Bangkok Trip Tip

This is my 2nd time visiting Bangkok. This time it was a 4D3N trip. On my 1st time, I didn’t really pay much attention as it was mostly prepared and guided by brother. This time round I was there on my own, so I payed more attention to things. So here are some little tips in going around.

  • For 299฿, you can get a SIM card with 3 GB of Data and 100 baht of call/SMS credit valid for 8 days. The telecom network I went with was AIS. The 4G internet is very speedy almost everywhere I went.
  • Taking public taxi from Suvarnabhumi Airport to my hotel which as at Nana station costs 500฿ if go by highway.
  • Don’t forget hotel deposit. The hotel I stayed at which was Ambassador Hotel, the deposit is 1000฿.
  • BTS is used full to travel especially around heavily jammed area where Grab is not that practical. It’s quite a simple ordeal to purchase a 1 way trip ticket for BTS. You simply exchange for coin at Ticketing Counter if you don’t already have. Then go to the ticketing machine which looks like below photo. Do a look up on Fare Information diagram to see how ticket price you need to purchase. Once identified, you simply select and press the price button on the machine for your desired trip. After that, you can start to feed in coin till the required coin number go down to zero then a train ticket will be ejected at #3 area in the photo and coin change will be dropped at slot in area #4 in the photo.
  • One of the days, I planned to go clothes shopping at Platinum Pratunam and then to have seafood dinner at Siam Seafood next to Shibuya Pratunam. So instead of searching Google Map for direction from my hotel to Platinum Pratunam, I somehow was more focused on finding how to go to Shibuya Pratunam. So Google Map told me take 4 station from Nana to stop at Ratchathewi then walk about 800m to Shibuya. When we arrived at Shibuya, then only we realized that we need to walk like another 200 m to reach Platinum fashion mall then walk back after shopping. Only later then I realized that we could just stop at Chit lom (2 stop) or Siam (3 stop) and walk to Pratunam which is about the same distance but we would get to see and pass by famous shopping malls like Siam Paragon, Central World etc. Because of this mistake, we ended having to have another schedule to come to Siam for Siam Paragon and Siam Square One.
  • Don’t go Big C first. We made a mistake of heading to Big C first when we were there we had to buy a lot of stuffs (food, snack, toiletry, etc) that we don’t hands to carry and it wasn’t possible to carry those stuffs around while exploring other shopping malls. And we also found out that Big C opens till 2 am. So we dropped the stuffs and leave Big C for Central World and other place first before coming back to it later at night to get those stuff back then return to hotel.

 

Advertisements
Bangkok Trip Tip

Fix Khmer Unicode Display In Google Chrome

This post is a simple tip on how to fix Khmer Unicode font display weirdly in Google Chrome for Facebook and various other sites. Below is how the weird font looks like.

So we’re going to fix it to display in proper Khmer unicode font like Khmer OS Battambang.

screenshot.1526822834

  1. Go to Chrome Setting
    screenshot.1526822171
  2. Scroll down (or use “Search settings”) to look for Customized fonts.
    screenshot.1526822260
  3. In Customize fonts, menu scroll to the bottom to look for Advanced font settings.
    screenshot.1526822999
  4. If you haven’t had “Advanced font settings” chrome extension installed it will route you to add it to chrome.
    screenshot.1526823151.jpg
  5. Now that “Advanced font settings” extension is added you should be able to see the advance font settings page as below:
    screenshot.1526823252.jpg
  6. Simply configure the same as screenshot above. For font, you don’t have to necessarily pick Khmer OS Battambang, you can pick any Khmer unicode font.
  7. Then click Apply settings, then your font should change.
  8. However, no change is observed.  Then go to setting again then Customize font.
    Unders Standard font also select the Khmer unicode font that you want. Then it should reflect now.
    screenshot.1526915735

Result:

screenshot.1526915866.jpg

 

 

Fix Khmer Unicode Display In Google Chrome

Lmut Tum Restaurant

No automatic alt text available.

  • Meal: Dinner
  • Rating:
    Food: 8/10 | Ambient: 9/10 | Variety: 8/10 | Price: 8/10 | Service: 8/10
    Cuisine type: Local (Khmer)

This restaurant was introduced by my brother. At one point, we go there for family dinner quite often. I’ve tried plenty of their food. Some of them are really good, some are so-so.

Some of my favorites are:

  • Green Mango Salad With Dried Fish / Smoked Fish / បុកស្វាយត្រីងៀត / ត្រីឆ្អើរ
  • Hot Roasted Chicken
  • Fish Amok In Coconut / អាម៉ុកត្រីចំហុយដូងខ្ចី
    Image may contain: food
  • Snail Amok / អាម៉ុកខ្យង
  • Bay Kdang / បាយក្តាំងបំពង
  • Lort Dessert (បបរលតអង្ករ)

I haven’t tried much else. They have a lot of exotic food as well but normally, I always go for a safe choice. The only really bad one that I tried are their fried dishes. So generally try to avoid fried dishes. Seems like it’s not their strength.

Then there was once where I had a team function, the restaurant has a private room upstairs with a floor seating arrangement for us. My team loved the private space. The service pretty good too and not too pricey and some time if you’re lucky, you may get good singer around as well.

They also have delivery @ Nham24.

For more details can go their Facebook Page and Nham24 for the menu.

Lmut Tum Restaurant

MALIS Restaurants

Image result for malis restaurant

  • Date: 02-May-2018
  • Meal: Dinner
  • Rating:
    Food: 6/10 | Ambient: 7/10 | Variety: 8/10 | Price: 6/10 | Service: 9/10
    Cuisine type: Local (Khmer), Western

Finally, I get to try this exclusive restaurant. This is one of those restaurants that I would never go on my own expense. I just happened to be lucky enough to join my new company on the day that they have function there. So I’d be sure to take not write a post about it 🙂

Our group was about 15-16 people so we booked ourselves a private room. The room was quite simple not that impressive. But yeah I guess the cost mostly goes to the services, which is excellent.

Base on this one-time experience, I didn’t find the food that fantastic. Not to my taste.

We had:

  • Takeo Sausage
    Comment: It tastes vaguely similar to one of the local street food called Kong Kep Bouk (Frog with mixed stuffing). Anyway, it’s quite good.
  • Scallops with Green Peppercorns
    Comment: Scallop was good but the rest of the vegetable side and topping not so much.
  • Banana Blossom with Pork Salad
    Comment: Lolz the pork was good but the banana blossom salad definitely not my thing.
  • Fish Amok
    Comment: Amok and Fish have never been my kind of food. But this amok is quite good. Quite mild not too flavored.
  • Grilled Prawn with Pra Hok sauce (served with white rice)
    Comment: As much as I love lobster, they cooked it a bit too raw for my liking plus I don’t like Pra Hok that much. But yeah still by the far the best dish among all others we had that evening.
  • Bamboo Shoot and Smoke Fish Soup
    Comment: Probably the worst dish of the night for me. Didn’t like bamboo shoot nor the taste of the soup. I just left it unfinished.

All in all, I’m not too sure if they didn’t order the right food or that’s basically the standard there but from that one experience it wasn’t memorable, at least not for that price. So yes, if you’re just going for fanciness and quality service, then probably the right place but just for good food, I don’t think I’d go again and recommend anybody to go.

MALIS Restaurants

How to Love Genuinely

I recently come across this video about Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo speaking about genuine love and I feel deeply touched and inspired by it. It’s not the first time that I dwell in this topic. I have been reading and reflecting on myself to try to understand how do I feel love? give love? and receive love? And when I first encountered the concept of genuine love, I was truly moved and inspired to be able to love like that. Since then, I’ve been learning and training myself to be able to love people genuinely and also to inspire my love ones be able to do the same thus hopefully we able to collectively create an environment where everybody is genuinely be happy and having peace in the mind.

Transcript:

The problem is always that we mistake the idea of love for attachment. We imagine that the grasping and clinging that we have in our relationships shows that we love. Whereas actually, it is just attachment which causes pain because the more we grasp, the more we are afraid to lose then if we do lose, then of course, we are going to suffer. Attachment says “I love you therefore I want you to make me happy.” and Gunuine love says “I love you therefore I want you to be happy. If that includes me, great! If it doesn’t include me, I just want your happiness.” So it’s a very different feeling. Attachment is like holding very tight. But genuine love is like holding very gently nuturing, but allowing things to flow not to be held tightly. The more tightly we hold on to others, the more we will suffer. But it’s very hard for people to understand that because they think that the more we hold on to someone the more it shows that they care about them. But it’s not, it’s really just that they’re trying to grasp at something because they are afraid that otherwise they themselves will be hurt. Any kind of relationships which imagines that we can fulfill ourselves through another is bound to be very tricky. Ideally people should come together already feeling fulfill within themselves and just therefore appreciating that in the other rather than expecting the other to supply that sense of well-being which they don’t feel on their own. Then there’s a lot of problems. And also along with the projection which comes with romance where we project all our ideas, ideals and desires, and romantic fantasies on to the other which the other cannot possibly fulfill. Once you get to know them you realize that it’s not prince charming or Cinderella. It’s just a very ordinary person who’s also struggling. And unless one is able to see them with, to like them as well as feel desire for them and to also have loving kindness and compassion then it’s going to be a very difficult relationship.

How to Love Genuinely

Vientiane, Laos Trip

This is my 2nd time visiting Vientiane. This time round I’m here alone on a business trip to train engineer in Laos. And I’m here for 2 weeks which is a long trip. Despite that, I haven’t really been visiting exploring much because of busy schedule. I only have evening and night time to go around but I find that I don’t really dare to go out at night. Along the street is pretty dark and there isn’t much city lighting and it’s quite quiet, very little traffic. So I don’t really feel that safe to go out alone. I thought of renting a motor bike but at the thought of riding alone, I decided not to.

I find that people over here are very laid back. Not much businesses, street not very bustling, and no high rise building. Spending two weeks here is pretty tough. Most of the evening, I just order room service for dinner. Good thing is that the hotel food is quite good. Most of my adventure are trying out different food. So here is some brief snapshot of my Laos trip.

I was booked for City Inn Vientiane hotel. I like this it here. My previous trip I stayed at Saibaidee@Lao Hotel which is like USD 20 more expensive but not very much better. The wifi at City Inn is so much faster but the breakfast not as good and less variety. Room-wise, I think they are more or less the same.

Day 1

Breakfast at hotel. During lunch, I was brought to this place called Chokdee Dimsum Gold Restaurant. They had dim sum buffet and other non-buffet dishes as well. I ordered BBQ Pork Rice and Iced Milk Ovaltine. And my Laos colleagues ordered some other side dishes. My BBQ Pork Rice was not bad. The Ice Milk Ovaltine was also quite good because they don’t use condense milk like in Cambodia. They use fresh milk and they made it not so sweet. But my highlight of the lunch would have to be the fried dumpling with chili. The fried dumpling was very nice and goes very well with the chili though very spicy.

20160403_13573220160403_135617

For dinner, I ordered room service. Actually, that was the first time, that I ordered meal room service from hotel. Usually, I find that they are very overpriced, so I don’t really order. Anyway, my order were Cream of Mushroom Soup, Garlic Bread, Spicy Chick Wings and Spaghetti Bolognese.

Day 2

Breakfast as usual at hotel. During lunch, my Laos colleague brought me to try their really local food. Lap Lao Beef eaten with sticky rice. They seem to find it very delicious that they ordered like 3 servings of it. For me, it’s not particularly that good because first of it contains pra hok (smelly fermented fished thing) and secondly, there were a lot of vegetables, most of which are not to my liking.

4ea0304c69fb458c2bbcf58bd807d4af

For Dinner, again room service. French Fries, Corn and Spinach Au Gratin, Chicken Spring Rolls and latte for late night caffeine as it was going to be a long night working. The Corn and Spinach Au Gratin is actually a mistaken order. I placed order for 713 but some how the room service guy must have heard 703. I tried it anyway. It was not bad but it was just too corny that I was unable to each much of it.

20160329_192647

Day 3

Breakfast at hotel as usual. For lunch, I was brought to the nearby Pho noodle store. I ordered a large bowl pho and coconut shake. I had to say it was good Dinner room service: Golden Fried Prawn, Cream of chicken soup, and Chicken Cordon Bleu.

20160330_192403

Day 4

Breakfast at hotel as usual. During lunch, my Laos colleague brought me to Pizza company which would not be my choice of food-to-try in Vientiane. Anyway I ordered seafood spaghetti and chicken wings. Nothing spectacular to review.

Day 5

Again the usual breakfast at hotel. Lunch with Allen at this western buffet restaurant.
Went Swedish Pizza had worst seafood spaghetti ever. Thin Hawaiian pizza and banana shake.
Room service at hotel.

Day 6

Thailand. Porridge at Udon. Seafood. KFC.

Day 7

Breakfast at hotel. Lunch at Chokdee Dimsum Gold Restaurant. Dinner Room Service: Cream of Chicken Soup, Chicken Spring Rolls, Mix Fresh Fruit Juice and Grilled Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce.

Day 8 – Day 10

One of the days, they took me out of town to Thailand (specifically Udong Thani and Nong Khai). We dropped by PTT for a quick 7Eleven breakfast and Amazon coffee. Then at some road side porridge which was delicious. Then we went to Home Pro where I went nuts and wanted to buy everything. Then the highlight of the day was the lunch seafood (pic below). The tom yum was awesome. The grill squid was fantastic. And then there was the mini lobster or tiger prawn whatever you want to call it, which I don’t have time to describe because I was busy devouring them. It was very fresh and well grilled. I ate everything from head to tail. But in order to enjoy the food, you have to have quite high tolerance for spiciness (which Thailand is famous for) because everything is really spicy.

Other than that, I totally lost track hahaha and it’s been a long post. All in all, I think this is the trip that actually gave me a proper introduction to Vientiane. The first time was we were to busy and exhausted by work. Compared to Phnom Penh, Vientiane is still a far more serene, laid-back,  chilled city I think. It’s a good place to visit just to readjust a your tempo and experience a slower pace of life.

Vientiane, Laos Trip

Gullible, Insensible, Irrational World

These few days (Local Spelling: បុណ្យភ្ជុំបិណ្ឌ) is Pchum Ben festival in the country, an occasion where people mostly return to their hometown to meet family and preparing offering to bring to pagoda to pray and pay tribute to their ancestors. Since, I’m pretty much a city boy I don’t really have a hometown to go so generally I come along with my wife to her hometown. It’s probably one of the few occasions that we get to visit.

For my wife, this is a rejuvenating break where she is geographically away from work and get to spoil herself with food and sleep. Her simple version of escape is to get away from complex and hectic city life back to her root where things are simplified and people are simplified. Every time she comes back her mood turns cheerful, her skin turns fresh and her mind is at rest (well at least not until people start criticizing her weight, her life etc.).

For me, that was probably the only good thing of coming here. It makes her happy. The time here for me are mostly reflection time because every time I’m here a lot of thoughts never fail to cross my mind from things I hear and people I observe. It never fails to provoke me into switching on my laptop to write. Even after I’ve just recovered from heavy flu and about to pack up and go back I do not want to leave the thought hanging without penning it down.

Frankly, I don’t even know where to start or how to best describe without showing vindictive intent. 🙂 Well not exactly, but some time it really upsets me to be just a powerless bystander. There is a saying that you can’t teach an old dog a new trick. But this is more like a next level old poorly educated deep culturally rooted stubborn dog so much so that if they were reading this text they would probably stop right here and make an angry takeaway that I’m comparing them to a dog. Even when all I did was just adding more descriptive adjective to the metaphor in the idiom. Even as we were having dinner yesterday, I was telling my wife when I come here it always remind me to question myself again why did I return to this country after working so hard to leave this place and continued to stay out of it.

When we come to the province, it’s always the same routine where we go around meeting all the relatives, showing our courtesy, and endure through the repetitive generic conversations and questions. Why are you so fat? Why don’t you lose some weight? How much are you making now? The son/daughter/nephew/niece of this uncle/that auntie is making $XXX? Why you still cannot afford a car? When are you going to have kid? Why you keep so long? it’s not good. My first few encounters were excruciating. Then eventually I just learn to listen from left ear and let it out through right ear filtering for content that is worth listening to. I’m probably not the best person to rant about family value and making human connection. But I’m pretty sure that family are not supposed to be agent that apply social pressure and status quo on each other. Or probably I wasn’t brought up that way.

I understand that people here love making connection and keeping in touch. Personal relationship and friendship rules over everything. I have also observed that underneath all that is a thick layer of gossip, status quo comparison, hypocrisy and lies. This is the culture and way of life here. I can tell it’s not something that can simply change by logical reasoning. What I know is that it’s definitely something that I do not want to be a part of. However, it’s also not something I can easily distant myself from. Sometime, I don’t even know if I’m angry, frustrated, upset, sad or miserable. Probably all once. All I know is that I’ve been overseas for a very long time, I’ve trained myself both personally and academically. I have seen progressive society. Then when I have to come back to a society where majority of people still so gullible, insensible, irrational and corrupted. I just felt hopelessness. People go around throw big words about patriotism, national progress, blah blah. But in actuality, everybody is like a starving dog who would selfishly do anything to survive and keep its family alive.

I’m not a country changer, big talker and any political leader material. I know that for a fact. I’m an engineer in profession and an artist, designer, casual photographer and gamer, anime lover, movie enthusiast, book lover, board game hoarder in hobby. I’m passionate about what I do, what I love, and the people I love. I know my place and my role in society. And I believe that’s how society progresses. Everybody knows their place and play their role passionately, professionally with honesty and integrity. That’s exactly how it is when I was back in Singapore. And everything makes perfect sense. Everybody lives in harmony. But here? People want high position, bigger title, more pay, less work. And I’m not going to start talking engineer (for my area which is software) quality. It really doesn’t make sense to me at all. The logical thing is that if you’re not good enough, you be looking for opportunity to learn and grow to fulfill your role. And if I meet someone who’s smarter and full of knowledge, I would be delighted because there would be so much things I can learn from him/her. But here from my experience in working environment so far, it’s a complete opposite.

With all that said, I have also met and known truly great people. I really admire what they are doing to try to change whatever I’m complaining about in the generation to come. I really sincerely pray for blessing to their endeavor from my heart because what they do is selfless and will pave way for many people children including mine. I’m also grateful that I have known and befriend them because only the thought and connection with these group of people that keep my candle of hope for this country up and keep me grounded in this God forsaken country. And of course my most beloved family and wife.

Gullible, Insensible, Irrational World