A Travellerspoint blog

October 2018

Koh Kret, Bangkok

Koh Kret is a sizeable village surrounded by flow of Chao Phraya river and smaller adjoining rivers around it, which made it look like an island. And I think because of the geographical structure and landscape that formed the land of which the village was established, hence the name Koh Kret (Kret Island) was being tagged on this village. So, do not be mistaken that this was yet another island in Thailand when the name was mentioned.

BOARDING THE BOAT FROM WAT SANAM NUEA TO KOH KRET
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Koh Kret is located in Pak Kret of Nonthaburi province, not far away from Bangkok. One of the most important industry in Koh Kret is the pottery production factory of which these were operating from the village homes and being the most unique industry within the village. Talk about pottery and Koh Kret will surely come into mind when you are in Bangkok.

ARRIVAL AT KOH KRET & FIRST LANDMARK-WAT PORAMAIYIKAWAT
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To get to Koh Kret, shuttle ferry can be boarded from the Wat Sanam Nuea pier with a fare of THB 2 which is a short river crossing to the island village of Koh Kret. Upon reaching Koh Kret, the first landmark and attraction is the historical Wat Poramaiyikawat.

KOH KRET OTOP VILLAGE WEEKEND MARKET & ITS SELECTION OF STREET FOOD
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The best time to visit Koh Kret is during the weekends when the OTOP Market (One Tambon (Township) One Product) is open. It could be seen from the signboard to this OTOP weekend market which was a award winning market but not sure if that was for real or just a statement to attract more visitors to Koh Kret. Regardless of the signboard saying the fact or otherwise, this Koh Kret weekend market is definitely worth a visit.

DELICIOUS MIENG KAM
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There are just so many selection of street food available to choose from and these are very tastily delicious while easy on the pocket in terms of pricing too. Just walk along the narrow footpath of the market, stroll through the market and you will definitely find some of the most interesting street food that comes in variety of snacks and sweets available among the vendors. One of the must try street food in Koh Kret is the mini ‘mieng kham’ on sticks. Mieng Kham is made from raw fresh leaves filled with roasted coconut shreds follow by other mixture of ingredients including chopped shallots, fresh chilies, cut gingers, garlic, small dried shrimps and chopped peanuts. The raw fresh leave will wrapped all the ingredients together and it is ready to be eaten. Try this when you are at Koh Kret weekend market, you will likely enjoy it I am sure if you are one that enjoy the taste of herbs.

DISTINCTIVE KHAO CHAE
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Another unique dish in Koh Kret is ‘khao chae’. This is a rice dish where the rice being soaked in jasmine flower scented water that is added with some rock or cube ice. Khao means rice while chae means soak. Apart from the soaked rice, Khao chae is served along with variety of other add ons of sweets and mouth watering side dishes. These include shrimp paste balls, stuffed shallots, battered salted egg and fried sweet pepper. Khao chae is another not to be missed food while touring Koh Kret and is served in most of the food joints overlooking the river. You can have lunch or drinks in the afternoon or after a lengthy walk around the OTOP market and enjoy the scene along the Chao Phraya river.

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Other than good street food tasting experience, Koh Kret offers more interesting activities to everyone. This include the few landmark Thai temples of which Wat Poramaiyikawat being the most iconic among them. From the shuttle ferry pier over at Wat Sanam Nuea, the slanted white Chedi of Wat Poramaiyikawat can be seen. This temple is the very first place all visitors to Koh Kret will come across when landed in this island village. Wat Poramaiyikawat was said to have been built over 200 years ago and was based on Mon style architecture. Other notable temples include Wat Phai Lom and Wat Sao Tong Thong. The village homes in Koh Kret are surrounded by huge greens including trees, fruit trees and bushes. A walk along the footpath on the island will bring you to some of the nook and corners of Koh Kret village homes.

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THE POTTERY PRODUCTS & POTTERY VILLAGE AT KOH KRET
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THE STREETS, VILLAGE HOMES & NATURAL SURROUNDINGS AT KOHKRET
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BICYCLE FOR RENT & FISH FEEDING ACTIVITY AT KOH KRET
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As pottery industry is the most vital business within Koh Kret, a visit to village homes with pottery productions should be included while in Koh Kret. These pottery house will have complete working areas where slabs of earths being produced on site, manual pot shaping and carvings right up to heating of variety of pots inside a huge heat stove all within the pottery production house. The pots produced consist of few selection of varieties suitable for kitchen use in household or commercial purpose or just for purpose of souvenir or decorations for homes or gardens. If you like it, you can purchase it for souvenir or own use and price is also affordable. Koh Kret is surely an attractions to visit while you are in Bangkok. All in, the OTOP market, the street food, the temples and Chao Phraya scene and the pottery village did not disappoint.

Posted by kidd27 21:12 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok Old Time Coffee Shop 2

Kope Hye Tai Kee

sunny 33 °C

Within the vicinity of Old Bangkok, there was another old coffee shop gem known as Kope Hye Tai Kee. Kope Hye Tai Kee is located close to Wat Suthat and The Giant Swing as well as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) City Hall building. Even though my visit was on a weekend, the shop was not as crowded as the one at On Lok Yun though customers can be seen visiting slowly on a chain one after another. The atmosphere was quite relax as the shop was located at the corner of a row of colonial style buildings while traffic condition was calm as the street was not located on the main traffic direction. It also faces a huge open concourse area overlooking Wat Suthat and Giant Swing.

KOPE HYE TAI KEE
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THE BANGKOK METROPOLITAN ADMINISTRATION OFFICE & THE ADJACENT OPEN CONCOURSE AREA
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THE GIANT SWING
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Kope Hye Tai Kee has a very well presented menu book as well as good choice of classic breakfast and lunch food choices. The front page of the menu book displays the old photo of the shop which has been established for a good 65 years. Some of its specialty include the black coffee as well as the mixture of coffee and tea beverage.

THE MENU BOOK
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Even though my stomach was still full from the breakfast effect over at On Lok Yun, I could not resist the food shown in the menu of Kope Hye Tai Kee. At least one of those food must be tried and tasted other than the coffee. So I ordered something light and easy which happened to be the simple roti pratha or just rotee in a Thai. Most of the rotee in Thailand can be found in street food vendors on pushcarts and topped with condensed milk and sugar. The rotee version at Kope Hye Tye Kee have a separate sugar and condensed milk placed into small cups and the rotee on the plate. So you could enjoy your rotee on the plain side or add the sugar or condensed milk to the extent of your liking. There was also the rotee version with curry available on the menu but I can have it just without any add-on but still liking it very much. The texture of the rotee was adequately crispy and not too oily as well as not overly thick. I would say that it really did not disappoint.

THE BLACK COFFEE, THE MIX COFFEE & TEA & THE ROTEE
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The interior as well as the exterior of Kope Hye Tai Kee maintained its old structures and design though renovations had been done to some parts of this coffee shop. The stools and the tables were based on the old traditional style coffee shop furnitures. The overall atmosphere was not stuffy though it was not air-conditioned and if you happened to be on a walking tour around the Rattanakosin district, perhaps a quick stop for a cup of iced coffee or a quick meal to recharge is one of the thing you could do to get some rest after some tiring walk.

THE INTERIOR
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Posted by kidd27 13:05 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok Old Time Coffee Shop 3

Eiah Sae

sunny 33 °C

Over at Yaowarat, the Chinatown of Bangkok, there is also yet another worth visiting traditional style coffee shop by the name of Eiah Sae. Yaowarat is where you could see the huge Chinese descendants formed the majority of the community. Most tourists and locals known Yaowarat as a heaven for street food and never have thought a nearly century old coffee shop ever existed here.

THE EXTERIOR OF EIAH SAE
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Eiah Sae was said to have established since 1927. The current location of the coffee shop was not where it was originally located. It shifted to current location from previous location not too distance away from present shop. Because of its location which was not on the main attractions of Yaowarat and on the back soi (Thai for lane) of the road, not many tourists or Thais known about the existence of the coffee shop. It was also within the quiet neighbourhood of Yaowarat. Unlike On Lok Yun or Kope Hye Tai Kee, Eiah Sae attracted the elderly crowds, those who have been living in the area for many years as well as those who know of this coffee shop establishment. Local community or those work around the area also formed part of its customers. If you found your way here, you will likely be the only foreigner around.

THE INTERIOR OF EIAH SAE
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THE MENU
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THAI ICED MILK TEA
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THE TOAST BREAD WITH CHOCOLATE SPREAD
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The menu of Eiah Sae was simple with selection of coffee or milk tea, hot or cold, iced lemon tea with toasted bread being the main dish served in classic butter and sugar, kaya or coconut paste as well as chocolate. Soft or half boiled eggs also formed part of the menu. The interior of the coffee shop which maintained the old colonial style design and architecture as well as the wooden tables and stools add in to the nostalgic feel of old style coffee shop experience over at Eiah Sae albeit the existence of a modern cafe within a boutique hotel & cafe nearby.

NEARBY BOUTIQUE HOTEL & CAFE
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Posted by kidd27 12:45 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok Old Time Coffee Shop 1

On Lok Yun

sunny 33 °C

In Bangkok, the rapid rate of urban developments had transformed the city landscapes into clusters of towering buildings and structures. This has resulted in huge disappearance of old structures, some could possibly dated hundreds of years in age. But fortunately, the city authority was able to shore up long term benefits of urban master plan in maintaining the old section of Bangkok known as the Rattanakosin district. Almost all the structures in Old Bangkok district consist of vintage buildings of which today, were still operating as business outlets of the heydays while others have been transformed into contemporary cafes, restaurants, art house, minimarts, boutique hotels, guesthouse, bakery shops and other trade outlets catering to locals as well as travellers. The Sino-Portuguese style building structures attracted my deep interests. I find these old architecture shops, usually built in 2 storey, very attractive and can be even seen as evergreen as they never be outdated when it comes to keeping up with current architecture design and styles though it has dated even up to hundred years of age. Over in Bangkok, the new extended MRT stations OF Hua Lamphong station, Wat Mangkon Kamalawat station and Wang Burapha station all were designed based on the Sino-Portuguese style structures which were a testament to the fact that such old architecture was never left behind times.

THE OLD SIAM SHOPPING PLAZA IN WANG BURAPHA, BANGKOK
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THE SALA CHALERM KRUNG ROYAL THEATRE
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Four years ago, I had been exploring this part of Old Bangkok on walking tour which brought me to some of the important landmarks and tourist attractions including historical buildings and temples such as Phra Sumen Fort, Democracy Monument, Dinso Road, Khao San Road, Wat Saket or Golden Mount Temple, Wat Suthat & The Giant Swing, Lohas Prasat, Wat Bowoniwet, Wat Arun and Wat Pho. Back to the Rattanakosin district, this time around I venture to this Bangkok Old city to check out some of the old time coffee shops of which today, not many has existed. This was due to the fact that the previous old generation entrepreneurs were no longer around while the current generations were not keen to take over the business. Most likely, the handful old style coffee shops in Old Bangkok may only be around for next 10 years or so and perhaps this is the time to visit before they dissapear for good, so I thought.

ON LOK YUN COFFEE SHOP, THE CROWD & THE INTERIOR
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THE ADJACENT YET TO BE OPEN NEW WANG BURAPHA MRT STATION
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One of the still famous and most visited old coffee shop in Bangkok is the On Lok Yun coffee shop. This Chinese style coffee shop was said to be existed for over 80 years and still have strong followers of locals as well as Asian holiday makers. Operating from the Sino-Portuguese style shop, the exterior as well as its interior maintained much of its golden days structure and design leaving much of it intact until now. The queue can be surprisingly long on weekends with local crowds and tourists lining up the shop walkways waiting patiently for their number to be called upon. You can try to explore the neighbourhood while waiting for your turn and another surprise may just appear right in front of you while doing so. Within the vicinity of On Lok Yun, the majestic Sala Chalerm Krung Theatre was just next door making the dining experience even more interesting as such old gems came in your way, which it really did for me because of my grave interest for old style buildings. The old theatre was built in 1933 and today it operates as a stage for the traditional Thai Khon-Masked Dance show known as The Hanuman. The theatre still until today maintained its old structures and I believe, that such plan to keep the theatre just as it is will provide benefits to the Thai government due to the value brought about by such vintage theatre. By turning it into a stage for Thai traditional dance performance show, this attracts the tourists to visit and to get to know the history of Sala Chalerm Krung Theatre and it could be turned into a museum one day should the theatre no longer in operations.

ON LOK YUN'S MENU
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Another vintage landmark around the On Lok Yun is the Old Siam Plaza. Old Siam Plaza, located in the Wang Burapha Phirom area was formerly the site of Burapha Phirom Palace, a royal residence of one of the brothers of King Chulalongkorn. it is also famous in silk textiles and the new Wang Burapha MRT station is located not far from here. Not long after this, if you would like to visit On Lok Yun, Sala Chalerm Krung Royal Theatre and Old Siam Plaza, take the MRT and get off at the Wang Burapha station, which scheduled to open in 2019. All these 3 places are located within walking distance.

THAI ICED MILK TEA
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Back to On Lok Yun, the coffee shop has two floors of dining area and on weekends, due to the overcrowded customers, you may end up on the upper floor of the shop. Do not expect the comfort of the air-conditioning. Remember I mentioned that the coffee shop still keep the way it was run some over 80 years ago. The menu has probably changed, unlike the olden days of just toasted or steam white bread with the spread of butter and coconut jam otherwise known as kaya paste coupled with half boiled eggs and coffee and milk tea. On Lok Yun served the typical modern all day breakfast menu consist of bacon, ham, sausage, Chinese sausage and fried eggs. You can also have steam cube white bread with kaya and condensed milk too. Other breakfast choice include bread with butter and sugar and egg custard bread. One of the most outstanding yet distinguished from the other restaurants serving breakfast menu would be its French toast. I would say the French toast is the winner of all the others on On Lok Yun’s menu which definitely must not be missed when you are here. Topped the breakfast food with either hot or iced milk tea or coffee which will complete the fulfilled dining experience at On Lok Yun.

STEAM BREAD WITH KAYA & CONDENSED MILK
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AMERICAN BREAKFAST
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FRENCH TOAST
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On Lok Yun offers one of a kind of nostalgic breakfast dining experience. I would say if you could find your way to this coffee shop or you have some extra time to spend in Bangkok wandering off the usual shopping and eating, you can try to head to On Lok Yun for breakfast before chilling out over at the adjacent Old Siam Plaza.

Posted by kidd27 12:04 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

The world of convenience store

31 °C

Convenient store is the modern world mini or small shops offering all kinds of our daily needs. The word convenience means, you can get all your required daily use items easily. Everything can be obtained in a convenience store. From ready to eat meals, frozen meals with heat up service, assortment of snacks, sweets, bread and bun varieties, all kinds of beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholics, hot meals, books and magazines, toiletries, stationeries, you name it you have it.

THE PANYAPIWAT INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT 7-ELEVEN OUTLET IN PAK KRET, NONTHABURI
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THE ORGANISED GOODS SELECTION AREA & WIDE WALKWAYS & A ROBOT FEATURE
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When travelling, need a quick recharged, forgotten to get something from your weekly shoppings or on the go, convenience store provides the easy, hassle free solutions to all the things mentioned. Those who are frequent travellers, no matter you are backpackers, mid range traveller or luxury traveller, convenience store is a godsend. Simply said, you can just leave all the travel essentials at home or be forgetful, convenience store is always there for you.

THE READY TO EAT MEALS SECTION

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In Thailand, a country which I travel to very often, the most outstanding convenience store is no other than 7-11 store, pronounced ‘sae vaen’ In Thai. Well, 7-11 needs no introduction as the one stop solution shops are located in every corners of the streets, roads, row of shops and among buildings. Practically, there were almost everywhere of the city or township.

HOTDOGS,HAMS, STEAM BAO & BURGERS SECTION
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This 7-11 store in Bangkok that I went recently was exceptionally different from the other 7-11 available in Thailand. I was told that this store located in Pak Kret, Nonthaburi province is the largest 7-11 store available in Thailand as of now. It was opened since December 2017. Located close to the Panyapiwat Institute of Management (PIM), a higher learning education institute set up by CP All PCL, a large conglomerate in Thai corporate world under the Charoen Pokphand Food PCL Group which specialised in agribusiness, food, retail and distributions as well as telecommunications. CP All PCL owned 7-11 stores by itself in Thailand apart from those that were operating under the franchise agreements with franchise holders.

THE SNACKS SECTIONS
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This store in PIM has a very spacious walkways within the store, which provide more comfort when walking through the gondola or shelves of goods, in particular during busy hours with high human traffic. There were also a lot more selections of foods and other daily essential items available to choose from. There was even a robot of which I was not sure how does that work on because at time of visit, it was not operational. The were a long stretch of table facing outdoor where customers could sit down to enjoy their meals or simply to relax over coffee or drinks bought from the store.

COLD DRINKS SECTION
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BAKERY & SWEETS SECTION
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The food selection in 7-11 stores are excellent and you can grab anything you could get from each of the corners of the shelves, gondolas and fridges. Some of my favourite quick to eat meal include the burgers which have a good number of selections. It used to have just the CP brand but with increasing popularity probably, now, most of the burgers are packed under the brand name 7 eleven. Another of my favourite quick meal is the bao or the steam buns which also comes with range of flavor and fillings. For me, the minced pork filling taste quite good. There were also variety of ready to eat meals packed under the CP brand name which comes with rice and Thai favourite side dishes such as pad grapow gai khao dao, green curry, Tom yum and fried omelette. Over the counter, you can have the food heat up after paying the bills and wait for few minutes to have it ready and there you go with the hot meal with you.

NON-FOOD SECTIONS
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There were also a good selections of snacks including the tourists favourites such as the deep fried seaweed, chilli squids, potato chips, peanuts, all being the Thai brand. The bakery selection were also equally good that comes with fresh bread and pastries with variety of fillings available. For beverages, there were few brands of mineral and drinking water to select from, good selection of sodas, milks, yogurt drinks, coffee, tea, sweet drinks and beers. The next time if you forget about something when you go travel, do not be worry as 7-11 may saved the day.

THE DINING AREA & OVERALL INTERIOR
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Posted by kidd27 10:38 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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