09 February 2019

Maduzi Hotel | Where to stay in Asok Bangkok

When I first relocated to Bangkok in November 2018, I stayed in Maduzi Hotel for 5 nights while finalizing my permanent housing. Considering I would be 'diving' into a new job and work environment, I decided to splurge a little on myself rather than staying in a hostel or motel. Each night was about SGD180 after taxes - a great bargain for a luxurious stay compared to the prices we have back home for a similar treat. The last time we had a staycation in a 5-star Singapore hotel set us back twice that amount!

Awarded as a top choice of Agoda travelers in 2018,  Maduzi is a luxurious boutique hotel near Asok BTS and Sukhumvit MRT stations. Hidden behind Exchange Tower (linked by the sky walk from the BTS), its main entrance is along Ratchadaphisek Road, not within the alley as what the address says. The reception and lounge were all fancy, and honestly not to my liking. Thankfully the Maduzi Classic room I stayed in was inviting, spacious and comfortable.

A Warm Welcome at Maduzi

Upon check-in, the receptionist handed me a welcome letter and helped me with luggage. Unlike the usual G for Ground Floor and M for Mezzanine, here you would find each level of the 6-storey building named an alphabet of M-A-D-U-Z-I. I stayed at the Maduzi Classic room on U floor for 5 wonderful nights.

While Maduzi seemed to appeal to couples seeking a romantic getaway in Bangkok (at least that was my impression when the restaurant staff was surprised I was here for work, and by myself), I thought the flexible check-in and check-out time was perfect for business folks. If I chose to check-out in the evenings, I could return from work to the hotel, have a nice soak in the bathtub before leaving the premises. 

And I was thankful for the 24-hour housekeeping services as I needed to borrow an iron and ironing board in the middle of the night. Apparently wrinkle-free clothes don't maintain crease-free after hours in the suitcase. And I was happily shopping and eating and returning much later in the night to notice this and I had to be dressed smartly for work the next morning.

The long breakfast menu hours (breakfast was inclusive in the rates) meant I slept in during the weekend and could still wake up at noon, take the elevator down and be served brunch. Room service is also available for 24-hour at a fee. 

The 24-hour bar allowed me to enjoy a warm cup of caffeine-free Dilmah tea before I sleep. You can ask for the coffee or tea to be delivered to your room. Of course you could make your own beverages in your room (coffee machine and tea sachets provided), but nothing beats a warm cup of hospitality. You would also find a selection of cold drinks and snacks - which are free of charge in the in-room mini-bar. 

Maduzi Classic room

You would see the minibar once you enter the room. As mentioned above, the minibar items are free of charge for your enjoyment. There's also a coffee machine, with the instructions drawn out in comics.

I like that there is a full-length mirror by the doorway, for you to check your appearance before you head out.

The minibar area is separated from the bedroom with a screen door. You would find the screen door so important due to the sensitive sensor of the doorway light. I did freaked out a few times when the light automatically switch on when I was no where near it.

Sliding open the screen door, you would be introduced to a HUGE room at 49 m²/527 ft². When the hotel staff introduced me to each section of the room,  it felt like an endless walk. The room is in a U-shape (maybe because it's on U floor?), from the entrance showcasing the minibar area, to the bedroom, to the glass windows and loo area, to the vanity area, and finally to the jacuzzi tub and wardrobe area.

Nothing spells more inviting than the huge bed. My husband and I sleep in a king size bed back in Singapore, but somehow it felt that this bed was so much more spacious (perhaps without him by my side hogging the bed LOL). There are 5 comfortable pillows, and I love the longer ones which can be used as bolsters. In fact, I built a pillow fortress around me each night and fall to sleep in the middle while watching cable TV. 

I wanted to make my presence felt in each corner of this room and initially left a few books to read by the end table in the corner. The padded chair is actually very comfortable but I ended up not sitting there much, and yes, not doing much reading either. If you do not draw the curtains (for privacy reasons), the left side of the TV area is quite dark and I pulled the lamp closer to the TV for additional lighting.

The huge floor-to-ceiling window at the side of the room was responsible for all the natural lighting you would get. Unfortunately there was some construction going on below, and I pretty much kept the black-out curtains closed for most of my stay. Except when I needed some natural light when putting on makeup... or risk scaring folks with my ghastly ghostly-white look.

The long wooden bench was supposedly for you to sit and enjoy the outdoor view. But with the windows closed most times, it supported my open luggage and eased my back from bending over each time I need to dig something out. The height of the bench was also just right for me to put on my shoes - but that means I did walked in dirty shoes across the bedroom to get to the exit.

The vanity area and the mirror were HUGE! Unlike most times I travel and would keep my little bottles hidden in my toiletries pouch, I enjoyed displaying each skincare and cosmetics on the table top. I never could recall how much sh*t we women can carry into our handy toiletries pouch.

I guess this was the first time I ever seen a wash basin that shallow. I usually prefer deeper basins as I tend to splash water on my face while washing. Even though this basin was relatively wide, I did had some water splashed outside. And it felt like an eternity trying to wash the basin or wipe it dry.

The jacuzzi tub was so huge that I think three of me would have fitted perfectly in there! Being on the shorter side, I could literally lie down flat like it was a bed. I sometimes dread filling it up - the longer time taken, and the more water wasted compared to regular tubs. It was a pity though that the jacuzzi function was not working. 

There was a rain shower beside the tub, and you would have to wait for some time to get warm water. As the floor is all marble in the bathroom, it gets pretty cold and slippery - so do be careful and get ready a towel. Personally I didn't enjoy the provided toiletries as much since I wasn't into very herbal smells. 

I could never understand why a wardrobe meant for dry clothing is found within the wet bathroom. It's the same issue in my current residence, not sure if it's a trend here in Bangkok. I grew tired of buying 'thirsty hippos' (dehumidifiers) and just pray hard there's no mold growing on my clothing. 

Oh, I managed to put a laptop, A4 document file and many other things in the wide safe.

And if you're the kind who likes paper/cloth room slippers, you may want to bring your own. Maduzi provided these rubber flip flops instead, and I like the thick soles. It was very comfortable to walk in, and I wore these instead of my own Havianas.

Breakfast at Maduzi Hotel

The room rates I booked from Agoda were inclusive of breakfast - and Maduzi serve the breakfast menu from 6.30am to 2pm. I arrived quite early around 7am on my work days and am usually the only one around. As such, I had the opportunity to strike up conversations with some restaurant staff. Thankfully they spoke relatively good English as my conversational Thai needs a lot of polishing. It was nice to have someone to talk to in the morning when you are far away from home.

There are a few pages in the menu, but my eyes never go past the first page.

My first breakfast meal was the freshly cooked English breakfast, with two sunny-side up, sausage, bacon, tomato and hash brown potatoes. I was half expecting the McDonald's kind of hash brown, and was delighted when I saw this work of art... that was until I put it into my mouth. The rosti was.. very hard! Perhaps it was deep fried for a long period, rather than steamed and then browned in the pan. The other food items were great though and the staff asked if I wanted more serving of pastries. I had to politely declined as I was so full and had to be on my way to work. I guess these were the few days I had great breakfasts before I start my day.

As most folks know, I'm terrible with spicy food (that's why no Kao Thom for me). For the remaining of my stay at Maduzi, I fell in love with their 'stir fried noodles of the day'. The restaurant staff taught me this dish is called Pad See Ew, and I learnt later from Pai of Hot Thai Kitchen that Pad means to stir fry, while See Ew means soy sauce. It's like a sinful dish of char kway teow  but with fatter noodles, a little greasy and packed with flavor. I like that there's some greens that make me feel less bad for consuming such foods at the start of the day. When I shared this new knowledge with Hubby, he said it sounded like 'beat you to death' in dialect. Opps...

Why I stayed at Maduzi

There are many affordable options to stay in Bangkok. Like many tourists, I had stayed mostly in Siam and Pratunam area. And the furthest I've traveled within Bangkok was Chatuchak/Mo Chit to the north, and Phrom Phong to the south. With my office location being further south on the BTS map, I preferred staying in Asok where traveling time to work was reasonable. With the BTS and MRT interchange here, traveling is a breeze when I have to venture to several areas to choose an ideal new home.

Besides, I was pretty familiar with Asok area (or so I thought). Terminal 21 has many great food options. Hubby recommends Pier 21 food court. If you had Ootoya in Singapore, try it here at Terminal 21 - much cheaper than back home. This branch is not bad, but the service is a bit slow especially for rice refills. Do look for the Cha Tra Mue kiosk outside Gourmet supermarket, I enjoy their Thai Ice Tea icecream cone. I also bought a lot of household items at Daiso and Miniso for my new residence (nylon kitchen tongs are a really useful tool).

Just at the alley beside Maduzi Hotel, you would find a 24/7 convenience store and a few street vendors that appear in the evenings. I particularly love the crispy fried chicken wings and moo ping (pork skewers). Within Exchange Tower itself, there's Starbucks, Chu Chocolate Bar, Boots pharmacy, etc.

Would I stay at Maduzi again?

The answer is Yes! For the price point around SGD 180 per night, I would definitely stay in Maduzi Hotel for the affordable luxury, enormous room, comfortable bed with 5 pillows and of course the good location. No doubt, there are some things that they would still need to work on, such as ensuring the jacuzzi (or whatever equipment etc) is in working order before a guest check in. 

Hmm.. maybe I should plan a staycation there during one of the long weekends where I can't fly home...

If you wish to book your next Bangkok vacation stay at Maduzi or any other hotel, please use my affiliate link at https://www.agoda.com/?cid=1653099. While it would not cost you any additional fees, it would help me to earn a small commission from Agoda each time you book and stay and this helps me to continue maintaining this blog. Thank you!

Maduzi Hotel
9/1 Thanon Ratchadaphisek, Khwaeng Khlong Toei, Klongtoey, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110

03 February 2019

Starting a new life in Bangkok

River Kwai, Kanchanaburi

A few months ago, I've uprooted myself from Singapore and am now stationed in Bangkok for work. It's the first time I'm working overseas and the first time away from family for so long. With the changes and challenges, I'm not sure when I can visit Taiwan in the short term.. and somehow I think I may be starting to lose touch with the happenings there.

I believe God answers prayers. I wanted change, and He gave me a new challenge. I was already serving my notice when my ex-boss nudged my current manager to connect with me on LinkedIn to fill a vacancy. I hope to shift myself from an operational mindset to an analytical one - and my ex-company put their faith in me and offered a role in a relatively new field to me. While certain things seem familiar, many things are not the same and I do have a steep learning curve ahead if I want to excel in what I am pursuing. Outside the 9-5, I'll be completing the business analytics course at the end of this month. Lots of self-discipline which I lack at times. And it does feel lonely time to time as I cheer myself on to stay on the path.

It seems clear to me how little by little, things start to fall into place. From two holidays in Thailand within the year to finally being based here for work. From being rejected from NYP to pursue analytics in a more technical way, to the timely phone call from my current manager... and I guess the relocation was God's plan to help me figure things out independently as how I always wanted, and with a peaceful and tidy environment for me to settle my noisy thoughts and absorb as much learning as I can.

This relocation also helped me to open my eyes to many things. There is so much tasks that needs to be done, from finding a permanent place to stay, work permit and immigration, payroll bank set up, getting a new mobile phone number and internet plan, cancelling the one back home, settling bank accounts and bills and insurance policies back home, sending money home, getting used to local transportation, ordering food in a foreign language and then hoping your meal turns out fine, not being able to drink water from the taps, toxic smog with high levels of PM2.5 pollution, etc. On the risk of sounding narcissistic, it definitely makes me appreciate what I've done in my previous role in HR operational support where I worked with relocating expatriates.

It is not true that staying in Bangkok means shopping 24/7. If you do your maths properly, you would know that not all things are cheap compared to things back home. Besides, my objective for being here is clear - it is to learn. Sure, I've been to the tourists areas and traveled to town at times to do what Singaporeans would usually do in Bangkok (I live more than 10 BTS stops away from town). Had Boon Tong Kee chicken rice at Siam Paragon few days back. And listening to our Singaporean slang at Platinum Mall makes me feel as if I never left home.

Moving to Bangkok also made me realize who are the folks who genuinely care about you and are concerned about your well-being. Those who would make time for you. Those who ask you if you are happy here. On the other hand, needless to say, I feel troubled with those people who would ride on you as a ticket (say, to free accommodation during their holidays) or those who appear out of nowhere and ask very odd personal questions. I'm still figuring this out but I guess I do not need to please the whole world. If filtering out 'toxic people' would do me some good, then I guess I have to be selfish and pull away for sanity's sake.

Update: Blog comments section - closed

On January 18, 2019, I took the plunge to close down the comments section of my blog. With Google+ going away on April 2, 2019, I guess it's sort of reassure my decision to close the comments portion of my blog (which was using Google+ comments). 

Thank you to everyone who has found my blog contents useful, especially in your travel itinerary planning to Taiwan. As I haven't been maintaining my blog as religiously, I found some spam comments - hate hate hate this! (not sure why Google stopped notifying me of comments in the first place!).. and I also missed out replying to a number of readers asking for guidance/tips for their travels - this I regret most.

However, there have been a lot of good questions over the past few years and I'll try to save as much as I can in the respective blog posts. I hope that you will continue to find my past blog posts useful, as I too refer to them when planning for places I am revisiting.

Update: Disclosure policy section - updated

I decided to add this on to my disclosure policy as there are a number of requests asking me to plan their travel itinerary. Some of them are nice, while some of them are plain rude.

I am not a registered tour guide/agent/company. I simply enjoy traveling for the good food and sights, and what I enjoy does not mean you would like too. So please do not be unpleasant when I do not plan your travel itinerary on your behalf.

For more information, go to http://wendyboey.blogspot.sg/2015/09/disclosure-policy.html

02 September 2018

Bangkok Thailand - Where to Go, What to Eat

Received a recent request from Phoon on Bangkok itinerary and hence this blog post. Within this year I've been to Bangkok twice recently - once in July for a solo birthday celebration, and once in August with my ex-classmate girlfriends combined with a getaway to Khao Yai - and am more than happy to dish out some of my favourite spots.

Lately I've also been trying out KLOOK services to determine they are worth the convenience and price before sharing with my friends and of course blog readers. While the prices may sometimes be slightly more than KKDAY, I feel that KLOOK does offer a wider selection of activities in the various countries I've searched for. Also, in terms of the airport transfer services of both providers, KLOOK has my thumbs up in terms of professionalism and punctuality.

If you're a first time user of KLOOK, do enter the promo code MOBILE10 to enjoy HK$10 off your first booking on the mobile app.


My Top 3 Fave Eats in Bangkok

Starting off the list is Ping’s Thai Teochew Seafood, a recent favorite that I spotted from an ex-colleague's Facebook sharing. It's conveniently located within Pathuwan Princess Hotel Level 2 - you would have to cut across MBK Centre (BTS National Stadium station), and you can connect to the hotel via Level 2 or Level 1 of the MBK Centre.

Some of the must-try include the Braised Fish Maw and Coconut Jelly - two of my fave menu items. If you're travelling in a bigger group, you may want to try the Fried Tanghoon served in crab (which I didn't managed to try).

You can also refer to this blogger aroimakmak's review which he shared the promo code “PingsAroiMakMak” for 10% off all ala-carte items (valid till 31 December 2018).

Hokkaido Robata Genshiyaki is my second fave stop in Bangkok. It's a bit inconvenient to get unless you have strong legs after all that Bangkok shopping. Located along Sukhumvit Road Soi 31, it's about 6 mins walk from BTS Phong Phrom station, o 15 mins walk from BTS Asok station.

You may want to try the Grilled Crab Legs, Grilled Salmon Belly, Grilled Mackerel and Grilled Scallops. They may also have seasonal promotions - in my most recent August 2018 trip, they had a Hokkaido Uni promotion and Wagyu Beef (which you grill on a hot stone yourself - can control the 'done-ness' to your liking). Unfortunately they ran out of Grilled Salmon Belly.. sobs..

You can refer to my previous blog post for more photos. And yes, do note that they open only in the evenings from 5pm.

Grilled scallop in garlic-butter sauce and the other in soy sauce

So far I've been to three of Audrey's outlets and they don't disappoint. Other than the beautiful ambiance for lots of selfies and Instagram updates, I enjoy going to Audrey’s for their Crispy Pork Cubes, Thai Tea Crepe Cake and Milo Crepe Cake. They offer both western and Thai cuisine - have also tried their boat noodles / beef noodles. Oh yah, they have this flowerpot cake that's perfect for phototaking - but Hubs and I don't really like as there's simply too much buttercream.

My fave outlet would have to be Audrey Cafe des Fleurs at Emquartier Level 8 (BTS Phrom Phong) - but of course' I haven't been to their flag ship store (Thong Lo Soi 11, rather far from BTS Thong Lo) so my fave outlet may change. You can also find Audrey at Siam Centre Level 4 (BTS Siam station), Central Embassy Level 5 (BTS Ploenchit Station) and Esplanade Level 1 (MRT Thailand Cultural Centre, the shopping mall in front of Ratchada Train Night Market).

Crispy Pork Cubes and some apple-strawberry jelly drink - Siam Centre Level 4

Day Time Markets and Night Markets

The famous day market is of course Chatuchak Weekend Market (BTS Mo Chit or MRT Kamphaeng Phet) - where you can enjoy treats such as coconut ice-cream, savory garlic bread, and duck noodles served in herbal broth - while shopping of course.

You can also score quite a few bargains in Pratunam day market, which is opposite Platinum Malls - but very out-of-breath squeezy!

Ratchada Train Night Market remain my fave night market as it's very convenient to get to (MRT Thailand Cultural Centre, right behind Esplanade Shopping Centre) and prices are a tad cheaper than mainstream shopping malls in Siam area. The downside is that, like most night markets, it's open towards the end of the week on Thursdays to Sundays. While food stalls are usually open from 5pm+, the shopping area is usually fully open by 7pm. Do bring a rain coat and a torch light if you're there in rainy seasons - I've encountered blackouts twice (umbrella would be too cumbersome when you need to walk through the narrow lanes with other people around)

We were staying rather near Talad Neon Night Market (next to Berkeley Hotel Pratunam) and it was a pleasant well-lit surprise when we decided to go there after a big rainstorm. Most of the shops and eateries are open - the food stalls are on the right and back of the market. Similar to Ratchada, it's open from Thursday to Sunday from 5pm. I did read somewhere that some of the eateries are open on other weekdays too - not sure how true this is.

Chang Chui Creative Park is the famous IG spot with the huge airplane-restaurant in the middle. However we seem to have went during an off-period, not forgetting the heavy downpours and long commute due to traffic jams. The market was rather quiet, with a handful of shops open. Did some 'window shopping' and managed to comb the premises rather fast. Do note it's closed on Wednesdays, and with some parts of the market only open in late afternoon to evenings. Website

For more night markets, do check out my older posts

Places I would want to Venture in Future Trips

B-Story Cafe 
Passed by a few times but haven't been there yet. Conveniently located outside BTS Ratchathawi Station Exit 4. Can check out the reviews from fellow bloggers Aroimakmak and Daphne/Mitsueki

TrueLove NeverLand 
Land of Siberian Huskies. Do note that they are closed on Mondays, and are on first come first serve basis (no reservation or booking). Refer to their official Facebook page for the administrative details. A bit inconvenient to go - may want to Grab directly from your hotel, or take a Tuk Tuk from BTS Ari Station Exit 1 or 3.

Big Dog Cafe
More large dogs... haha! I couldn't find their official page, you may want to refer to TripCanvas instead. Unlike TrueLove, advanced reservation is required. Do note they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Little Zoo Cafe
This cafe's conveniently located in Siam Square, and open daily! There's also no cover charge from what I last researched - but you would need to order 1 main dish and 1 drink per person to play with the animals. You can refer to their official Facebook page or LittleDayOut's review.

Some Tips Before I end the Post

Do remember to get your tourist discount cards at the shopping malls customer service counter. I managed to score a few cards - MBK Centre (5% discount at Tokyu and Naraya!), Siam Paragon, OneWorld etc. If you're a frequent traveler to Bangkok, apply for the Boots membership card instead - you'll get the same 5% tourist discount but get to accumulate points for future redemption.

If you want to get snacks/tidbits, you may want to check out Big C in the later part of the night to avoid the long queues (it's open till 2am). If your items can fit into a basket, you may want to try the 'basket' queues - the staff re-directed us to these counters even though we had more than 10 items in our baskets.

You can also get Tao Kae Noi seaweed at their shop in Terminal 1 basement (BTS Asok). We managed to find the crispy chicken skin (yellow packaging) snack here, which was not available at Big C.

Hope the above was useful to you in your trip planning! Do also refer to my older posts on Bangkok travels and remember to apply promo code MOBILE10 to enjoy HK$10 off your first booking on KLOOK mobile app.