Happy 60th Birthday Alison!

Happy 60th Birthday Alison

Alison’s milestone 60th birthday this year called for something truly special. We fondly remembered how Steve had been spoiled rotten at the Eastin Grand in Bangkok for his 70th back in November. That luxurious experience planted a seed, and Bangkok it is! Alison will be treated to an unforgettable stay in the executive suite at the Eastin Grand, where we’re sure to be pampered by the amazing hotel team. This trip promises relaxation, rejuvenation, and a birthday celebration fit for a queen!

3 April 2024

A Smooth Trip to Bangkok

We set off from home bright and early at 8:00 am in Steve’s trusty white Triton.

Jurien greeted us with its usual clear skies and calm weather. There was no need to rush, so we cruised along at a comfortable 95 kilometres per hour towards Perth. We encountered a slight headwind that stirred up the sand on the dunes, but it wasn’t a major issue.

The drive to Perth was familiar territory. We reached Joondalup right around lunchtime and enjoyed a relaxing morning tea/lunch break. With satisfied appetites, we continued on to Perth International Airport and began our parking quest. Our spot in Area G was unexpectedly closed, with a sign directing us to Area H. We found a parking space quickly, but just as we settled in, the bus arrived at 12:36 pm!

Our flight, TG482, didn’t start checking in passengers until 1:20 pm. We joined the queue, which remained stagnant for about 25 minutes before it finally started moving. By 1:30 pm, we were checked in. Alison, to Steve’s amusement, managed to pack incredibly light for this trip, weighing in at a mere 15 kg, while Steve came in at a slightly heavier 19.5 kg.

Security screening was a breeze – we were the only ones waiting, so we passed through quickly. E-gates for passport control were equally efficient, and soon we found ourselves officially waiting for our flight. There, Alison had a delightful conversation with a friendly Thai lady named Yui, who worked as a driver for RIO, operating one of those massive 40-ton mine trucks! Yui was on her way home to visit family.

By 4:20 pm, we were boarded and ready for take-off on TG482, the direct flight from Perth to Bangkok. The 7-hour flight provided ample time to watch three movies and enjoy a refreshing Chang beer. We touched down at Bangkok International Airport at 10:10 pm. The familiar wave of humidity hit us as we exited the plane and boarded the bus to the terminal.

Immigration was swift, and we had cleared customs by 10:40 pm. With our bags retrieved, we hopped on the train towards the city, transferring trains three times before finally arriving at our hotel at 11:58 pm. Gun at the reception, with that warm Thai smile we love, efficiently checked us in. Thailand truly embodies happiness for us. Exhausted but content, we headed to our room, unpacked a few essentials, and celebrated our arrival with the delicious welcome cake – a lovely touch.

After that, we drifted off to sleep around 1:30 am. All in all, a very smooth journey!

4 April 2024

A Relaxing Day in Bangkok

We started the day off right with a delicious breakfast at 8:00 am. It was fantastic to catch up with the crew – Kukkai and Aof (that’s short for Aoffie) greeted us with warm smiles and hugs, making us feel right at home. We enjoyed our usual table, sipping coffee and savouring breakfast while exchanging news and stories.

By 10:20 am, we were cruising on the BTS train towards Silom and Central World. It was a leisurely morning, just strolling around and taking it easy for a few hours. We returned to the hotel by 2:00 pm, ready to relax and enjoy some refreshing soft drinks.

The heat and humidity are definitely noticeable here, but it’s manageable – kind of reminds us of a Queensland summer!

One thing that truly touched us today was the kindness of the Thai people. We witnessed two blind individuals boarding the BTS, and complete strangers immediately offered assistance, helping them find handholds. It’s heart-warming to see how people here look out for each other, without expecting anything in return. We love you, Thailand!

Back at the Eastin Grand by 5:00 pm, we met Shin, one of the managers (Jhajah, who we met in November, was enjoying a well-deserved day off). Shin is a fun and bubbly person, and we had a blast joking around with her. By 5:30 pm, we were unwinding with a cold Chang beer each, indulging in the delightful snacks and cakes offered during happy hour. It was a perfect way to end a relaxing day.

5 April 2024

A Birthday Filled with Love and Surprises

Happy Birthday, Alison!

The morning began with a delightful breakfast in the executive dining room. Our usual table was reserved, and we enjoyed a cheerful breakfast of coffee with smiley faces (latte art), eggs Benedict, and cornflakes. We also had the pleasure of catching up with Jhajah, whose smile truly brightens any day – it’s simply the best and happiest in Thailand!

By 11:00 am, we were on board the orange line, heading northwards along the Chao Phraya River. Around 12:30 pm, we found ourselves exploring the streets of Nonthaburi, where we enjoyed a delicious Pad Krapow Moo (Holy Basil Stir Fry with Pork).

A few hours later, back on the orange line, we returned to the Eastin Grand for a cool-down session with some refreshing drinks. It was during this quiet moment that Aof, Mind, Jhajah, Nina, and Mod surprised us! They arrived with a charming birthday cake adorned with a single candle, sang a happy birthday song, and presented Alison with a beautiful hill tribe bag – such a thoughtful and fun gift! They even created a special pop-up birthday card featuring four different “Alisons”!

Returning to our room for a quick refresh, we were met with another delightful surprise – the crew had decorated our room with balloons, streamers, and a stunning bouquet of flowers! Truly, they went above and beyond to make Alison feel special.

By 5:30 pm, we were back in the executive area, ready to enjoy an evening of snacks and drinks. It was simply a wonderful day, filled with love, pampering, and unforgettable memories. Thank you for making Alison’s birthday so special!

6 April 2024

More Kind Faces and a Birthday Surprise

This morning started with another round of wonderful fun with the amazing staff here.

We met Roong and Cindear, and let me tell you, if you see a bear face peeking out of your morning coffee latte art, Roong’s artistic touch is behind it! We enjoyed another delicious breakfast while soaking in the stunning river view from our table.

Lak also stopped by and shared some interesting recommendations for exploring Bangkok.

We spent the rest of the day venturing out to JJ Mall, located near the famous Chatuchak Markets.

To my absolute delight, David, our friend from Bangkok, arrived in town to join the birthday celebration! Steve and David have become practically brothers with their roots back in Toowoomba, so having him here made the day even more special. We truly feel incredibly fortunate to have such a wonderful friend in Thailand.

7 April 2024

Today’s highlight was definitely the Bangkok International Motor Show! I’ll write a separate post with all the details about the show. Link Click Here

8 – 21 April 2024

Bangkok’s Hidden Gems and Familiar Delights

The following days were a delightful blend of exploration and relaxation as we delved deeper into the diverse tapestry of Bangkok. We traded in a rigid itinerary for a more spontaneous approach, allowing ourselves to be guided by curiosity and local recommendations.

Our shopping excursions took us on contrasting journeys. We navigated the massive Central Ladprao mall, marvelling at its sheer scale and variety. Just outside its doors, the vibrant streets pulsed with a different kind of energy, adorned with captivating local graffiti art.

A complete change of pace awaited us at the beautiful stores of River City, where we indulged in some retail therapy amidst stunning architectural details and captivating exhibitions.

Beyond shopping, we embarked on cultural immersions that broadened our understanding of Thailand. We ventured into the bustling Khlong Toei markets, an assault on the senses in the best way possible.

 The air hummed with activity, overflowing with fresh produce, fragrant spices, and handcrafted goods. Here, we witnessed the authentic heart of local trade, a stark contrast to the sleek malls. Our quest for cultural experiences continued at the fascinating Erawan Shrine, dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma. Its ornate architecture and serene atmosphere provided a welcome respite from the city’s energy. The Naval Museum offered a glimpse into Thailand’s rich maritime history, showcasing impressive warships models and historical artefacts.

Not all our adventures were planned. Alison hopped on a motorbike taxi for a thrilling ride (bucket list item tick), the wind whipping through our hair (under the helmet) as they navigated the city streets.

This unique perspective allowed her to experience Bangkok from a local’s point of view.

Seeking a panoramic view, we climbed the Samut Prakan Learning Park and Tower, the city sprawling out before us like a miniature world. Back on ground level, we explored the trendy Terminal 21 Rama 3 mall, a shopper’s paradise with international brands housed within a visually stunning airport-themed complex. Home improvement enthusiasts, we couldn’t resist a visit to Homepro, a haven for DIY projects and home décor inspiration.

To experience Bangkok like a local, we opted for leisurely rides on the Canal Ferries. These provided a unique vantage point of the city, gliding past ornate temples, bustling markets, and charming canal-side communities. Unfortunately, a bout of food poisoning for Alison and a cold for Steve forced us to slow down for a few days. But even these setbacks couldn’t dampen our spirits. We explored the hidden gems of Bangkok, revelled in familiar delights, and created lasting memories that transcended any itinerary.

I still laugh at how Roong made a special tea brew for Steve’s cold and the rest of the team got a lesson on how to make it so Steve would not go without due to shift changes. So cool!


22 April 2024

Farewell, Bangkok, and Newfound Friends

With a midnight flight looming, it felt surreal that our last day in Bangkok unfolded like any other. After savouring another delicious breakfast, we hopped on the train south to Phraek Sa. This charming district offered a chance to explore the contrasting shopping experiences of BigC and Robinsons, conveniently located across the street from each other. After a satisfying lunch, we returned to Bangkok Central to finalize our packing and indulge in one last happy hour at the executive lounge.

Just before our departure, Shin and Jhajah surprised us with a heart-warming gesture. They helped us to the train station and, to my utter delight, Shin presented me with a belated birthday gift – a bottle of Kahlua and Jellies!

This thoughtful act perfectly encapsulated the warmth and generosity of the entire Eastin Grand team. They truly went above and beyond to make our trip unforgettable. We’re more than grateful to consider them friends.

Good bye Margaritas. 🙂 Yum

A heartfelt thank you to Shin, Jhajah, Kukkai, Nina, Cindear, Mind, Lak, Aof, Mod, Roong, Gun, and Oun (our amazing housekeeper) and the other staff. Your kindness and dedication made our stay truly special. We leave with a heart full of gratitude and wonderful memories. We had so many fun times and laughs together. Thank you!

Also a huge thank you to chef for making a special order of Massaman, Red and Green Curries on different mornings for us for breakfast.

Just so thoughtful and also so yum!

PS Also thank you for spoiling us on our 23rd Wedding Anniversary. 🙂

23 April 2024

We touched down smoothly at Perth Airport, eager to be home. Steve’s trusty ute came to life on the first try – a reliable companion to whisk us away. Arriving home just as the sun dipped below the horizon, painting the sky in a blaze of colour, was the perfect ending to our adventure. We’re both back, happy and content.