Saturday, October 31, 2015

Timeout & Craft Shopping in Bangkok


I celebrated my birthday with a lunch with family, dinner with best friends at Hillside, and a time-out  trip (a.k.a. non-working, real vacation) to one of my fave cities: Bangkok!

PJ and I stayed at Hotel Muse, a 5-star boutique hotel in Soi Langsuan (near BTS Chit Lom).

Upon check-in, we were welcomed with cocktails & juices. When booking online, make sure you tick the button for their breakfast buffet!


Cloudy bedsheetzzz :P

My favorite part of the bathroom was the ceramic sink bowl!

Ordered room service as soon as we got there: veg pad thai. SO good!

Ok, now it's time for a craft shopping tour with me! :P

If you only have limited time to shop for crafts, I suggest staying in the Siam/Central area (BTS Siam/Central). I found great art supplies sections in the malls' department stores.

In most Bangkok shopping malls, the tourist is king. There's always some sort of promo, tourist discount (an additional 5-10% off just by asking "Do you have tourist discount?' :P), plus of course, Tax Refund. Which is why the goods come out extra cheap, even if you shop at the malls. Art materials there are surprisingly much cheaper than in Hong Kong!


SIAM PARAGON: BeTrend
My first stop was the BeTrend section of the department store at Siam Paragon. I was greeted by an entire shelf of Arches pads and blocks! Bought a bunch of hot pressed (pink) blocks ;)


CENTRAL WORLD: Siam Marketing
When I asked for a tourist discount / tax refund, the owner of the shop just smiled sheepishly and said that it's already so cheap, so they don't give discounts. It's true, though. I was able to buy more Ecoline colors (they had gray and white!) for 99 Baht, about 40Baht less than in the department store. Was also able to buy 1/2 oz bottles of metallic acrylic gouache that can be used as calligraphy ink, for only 45 baht each!


CENTRAL WORLD: B2S
Good selection of pens and manga art supplies.


 SIAM PARAGON & CENTRAL WORLD: Kinokinuya
Best selection of art-related books: Kinokuniya Siam Paragon
Best selection of craft books (with Japanese selection): Kinokuniya Central World


EMPORIUM MALL: BeTrend
Can't get enough of the BeTrend stationery sections in the department stores! Each one has a slightly different lineup of supplies, so they're all worth checking out.


EMPORIUM: Department Store (BTS Phrom Phong)
Home accessories

Love these wooden lamps! They were only 2000Baht each.

Hand-pulled art prints


 EMPORIUM: TCDC - Thailand Creative Design Center

At the top most floor of the Department store sits one of my favourite places to hang out in Bangkok, TCDC. It's a Library and co-working space--by membership only--but tourists get a free 1-day pass (just bring your passport), or you can pay a fee and get a 10-day pass. If I lived in BKK, I would definitely get a full membership here! Books, Magazines, DVDs, Movie & Music archives. Heaven for artists and designers.

Right next to the library are a couple of exhibition halls and a design shop.


LEMON FARM
(various locations around Bangkok)

So happy to have found Lemon Farm on the same street as our hotel. I was able to buy organic (and msg-free) mixes for Thai food faves Tom Yum and Pad Thai! I cooked the tom yum today and it's really good! :) Was also able to buy Galangal powder (essential for Thai cooking) here. Hoarded packs of these mixes, and thinking of bundling them up for Christmas gifts!




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Of course, no trip to Bangkok will be complete without FOOD! Here are some places we visited:


MERCURYVILLE (BTS Chit Lom)
Though fairly new (there are still some unoccupied slots), Mercuryville looks like a chill place to hang. There's a rooftop bar (that wasn't full that time, because we were there during the end of Buddhist fasting), and there's also Veganerie, a dessert resto & bakery, and Kalpapruek, which is famous for their Thai food.



THONGLOR ART VILLAGE: Root Garden 
Had their iced chocolate with soy milk froth!


THONGLOR ART VILLAGE: Soul Food Manahakorn
Thai food, but not that many vegetarian options. The place seems to be popular with the tourists and expats!

NAHM at Metropolitan by Como (Lumpini Area)
We were finally able to get a reservation for dinner at Nahm. I got the vegetarian set meal. The funny thing is, my favorite part about the meal was the pako, which served not as a salad, but a savory dish. Dessert was great! I had (photo on right) coconut with crushed ice & star apple, served with sesame crisps. Personally, though, I enjoyed my meal at Gaggan more. :P


I thought that Bangkok was just for clothes & shoes shopping, so I was pleasantly surprised by the wide (and easily accessible) selection of art supplies. Tip for you hoarders: PJ and I took Thai Airways and had 30kgs of free luggage allowance each! :P Are you going to Bangkok soon? Take me with you!:P