Shopping in a Yurt

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We have both agreed that this place is our new fave 🙂 With a whole floor of cutting-edge, one-of-a-kind fashion from brilliant local designers and celebrated Thai couturiers showcased in contemporary tree-hugging shops, what’s not to love? Siam Central is soo refreshing and sets itself apart from the safe, tried-and-tested malls our there! Their original prices (a lot were on sale) are about ten times that of Platinum Mall’s, but then so is the quality and design exclusivity.

Global brands can be found on a different floor and restaurants are on the top floor.

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The Life and Times of Chatuchak

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With narrow pathways, nonexistent air-conditioning, overcrowded areas and some smelly spaces, you’d think this weekend market would be terrible a waste of time.  However, Chatuchak remains to be one of Bangkok’s main tourist attractions garnering close to 200,000 visitors a weekend! Rock-bottom prices and abundance and variety of items from exotic animals to local designer clothes continue to pull people in, myself included.  My tip is to get yourself a map to zero in on zones you want to spend time on.  Also bring a shopping bag and a bottle of water.  Arrive early as it tends to get busier in the afternoons.  I must warn you though, it’s not for everyone. My dad hates it but I, however, can tolerate it for a couple of hours 🙂

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Here you can get easily get something for less than USD5

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Busy bag maker oblivious to crowds and heat

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Refreshing coconut is always a good idea 🙂

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Siam Kempinski Hotel, Bangkok

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You will find hundreds of hotels close to the city’s shopping areas but we were glad we chose Siam Kempinski.  Our hotel was right across Siam Paragon, a few minutes away from Siam Central, and walking distance to the BTS train station.  And if you’re too lazy (or have too many shopping bags), buggy rides can take you to and fro Central World.   But what we were pleased about was the comfort the place offered.  The hotel is impressively designed—modern yet cozy.

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The rooms are spacious with huge beds, extra soft pillows and duvets, and your choice of subtle or bright lighting. Despite the very central location, evenings were always peaceful and calm. Not a whimper of street noises at all.

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The pool was huge and inviting with plenty of lounge

areas to get a healthy dose of Bangkok heat.

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Breakfast buffet was nothing extraordinary but we found it extra sweet that the restaurant packed us sandwiches on the (early) morning of our flight, since we would be missing the breakfast buffet. This was a first for us and something we truly appreciated 🙂

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From start to end, our stay was perfect 🙂

Sawasdee Ka!

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Photo Credit: Smile Magazine

Photo Credit: Smile Magazine

Hello from Bangkok– land of major Buddhist temples, traditional water fights, unbeatable shopping, and flavorsome curry!

“Bangkok is one of the world’s top tourist destination cities. MasterCard ranked Bangkok as the global top destination city by international visitor arrivals in its Global Destination Cities Index, with 15.98 million projected visitors in 2013. The city is ranked fourth in cross-border spending, with 14.3 billion dollars projected for 2013, after New York, London and Paris. Euromonitor International ranked Bangkok sixth in its Top City Destinations Ranking for 2011. Bangkok has also been named “World’s Best City” by Travel + Leisure magazine’s survey of its readers for three consecutive years since 2010. “  (Wikipedia.com)

The capital of Thailand attracts visitors of all ages, races, and wallets!   Everything is within budget, whatever your budget is—Khao San Road is for backpackers while The Peninsula is for well-heeled tourists. It is one of our favorite places to visit—food is lovely, people are pleasant, and shopping is second to none!  And if rock-bottom prices in Chatuchak Market and Platinum Mall aren’t enough, the Amazing Grand Sales from July 15 to August 15 will knock your socks off! Imagine a plethora of branded clothes, jewelry, designer bags, and even electrical goods with a flashy red sign saying S-A-L-E at the store door!

Photo Credit: Bangkok Events Calendar

Photo Credit: Bangkok Events Calendar

Photo Credit: Tourism Thailand

Photo Credit: Tourism Thailand

Shopping aside, a major reason for selecting this place is because my DH (Darling Husband) missed Thai food so much (there are a lot of Thai restaurants in Dubai but it’s a bit “westernized” already) that he asked me to book tickets to Bangkok.

I, the trailing spouse, will go anywhere with him (umm..maybe with dangerous countries as the exception) and planned this holiday with pleasure.

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With wallet-friendly rates for trips around Asia and now Dubai, it was automatic for me to choose Cebu Pacific Air.  Lucky me because at the time of my booking, the company had a promotion wherein 2 adult seats from Manila to Bangkok cost just $600 (about AED2000, Php26,000, or THB18,800).   That’s with extra baggage allowance and extra leg room seats already 🙂

And did you know that right now Cebu Pacific is giving away 100 free tickets from Dubai to Manila.  Visit this post for more details.

In the meantime, I’ll go back to my sticky rice. More stories on our trip here coming soon.

Sawasdee!

Fly FREE and be one of the 100 Lucky Juans!

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You were asked to tell us how you would make your homecoming fun and your entries went from hilarious to heartwarming!  I was pleasantly entertained.

As expected of Filipino culture, there were lots of entries on family bonding..

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And some made me want to revisit the Philippines most amazing islands..

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But what I would consider my ultimate favorite is a Gangnam Style Video entry that got me laughing my heart out!

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Applause to everyone! Give us more! And remember, be creative 🙂 For details on the contest, please visit this post.

Winners will receive FREE roundtrip tickets from Philippine carrier, Cebu Pacific Air 🙂

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Key West Water Adventure

Overflowing with energy the day after a fab Key West wedding, our group was ready for more fun.

After considering several different water adventure companies, we decided on Sebago.

We paid about $160/each for an all-day all-inclusive water fun that included jetskiing, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and parasailing.  The crew had a great dynamic among themselves.  They were fun to have around and were extremely helpful. I heard other companies can be stingy with meals but here we had a wide spread!  If you are burning calories in the middle of the sea, food is definitely a primary concern.  We were absolutely taken cared of–the staff would even hand over a beer (only after you’re done with jetskiing) before you ask for it.

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Everybody had boundless splashes of fun! I particularly enjoyed being harnessed to a parasail, suspended in the air, gliding over the ocean, and seeing different colors underwater from up above.  My friend’s 4-year old daughter couldn’t have felt safer and was all smiles throughout the experience.

You see Sebago even tailored the speed of banana boats or water dipping when parasailing to the fearlessness/fearfulness of the riders. The little girl did not get wet at all. My friend and I were dipped over and over again! It was fun!

Worth every dollar.

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Up Next: 3 Things to Try in Key West

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Que Vola from Florida

Que Vola!  (means  “What’s Up” in Cuban)

A hundred miles from Cuba, Key West is an island at the southernmost tip of Florida Keys.

An anchored concrete buoy in Key West, Florida marking one of the extreme points of the United States.

An anchored concrete buoy in Key West, Florida marking one of the extreme points of the United States.

Given its location, 90 miles from Cuba, the island was a natural port of call for Spanish-speaking fishermen, beginning in the early 1800s. Though English still dominates throughout the Keys, our friend and Irish’s new hubby Juan, who is part Puerto Rican was very at home speaking espanol with some of the locals.

Going around in a scooter is the best way to see Keys.   I specifically enjoyed the sea view and soft breeze along South Roosevelt, which was the way back to our hotel.  Most hotels can hook you up with rental companies.

My friend being taught how to drive a scooter. A first for her in 10 years.

My friend being taught how to drive a scooter. A first for her in 10 years.

Going out for a ride

Going out for a ride

Driving around a car is also uncomplicated.  Maps are everywhere and locals are more than friendly to help you with directions.

Key West is a come-as-you-are, let-your-hair-down, laid-back town of picket fences, eclectic shops, and warm personalities.  Overall, it gave such a charming vibe that managed to make even an adult club look wholesome.

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