Archive for 2017

29th SEA Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 opens with surprisingly good opening ceremony!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2017 by vincentloy

The 29th South East Asian (SEA) Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 has officially opened with a magnificent opening ceremony held just now in Bukit Jalil National Stadium. I am not in Malaysia but I am glad to be able to watch the ceremony live just now from YouTube. It began on 8.17pm (20:17 time for this year of 2017). I didn’t have high expectation of the ceremony, as you know, it is Malaysia. I remembered that our opening ceremony for 1998 Commonwealth Games was nothing exciting and I don’t even remember a single moment from the ceremony in 2001 when we last hosted this SEA Games.

Then, I am left surprised. The opening ceremony just now was actually good. Not to the point that it was incredible or out of this world, but it is still a great show. We of course cannot compare this to Olympic-level ceremonies. This is considered breathtaking at SEA Games level. The ceremony is short (just two hours) and I’m fine with it. The official speeches were short (good too). The first half of the ceremony is dedicated for all the official procedures like flags parade, athletes parade, and oaths taking. Then, came the second part that I’m looking forward to which is the performance segment.

I’m surprised that the role of the creative director is given to a Chinese this time. Cool. That’s a wise decision. I’m not intending to be racist here but giving major role to a Chinese in Malaysia is a very seldom occasion. Give us a chance and we will deliver. And he (forgot his name) delivered. I’m amazed by his ability to combine the traditional shows with contemporary elements for the performances. It’s hard to do that and he accomplished it. I can still experience the unique diversity of Malaysia (and ASEAN overall) through traditional dances and outfits, but at the same time, listening to vibrant modern music and seeing high-tech colourful lighting and projection all around. The choreography and synchronisation aren’t at the best but the effort is there. The presentation appeared to be like a mess for a time but overall, the energy was there.

Before watching the show, I have fear that the ceremony will be overwhelmed with very traditional dances and songs. I’m now certainly in relief. The songs during the performance are also great and complements to the energetic atmosphere of the almost fully-packed stadium. As for the stadium, I love the newly refurbished stadium. It looks awesome with the new skin cladding and modern LED lights. A major disappointment of the ceremony would be the cauldron. It’s just a huge chunk of cylinder mimicking ‘oil lamp’ (the broadcaster said so). That part is supposed to be intense and exciting. The end result is not. Lack of effort on this crucial part of the ceremony. And I don’t even know the last torch bearer. Apology but who is she? The last torch bearer is supposed to be someone who is the most excellent in world sports. By the way, where is our beloved Datuk Lee Chong Wei? He is not appearing at all in this ceremony. He is the best choice for that spot.

Last but not least, the concluding fireworks is awesome although I wish for more. Generally, the ceremony is great and is a good effort but it lacks ‘wow’ moment. There literally isn’t any ‘wow’ moment in the show. All the ‘suspended in the air’ show in the ceremony fall short of excitement too. The idea of having LED lights installed at the side of audiences’ seats reminds me of the same situation for London 2012 ceremonies. Well, I’m fine for this idea to be reused again to make the show better. Now, the games begin and we will see if Malaysia could reach its target by winning over 111 golds and topping the medal tally. The games will end with a closing ceremony on 30th August 2017, which is coincidentally the eve of the country’s 60th anniversary of independence celebration.

(Images in this post are from The Star Online and YouTube screenshots)

Review for TVB drama ‘Bet Hur’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Bet Hur’ (賭城群英會) is a TVB drama directed by famous film director, Wong Jing that revolves on revenge started from a lost in a gambling match between two masters. The revenge continues to the younger generations. The drama is categorized as a gambling drama but gambling is only present on the first and the last episode of the whole 35-episodes series. I was very excited for this drama back then because it is a huge production drama and it has a great cast including those we have long not seen in television before such as Patrick Tse, Nat Chan, and Monica Chan. The drama also starred Kenneth Ma, Charmaine Sheh, Raymond Wong, Samantha Ko, Dominic Ho, Carlo Ng, Joseph Lee, Connie Man, Matt Yeung, Louisa Mak, etc.

What do I think of the drama? One word: Lousy! The drama’s title itself gives a huge false impression. It is so misleading. I am expecting a drama filled with intense gambling, dramatic action scenes and suspenseful plots. I ended up seeing a drama with extremely poor story, illogical plot that doesn’t flow cohesively, and emphasizes more on boring love storyline. I can only see gambling on the first and the last episodes of the drama. That’s it. No thrilling actions or plots going in between. The huge amount of time given to develop the romantic relationship between Dominic Ho and the other two girls is so unnecessary and irrelevant to the whole story. Even the love storyline between Kenneth Ma and Charmaine Sheh is not developed to that level. Everything is not balanced.

The presence of heavyweight cast in this series is a total missed opportunity. They are some great scenes for them to showcase their acting (especially some explosive or death scenes) but they are not enough to save the whole drama. It is a waste to their talents. Nevertheless, Kenneth Ma do has one scene that is amazing but that doesn’t help to push him for any award recognition this year. The old veteran that acted as the nemesis of Patrick Tse in the drama is very poor on voicing out his lines. I always cannot hear what he said. Patrick looks cool at his age but his role is so ’empty’. Nat Chan and Monica Chan couldn’t act and shouldn’t be here at all. Louisa Mak, a newbie actress, performed badly but can be forgiven since this is her first time acting. Her crying (Nat Chan’s crying too) scenes in this drama are awful. Raymond Wong and Connie Man’s characters are very minor and it makes me feel as though they are added to the story just to join in the fun.

I can literally call this drama a rubbish. There is literally nothing going on for almost 30 episodes of the drama. And as the drama nears its ending, the scriptwriter decided to kill as many characters as he/she wants. So many deaths, and surprisingly, I’m not feeling anything. The whole story is badly written. And how about the conclusion? Another bad conclusion. Kenneth’s character has to have evil intentions and has to kill innocent people to win in the end. And he is not going to jail for that? Hmm…that is sending out a bad message to audiences. Charmaine’s character made a good decision to leave him. The only happy thing is at least that the whole bad family is now gone, and the scriptwriter decided to stress on that again and again in the last episode. That is so not necessary.

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Bet Hur’ a total of 5.0. Out of that 5, 3 points are for the stars and 2 points are for the production effort. No point at all for the story. It’s a total crap. Very disappointed with this series. Let’s get this series out of the mind and I now look forward to the next TVB drama ‘The Unholy Alliance’.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

 

Movie review for ’47 Meters Down’ and ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2017 by vincentloy

It has been so chilly in these few days in Perth. Perth city recorded only 1.7 degree celsius early this morning. It almost nears the freezing point. The worst thing is I think that the heater in my room is not working well. There is not much heat radiating out from it. Please don’t be down. I need you for the rest of the winter. You are super crucial to someone like me who enjoy being in warm rather than in cold weather like this.

Alright. Back to my blog’s topic. I have watched two new movies in my first few days here in Perth. They are ’47 Meters Down’ and ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’. Here’s below are my quick reviews of them.

’47 Meters Down’ is a survival horror film about two sisters who go on a holiday in Mexico and are invited to cage dive and see sharks up close. The cable holding the cage breaks and it plummets 47 metres down to the ocean floor, trapping both of them. Then, you know the story…they have to find a way to escape with their air supplies running low and the great white sharks stalking around. It’s basically another shark movie.

They are a lot of bad shark movies out there but not this one. It has a good plot and I particularly amazed by a twist of the story in the end that kept me surprised. I didn’t expect there is such a ‘shocker’ in this kind of monster movie besides than the typical jump-scare moments when the shark suddenly appears. The two female leads in this movie are doing good without any exaggerated performance. The movie did deliver by giving us realistic picture that kept me to the edge of my seats. The direction this particular movie is going is different with the typical shark attack movie. The only minor issue is that the cage and the failed cable really looks too crappy. Once I saw them on the first time, I wouldn’t want to get into that cage straight away. Out of 10 points, I rate ’47 Meters Down’ a total of 7.2.

‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ is the third and final installment of the ‘Planet of the Apes’ reboot series. If you do not remember much from the first two movies, don’t worry. This movie starts with a brief summary of what happens in the first two movies. Here in this concluding chapter, Caesar leads a team of apes to confront human who started the war against their species.

The movie is quite long (over 2 hours) and can be shortened by reducing the amount of time spent on watching Woody Harrelson staring very long on Caesar in many scenes. Other than that, this movie has absolutely no negative things for me to comment on. The CGI is extremely great as the apes look very realistic. The background or setting views are amazing too. Groundbreaking visual effects. Andy Serkis gave another tremendous performance portraying as Caesar, the ape that serves as the leader of its species. You can felt his sadness, his anger, his happiness, his power, his toughness, his anxious, and his care all from his facial expression. Another excellent job the movie did is touching on the relationship between human and apes, and the messages delivered out from it are exceptional and moving. There is no point for seeing which species is stronger; ape or human. In the end, mother nature overwhelms. That is reflected through the ending of the movie. The movie goes deep to the messages it wanted to deliver and succeed also by its great actions, emotional parts and engaging storyline. There are also some unexpected funny scenes in this movie, mainly due to one ape that even wears winter clothing to join Caesar. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ a total of 8.2. I think this is the second movie of the year so far that I have given over 8 point in the rating. What an epic conclusion to this reboot trilogy.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Movie review for ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Dunkirk’ and ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2017 by vincentloy

I spent this last week of my holiday intensely catching up to some new movies. They are ‘Baby Driver’, ‘Dunkirk’ and ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’. Each of them has been receiving critical acclaim and obtained over 90% rating in Rotten Tomatoes. They are good films, but in my personal opinion, I don’t really think that they are exceptional to that point of acclaim that they received right now. Check my review below to find out why. By the way, I look forward to watch ‘Baby Driver’ because the star even came to Malaysia recently to promote this movie. I wish to watch ‘Dunkirk’ because it is directed by Christopher Nolan. Enough said. And lastly, I go for ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’ because I wouldn’t want to miss a single Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film.

‘Baby Driver’ follows a young getaway driver named ‘Baby’ who is coerced into working for a crime boss in multiple missions. In the process, he never intend to hurt anyone that are innocent and also felt in love with a waitress. The film starred Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, etc. What’s unique of this film is the catchy and continuous music acting as the background score for the movie in almost its entire run. Some actions in the movie also follow with the rhythm of the background music. Great choreography in there. The car chasing scene at the very beginning of the film is also engaging and intense. However, as the story progresses, things start to get slow and boring. There isn’t much development to Baby’s illness in relation to his mother’s death. I can’t felt the progressing love between Baby and Debora. And things don’t match up logically in the end. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Baby Driver’ a total of 7.0 only. I thought I would be impressed looking at all the positive reception the movie has received. But I am left disappointed. Some people said this movie is a mix between ‘La La Land’ and ‘Fast and Furious’ and the outcome is much better. I don’t think so. It is just an ordinary film being over-hyped by its extreme dependence on the music.

Next up is another movie that is also highly dependent on the music to set the mood. It is a war film called ‘Dunkirk’. The movie follows the historical real event, the Dunkirk evacuation. It emphasizes on the evacuation of British soldiers to home away from the German armies during a fierce battle in World War II. The film starred Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, etc. What’s unique of this film is that it is told from three perspectives – the land (1 week), the sea (1 day) and the air (1 hour) and that the movie has very little dialogue with suspense created solely through details. Craftmanship is excellent and is expected as it is directed by Christopher Nolan. The acting by the cast are generally good. The music is loud, heavy and successfully sets the mood eventhough nothing much is really happening throughout the movie. Yes, that’s a problem; nothing much is really happening. The movie lacks drama and actions that a war film should deliver. The music (score) is overused. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Dunkirk’ a total of 7.2. For me, it’s not an excellent war film, which is contradictory to some people who claimed that this is one of the best war films ever made. This movie made me to somehow miss ‘Pearl Harbor’ and even the recent ‘Hacksaw Ridge’. They are much more moving and engaging. This ‘Dunkirk’ didn’t hit to me.

The last movie to review here is ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’. This is the second reboot for this superhero. First is Tobey Maguire, then comes Andrew Garfield for the not so successful reboot. And now, the Spider-man joins back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Tom Holland taking on the titular role. I admired his performance few years ago in ‘The Impossible’, a tsunami movie that also starred Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor.  However, I still find that he is too young for the role. Well, that is what Marvel wanted in their future direction of their movies…and so I couldn’t say anything more. This movie revolves on Peter Parker (obviously since he is the Spider-man) who tries to balance his high-school life with being a superhero, while facing the Vulture (villain whom is on a suit with mechanical wings). Besides Tom Holland, the movie starred Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, etc. It is a fresh new way to see Spider-man now as he is now still a teenager with many awkward yet hilarious teen issues. The Iron Man here is like a mentor to this young Spidey boy after getting him to the Avengers team in the last ‘Captain America: Civil War’ movie. On the other hand, Michael Keaton is the Vulture. He is a bit too old for this role and I find that he always get the role that is associated with wings (he has acted as Batman, Birdman, and now as Vulture). The actions are cool but nothing spectacular. For me, I still think that the first three Spiderman movies with Tobey Maguire are the best. Anyway, this ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’ is still a fun movie to watch. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Spider-man: Homecoming’ a total of 7.4.

I thought I would give them over 8 points respectively but I couldn’t. They couldn’t even get past 7.5 from me. I don’t know why the critics nowadays are suddenly so flexible and soft. By the way, I watched the recent leaked trailer for the upcoming ‘Avengers; Infinity War’ (set to be released next year) and I’m so excited for it. Thanos, the big evil boss is finally out to take on all the Avengers! Marvel, please release the clear version of the trailer very soon!

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

One almost done, one has half way to go, and one is still on ground. Updates on three supertall construction projects in Kuala Lumpur.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2017 by vincentloy

Kuala Lumpur is ranked among one of the best city skylines in the world. It gained such recognition due to its splendid array of clustered buildings topped with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower. However, the city skyline is going to further transform, thanks to the many new skyscrapers currently being built in the city. They are going to immensely impact the city skyline due to their enormous heights. The city won’t look the same after every few years and I look forward to see more tall and nice-looking buildings being constructed in the city.

Here are the 3 supertall skyscraper projects in Kuala Lumpur that are receiving high attention and shown together are their latest construction images. Render is shown for each project below too. Supertall building refers to a building that exceeds 300 metres in height.

1.Four Seasons Place. 

It is a 65-storeys mixed use tower currently under construction besides the Petronas Twin Towers. Once completed, it will have a final height of 343 metres. It will contain a hotel, serviced residences and a shopping mall at the podium. After undergoing multiple delays and design changes in the past, the tower has now finally rising quickly. It has structurally topped out not long ago and the work on the building’s crown has started. It will top out architecturally before last quarter of the year and will open next year. Once completed, it will be the third tallest building in the country, right after the two twin towers that sat beside it. Now, it has already made the twin towers to look not as tall as in the past eventhough it is still shorter than them by a little over 100 metres.

 

This one is ALMOST DONE.

2. TRX Exchange 106 Tower. 

It is a 106-storeys office tower currently under construction at the Tun Razak Exchange site. Once completed, this new region will become the financial hub of the city. Once completed, the tower will have a final height of 452 metres. It surprisingly will have the same height as the Petronas Twin Towers. You may wonder that it should be taller than the twin towers since it almost has over 20 floors more than the twin towers? Nope. It’s because this TRX Tower has no spire to add up to its height. The construction for this tower is very fast and it has now already half way to its top. It has now already making a huge impact to the city’s skyline. The highlight of the tower will be its crystalline crown.

This one is HALF WAY TO FINISH.

3. PNB118 Merdeka Tower.

It is a 118-storeys office tower currently under construction on the lot bordering the historical Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur. It is just right opposite my former secondary school, the Methodist Boys School KL. Once completed, it will be the tallest building in the country as well as among the top five tallest buildings in the world at a height of 644 metres. It will surpass the height of Shanghai Tower (632 metres), One World Trade Center (541 metres), Taipei 101 (508 metres) and many other skyscrapers across the world. However, its construction has been very slow and I read a news somewhere that it experienced problem with its foundation. I predict that it will be completed by 2020 or 2021. It will reach this immense height of over 600 metres due to its very long spire at the top.

 

This one is still not rising and is STILL ON GROUND WORK.

Hoping to see great progress from these skyscraper projects once I’m back to KL end of this year.

(Images in this post are from skyscrapercity.com forum webpages)

No losing city in this year’s bid for 2024 Summer Olympic Games

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2017 by vincentloy

The voting for the host city of 2024 Summer Olympic Games will take place on this coming September. Only two cities are remaining in the bid; Paris and Los Angeles. In an extraordinary International Olympic Committee Session held yesterday, the committee approved a decision to award the games to both cities, one in 2024 and another one in 2028.

So, there wouldn’t be any losing city in this year’s bid for the games. If a city receives lesser number of votes in the voting, it will still host the games, but that would be the next edition (4 years later) than originally intended. That’s certainly good news for both Paris and Los Angeles. I have to admit both cities are more than capable to host this world’s largest international multi-sport event.

Which city do you think will get the 2024 games? My personal choice would be Paris. If I’m not mistaken, Paris has submitted bid a number of times in the last few editions of the games but lost every time. I remembered the city lost to London for 2012 games by only a few votes. The last time that Paris has hosted the games was in 1924. If Paris win the right to host 2024 games, it will be coincidentally marking 100th anniversary since the last Olympics in the city. I also like the simplicity of its logo showing the number ’24’ that also designed to resemble their iconic Eiffel Tower.

Check out their bidding’s presentation clips below:

Paris 2024

Los Angeles 2024

So my choice is Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028. This means that those cities which intend to bid for 2028 games has to drop out their plan and bid for 2032 games instead. I think this move will make the bidding for 2032 games to be more intense and exciting as more cities are expected to join the race by then. A joint bid by Malaysia and Singapore is explored and is possible for the 2032 games’ bid. I would love to see that but I think our chance is pretty low. It will be hard to resolve on many issues when more than one country is involved in a single games. Malaysia and Singapore have not even hosted Asian Games before (although Malaysia has hosted Commonwealth Games and Singapore has hosted Youth Olympic Games). I can only elaborate further on our chance if the joint bid is confirmed, and that is long way to go.

5 days 4 nights trip to Bangkok & Hua Hin, Thailand for the Raya 2017 holiday

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2017 by vincentloy

I’m back. I have just returned to Malaysia last night from Thailand with my parents. Good time passed very quickly. My 5 days 4 nights vacation to Bangkok and Hua Hin in Thailand ended, and the Raya holiday as well (except for school children that gets to enjoy one-week long break and adults who took annual leave). It was a great experience and fun in this trip, especially in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. It was also very tiring at the same time as we need to walk a lot and the extremely scorching sun made it worst. We followed guided tour (in a tour group) and the tight schedule (like approximately only an hour for every destinations, up to 6 or 7 destinations a day) really made us (especially the elders) very exhausting.

24th June 2017 (Saturday)

We took a 2-hours morning flight to Don Mueung Airport, the old airport in Bangkok. Once there, we wasted a lot of time in the airport to complete the immigration and waiting for the others in our group to get ready. Also wasted a lot of time on the road to the hotel for checking in due to the unusual traffic congestion (well, Bangkok is famous for traffic jams). Hence, we don’t have much time to walk around on our own in the afternoon. We just walked to the streets near the hotel (Eastin Makkasan Hotel, 4-stars). We had a nice dinner in Chocolate Ville (don’t be confused by the name, there isn’t any chocolate here), a huge themed restaurant built to imitate the romantic Western streets and environment with Western-styled traditional buildings, bridges, lake, gazebo, lighthouse, etc. The atmosphere is beautiful with the lighting at night.

At night, we went to the Erawan Shrine, a Hindu shrine of Lord Brahma. The place becomes famous after the bombing incident in 2015 near the shrine that killed 20 people.

25th June 2017 (Sunday)

We went to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) in the morning. It is a Budhhist temple with its spires as distinctive feature (and colorful porcelain of its main spire/tower). It is one of the most famous landmarks in Bangkok and it is situated on the side of Chao Phraya River. The on-going renovation works to the main tower prevented us to take nice clean pictures of the temple.

Next, we went to Maeklong Railways Market. Not long ago, I have seen a video getting viral on social sites showing a market with stalls lining up along a railway and has to retract their stalls when the train passes. That is the place. Now, I’m there to witness it in my own eyes and it was unique and amazing. A lot of tourists crowded the place not to shop at the market but to check out this quick event.

Then, we leave Bangkok and go to Hua Hin. Our first destination there is Santorini Park, a themed attraction with an open mall concept that resembles the famous Santorini Island in Greece with its white buildings and brightly one-coloured windows (mostly blue). There are retail shops, and some activities or rides inside such as Haunted House, Ferris Wheel, Water Slide, Merry-Go-Round, etc.

After that, we went to Swiss Sheep Farm. I noticed that Hua Hin likes to create tourist destinations with foreign places as their themes. The town lacks its own identity in terms of its tourist destinations. This Swiss Sheep Farm is a farm (of course) for us to have the opportunity to feed the sheep (I skipped that) and to take pictures of the many decorations in that place such as a huge old windmill, some 3D painting, several miniatures of popular characters such as Transformers and the Avengers, etc.

In the evening, we head to the Hua Hin Night Market. Stalls selling local delicacies, souvenirs, bags, accessories, clothing, food, and offering Thai massage lined up the street. Then, we depart to Novotel for a two-nights stay in Hua Hin. It is a seaside resort with of course the amazing sea view.

26th June 2017 (Monday)

Hua Hin Royal Palace is the first destination of the day. It is a royal residence that serves as a seaside retreat for the past kings of Thailand. It is quite a modest complex with elevated timber structures. The lushness of its surrounding almost overwhelms the palace. Major parts of the complex is also currently under renovation and we are barred from entering those parts. Hence, we only stayed a short while here.

Then, we went to Hua Hin Railway Station, not to take any train but to view the beautiful train station (iconic for the structures with red and cream colours’ assembly) and an old steam locomotive for a short while.

Our next destination of the day is Pleanwarn Eco Vintage Village. It is Thailand’s first eco vintage village and is built to recapture the old classic charm of Hua Hin. It is an open lawn area with two-storeys buildings of retails and restaurants around. They are constructed of recycled or used items including its wonderful entrance of a void surrounded with huge cladding of reused wood and profiled metal sheets.

We then went to Wat Huay Mongkol. It is a Buddhist temple unique for a large statue of a legendary Thai monk on top of a huge podium.

Then, we went to theHua Hin Safari and Adventure Park. This is a place not recommended for anyone. The staff there are annoying and keep pushing us to purchase their packages (tiger show, cobra show, elephant ride, photos, etc). The prices are extremely high and it is just a small ordinary safari. We went there just to see their elephant show. The show is not bad (elephants performing like painting, playing some sports, etc) but I sympathized the suffering that those elephants have to endure to entertain us.

The last destination of the day before taking a dinner on a seaside restaurant is FN Outlet. It is a modern elevated mall with a forest containing pond, bridges and Dinosaurs sculptures on the ground level.

 

27th June 2017 (Tuesday)

Today, we went back to Bangkok (the original name for the city and still called by the Thais is Krung Thep). We visited the famous Damnersaduak Floating Market. The name is self-explanatory. There is a small river crowded with boats carrying tourists and boats with people selling stuff. We took a boat ride and view the lifestyle of the traditional floating houses on our way to the Floating Market. Once there, we just walked on the side of the market where there is also a huge place crowded with stalls selling the same things again. To buy from there or from any markets in Bangkok, you have to bargain up to 70% of the original price the sellers show to you.

Then, we were back to the city region and proceed to the Art in Paradise (3D Art Museum) in Esplanade Mall. There are a lot of cool arts inside that allow visitors to interact and take pictures with to get the realistic 3D feel. Even the elders in our tour group joined in the fun including my father. That was very unusual.

Next, we went to the Honey World, a place that promotes and sells honey products to the tourists. When you are going for a trip in a guided travel group, visiting these places is a norm. We are fortunate that we only get to visit one in this trip. The honey products on sale are being promoted with all the healthy benefits they offered, but in the end, my family end up buying nothing. We usually don’t get interested.

Our last destination of the day is Asiatique Riverfront. It is a new complex by the side of the Chao Phraya River. It’s a huge open-air mall with retails, restaurants, waterfront walk and rides. It is a very happening and vibrant area. Amazing atmosphere with clean environment. Thailand is exceptional in creating this kind of tourist attractions. It’s a huge success.

28th June 2017 (Wednesday)

There is no programme offered by our tour agency today and so we have free time in the morning before our flight back to Kuala Lumpur in late afternoon. We then go to the Grand Palace. It is considered to be the No.1 attraction in Bangkok and I couldn’t believe our tour agency didn’t cover it in their itinerary. Hence, we have to visit it on our own in the remaining time before flying back. It is a huge complex of palace that serves as the main official residence of the King of Thailand.

 

The former King. King Bhumibol who reigned for about 69 years and is very beloved by all Thais had passed away last year’s October. The country then observes one year of mourning for the late king and he will be cremated in this coming October. Many roads around the palace is blocked and heavy security is observed. Until now, there are still a lot of Thais dressed in full black visiting the palace to mourn for him. Their loyalty and love to the late king is unquestionable. Some areas in the palace are also blocked off from visitors due to the same reason but that doesn’t lower my excitement of seeing the palace. It was breathtaking with its towering structures and intricate details on the columns, walls, railings, ceilings and roofs. This place is certainly a must-see in Bangkok eventhough the entrance ticket is quite costly (500 Baht for a person). You also have to dress very decently to visit the palace (also applies to all temples and other palaces in Thailand).

Then, we walked to the nearby Wat Pho. It is a Budhhist temple known for a huge reclining Buddha’s sculpture and houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand. The temple is quite huge with many areas within. If not for the hot weather, I would have spend a much longer time in both the Grand Palace and in Wat Pho.

And then, our trip ends. We went back to Don Mueung Airport to catch our flight back to Kuala Lumpur. It’s almost midnight by the time we arrived home. I bought a pair of shoes, some shirts and a short and a fridge magnet. We must buy a fridge magnet every time we visit a new place. It has becomes our family tradition. We had tom yam in almost every meals during the tour. I find that the food are very heavy in taste in Thailand (either too sweet, too spicy, or too sour). Generally, the trip is awesome and I had great time during the vacation. I particularly enjoy the days in Bangkok. Hua Hin is rather boring to me eventhough that place is more relaxing and has lesser tourists. On the other hand, I felt that the newer tourist attractions in Bangkok and Hua Hin (maybe applies to whole Thailand too) are too ‘artificial’. Most of them are constructed just to imitate foreign elements. I would rather visit the real places rather than see the imitations.

Bangkok’s city skyline pictures below. The tallest on the first picture below is Baiyoke Tower which is formerly the tallest building in Bangkok. The title is now taken by the new Mahanakhon Tower shown in the second picture.

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this post. Kindly request permission if you desire to use one or more images in this post.)