Year-End Getaway to Bangkok

It’s still not long ago that I have spent time celebrating my sister’s birthday by having a trip to Bangkok and now in December I am back again to the bustling city. This time, I went to Bangkok with Mbadis and Ajeng whose purpose is to attend Seventeen’s Follow Tour in Rajamangala Stadium.

Until I wrote this post, I haven’t even yet finished the third part of my last trip to Bangkok in June and the last part of my Japan trip. So bear with me and be patient until I have the time to finally wrote those experience down if I have the will to do it.

The trip began when Mbadis suddenly trying to secure Seventeen’s Follow concert in Bangkok. Last year, Seventeen visited Indonesia for their world tour but until the end of the year 2023, they haven’t yet announced any sign of Jakarta tour. Initially Mbadis already knew that Seventen will held their concert in Bangkok and I also have asked her about it. She didn’t want to go at first because the concert is at the same day as her best-friend’s wedding. She felt bad for leaving her friend for these K-pop bois. However, when the promoter announced the second day of the concert, Mbadis went with it and FINALLY ABLE TO SECURE THE TICKET!

She was with me when she secured the ticket and I immediately said that I want to go to, I want to guide her based on my previous Bangkok experience. Later on, I forgot that DAY6 are all going to be discharged this year and the concert that I expected “The Present” will finally be hold. My worry had come true when RIIZE, the group that I am currently love and DAY6 announced consecutive events. RIIZE was having their 100 days fan-meeting celebration on December 18th, while DAY6 will hold “The Present” concert to mark their discharge and first concert appearance post-military enlistment on 22-24 December. I almost dropped this Bangkok trip for those.

I almost re-schedule my flight ticket to Korea instead to Bangkok. But …. The luck wasn’t on my side. I ran out luck for my ultimate bias’ concert this year because I have secured Coldplay, so I wasn’t able to secure either RIIZE or DAY6 ticket and it also helped me not to be impulsive by the end of the year. Apparently God knows the best for me. He knows that I have not enough money to fund me for my ultimate stanned group this year. So, the plan to go to Bangkok is still on game.

We arrived separately since Mbadis and Ajeng departed from Surabaya, while I departed from Jakarta. I arrived first and wait for them to arrive since our plan was to take ride-hailing straight to our hotel. And here’s my friend, a lesson that you can learn from us.

Book a Shuttle Bus or Go Straight to SRT Line in Terminal 2 Don Mueang International Airport

We arrived circa 8-10 PM local time and we spent some time to have a meal before going to the hotel. Little did we know because of our initial plan to take the ride-hailing, it was difficult for us to get a driver at that time from DMK Airport. So we looked for another way, I didn’t really remember if DMK had access to public transport since the first time I went to Bangkok, I arrived in Suvarnabhumi. I knew that there’s a direct Airport Railink (ARL) from the airport straight to the city in one-go. But for DMK, I didn’t know any single thing until that night when we couldn’t find any driver. Turned out, if you go straight following the direction to SRT Red Line after Terminal 2 Domestic Arrival, you’ll get to the city. 

Or the safest way to get you to the city when you arrive almost midnight is just securing bus ticket instead of depending to ride-hailing. That’s all the advice I could give to you. And if you choose to use the SRT Red Line, you’ll need to change trains on Bang Sue station, pay using your Contactless Debit card or buy tokens, and you need to pay attention to the last train to the city. We were lucky because we managed to catch the last train before 12 AM that day.

Bring enough cash with you and pack light

Although at my first trip to Bangkok I didn’t really bring enough cash with me, I still managed to get everything with card. And this trip, luckily Mbadis and Ajeng brought enough cash from Indonesia so we can go around using cash. In using the ARL we need cash to buy the tokens, in purchasing clothes we also need cash.

At the first day after we had enough sleep after arriving, our first destination is to buy clothes for daily use in Bangkok. Especially Mbadis who didn’t bring lots of clothes because she chose to buy everything here. We literally spent the first day for shopping. After we ran around December, we went to a thematic cafe near BTS Ratchathewi B-Story Cafe. It was on our list thanks to Ajeng who discovered it through social media. The initial expectation is the wedding themed cafe, but at the time we got there the decoration was set to Christmas theme. So we took a lot of good pictures and even experienced the festive Christmas feeling since the decoration was top notch!

We had this basque cheese-cake and ordered drinks. The food is good, the ambience is good, the drink is also good. We kept being mesmerised since we got treated so well everywhere we went. We came to the point that we were so used to feel worthless because how we treated back at home while we were having so much fun, blessings, and keep meeting good people when we weren’t at home.

After having an instant break and enjoying Christmas vibes in B-Story, we’re back to our shopping agenda. Mbadis and Ajeng needed to buy some make ups for their concert preparation and I was preparing place for dinner. So we enjoyed our day by walking around Pratunam, Ratchathewi, and Makkasan area the whole day. We also managed to get lots of good pictures in front of cutesy cafes and corners we passed through during our walking distance.

Experiencing the new thing with locals (aka Ambar)

On the second day, Mbadis and Ajeng had their main agenda: attending Seventeen’s concert while my main agenda is spending time with Ambar before I am having my own online concert agenda. Yep, that day was the Christmas eve with DAY6 in The Present. So I didn’t really make a list of place to go that day. My main job is to get Mbadis and Ajeng to meet Ambar for their tickets. And I am going to have fun with Ambar.

What went wrong that day was the fact that I didn’t really pay attention to DAY6’s concert time. I thought the concert will be held on 6 PM local time and that my friend, my biggest fault this year. December 24th, DAY6 The Present concert was too triggering for me. Although for now, I kind of started to make a peace with it. The Present concert was supposed to start at 3 PM local time and I said to my friends without even knowing the actual concert time. So after parting ways with Mbadis and Ajeng who had fun at the Seventeen concert, I had fun with Ambar. I supposedly to also have another fun with my online concert but I am a fool. I missed the DAY6 concert. That day, I cried a river.

Me and DAY6 feel like we’re not meant to meet each other. First, in 2020 they aborted their performance in Heads in The Clouds Jakarta because of the COVID Pandemic. In 2021-2023 the members are enlisting to the army, especially the person I love the most Park Sungjin had to go first. So I didn’t get to meet him often. In addition he also had to hiatus because of mental health. When he finally discharged, I just departed from Korea so I didn’t meet him at all. When DAY6 finally re-united and hold a concert, I failed to secure the ticket. Even when I finally secured the online concert ticket which costs me US$45, I MISSED IT!

That day, I almost give up in loving DAY6 because the universe seems not on my side of loving them. But when I told this to Mbadis and Ajeng, they encourage me to keep thinking positive and manifesting good things that maybe all these misfortunes eventually brought me bigger luck to meet DAY6 or enjoying their concert in person.

I had so much fun that day with Ambar actually. Ambar brought me to ride Chao Phraya tourist boat which cost 30 THB. I didn’t need to reserve a cruise dinner which cost me 1,000 THB. I can enjoy Chao Phraya and took pictures with Wat Arun from the boat only with 30 THB. Ambar also took me to local area which rarely explored by tourists: Talat Noi. Ambar is such a good guide, she even told me local customs and local phrase when she took me to places. She also took me to a slow bar concept coffee shop in Talat Noi, Mother Roaster.

It’s just too upsetting when I found out I have missed DAY6 concerts and almost wanted to erase the memories of that beautiful day with Ambar :”

That day too, I also learned that Thailand has now adopted QR payment just like what we did in Indonesia. Although it is worth noting that they still accept local QR. It is said that QRIS (Indonesia QR payment) has been expanded to Thailand through QR Bank: Krungsri and Bangkok Bank. So if you’re the user of BCA, Bank Permata, or Sinarmas, you can use QR. We have tried this, the QR from Bangkok Bank is recognised by BCA but we still weren’t able to pay using QRIS for payment.

I have learned a lot, I had really nice and inspiring conversations with Ambar. It’s just it was so upsetting to end the day by missing The Present concert that I have been anticipating since the beginning of the year.

Bangkok and its Work-Life Balance Culture

The third day post-Seventeen concert and post-my down episode, we decided to just cafe hopping around Bangkok. Initially I wanted to take Mbadis and Ajeng to go to the Wat Arun. But considering the time we finally go out from the hotel, it’s only natural for us to do cafe hopping. But you need to pay attention to the opening hours in Bangkok. Unlike Indonesia, most cafe(s) closes at 17.00 and they also have break in between.

We went to Gump’s Ari which actually a community space which offers insta-genic designs. They had several cafe(s) and place(s) to eat. It’s really close to BTS Ari station, only few minutes walking distance. We had this awesome burger place with its excellent customer services. The layout is straight from American-style diner. But what made us stay and would like to recommend it is the top notch customer service and the taste of its burger. The ahjumma knows English very well and treated us so dearly. She doesn’t even treat locals differently, everyone got a nice and warm welcome from her. The burger itself is so juicy! The bun is so soft and the sauce is a perfect match. Unfortunately, the place is going to be closed down by the end of this year.

The burger place is Fat and Angry the ahjumma said there is another branch if we want to come back again later.

We planned to go to a place called Factory Coffee which is recommended for its most delicious coffee in the world, ranked 2. But that day we learned that Bangkok had its extraordinary work life balance. Factory Coffee only opens til 17.00 PM as well as the other cafe we wanted to visit. So after having a meal at the Gump’s Ari, we went straight to Jodd Fairs Rama 9.

Unlike the experience I had with my sister back in June, the weather was really good this time. Therefore, I recommended you to come to Bangkok in December since the average weather is 18-23 degree Celcius. A lot cooler compared to Jakarta. It was also sunny the whole week and the hottest day we had averaging at 30-32 degree Celcius which still bearable for us who comes from Equator country. When we visited Jodd Fairs, it wasn’t raining. It was raining when I went there with my sis. Although the rain only last few minutes. I had beer and scallop, we had good foods and enjoyed our dinner enough. After that we decided to go back to the hotel to rest.

It was the shortest day for us to go around and it was a good decision. By having shorter time to explore Bangkok around, we have more energy the next day.

Finally going to Wat Arun and Having a Pictorial Photoshoot

Failed to get Factory Coffee on the previous day, I took Mbadis and Ajeng to get there the first in the morning. The cafe is right next to the ARL Station which shouldn’t be a hassle for us since we also live close to the ARL Station. It only took us one station from Ratchaprarop. It’s just me who has lack sense of direction so we crossed the street instead and had difficulties in finding the cafe.

As I had stated above, the cafe is popular for its barista who apparently won 2nd place of World Barista Competition in Amsterdam. By the time we got there, the queue is already bit long and the cafe is already crowded. Good thing in Bangkok is the queue is always going so different compared to our queues back home. Long queue doesn’t mean we have to wait for too long. We’re just queueing for 5-8 minutes since we arrived until we got seated. And again, we’re so grateful to be treated so well by every place we have visited.

We ordered two cakes: Earl Gray Cake and Lemon Almond Cake. Mbadis had the signature coffee, I had the salted caramel mocha, and Ajeng had the Steve Jobs which actually a fruit-infused Iced Americano. We liked what we ordered, except Mbadis didn’t really like the Earl Grey since it’s too smelly to her liking. Ajeng really loves her Americano when in fact she doesn’t really fond of caffeine. And my salted mocha tastes more like heavy dark  chocolate with the hint of salted caramel. Here in Factory Coffee they will asked your payment options either with cash or card payment. When most of the place accept only cash or QR payment, card payment options can be saviour sometimes. Because I just realised that I got charged 280 THB for each cash withdrawal in the ATM.

After having our morning coffee to boost our energy, we went straight to the Wat Arun area. We had this funny experience for missing our stops at our first day, so we really pay attention for each stops the next day we were using public transportation. And gladly, this hassle in using public transportation only happened once or twice, including the time when I forgot which train direction to take resulting in prolonged travel time. Me and my chronic bad sense of direction is so exhausting.

Once we arrived at the Wat Arun complex safely, we managed to wear Thailand’s traditional costumes which I refuse to wear at first. If it weren’t from Mbadis and Ajeng who encouraged me to wear it, It never crossed my mind to appear almost identical to locals and took the beautiful pictorial shot in Wat Arun. I even thought of wearing the men’s clothing rather than the women’s clothing because I really don’t want to wear the accessories nor the traditional clothes.

Once again, I am really thankful because I have been blessed by being surrounded with good people and still given chance to enjoy my life. I want to keep wishing that I can enjoy beautiful and happy life in the future. If it wasn’t with Mbadis and Ajeng, I won’t have more beautiful memories during this vacation in Bangkok.

We compared prices for traditional clothes rent and the cheapest was right in front of the entrance, they rent the clothes only for 150 THB had included the accessories and the light hairdo. While the other store offer higher price exclusive of the hairdo. It was the best deal for two hours rent and it was also the shortest two hours for us three to walk around Wat Arun.

In the mean time, we met an Indonesian woman who was amazed with our looks. Shortly, we were able to persuade her to rent costumes too. This woman is from Bali and had a German husband. She’s so kind, her husband is so supportive and kind too. It was so nice to meet a good person who has good life too. It made me realise that life is beautiful if we choose to live it wisely. Later on the night, when we traveled back to the hotel we witnessed a completely the opposite circumstances where another Indonesian woman being abused by her Indonesian husband and humiliated in public space. The husband raise his voice to his wife until the staff had to shout to him back. What a scene. And how paradoxical life could be.

The fourth day in Bangkok, we really spent our time well alongside Chao Phraya river. We close the day by having a sip of drink in Vivi the Coffee Place where we enjoy sunset and watching Wat Arun.

Again, I am so grateful for a lot of things in this trip.

Not skipping good meals and Michelin Star restaurant

I had this intention back then if I were given another opportunity to go to Bangkok again: to try Michelin Star restaurants in Bangkok. I know Bangkok had a lot. I have visited Polo Fried Chicken, Kor Panit, and Go-Ang Pratunam Rice Chicken back in June. I wanted to add Thip Samai on the list. And I had it!

Ajeng remarked that everything we had in Thailand wasn’t a failure, it was all good. Even it’s just a random omelette rice sold by street vendor she found with Mbadis after concert. I took Mbadis and Ajeng to the first three Michelin restaurant I had in Bangkok to show them that I wasn’t wrong with my food choice. Gladly, they also enjoy the food!

At the first day, we went to Thip Samai which was on my bucket list since the last Bangkok trip. Thip Samai is a pad thai restaurant who also serves spring roll. The staff treated us so kindly and we really enjoyed the vibes and the hospitality. In addition to the service, Michelin star restaurants we keep visiting in Bangkok don’t mark up the prices. Despite their reputation, they keep the prices low. So we were so grateful for that. It was the most delicious Pad Thai I had in Thip Samai. It is located close to the Wat complex. It is also accessible on walking distance from the MRT Blue Line Station Sam Yot. So, if you happened to visit Bangkok please pay a visit to this restaurant. The spring roll is on another level, it was super good that we had to order 3 portion of it.

I had share the story about Kor Panit, Polo Fried Chicken, and Go-Ang in my previous Bangkok story. When I took Mbadis and Ajeng, they also agree that the Michelin Star restaurant we had were the best. Mbadis particularly love the Mango Sticky Rice Kor Panit, while Ajeng loves the Polo Fried Chicken. And I love all of them! Including Michelin star dried pancake we randomly found on Jodd Fairs. To sum up, we literally had good foods the whole week in Bangkok.

We initially also wanted to go to a duck serving restaurant, it’s just we skipped it because we already went everywhere else. Next time, I’ll make sure to visit the duck restaurant and had the duck Michelin starred!

We also randomly found a Thai-style American breakfast restaurant after going to Kor Panit, On Lok Yun. Back home we called it Kopitiam since it served Kaya Toast, Milk Coffee and Milk Tea. The place is swarmed by the locals so we were curious and gave it a try! Its signature toast was so good! The coffee doesn’t taste like a coffee shop made. I would love to said that its signature coffee resembles Kopi Tubruk with milk. Still, to remember that we found this place which is popular by the locals and has been established since 1933 was a good call. We never stopped being grateful and enjoy our moments to the fullest in this trip.

Still loyal to Jenius Visa Debit Contactless and Baht Currency

As I have explained that some of Bangkok's public transport already adopt visa debit contactless payment, it is also important to utilise Jenius' contactless and currency feature. I exchanged my currency days before departure in good rates and basically paid the accommodation using its e-card feature. It is important to utilise e-card feature for online payment to minimise the risk of carding by irresponsible use of public network. By using e-card you can just top up balance to the card for certain transaction and it prevents irresponsible withdrawal of your balance.

Jenius visa debit contactless can be used to take MRT and SRT in Bangkok, while the other public transport mostly requires cash for each tokens/tickets trip. But worry not, you still can cash in your balance using the Jenius visa debit contactless in the nearest ATM although you will get charged by the local Bank system THB 220 and additional charged for withdrawal from visa THB 60. It's a bit expensive, so you better bring out cash in hand sufficiently.

Aside being used on MRT, Jenius visa debit contactless can also be used for transaction in merchant who accept visa payment. It is still worth noting that Bangkok's transaction mostly still using cash or local QR Payment as I have explained above too. Anyway, having a Jenius account is never a hassle for international traveling experience 😉

I hope to the more memorable trip. This one is a new core memory unlock. And I hope that I can bring my friends enjoying good places for a meal next time.

Thanks God for giving me lots of blessing this year. I hope that your blessings never stops even it’s just a day.