Khao Yai Travelogue 4: What To See, Do, Eat and Stay in Khao Yai

If you have been following my blog closely, you would have realised that this is my second trip to Khao Yai this year. I visited the area in September with friends, and this time it was with my sister. This blog post will not include details about the places I visited during my first trip as well as safari at the National Park, so if you want to find out more about Khao Yai and how to get there, here are my other posts:

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I have created a map to show the major attractions in Khao Yai and the relative distance between them so that you can have a rough gauge.

What To See

  1. Sunflowers at Saraburi Sunflower Field (November to January)
  2. Flowers at The Bloom

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To get to Saraburi Sunflower Field, it is a slight detour from the route from Bangkok to Khao Yai. It should cost you about an additional 200 Baht if you are taking private transport. While blooming period is from November to January, the sunflowers only started blooming in December this year, so it would be good to check before going there.

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Three-Star Michelin Dining Experience at Joel Robuchon Restaurant

I had to up my ante for sis’s birthday, so in addition to getting her the watch she wanted, I sprang for dinner at Singapore’s only three-star Michelin restaurant, Joel Robuchon Restaurant, at Resorts World Sentosa.

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Sis and I opted for the cheapest (and I use the word loosely here) menu, which was priced at $248. The six-course menu came with an amuse bouche, one appetiser, one main course, dessert trolley, coffee or tea and petit fours. The other menus are priced at $298 (additional appetiser and inclusive of either cheese cart or a plated dessert) and $348 (additional appetiser and main course, inclusive of either a cheese cart or a plated dessert).

Honestly, the $248 menu will suffice as the bread basket, dessert trolley and petit fours trolley are extremely comprehensive. We were so well fed that we could not eat breakfast the following day and hardly had space for lunch

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What an impressive spread! All the bread is served warm and made in house by their baker. The best one among all was the croissant, which was flaky and buttery.

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South Korea Travelogue 5: First Day in Seoul

Our domestic flight from Jeju to Seoul left around 1pm, so we had the rest of the morning to explore. Hence, we checked out early and headed north to Dong-Mun Market Place. The market is located a couple of kilometres away from Jeju International Airport, so we did not have to worry about travelling later.

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Since it was still early in the morning, most of the shops were closed, except for those in the wet market section.

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We noticed the crowd at this topokki shop and we got ourselves a bowl at 3,000Won. It came with a whole egg and huge slabs of fishcakes! The rice cakes were also bigger than usual, but because of that, they did not soak up the sauce well. However, it was pretty good and really worth the money.

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South Korea Travelogue 4: Seongsan Ilchulbong, Udo Island, Manjanggul Lava Tube and Kimnyong Maze Park

Similar to the day before, we woke up early, at around 3.30am, to climb Seongsan Ilchulbong also known as Sunrise Peak to catch the sunrise. The climb was made in the dark with many others hoping to observe the sunrise. A large number of people have groused about the climb, but in comparison to the hike at Hallasan, this was peanuts. It took us only 20 minutes to reach the top.

Seongsan Ilchulbong is a tuff cone-steep, with a wide crater-formed by a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. It is located on the eastern side of the Jeju Island. Other than being famous for the view, the peak is indeed a sight worth seeing in Spring when it is surrounded by bright yellow rapeseed flowers.

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The pictures above were taken using the Panorama function of my iPhone 6. We were afraid we could not catch the sunrise as the weather forecast was cloudy, however the sun did not disappoint!

The admission fee is 2,000Won (SGD$2.40) per adult, but we did not pay it as the ticket counter was not opened when we got there. In fact, it was on our way past the entrance/ exit that they were beginning to set up the ticket counter.

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If you are interested to see Haenyeo (diving women of Korea) perform, you can head to the bottom of the cliffs on your climb down the peak. The performance times are 1.30pm and 3pm. The women will also be selling their daily catches there later in the day.

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Being really hungry, we went to Paris Baguette at the other end of Seongsan Ilchulbong carpark. I was surprised that they were opened so early!  We got a bit of everything: banana tart, egg sandwich, traditional rice cake bread, macarons, strawberry latte and grain latte. The staff recommended that we dined on the second floor as it had a lovely view of the peak.

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South Korea Travelogue 1: Our First Day at Jeju

We took a night flight on board Cathay Pacific and after a short stopover at Hong Kong, we flew to Incheon International Airport, Seoul. From there, we had to take the subway for about five stops to Gimpo International Airport where we would take a domestic flight via Korean Air to Jeju.

However, we had a lot of time to kill before our domestic flight, so we used the time to run some errands and of course, eat.

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The first thing we did after clearing the customs was to collect our Samsung Galaxy Note 5s from SK Telecom, located between Exits 10 and 11 at Incheon International Airport. We participated in the 10th event of Enjoy Mobile Korea Programme by the Korean Tourism Organisation, Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom, where 250 winners are selected each week for a free rental of the latest smartphone. This means FREE VOICE AND DATA services for five whole days! This weekly programme will continue till the end of the year!

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Following that, we grabbed some breakfast from Bonjuk & Bibimbab Cafe, which specialises in congee/ porridge and bibimbab. I ordered the Beef Vegetable Porridge (8,500Won = SGD$10.20) and while I found the porridge healthy, it was lacking in taste.

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Little Cravings and the best cream puff ever!

This is one food post where I am going to cram a lot of pictures in. First, we will start with a visit to Little Cravings, a small Peranakan restaurant hidden in Katong and from there I will take you to the best cream puff ever. I swear.

My family and I got a voucher from Groupon for Little Cravings. It was quite a good deal as we paid $20 for $40 worth of food. The food there was so affordable we had to keep ordering to hit $40.

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Since the place was so small and they did not take reservations, we had to stand outside and wait for tables available.

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I ordered Penang Assam Laksa, which is very different from the type of Laksa that Katong is famous for. This one is a bit sour and comes with slices of cucumber, pineapple, onion and sardine. Also, with a spoonful of prawn paste, which is an acquired taste.

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My family stuck with the safer choice of nasi lemak (coconut rice) which one can never go wrong. Yes, it is unhealthy and drives your cholesterol level up, but it is almost a staple here. The nasi lemak they have to offer comes with a choice of sambal prawns, curry chicken or both. Served with ikan bilis, peanut, achar, sambal and hard boiled egg.

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We had a free dish given to us: Rojak. Grilled fruits and vegetables tossed in prawn paste and topped with chopped peanuts. It may look unappetizing but don’t put it down till you have tried it!

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I’m sad to say after so many wonderful dishes, I also tasted the worst chicken wings here. The staff recommended their fried belachan chicken wings which looked really tasty in picture. However, when it arrived, it was soaked in oil and there was no sign of the belachan chilli. It was so oily I had to dab the wings with tissue and after we finished the dish, there was a puddle of oil left.

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I was the only one who ordered drinks. The longan tea was great and refreshing, especially after the rich and flavorful food.

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On to the desserts, we had the banana and sweet corn apong, which was a fluffy sweet pancake with fillings inside. Good try! It only cost $2 (if I don’t remember wrongly)!

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The pulut hitam was thick and gooey but still not sweet enough for me.

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Here is the gula melaka mango sago dessert with extra sugar. One for the sweet tooth!

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Ice kachang with durian, the king of fruits that most westerners abhor. They do also serve it without the durian. Rather large bowl, good for two.

Just a side note, the cafe doesn’t offer water or napkins (at least they didn’t offer it to us and our surrounding tables). The service also was not very good.

After the filling meal, we made space in our tummies (there is always a separate compartment for dessert) for the best cream puff ever! Good for us, it was just across the street from the shopping mall. The bakery, Mooshi Bakes, is under the group by Awfully Chocolate.

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Other than cream puffs, they do sell a range of pastries and pies that look totally sinful. But we were there only for the cream puff.

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Drumroll please… And here it is! A huge puff with loads of cream!

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Don’t even bother counting your calories. You know you have to work this off anyway and it will be totally worth it.

Savouring Saveur

Saveur. Many people have been talking about it but only a few have tried it. My cousin queued all the way till closing time and still could not get a seat. After hearing all these great things of the restaurant, I just had to try this place at Purvis Street.

Mum and I started queuing for dinner half an hour before the restaurant opened (at six). We were not the first in the queue and by 5.45pm, the queue stretched past neighboring stores.

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The prices were not exorbitant in spite of the premium items you could find there like foie gras and wagyu beef.

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We placed our orders immediately after seating down. The food came relatively quickly for a place packed to its rafters.

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I adore the presentation at the restaurant. The orange juice came in an old school container which was used in the 50s for brushing teeth.

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The angel hair pasta with sakura prawns was delicious and only at a mere price of $3.90!

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The beef was not as great as expected. Mum and I ordered the same thing with high hopes of a juicy, medium done steak. But the beef was dry and the taste of the alcohol (sherry?) used to marinate the beef was very strong.

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The duck confit was tasteful. However the mashed potatoes were too soft.

The three of us has nothing but good things to say about the next dish. Potato in garlic cream sauce that came with the beef. It was fantastic! We just couldn’t have enough of it.

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The fried duck salad is another one you have to try. The greens went really well with the citrus sauce.

Foie gras next. A 35g portion for only $8. Where can you find prices like this?

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The presentation of the desserts can be summed up in a word: weird.

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The chocolate hazelnut mousse is probably the most unappetizing things I have ever seen. Do not let looks deceive you because this dessert is so decadent and sinful. The pomegranate seeds added a bit of zing to the mousse. It was ssoooooo good!

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Next, was a recommendation by the waitress–textures of citrus. It was a jelly with bits of lemon and orange around it, with flavoured ice shavings at the side. A tad too sour for my liking

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By the time we finished dinner it was just starting to get dark. We did some shopping around the area before we headed home.

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On the way, we got bubble tea to tide us through the long walk back to the train station. Both sis and I ordered Yakult green tea from I Love Taimei but there was hardly any Yakult taste. I do have to say that the tea had a very nice fragrance to it.