Shopping in Bangkok and the suburbs so different to Pattaya

One thing I have found that is really different is the shops.

Goodness where to start. I think in Bangkok you can get almost anything you need….at a price…

I think I got used to getting around between Pattaya and our village of Huai Yai and then Horse Shoe Point by car. I knew exactly where to get what. Like Yorkies is the place for lovely bacon, pork pies, and good pork and beef sausages. They also stock a selection of British products. Sometimes more than others, depending on when stocks arrive. I knew I could park.

Yorkies The Butchers Pattaya

Same goes for the other butchers across the main road onto Chiaybruk 2. Great for Scottish black pudding and sliced ham.

Foodland, what isles and what products were best. Now I have to start allover again.

I have a page on shopping for new arrivals but that was with Pattaya in mind. Now Bangkok is a different story.

I am still finding my way around, thanks to the help of others. They must be thinking oh, no here she is again with her multitude of questions.

We went back to Pattaya within our first few weeks of being up here in the suburbs of Bangkok to just stock up on what I call ‘proper bacon ‘and good pork sausages. Sure there must be shops here in Bangkok. Plenty of streaky bacon to be found, even in 7/11’s but what I call ‘proper bacon’ harder to find. You can see packs of bacon and it looks good but when you open it, its as thin as anything. Still haven’t seen any proper black pudding either. I will have to remember to ask the ladies at Mah-jong on Monday.  Foodland do good hash browns so we just have to improvise lots of the time.

The same goes for coffee beans. There are plenty of supermarkets selling ground coffee. Plenty of exclusive shops selling coffee too, but not good and cheap coffee beans. The average price seems to be around 500 bhat which is way too much for a bag of coffee when you drink as much as I. So I have to hunt for Bon Cafe coffee which is good and much more reasonably priced.

In Bangkok and the suburbs there are so many shopping malls. Small ones, medium sized ones, to ones that you can get lost in. We tried Mega at Bang Na, 800 shops, restaurants etc., wow. amazing. I think I still prefer Central Department stores. I think they cater for expats. The clothes sizes  are getting better. No all small sizes now at sections called Sophie I found good sizes (American sized) Simplicity and Essentials. Not bad prices either, especially if like last week there was discounts. Ended up getting 20% off 2 pairs of capri pants and 40% off some blouses. When I went to Mega I found that if you weren’t a size zero to a 6 forget it… it just makes you so miserable going to shops like that.

Staff and customer service, vary. I find that either they follow you around like you are a shop lifter or you can’t get anyone to serve you because they are too busy with their makeup!!! That’s the norm and you have to get used to it.

I discovered Emporium the other day, only for a few minutes as I was getting a lift from Christine. Oh wow the shops. The same when I went into the Siam Centre and Paragon. Its changed since we first went there 2 years ago. Not all designer shops now. Not all over priced and they have so many nice restaurants to eat in too.

Still finding it hard to find Tetley Tea bags but I am going home for a visit at the end of the month so I will stock up then. Still no Aquafresh toothpaste either. Weird that somethings are so unobtainable.

Thank goodness that ‘Boots the Chemist’ are popping up everywhere too. Shower gel, smellies, face wipes and most of the things you get back home can be found in your local boots, including ladies things that seem non existent elsewhere except big horrible pads. Insist on a boots card too. Some of the staff for some reason don’t want to give you a boots store card to collect points but I found one lady in Boots at Big C mall in Pattaya very helpful. So customer focused.

If you find it hard adjusting when you first come to Thailand go to Central at Chid-lom and walk into the food hall. It reminds me so much of Fenwicks back home in Newcastle. Its lovely. So much choice (at a price) and everything so beautifully presented. I don’t think you would miss home so much if you got the chance to shop in here every week. The food bill might be a bit steep though but then again UK prices are no longer cheap either.

Bread. I love bread as much as I love cake!!!! Now I know exactly why I put on weight. Sliced bread for me has to be from a coffee shop/restaurant called ‘Au Bon Pan’. They seem to have many outlets around Bangkok and the suburbs. The bread is light. A good sized slice and they advertise ‘no trans fats’ so it has to be good. Brown only but they do have 2 varieties.

While you are there you may as well get an almond croissant. A soft almond filling. mmm…I could just eat one now.

OH’s favorite there is the frozen vanilla shake. They don’t advertise it,but its there on a menu at the counter. A real brain freeze of vanilla ice cream. Delicious. If you can manage a whole one.

Crusty bread can be found everywhere. So the choice is yours.

Cake seems to be a big thing in Thailand and it comes in so many shapes, designs and tastes. When I first came to Thailand, cake looked nice but tasted of nothing or a mouth full of butter. I am pleased to say over the 3 and a half years we have been here they are getting it right.

So many good bakeries and outlets. I really don’t know how they make the cake slices for the prices they charge. I certainly couldn’t make a cake for so little.

Tesco’s on Pattanakan Road have an outlet in their mall called the Cheesecake House. Oh my goodness you should taste their cheesecake and cakes. Wow. Something else. They have an apple crumble cheesecake or try the brownie cakes with peanuts in a what tastes like a sticky toffee pudding sauce on the top. Could easily eat 2 or 3………….mmmmm….my mouth is watering.

The Cheesecake House @ Pattanakan Road

It is going to be hard to be so good until I go to the UK. I will miss my coffee and cake visits.

Even yesterday I went to get my car cleaned and waxed. While I waited I had a lovely coffee. The way it was presented was really nice. The girls told me they had learned off the internet how to do the designs on top of the coffee from You Tube. Amazing. So I guess I will have to see if I can have a go too. They said you just put in ‘coffee art’……………clever arn’t they.

caramel machiatto

What you will see a lot of is sandwiches and ready made meals on top of counters or on street stalls. Not in fridges. OH paid the price for taking a  sandwich from a small coffee shop in the building where he works. It wasn’t in a fridge. So its out in the heat. Oh boy was he sicky sick.

You see it everywhere. Sometimes the food has been standing a long time. So be very careful as some of the food looks very yummy indeed.

The good thing also about moving up here is there are UK magazines. Again at a price. I used to get my ‘Woman and Home’ delivered direct from the UK. Its a good price and certainly even with postage cheaper than buying them here. The average price for a magazine from the UK to buy over here is around 8 to 10 pounds.

If I think of anything else I will add to this post.

 

Hairdressers in Bangkok and the suburbs

Since leaving Pattaya and my hairdresser Saranya on Pattaya Nua I have quizzed many people about where they go to have their hair done. Its such a daunting task. Who do I trust, who can understand what I want? Its so difficult.

I have been told about “Abstract” and I wrote and email and got a great reply, but did I want to spend 6,000bhat plus on my hair cut and highlights not knowing how it would turn out?

Then there is “Toni & Guy” another good hair salon. One lady I met at the BWG had a fab hair cut and recommended them, but would they be able to do what I wanted????

Some other ladies I know use a salon in the Westin Hotel in Bangkok. They said you get off the BTS and walk right into the Westin Hotel. It sounded like it was called Panibas, but not sure. They said it was a great salon but you had to know what you wanted in style and colours. This I did not.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking along Patthanakan road, near our soi 63. There were 2 salon’s next to each other. Not the usual seedy looking salon but actually looked more up market. Selling good quality products. So I decided to let my OH try the smaller of the two salons. Wow it was amazing. They don’t speak a lot of English but we managed to convey what we wanted.

Its called DCUT Exclusive Salon & Spa.207/11 Soi 61 Patthanakan Road.  0819371943.Its run by two men. There is a lovely lady that washes, cuts and drys your hair. I would go just  for the head massage that she gives you. It was pure bliss and I could have quite easily fallen asleep.

I decided on Friday to bite the bullet and go in to see if they could put some highlights in my hair. Well, I have never experienced highlights the way they did them but the colours in my hair are great. I am blonde and its not easy getting hairdressers/salons to be able to highlight or colour your hair without turning it orange. They understood this too.

Nantapat started the process. He is also the beautician. There were no foils, there was no cap. My hair was washed, then dried. One colour was put on and then left for 20 minutes, washed off, then another colour put on top, 20 minutes then washed off. Amazing, I had no idea what to expect and I was sure it was going to be a mess!!!

What I have now is great highlighted hair!!! I don’t know how they make it work but they do.

I asked for just a tiny bit off the length and sure enough, that’s what I got.

They also give you an amazing hot Peach Tea Drink. I went right out and bought the peach tea and did as instructed with the honey and the pinch of salt but you know it doesn’t taste like how DCUT make it at all.

The total cost of my hair cut and 2 colours 2,350bhat. Which was the price agreed before we started. I am very very happy with my new hair. Thanks boys.

They even shaped my eyebrows and coloured them for my night out. Going to go back this week and see if they can do a permanent tint for my eyebrows.

I noticed on their wall they do a lot of wedding make overs and hair for your special day.

While I was waiting yesterday with OH some ladies came in with presents to say thank you for their hair. More satisfied customers. Worth a visit if you live in the suburbs.

 

 

 

A trip into Bangkok for an early supper

Saphan Sung-20130830-00238

We decided that we would have to venture out into Bangkok. So last Friday in the afternoon I parked my car at airport link station and climbed the stairs to the platform. There are lifts but the stairs are certainly a challenge. Some stations have escalators too. Some stations have a lovely breeze due to the trains being run above street level on overhead lines, but some oh my goodness they are so hot. I don’t know how people do this every day.

OH is now most definitely a commuter. It’s certainly good exercise and the trains are lovely and cool with good air conditioning but they do get very busy at rush hour.

Anyway, I am digressing. OH couldn’t get away from work as planned so I decided to check out M&S inside Central (department store) at Chid-lom. I was so excited at the prospect of finding Per Una shorts and tops. Well, was I disappointed. Everything was crammed in and it was winter stock!!!! M&S would be so shocked to see their stock displayed in this way.

I thought I had been saved from stocking up at home on the underwear front. Alas no. The prices, oh my goodness, 3 times the price for shape wear knickers. Equivalent to 30 pounds a pair!! outrageous. I know they have to have them imported but really. So I guess I will be stocking up once again on my home visit.

I did come across a lovely cotton top from a different department so I thought I should treat myself and a coffee of course while I waited. A few minutes later and a phone call to say OH was on his way and I would meet him at the next station. I managed to get on the right train and off at the correct station. However, finding the right side of the main road to be on to meet OH caused a big telephone argument.

When people are doing this journey every day its no sweat. They know exactly which exit of the station (all overhead) goes where. I did not and found myself on the other side of the road with no way to get across!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how stupid is that you ask yourself. Up and down those bbbb….. steps I went back and forth. So I had to wait for OH to come and get me and show me how to get to the other side. I just know he thinks I am really stupid sometimes (well, most of the time probably).

It was hot and humid (just for a change) and we didn’t know where to go to eat. Again, with all the thousands of places to eat, how come we didn’t know where to go. We found one place but all it offered after 4pm was sandwiches, soup and salad. OH suggested a pub called Bullies. Just like stepping back into a Wetherspoons back in the UK. I had a chicken fillet burger and chips. Delicious and the wine was good and sensibly price too. The staff are efficient and friendly too.

OH had fajitas and a soda.  We wandered back in the rain to the Novotel, where OH had stayed for 2 months while I was looking for a house and finished off the evening with a couple of little cakes and lovely coffee.

Back onto the Skytrain and then airport rail link for our journey home. I think we were both exhausted. Have to have more planning next time.  Got me out of the house though

 

One week on and adjusting to our new home and area

One week on and we are adjusting to our new home, surrounding areas and having neighbours in close proximity.

When you are looking for a house in and around Bangkok you won’t get everything you are looking for unless your budget is high. So we had to adjust to neighbours close by. I forgot about screaming babies,children having tantrums, dogs being allowed to bark for what seems like hours on end. People coming and going. These are all things we will have to get used to after over 3 years of neighbours being way way away from our front door.

Did I mention I had cleaned out the  black rubbish bin and the bin storage cupboard. It was very smelly. Washed out the whole thing with bleach only to find it had been taken the next day. I was left a broken, sellotaped up, dilapidated bin in its place. The landlord replaced it and this time we spray painted the number of the house around the bin’s exterior. Today the bin men came and put it back in next doors cupboard………HOW can they get it so wrong. There are only 2 cupboards next to each other!!!!

The old lady from over the way was watching me take the bins out and swap them. I am sure she thinks I have taken the neighbours bin!!!! Honestly, even if they can’t read you can see it has something on it and its huge writing. I will have to check this every time they come to empty the bin I think. I suppose one consolation is that at least I didn’t have to go searching for it.

I still have not seen any western women on the village/compound but I have been told they are here.

We checked out the pool last weekend.

Hua Mak-20130818-00221                Hua Mak-20130818-00220

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow I had forgotten how to swim I think. I only did about 15-20 lengths and I was pooped. I have vowed to go everyday, well except Tuesday when everything is closed at the club house for their day off. Then on Monday, what did I do….. I didn’t go. I kept thinking I will do one more job, then one more job and then before I knew it I had run out of time. excuses excuses eh?

So today, I have to make the effort.

We also tried the club house restaurant. As the American’s say “Awesome” food. I had missed our favorite restaurant Baan Na in Huai Yai. This lady has the same style. Beautiful food and the best is that they sell  a good selection of ice cream. So here are pictures of what desserts we managed to eat. Absolutely stuffed afterwards.

Hua Mak-20130818-00223      Hua Mak-20130818-00222

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday was my fist proper jaunt out in the car by myself. OH had drawn me a map to get to Tesco’s. It’s the nearest supermarket without going onto a motorway. Piece of cake. Only I couldn’t get everything I needed. I bet folk back in the UK, can’t believe you could go to a Tesco’s and not get simple things like crusty bread, bisto, coriander or mint. The list goes on and on.

I also managed to find the vets again. The Syrian lady I had met suggested I go back and ask if they had a similar product for Tess’s fungus. So I managed to find my way there and back but alas nothing to substitute. Don’t know what you would do if you went there with a fungus condition on your dog or cat…….beats me.

They have however very kindly suggested an animal hospital at Thonglor. He gave me directions but it is quite a way and I am not sure I would find it but I think I have to have a go today. I have directions how to get back from OH, which was my worry. Might be able to pop into Paradise Mall to get the missing items from my shopping list from Villa Market Supermarket.

Paradise Mall. I think its called Paradise Place certainly has some great shops and food outlets. For us it was much better than Seacon Square which is only about 100 yards nearer to us on the same main road. I am sure like my new friend from Syria that in 4 months (the time she has been here) I will know my way around. Its just hard to drive and try and see what shops  you need.

I checked out a small deli I had seen yesterday down near the Oasis Center in Hua Mak but it turned out not to be a deli at all as we know it. It was however a haven for wine lovers. I know where to go back to if I am looking for some nice wine. I think they must do Italian ice cream too but no olives or cooked meats or crusty breads.  A huge menu for food too.

I felt my jaunt out had been disappointing so I parked the car further down the same street and went on a wander. This seems to be a very  very busy street.  I think its a short cut for people coming of Pattanakan Road going to the motorway.

Lots of food vendors and small restaurants all doing a roaring trade on this street. For some reason they nearly all seemed to be selling lovely bottles of honey and honey combs. I know where to go when our supplies run low. I stopped for mango’s (much more expensive than in the villages near Pattaya) and some banana’s. The lady was old and I tried my Thai, only to find she spoke good English. The next stall was making what looked like dim sum dumplings. In for a penny in for a pound. I bought some. Now I wish I had taken a picture for  my blog. Maybe I will go back and ask if I can take a photo. They were good. There was a selection of 6 @ 35bhat. Around 70-75 pence at today’s exchange rate.

Now I have sampled them I know which ones I liked the most. The lady had a selection of dishes that you could choose from for the fillings in your dumplings. Then she swirled the mixture onto a round hot plate and proceeded to fill and wrap. Expertly done and so quick. Into a box with a little packet of hot sauce (have to leave that for OH). Yes, writing this I realise I would go again.

 

Well done Power Buy – Central Festivial Shopping Mall

Well done to Power Buy at Central Festival Mall, Pattaya.

I searched and searched the house in every nook and cranny for the receipt. I was convinced OH had it. He was sure I had it. Oh goodness. On the 3rd time around the house in search of the receipt, low and behold there it was in the drawer!!!! I hate that when it happens. It feels creepy.

So I have some polly pockets and I am going to sort out all the receipts and guarantees for things and get them all labeled and boxed tomorrow. Have to got and get a box file of course but that could be a good excuse for a coffee at Home Works, oh and a lovely muffin of course.

Sorry, digressed there. Off to Central Festival with my computer. Found a parking space and reversed parked. Just like OH always tells me to. Its quite hard to park my truck as you can’t see out the back window for the carryboy box on the back. I think he would have been proud of me today. No dithering about and I didn’t even use express parking

Went to Power Buy, located on the 3rd floor – right next to the Food Loft (ah well, better take a visit there). The staff in Power Buy were really good. Didn’t even ask to see my receipt, after all that searching too. The boy confessed he didn’t know what he did but he got it working. Shut it down and did a couple of re starts and all was well. I could have kissed him but thought he might have me arrested as one of Pattaya’s nutters!!!

To celebrate I went and bought a couple of nice tops I had spied a few weeks back in a new shop. Clothes from Spain the lady said. Just simple white tops but it cheered me up. Then to end my little trip out I went into the Food Loft. Well you do don’t you?????

There is a new Lebanese Food Counter so I picked Hummus with Chicken Shwarma and pitta bread. Washed down with a nice glass of Red. Too stuffed to have dessert. Gasp, I hear some of you say. What me no dessert, must be feeling unwell. Honestly I was stuffed. Did manage a cafe latte though.

A lovely time to be had, even if it was on my own. Billy no mates again. J.A. come back I do miss you and Wendy. Everyone leaves. Just wish it was us next time.

Out and about

The last two weeks have been a mixture of events and outings.

We have had people here for dinner and BBQ’s and also had the favour returned. I have bought myself a few items of clothing. Always nice to buy something new.

We have been to the Sea Falcon at Na Jomtien that was nice, worth a trip and very cheap. Right on the beach front with a really good breeze. We have also visited the Dusit Thani for morning coffee and the Lakeside Restaurant for a typical hearty sandwich. Pity we were the only ones there as it was really good value for money. More about it on the Dining pages later this week.

My friend has had her baby, 5lb 6oz and I hopefully will get to visit this week and have a cuddle of him myself. Yesterday we popped out to buy gifts for when I get a date to visit. The baby things are so cute, It think my OH was getting quite worried that I was getting broody!!!

I had coffee with Wendy on Friday. We went to the Village Shopping Centre on Shukumvit Road. It was only just after 10am and not a lot of places where open. We sat outside with a nice little breeze while enjoying a nice cup of coffee at a cafe which I did not get the name of. I do intend to go back and sample the food as they had both outside and inside dining area’s and it was a good price for coffee.

Then off we went to Foodland for the weekly shop. I was having some children come over on the Saturday and a request had been made for ice cream. I was really pleased that Foodland gave me a freezer bag for my ice cream. What a great idea. I did wonder if it would be defrosted by the time I got home. I will now keep this bag in the car for future purchases for the freezer.

The children came over Saturday and we had a lovely time in the pool and Jack our pup was really good with them. What grown up children there are really as we had explained about the No touch, No speak, No eye contact for grumpy Jack and they did just that. They even came armed with treats to make friends. Of course he swam for them as they were holding the treats out in front!!! A good day to be had by all. Made a lovely change for us to be around children. The chocolate cake went down well too.

Sunday came around and a trip to the shops for the baby present and some paint!!! strange combination eh?? OH got HomePro to mix some paint for touch up areas in the house while I went to find the antibacterial wipes!!! very sad I know.

Downstairs we had our lunch time treat of a kebab (in Bahrain known as a swarma). Only 59bhat. Polished off with a nice drink of old fashioned lemonade from the Aunty Anne franchise. We had already stopped for coffee at Starbucks when we went to the IT Mall for some software for OH.

Today is the vets visit for Molly, Tess and Jack. I have to go back and collect Jack at 6pm. I have posted all about this on the Pets in Thailand Page.

Molly and Tess had a full health check and are sleeping the day away now in peace and quiet. Goodness knows what tonight will hold when Jack returns. Bless his little cotton socks. I do hope he will be OK and settle down now.

Wow has just turned the sprinklers on so it must be time for me to go get another coffee. I was late having my breakfast today so I don’t think I will need lunch. Mind a piece of  chocolate cake might be a good idea instead!!!!

Still have not found my way to the gym yet???? I must make an effort. Too easy to do nothing once you get on this internet……..

The sad news this last week was that my mum’s brother died. It’s times like these that you realise you are so far away and you can’t be there in an instant. I just wanted to comfort her and be there for her. To cuddle her and let her weep. It must be awful loosing your sibling. I couldn’t imagine it. The funeral will be held later this week. He was a great man and had achieved so much in his life. I am sure there will be an article about his life in his local paper there after. May he rest in peace.

Weekly shop

Today was the weekly shop. Foodland first and then topping up with the extra’s I can’t get at Carrifour. Oh but on the way into Carrifour I spotted a lovely sunglasses stand. I have been after a pair of red sunglasses for ages and just havn’t found the right pair. Until today that is. No time to loose, straight to the cash point to pay for my purchase!!! he he.

Then into HomePro when I had finished to get the new bath mats for my daughters bedroom. It will look all nice for when she arrives next weekend.

I decided I had worked so hard doing the shopping, ah hem…. that I could have a treat of a shawama from downstairs. I have mentioned this on a separate page but there is a stand downstairs in the Carrifour Mall that does really good shawarmas. OK so I got two!!! then I really pushed the boat out and stopped to get a cappuccino to take out from the coffee shop at the end near the entrance.  I hate eating on my own outside so I like to take everything home.

I was so hungry I didn’t even put the shopping away and sat myself at the table to enjoy my shawarmas and coffee. ahhhhhhhh.

Then off to the local market for my fruit and veg. So many flies there today. It really puts me off buying but it”s something that you have to try and not think about. I bumped into Nok again, that’s twice today. I stopped to get some prawns for OH lunch box, thank goodness for the person beside me who understood the old lady selling the prawns, I could not catch what she was telling me about the price. Still learning Thai. The person beside me, not sure if it was a he or she said it slowly for me so I could understand. I thanked them and was able to purchase 1 kilo with their help.

There is a man that helps people leave the market, crossing the road, directing the traffic etc., he is such a character. Complete with the high viz tabbard and whistle.

I think because there are not many white women that frequent the market he likes to make a big thing of saying hello. It’s no nice and really brightens my day. He is so funny. Always laughing and smiling, always a friendly word to everyone. His English is really good. Asked me if I liked whisky or beer today. He fell about laughing when I said I didn’t like beer but I liked whisky!!! I think he then went onto translate to others what I had said and they had a good laugh. White woman likes whisky!!!!

People stare at me when I go to the local markets,  but they don’t do it in a nasty way here in Thailand. They are just inquisitive and if you smile or say hello, they nearly always reply back with a greeting or a big smile that spreads across the face.

I chose some white snapper at Foodland. I had never heard of a white snapper before but I thought we should try it as it was only half the price of the usual salmon that I get. The whole house smelt like North Shields Fish Quay tonight. Wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to eat it, but you know what, when we took the first mouthful it didn’t smell at all and indeed it was rather tasty. So once again something new tried and enjoyed!!!!

Bought some sticky rice for pudding at Carrifour and got some mangos on the market. Oh, disappointed, the rice was horrible. Not a patch on the sticky rice from the lady near the traffic lights on the Hua Yai Road. Now hers is delicious. A good excuse to go and buy some tomorrow for the weekend, to make up for the horrible stuff we ate today of course!!!!!

 

Lunch today then the local market

Finally after nearly a year I seem to be making some new friends.

I am off out for lunch today to the Marriott so I will update the post on my return to tell you what the food and service was like.

I keep remembering this to tell new folk that are moving here. Shop for your fruit and veg at the local markets. Sometimes you get ripped off but once they know you are going to come regularly they settle down. I stick to the same few stalls each time that have not ripped me off and give them my business. It’s much cheaper than the shops on most occassions. OK they may not have the variety but basic items such as tomatoes, lettuce, cue, cauli,cabbage and much more is available. It also means that you can follow the seasons. I got aubergines the other day all for 15bhat. Can’t grumble at that.

Try lots of the village stalls too. There is a man in the village that sells just bananas,tangerines and apples at the front of his shop.

The good thing about Pattaya is that nearly everyone speaks English, if only a limited amount in the village where I live we can still get by with a calculator and sign language!!!!!