Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Two days in Bangkok at the Centre Point Hotel Pratunam

A few weekends back we went to Bangkok with Sofia. We actually planned for the trip in the early part of the year, since we're suckers for Cebu Pacific's Piso Sale, so when we found round trip piso fare tickets that would allow us to visit Bangkok for 2 full days (take note: Saturday Night to Tuesday early morning) for around Php4,000 per person, we decided to take it. Whenever the flight schedule requires Sofia to be absent for at least two days, I'm quite torn on whether or not to bring her. For this trip, since the tickets were not really expensive, I bought her a ticket anyway which I reasoned she could just not use if she had exams or something equally important in school, which turned out to be a blessing.

Sofia originally decided not to go with us because she was lazy, and Bangkok did not really interest her much, except for wanting to eat Mangoes and Sticky Rice. Unfortunately, the day before we left, it rained so hard in Manila (due to a monsoon coupled with a typhoon nearby) that it caused flooding... which entered our home again!!! This isn't something that's new to us. It happens almost every year. You can read about my post on the flood due to the monsoons in 2012 here. We already know what to do, which is bring up everything we want to save... so the hassle comes after the flood because a lot of cleaning needs to be done. By default, Sofia had to go with us to Bangkok to get her out of everyone's hair so the helpers could focus on cleaning our house.

Fortunately, the rain stopped so the floods subsided, and we had no trouble catching our flight at all. Except we sort of think booking a piso fare trip to Bangkok in September is jinxed because the first time we did it in 2009, Ondoy happened and we weren't able to take our flight because Ady and Sofia actually got stranded on the roof and the flood did not subside for 3 days!

The problem with Cebu Pacific is they don't give a shit about Customer
Service. Our flight was delayed an hour, and I have no idea why they don't
use the walkways that connect directly to the plane.
Sofia and Ads were able to catch some Zzzz's.
Because of the delay, we arrived in Bangkok past midnight.
My first stop when we arrived was the local mobile carrier to get a
7 days Unlimited Data sim for 299Baht (less than US$10). It comes with
100Baht credit which you can use to call or text.

The only bright side in arriving late is we missed the legendary Bangkok traffic due to the late hour. Cab fare from the Airport to Pratunam is roughly around 500 Baht with toll and the driver surcharge when coming from the airport.
We stayed at the Centre Point Hotel in Pratunam which I found on
for 3,800 Baht for two nights. 
I chose it for the location, close to the Pratunam Shopping Area, so we don't need to spend time on transport since we were only there for 2 days, for it's price, and because they had a nice pool and a kid's club. 

When we arrived, I was quite surprised to see that the ambiance of the lobby (both outside and inside) was quite posh.
Outdoor Lobby
Indoor lobby. Refreshments served through out the day.
Though that's actually freshly brewed tea, instant coffee available.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that the rooms were really big.
We had a couch area and kitchenette as the place is also a serviced apartment.
I was happy to see the toiletries because I wasn't any to pack any due
to the chaos brought about by the flood.
It was only on our second day did we discover that the hotel had a side
entrance that leads you directly to Petchburi Road (the main shopping street).
Because we arrived after midnight, our first stop was 7-11 to buy some
food. The microwave immediately came in handy. Just note, dimsum
in the 7-11 in Bangkok is NOT Good!!! 7-11 Hong Kong is much better.
Night and Day view from our Room

The next day, Sofia and I had breakfast in the room, then we went to explore the hotel while waiting for Ninang Ady to wake up. We opted for the room rate with no breakfast, so we just ate the stuff we got from 7-11 the night before.
Chocolate Chip Bread and Milo for Sofia,
and banana and Iced Coffee for me.
There's a breakfast buffet near the pool and kids area for an extra
500 Baht per head which I didn't think was worth it.
We checked out the pool which looked nice.
And the Kids Club which Sofia is a bit too old for. She would have loved
this when she was smaller.
Then we decided to swim. Sofia loved jacuzzi because she's a water baby, but she was afraid of going into the big pool on her own since she never finished her swimming lessons.
We snacked by the pool because Ninang wasn't up yet.
It was only on Day 2 that Sofia conquered her fear of the big pool.
I love the private shower room in the pool floor because it allows you to
wash up in privacy so you don't need to go up to your room wet.
We got back to the room around noon and we were starving so we
snacked on the Curry Noodles first to see if it's worth hoarding.
(it is!!! it's so good. also available in 7-11)

Since we snacked, our first stop was Pratunam Market. 
If you're familiar with the area. It's pretty much the shaded blue square.
It's outdoors, so it's hot, and this area is known for pickpockets!
I've been victimized twice, so you really just need to be very careful.
For perspective, The hotel is on Soi 15 (refer to blue arrow), but the side entrance leads directly to Petchburi Road (main shopping street).

Pratunam Market
If you're shopping for clothes, the best bargains can still be found here.
While shopping in Platinum Mall is more comfortable, prices are easily double.
There are also a lot of food stalls along Petchburi Road.
And along Soi 21, the alley leading to Pratunam Market across Platinum Mall.
The sausages looked so good.
Very busy alleys of Pratunam Market.
Some shopping tips, buy in Wholesale because you get a bigger discount that makes it worth it. Wholesale is sometimes only 2 or 3 pieces, and the sellers allow you to mix and match designs. Sizes generally run small, so best to get your smaller friend or sister to buy - try it in the hotel and come back to buy some more (which is what I do). You should also check the stitching, some stores sell items that are better made than others. The sellers will normally give you a new piece which is all rolled up, so make sure you check for defects so you don't need to come back and change them.
One of  our favorite chiffon blouse sellers.
They have nice designs that are well made.
Look for her on the main alley, in front of the coconut seller.
Sofia was starting to get a headache from fatigue and the heat so we needed
to feed her and move on to shopping in the mall.

We had lunch at the food court of the Platinum Fashion Mall but we weren't really happy with what we got (More on that in a separate post). Since Platinum Fashion Mall is quite big, we normally just head to our favorite stores, then sort of meander around and stop only when something catches our attention.

Platinum Fashion Mall Favorite Stores
Sofia's pick: Sun Star Wholesale Market, 1 level below the food court
She loves it so much, I bribed her with visits here when she gets tired.
Shawl stores. They have a lot in the stores close to the
Sun Star Wholesale Market.
First Lady. Can be found (on the 3rd floor, I think) next to this hanging sign.
3 pieces for wholesale price. If you say you're buying for business,
you get a bigger discount, but minimum 2 pieces of 1 design. 
Fastfood. Tshirts for guys with witty print.
Third Floor, first row which leads to the bridge entrance
to Platinum Mall. To exit, pass the second floor bridge.
Since Sofia was really tired on our first day, I think we agreed to go back to the hotel around 4pm, but we decided to pass the long way (aka through Pratunam Market) so we could do more shopping on the way home. 
Another favorite stop of mine is Sensini Shoe Store. It's right on Petchburi Rd
beside the overpass that leads to Platinum Mall on the other side of the road
(side of Pratunam Market). Shoes look expensive but start at 199 Baht.
If you walk through the main alley leading to Pratunam Market (Soi 21) it will actually lead you to a square with a Night Market, you can also score some good finds here.
This is where I bough Sofia some of the comfy white shirts she likes,
but I got jean shorts with lace to match them.
Selfie in the Market, kahit pagod na.
If you want to buy good street food, you should turn right on the street parallel to Petchburi road walking towards the direction of the hotel (away from the Platinum Mall intersection) refer to map.
On that main road, you can already buy Sticky Rice with Mango from
the cart vendors for 60 Baht. It's much cheaper and so much better
than the Sticky Rice with Mango we got from the Platinum Food Court.
From that main street, you can actually see an alley lined with so much more food carts which you can explore if you're interested. Here's a sample of what they offer.
Grilled Prawns
My dad's favorite, salt crusted grilled fish.
Pad Thai, which again looked better than what they
serve at Platinum Food Court.
They also had a fruit stand where I was able to buy a big pack of yellow-
green mangoes for only 25 Baht. It was so good, it was such a steal!
My daughter was so tired she wanted to kill me.
Hahaha. Good thing there was a slipper stall where she
bought a pair of Star and Moon slippers.
From the back, we found our way home, but it was really
a long day for this little girl.
If you're looking for more places to shop, at night,
vendors lay their goods on the street in front of
Platinum Mall. Croc Birkin for sale 100 Baht only.

For our second day, we decided to do more of the same, but it was basically just Sofia who went back to Sun Star Wholesale Market to finish all their stock her Baht. The hotel was nice enough to allow us to extend our stay until 7pm (for half the normal room rate) so we were able to swim, then lunch, shop a bit, then nap before we went out to dinner.
I discovered more good things from 7-11: the cheese dog and
the mushroom pie which we ate with the fruit platter from the hotel.
Another good thing about the location of the hotel is the main entrance on
Soi 17 is actually an alley lined with massage places, so I was able to get
a foot massage before we had to leave for the airport.
Tuktuk ride Anyone? Presyong Turista Guaranteed!
This little girl was tired, but really happy,
as evidenced by her 50 pencils with eraser toppers!!!
This is why we travel with huge luggage,
so we can hoard groceries not available in the Philippines.
On the way to the airport, the hotel called a cab for us, and he'll actually offer you a deal - whether to get a fixed price cab at 500 Baht or one that charges the meter rate + toll. We opted to get the metered cab and we ended up paying less than 250 Baht.

It was surprisingly a very good break for us. I was surprised at how much fun Sofia had. 

We loved our stay at Centre Point Hotel Pratunam and we will definitely always stay there when we come back. Stay tuned for my other posts on our Bangkok trip. just saying.

Centre Point Hotel Pratunam
You can view their website here for more details on the property, 
but you may be able to find cheaper rates if you book through

No comments:

Post a Comment