friends, TBT, Travel

Things to do in Bangkok!

Hands down, one of my favorite countries that I visited on my exchange semester was Thailand.  But sadly, I really only got to visit two places in this amazing country due to time and budget constraints, which is why I promised myself I will go back to Thailand one day and hopefully do more.

The first place I visited in Thailand was, of course, Bangkok.

A back story of how we even ended up in Bangkok: we were 20 minutes minutes away from being unable to board on the plane on our way to Malaysia. Something I learned in my exchange about my host country, their time-orientation is very different compared to Canada’s: you’re always waiting. Since they failed to provide us official documentation that we were going to be attending school there in time, we needed to prove that we were eventually going to leave the country. Our solution: buy another one way ticket to the first country we could think of. 

I hear from a lot of people that has visited Bangkok that they hated it; they say it’s too touristy and crowded. It was, but I loved it. It also had a such a fun and lively vibe, filled with very friendly people and amazing food.

I didn’t stay in Bangkok too long, so I won’t be able to provide a list of my favorite places. But thanks to my Camera Roll and a handy travel journal I chose to keep during my travels, I have a pretty accurate list of places I got to visit and some suggestions. Although, I really should thank my then-roommate as she was the one who planned most of this trip.

We ended up staying in Sukhumvit 4 at a newer hotel called Alt Hotel Nana, which was actually a really nice hotel for only $35 CAD/ night. It was clean and quiet, the downside was that it was a bit of a walk to get to the main street and the main street also consisted of the “Biggest Adult Playground in the World.” More on this later. Another great thing about Thailand was that there were plenty of available means of transportation; the trains were easy enough to take, uber was really cheap for longer distances and there’s the famous tuk-tuk for short distances!

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The boat ride to the Temples

On our first day, we decided to check out the famous temples in Bangkok. Since we didn’t book anything in advance, we took the train and found someone who was advertising the temple tours. We ended up taking a boat ride to where the temples are and ended up visiting the Reclining Buddha and Thonburi Klong. Both were so beautiful and you can literally spend hours going through them, exploring, and taking photos. There were other temples that we didn’t get to visit, I believe the Marble Temple was under construction so we decided to skip that one. We tried to go to the Grand Palace, which is apparently amazing to see, but we walked to the entrance and turned back around. It was insanely crowded.

As you can see, the view was gorgeous and my photography skills don’t do them justice.

That night, we also got to check out Kao San Road! Yes, it was super touristy and crowded but it was also really cool to see. During the day, the road was filled with vendors and at night it turn’s into Bangkok’s most popular night life. The road is super live with music playing and tons of people walking around. We ended up meeting with people my roommate knew from home and they showed us a what a proper bucket party looked like on Kao San Road. AKA drinking alcohol in buckets and then dancing the night away right on the streets.

Of course, if you wanted to get away from the busy streets, there’s an alley you can take from Kao San which leads you to a famous street food! I believe it was called Chakrabongse Road.

The next day we checked out Khlong Lat Mayom to see what the floating market looked like in Bangkok! I’m not sure if it was just this one in particular, but there weren’t too many vendors that were in boats. Rather, there were stalls just like a regular market. Again, it could have just been that certain day, the certain market, or Google just deceived us completely. Either way, it was super sweet to see and we were told not a lot of foreigners went that one in particular. Probably one of the reasons why it was difficult for us to even figure out if we were at the right place in the first place haha.

IMG_1557Probably one of the highlights of this trip was when we went to Siam Paragon Mall to see a movie! I know that’s such a touristy thing to do, but it was insane. There were probably 3-4 malls connected to each other with varying levels of fanciness and they were huge! Going to see a movie in Thailand was one of our must-do’s and we were so glad we did it. The movie ticket that we got came with a 15 minute massage, a glass of wine, a couple of snacks, and reclining chairs in a 12 person movie theater. It was crazy and so worth it for the experience.

Did you know that Thailand’s national anthem is even played in the movie theater? They play it right before the trailers start so you can’t get too comfortable in your seat.

If you’ve ever heard of infamous Thailand Ping Pong Show’s, we also got to witness that (what I meant when I’ll speak on the subject of Adult Playground’s a little more). If you know what it is and you’re thinking why on earth did we want to see that, we HAD too. We we’re in Thailand! We had to experience EVERYTHING! The only thing I have to say about them is that it was actually quite interesting and instead of thinking about how gross? not sexy at all? they are, we were left wondering how on earth did they do what they just did. It was also not as unsafe as we thought to go see one, but obviously be cautious and remember you can bargain! To avoid being scammed, we researched how much we should be paying before asking a random guy on the streets of Sukhumvit where we can see one.

Another crazy awesome thing about Thailand is the shopping! I’ve already talked about Kao San Road and the crazy malls, but what left me stunned is the weekend market called Chatuchak. It was the best shopping I got to do in all of Asia and this is coming from someone who’s from the Philippines. I know what I’m talking about when it comes to markets and if you have any idea of what I’m talking about… it was Greenhills and Divisoria x 10. Chatuchak had 8000 stalls to be exact and you can literally find anything there. I was in cheap quality clothing heaven, it was amazing. My roommate and I felt the same way when we got there and if you mean business like us, we decided to split up for efficiency.

I remember the final thing we got to do in Bangkok was go see a Muay Thai fight. They’re really big in Thailand, so it was one of the things we had actually planned on doing. It was also super cheap to get tickets and actually a lot of fun! They separate foreigners and locals on different sides of the stadium and we were lucky enough to get a close enough view of the latter. The event went on for a few hours, with locals betting and cheering on their favorites. It was super exciting to see!

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A view from a Tuk Tuk ride

So that was Bangkok. I was only able to spend very few days there but as you can see, we tried to experience as much as we can. I’m sure there are so many more things to do, but I’d like to think we crossed out a ton from our list. Bangkok is such a lively city and one that you have to keep an open mind about.

KD

Food, friends, Travel

Girls Trip to Windy L.A!

This trip is probably one of the most memorable and fun that I’ve had with my best friends, and what made it so much better was the spontaneity of it all. We went in having only planned 3 things (aside from rental car + bnb’s, obvi), everything else was just what we felt like doing. Here’s what our mostly unplanned itinerary end up being; including food, tips and what to do in L.A!

img_5557 Day 1: Picked up the rental car and were on our way by 7:30 am. We drove for around 13 hours to get to our halfway mark and spent the night in Salt Lake City. Our highlight of the day: a place called the Chicken Shack in Butte, Montana we randomly stopped at. Surprise, surprise, it looked like actual shack located in the middle of a campground. But, it was probably one of the best chicken burgers we’ve tasted. I wish I had saved some sort of picture, but here’s where we learned to never judge a book (restaurant) by its cover (appearance).

Sidenote: this is probably where our burger craze started.

Day 2: We got up early in the morning and got on our way to L.A! Excceeept that didn’t really happen. Our original plan was to stop at Vegas for lunch and maybe look around a bit – until Nik told us she’s never been so we decided to stay. We booked a room at the Cosmopolitan and that happened instead.

For lunch, we ate at one of my favorite burger places – Burgr, by Gordon Ramsay. 3/4 of us ended up getting the Euro Burger and added portobello mushrooms. My favorites from here probably isn’t the burger, but the truffle and parm fries and their milkshakes. Take it from someone who is lactose, they’re worth it and more. My favorite was Shake #4 which consisted of creme brulee and oreos.

(Tip: slide a $20 bill to the concierge and simply ask if they can do anything to make your stay better.. and if they can’t, they won’t take it!) The third photo above is the view from our room where we could see the Bellagio fountains.

Day 3: After a spontaneous day/night out in Vegas, we headed to our original destination. We finally got to our Airbnb near Venice beach and quickly got ready for… Jojo! I’m a Day 1 fan and was so excited (also how I was convinced to come) to be able to finally cross her off my concert bucket list. She had her show at the Fonda Theatre, and although she was sick, she was amazing. We got super lucky and dodged a bullet when she cancelled her next few shows after L.A cause she had laryngitis. Afterwards, we decided to spend the rest of the night being typical tourists looking for our favorite star’s name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and having a photo shoot at the LACMA lights.

I also got to try In N Out! I’ve had it before, but have never ordered from the secret menu. Although I really like animal fries, the only downside is that it gets cold too fast and you have to eat it right away.

Day 4: Before we got the day started, we decided to check out EggSlut. They specialize on breakfast sandwiches (aka another burger for us, yay), and I’ve turned into a big fan. First off, I love the name and second I love the sandwiches. I got the Fairfax and they cooked the scrambled eggs soft, exactly how I want it. It had chives, cheddar and siracha mayo on a brioche bun. It was delicious but super messy, so forks were necessary.

It was another big day for us… Especially Nikita and I. The day we get to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Hollywood! Through (real life) wizards fights, trivia champs, tattoos (mine), midnight releases and all other things HP related – this was a big deal. I won’t go into it too much cause I’ll be writing forever, but it was my happy place. We even got to go on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride twice cause our first time had technical difficulties. Definitely recommended. We also got to go around the rest of Universal and even saw Mario Lopez!

We decided to head to the Santa Monica Pier to grab dinner afterwards. I am absolutely in love with the ocean and it was nice being near it again. We didn’t really do much at the Pier, but it seemed like there was a lot to do there like rides, the arcade, games and the beach (duh).

After Universal, we somehow ended up in Hollywood again.. This time we ran into Snoop Dogg and Russell Simmons! I was so excited about seeing Snoop I didn’t get to come up to him and meet him, but he was so tall haha!

img_5557 Day 5:  It was our chill day that day and since we’ve gotten up early every single day of the trip, we decided to sleep in. Personally, I call this day my Foodie Day. When we finally got up, we decided to try another breakfast joint called SuperBa. We’ve eaten so much junk that it was nice to finally get something a little healthier. From SuperBa, I ended up getting the Prosciutto Tartine which had prosciutto, arugula and olive oil on bread. I also got some scrambled eggs on the side for some protein. It was was nice and healthy, but I felt as though it was too plain for my liking. I also ended up getting an almond croissant – which was tasty!

After breakfast, we decided to check out the Griffith Observatory. It was gorgeous, as well as educational – not kidding. I definitely recommend watching the film at the Planetarium, but be careful not to fall asleep like I did haha.

We ended up having my favorite meal of the trip that day at SushiOne in Ktown. They probably had one of the freshest sushi I’ve had, and apparently they hand pick their fish every day. We all got a sashimi bowl that had everything in it. I usually won’t have other fish other than tuna, salmon and sometimes shrimp – but I devoured everything from my bowl. They also offered us unlimited miso soup which was awesome. We sat at the bar and watched them prepare our dishes as well, it was amazing watching them execute their art. After dinner, we went to check out Porto’s Bakery & Cafe. Porto’s is another place I saw on Worth It! Em and I ordered and ended up getting so carried away, everything just looked so delicious. And, well… the photos could speak for itself.

Day 5: For another unplanned day, we decided to check out The Broad which is a modern art museum. It was super cool and probably one of the my most favorite museums I’ve gone to. We were told to go early because the line gets super long, so we got there around 30 minutes before it opened (at 11). The line wasn’t too bad, probably because it was a weekday. They let us in after the people who got tickets beforehand and we signed up to see Yayai Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room. You get to be in there for a minute, so naturally the wait adds up. Luckily, we went in early enough that we only had to wait an hour, but I did overhear when it was our turn that the wait went up to 4 hours long! Either way, the wait, at least our wait time, was definitely worth it.

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After the Broad, we walked over to Pez Cantina for Mexican and it was delicious. I’ve been on a search (and a lot of fails) in Calgary to find an amazing Mexican restaurant and this was a good break from that. We started off with chips and guac, which was amazing. Then for our main(s) we shared their blackened albacore tuna chilled ceviche. Although it wasn’t served as traditional ceviche, it was probably one of our most favorite from that meal and everything was good so that’s saying something. Finally, we all ordered a few tacos. I got 2 fish tacos and 1 carne asada, I found that the meat was cooked perfectly and it wasn’t overstuffed or dry, and had a good amount of sauce + toppings. Afterwards we headed home to rest and only went out to grab poke bowls in Venice beach. We went to a place called the Poke Shack, I was feeling a little sick so I didn’t get to finish my bowl but it tasted fresh and everyone working there was super nice!

Day 6: For our last day in L.A, we wen’t ATV’ing! It was actually so cool and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I got stuck… a lot. We signed up for 5 hours, but ended a little earlier as it was actually a long time and the weather wasn’t in our favor that day. I would definitely recommend this activity as it was super fun. We were super tired afterwards so we went home to rest for our long drive the next day. For dinner, Em and I went out to get… burgers! We wanted to try Shake Shack and my only comment is that their Salted Caramel milkshake is bomb af.

Tip: Bundle up in the dessert with a sweater and long pants. Closed toe shoes are obvious, but it does get pretty chilly in the desert and dirty!

Day 7 & 8:  The last couple of days of our trip just consisted of driving back. We stopped at Utah overnight again and then headed straight back to Calgary this time. Our last burger stop was made in Las Vegas for Bachi Burger. We actually meant to get Ramen, but got intrigued by the burgers on the menu instead. I don’t actually remember what I ended up getting and they don’t have their menu on the website (the worst), but it had a Wagyu beef patty, caramelized bacon, fried egg and onion rings in it. I loved that you had a choice of how you wanted your patty cooked, and unlike Burgr, they had actually cooked it to our liking and was consistent.

After driving a total of 48 hours, we were finally home. The ride home was extra long, but for the obvious reason that we were going home. So that was it for this girls trip, a lot of it was unplanned but turned out to be so much fun. Also, a special shout out to Jaks for basically organizing this trip for everyone!

This was quite a lengthy post, but hopefully you’ve found something useful in it…? Or we’re at least entertained by our adventure! One thing’s for sure, I probably won’t be eating anymore burgers anytime soon.

KD

Food, friends, yyc

Galentines Day

img_5557 Every year on Valentines Day, without fail, single or taken, a couple friends and I have always seen or done something together… This year for our tradition, Rox and I decided to grab some brunch! After driving up to a closed Monki, we decided on checking out Over Easy Breakfast‘s new location in downtown which was super new and modern. They had plenty of seats and lots of cool decor.

They have a huge menu and after navigating through, I decided on the Canadian Lobster & Shrimp Crepe. Rox had the Water Fowl Benny and we shared the Sweet Dreams Are Made of These stuffed French Toast.


MAINS: As good as the Canadian Lobster & Shrimp Crepe was, it was something I quickly I got sick of. I think the taste was just a little too overpowering for me, but I did add bacon (server’s suggestion) which balanced the taste a bit. Rox let me try her Water Fowl benny with peking duck, mushrooms and truffle. It was actually so yummy and something I’d definitely recommend to a benny lover or an OEB first timer. I would probably get it next time I go, honestly. It was good.

DESSERT: We also got a dish to share/ dessert which was the Sweet Dreams Are Made of These. It was a French Toast stuffed with cheesecake (!!!). It had a Baileys creme that had a lemony taste. If you know me, you know how much I love and worship cheesecake which was probably why I loved this dish. The combination of the creme, cheesecake and French toast was perfect and I’m drooling thinking about having it again.

After brunch, we spent a couple hours running errands and dropping off little V-Day gifts to our girls who couldn’t make it. Honestly, I don’t know why I stopped going to OEB for brunch, but I’m actually dying to go back for their french toast! 10/10 would recommend.

KD

Food, friends, yyc

Birthday (extra)vaganza

For this weekend’s activities, my friend’s and I celebrated our beloved JK’s birthday! We like to call it a birthday extravaganza with an emphasis on the extra.

We had dinner at 10 Foot Henry after a night out at Bespoke. JK picked the restaurant so for some extra effect, we brought the gigantic “23” balloons to the restaurant as a surprise. We thought it was hilarious, the birthday girl was more so embarrassed but I’m pretty sure she loved it. Before going there, I’ve heard good things about the restaurant but mostly that they had sharing plates and a lot of vegetable dishes. Our server explained that to us when we got there too, so JK and I ended up picking the dishes we wanted to try.

For 4 people, we were recommended 5-6 dishes to share. For vegetable dishes, we picked: (Kale) Caesar Salad, Roasted Carrots, Roasted Potatoes and Gai Lan. We also got the Hanger Steak and the Buccatini for our main dishes.

Just like the reviews said, our favorites were hands down the vegetable dishes. The Caesar Salad was super creamy and cheesy, the carrots – delicious, and the potatoes were perfectly crisp and tasty.

As for the mains, the Hanger Steak came medium rare but was only average in taste. The Bucattini was also good but a little too dry for myself and had a lot of parmesan so it was very salty.

Overall, i really liked 10 Foot Henry and would love to go back there again. We also asked our server on how the restaurant got its name and it turned out to be an interesting story with a long Calgary-related history.

Sadly, at the end of the night we weren’t allowed to bring out the cake we got to surprise the birthday girl. We ended up surprising her with it at home though.

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The cake was from Yann Haute Pattisserie and it was so good!

KD