choose this over the other elephant attraction in Hua Hin, and visiting it is our little contribution to it.

Glad we all had a fun experience in here! Do wear long pants to the ankle, the long grasses can itch you.  

Inu Cafe Hua Hin
Our kids are a bunch of animal lovers. Since we needed lunch after visiting elephants, we visited the Inu Cafe to fill our tummies and at the same time interact with the Shibas. There were 5 in there, if I remember right. These dogs are so well behaved, I mean my dog would be lurking around me when I eat. But these dogs are only lured to you, if you bought their food for feed. 

The place is lovely, even its human food was surprisingly delicious. It wasn't a long stay in there though, the space assigned to us was rather tight and the cafe isn't air-conditioned. 

Again, the kids had a fun time eating and interacting with the dogs in here. 

Outlet Shopping - FN Outlet and Premium Outlet
There are two shopping outlets in Hua Hin. FN outlet and Premium Outlet, a little further away in Cha-am. FN outlet is really small, and extremely quiet on the day we visited. It's a huge department store, with other small shops looping around it. We didn't shop much, but was happy to have discovered a lovely cafe within, The tea house, where we did tea, pastries and cakes. All at wallet friendly prices, in comparative to living in Singapore. The cafe is cosy, nicely embellished with vintage feel. I guess what made the experience more pleasant was having the whole cafe to ourselves. There were no other patrons.
If shopping is itching in you, visiting the premium outlet is a better alternative. 
The brands at the Premium Outlet are varying, mostly local with some foreign brands. I will say prices are not exactly discounted, and it really isn't quite worth the visit if you have other interesting locations on itinerary. But still, nothing beats premium outlet shopping in the states. 
Shopping Malls 
We did Bluport mall for movie and lunch. But I opted out of movie from the gang, went for a message instead. Before that, I explore the Market Village, which is about a 10 minutes walk from Bluport. It's huge with more shops and brands to comb than in Bluport, there's a cinema in here too. The daughter likes Miso Miso, which is found in Market Village mall too. Miso Miso has a huge range of cutesy stationery, bags, accessories etc. at low prices. Love it in this shop too. 

Market Village

Most shops and malls don't operate late to the night. That's how laid-back life is in there.

It felt like we did so much in 4 days, at Hua Hin, but it had been slow and relaxing for us. We transported from place to place by Grab. Most drivers will offer to give you a ride back with an agreed time and fee. To think back, I would have dropped outlet shopping from itinerary, to spend more time in the hotel. To relax, enjoy more of the view and amenities. Hua Hin, best place to go slow with time.

Tuesday 5 July 2022

Bangkok in 4 days


Booking hotel for family of five isn't easy. It's either you get two separate rooms or connecting rooms. We felt residences gave exactly what suited us. Booked our stay in Bangkok with Conrad Residences. Its nearest walk able BTS station is, Ploen Chit. About 1km one way. There's also a shuttle bus that you can take to and fro the hotel at every 15 minutes interval. 

We booked the two bedroom deluxe suite - two bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1 living room and 1 kitchen. Was of good luxurious space we had, though we were out exploring most of the time. Very impeccable service too! The son lost his soft toy in midst of housekeeping, we had thought our search for it will be ignored by the hotel staff, but a call upon them, they found it in their laundry room and returned it to our room.  

Conrad Residences, Bangkok

A friend also recommended another option for family accommodation, Grande Centre Point, Ratchadamri. It has two and three bedroom options, and its location is very near major shopping centres.  



There were nine of us in travel. We booked a grab van from our hotel to Dreamworld, Bangkok. About 45 minutes drive from Bangkok City, this amusement park is worth a day of fun. It is dated, definitely not as dreamy as Disneyland, but it kept the kids happy! While we thought some short hours of play within is suffice, it's so huge that a day isn't enough. Catering a full day play from the start of its opening hour to closing is wiser.

We got our tickets on klook. There are different price packages to suite your play appetite. We went for the admission with unlimited rounds of each ride except, Snow Town, Go Kart, Bicycle Boat, Bump Boat, and game stalls. With this, there's only one time playing with Alien, Haunted Mansion and Bump Car. A good enough entrance ticket for us. And it's less than $20 per person! Depending on Klook's promo. Kids below 90cm enters free. Where else on earth can we find entry to an amusement park for less than $100, for family of five?! The game stalls within are highly affordable too. It's about $2 per play if I recall right.


Game stall

The Animal Farm within was where the littlest and I spent most time on, while the older kids went on the adventurous rides that he can't get on due to height limit. It was fun! I mean anything with animals and feeding animals delight! There were the lory birds, goats, sheep, rabbits, pigs and small dog room. Food is at an additional cost of less than $1 per portion. An additional entrance fee is required to enter the dog's room. We paid about $4 per pax to enter. The kids love dogs! 

Feeding lory bird

We didn't manage to complete visiting the attractions, or get on all the rides due to time. And we spent too much time during lunch, the crowd was huge and service was slow at the KFC within.

The Hollywood action show and colours of the world parade happen only during the weekend. We caught the action show, but not the parade. Too much fun, too little time! Was a Sunday we visited, and was not too crowded. Rides wait were between 10 to 30 minutes, while some rides do not have queue at all. There's also a water fun zone within, so bring your gear along if you intend to bask under sun and water.

 More pictures over on our Instagram


A great time of fun and visit for family! We headed back to Bangkok City on the same grab van that brought us here. They would usually offer you a return trip, at a price you both agree.


Damnoen Saduak floating market and Maeklong Railway Market

We spent a day at both the floating and railway market. Damnoen Saduak floating market is largest in Bangkok with about 1.5 hours drive from city.

This floating market is extremely touristy owing to its popularity. I find that it lacks some local authentic experience, but still a good visit. The floating shops you can find are gifts, clothes, arts and food. Some on boats and some by the river banks. The prices are much higher than on land, but of course, it’s an opportunity to bless their livelihoods. We spent more on food and fruits than the non-edibles.

The morning we visited was relatively quiet. Not many shops were opened due to covid. After some shopping from our boat, we had lunch at a ‘restaurant’ by the bank which was also house to the owners. A nice and interesting experience for us. No idea how to get there or name of the eatery, but it was where our boatman brought us. Other boat stops included the temple and coconut plantation. 

I think visiting the smaller and unpopular floating markets would make the experience more authentic. But since we did this floating market, it's a must to visit Maeklong Railway Market. It's just a 20 minutes drive away from Damnoen Saduak floating market.

More images on Instagram



It felt like our local wet market at Maeklong Railway Market. A walk through it, we see the selling of dried and fresh produce, seafood, exotic fishes and of course gifts and souvenirs for the tourist crowds. There are a couple of cafes within that you can enjoy a cuppa while waiting on the train. I must say, the visit is only exciting and fruitful if you witnessed the oncoming of train and how quick the stalls fold and unfold to make way for the train, as well as after its departure. Do plan your time well. We caught the train entry at 2:30pm and stayed around till 3.30pm to witness it's departure.

Train Schedule

I kind you not, but their stalls are all laid out so close to the train tracks that you find it uncomfortable, yet it's their daily drill. The train passing by is so close that you can reach out and touch as it goes by, not recommended to do so though. With covid still lingering, many stalls were not opened. And perhaps, due to the time of visit, about 2.15pm, some stalls are already done for the day.  

Dried produce

And here's the most memorable part of my visit, I was tasked by the cafe owner of Punjung Cafe to hand some drinks to the train driver. In short, the train stopped by to receive the drinks from me! So cool. Drinks have the power to stop a train. Oh well, it could have been his order from the cafe.  


Drinks for train drivers

Shared a video on Instagram reel too.

The visit was an insightful experience and eyeopener for the kids to see the bustling commerce of these floating shops at the floating market, as well as the race of time with oncoming train and stalls folding up to make way. 

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Other than shopping at commercial malls, Chatuchak is a must visit in Bangkok. It's a shopping experience that we don't get it local. Being the largest market in Asia, navigating it can be confusing. So I don't have a detailed share of this place, but we walked where feelings led us.

Chatuchak Weekend Market is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The market opens Friday night at 6pm and closes at midnight. On Saturday and Sunday, it’s open all day from 9am to 6pm.We took the BTS from our hotel to Mochit station, did half day, morning to afternoon before our legs decided to call it a day. If you are game for street food, settling lunch in there is not a bad idea. Many choices within. We headed further in and spotted an indoor mall, a relatively new mall, Mixt. There is an air-conditioned food court in there, where we did our lunch. If you spot swing tables and benches from the windows of a building, that's the food court. 
If you love pets, there are a few pet shops, with exotic animals within Mixt mall for view. We obviously can't get any home. Walking out of the Mixt building leads you to the Chatuchak pet zone (outdoor) nearby, and there, we spotted many adorable doggies, cats and exotic animals for sale. Like a mini pet zoo for us to view, since we can't get any.

While the floating market and railway market can be extremely touristy, it is a good visit for first timers. Good experience for kids I feel. Any subsequent visits to Bangkok, we will definitely focus on the food and shopping!

To end off, here's a lovely cafe for share, we chanced upon B-Story on the way to Platinum mall. If you are a cafe lover with lovely treats and beautiful set, this is one for visit. Most wonderful that we carved out some time to savour sweets and escape the heat in here. It was some good rest for our legs, from all the walking. 

Sums up Bangkok in 4 days, before we moved to Hua Hin. Much fun, and of course, anything after being grounded for 2 years without travel is one to be grateful for.