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Monday, July 25, 2011

The Biggest Pagoda in Thailand

After the monk ordination ceremony, my classmates and I went to Nakhon Pathom to see Phra Pathom Chedi, the biggest pagoda in Thailand and one of the largest in the world.

It was under renovation during our visit, hence the mess in some areas, but it was still beautiful.

There were many different Buddha statues within the compound.

This is the biggest Buddha in Phra Pathom Chedi...

...while this is called the Reclining or the Sleeping Buddha.

photo credit: Louise Lizano

Our guide said we could sign our names before leaving.

The CityLifeStylist

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Monk Ordination Ceremony

It is a great honor for Thai families to have a son ordained as a Buddhist monk. A man of at least twenty years old can choose to become one for the rest of his life, or for a shorter period like a few months.

Here are photos of the ordination ceremony that my classmates and I witnessed during our Thailand trip. The 22-year-old young man being ordained had chosen to become a full-fledged monk.

The ceremony started early at around 8:00 a.m. A delicious traditional Thai breakfast was served. (Wrote about the cupcakes and ice cream served for dessert in a previous entry!)

My professor asked for the monk-to-be's autograph.

A live band played during parts of the ceremony and during the parade around the temple.

Electric fans for use in the temple were offered by family and friends.

The procession paused in front of the temple after walking around it three times.

Before entering, the monk-to-be threw coins wrapped in colorful ribbons to the crowd, which signified rejection of worldly goods. We had a lot of fun trying to catch the coins which were said to bring us luck.

We were also allowed to enter the temple.

After the ceremony, we took more photos around the area.

The monks agreed to a photo.

Such beautiful architecture!

The ceremony was an amazing cultural experience.

The CityLifeStylist

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bangkok Malling

Here are some of the photos I had taken while going around Central World and Platinum Fashion Mall in Bangkok. I only got to explore a couple malls during my stay, which means I have a lot more malling to look forward to when I return!

On its website, Central World calls itself the "largest lifestyle shopping complex" in Thailand. According to the Bangkok Shopping Guide website, it's one of the largest.

Central World is just like the malls in Manila, as it offers international brands like Topshop, Zara, and Forever21...

...alongside local boutiques like Pietra and The-Adjective. They had pretty cool stuff, but nothing in particular caught my eye.

When I entered the Platinum Fashion Mall, on the other hand, I think I died and went to shopping heaven!

Girly girls, most especially, would love this place. If you want to shop for feminine clothes, bags, shoes and accessories at bargain prices, you should schedule at least half a day getting lost in this five-storey shopping haunt. The stores give big discounts if you buy "wholesale"--which, for them, meant buying at least two items from a store!

The only problem about the mall is that many of the clothes come in really small sizes. I had to let go of several gorgeous skirts because they seemed to fit girls with 23-inch waistlines! It's probably because most Thai women are very slim.

I checked out every single shop on the first floor, forgetting that there were four more floors to explore upstairs. I only got to take a quick run-through on the next two levels before leaving for dinner with my classmates. Sigh. Needless to say, I'm raring to go back!

The CityLifeStylist

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Intern Style 101

Who: UNESCO Bangkok intern Panita looking effortlessly chic at the office
The Look: A sleeveless cream top with a babydoll collar and ribbon detail tucked into a long sheer skirt in navy blue and finished off with a brown leather belt and espadrilles

Panita's look had a bohemian feel to it, with a touch of Victorian sophistication. It seemed very comfortable, too, and perfectly breezy for the hot Bangkok weather!

NOTE: All City Streets photos are posted with permission from the subject/s

The CityLifeStylist

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bangkok Fast Food Restos Make Huge Salads

I never expect fast food restaurants to serve big servings of salads, which is why I was pleasantly surprised about the salad servings in Bangkok.

Last Friday, the group was already hungry and in a rush, so we decided to have a quick lunch at The Pizza Company at Central World before heading to our next destination. I honestly wouldn't recommend the restaurant for its service and other dishes, but the salad was satisfying. This was actually my professor's order, which I had practically half of, because my pasta had cheese in it even after we requested for a special order with no cheese since I was allergic. Thank goodness I brought my antihistamine!

I also had some Herb Chicken Salad at New York Deli after checking in at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. They substituted the original dressing, which had cheese in it, with red wine vinaigrette. It was the perfect ending to my Bangkok trip!

The CityLifeStylist

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Unbelievably Healthy Thai Desserts

The desserts in Thailand did not disappoint my sweet tooth. They were very healthy, too!

Fresh fruits were cheap and available in the markets and the side streets! There were tons of mangosteen, rambutan, lanzones, and custard apples. These are also available in the Philippines, but they're much cheaper in Thailand.

We couldn't get enough of the sweet mangosteen! Platters of mangosteen and rambutan were served for dessert at the Jungle House Hotel, where my classmate Louise and I got to ride an elephant. (More on that later!)

Baked goodies were served at the monk ordination ceremony (which I will tell you about in another entry!) It was so nice of them to give us bags of cookies and cupcakes for the rest of our tour. My favorite was the banana cupcake, because I could tell that the ingredients were fresh. I don't remember how many times I bought banana bread or banana muffins in village bakeries or supermarket bakeries in Manila that were only made with banana essence. Those give me a headache!

They also served coffee ice cream at the ceremony, which had peanuts, nata de coco, and bits of a vegetable that tasted like sweet potato. It provided a cool contrast against the hot, spicy Khao Tom Moo or boiled rice with pork and extra chili that we had for breakfast. (Yes, they served ice cream as part of our breakfast!)

Such delightful, diet-friendly treats!

The CityLifeStylist

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Miang: My Favorite Thai Appetizer-Turned-Main Dish!

photo credit: Errol Palaci

During our visit to the towns in the outskirts of Bangkok, we got to try Miang, a flavorful Thai dish. Actually, it was more of an appetizer, but I loved it so much that I ended up having it as my main dish!

Robyn Eckhardt of Eating Asia wrote the perfect description of Miang. It can give you a "taste of central Thailand in one neat bite: heat from fresh ginger and shallots, tartness from lime, saltiness from peanuts, and sweetness from toasted coconut and a jam-like sauce made from palm sugar, tamarind, and fish sauce."

The sauce I tried, on the other hand, was said to be made of tamarind, coconut and peanuts. The choices of filling also included lemongrass, chili, and small dried shrimps.

Check out the photos below to see how it's prepared:

photo credit: Errol Palaci

Miang is served with piper betel leaves.

photo credit: Therese San Diego

Each leaf is formed into a cone into which a little of each ingredient is tossed.

photo credit: Therese San Diego

After pouring a teaspoon of sauce into the cone, the leaf can already be folded closed and popped into your mouth.

I enjoyed it a lot because it was bursting with flavor! Definitely a feast for the taste buds. I preferred mine with ginger, lemongrass, lime, shallots and peanuts.

photo credit: Errol Palaci (cropped and brightened by TSD)

Eckhardt said it is widely available as a street snack and as an appetizer at upscale restaurants. I wish we had street snacks that are as healthy and yummy as Miang!

Ah, Miang... This is one Thai dish you definitely shouldn't miss.

The CityLifeStylist

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What's Hot in Thailand

On our first night, the class decided to have dinner at the guest house. We were in for a treat because the New Road Guest House in Bangkok, Thailand, served delicious Thai delicacies which were hot, hot, hot!

I ordered Pad Kra Paow Gai or traditional Thai minced chicken with chili, garlic and basil. It had a lot of chili, which made it very hot and spicy! It did not overpower the flavors of the chicken, the garlic, and the basil, though, which was good. It's something I would order again, but I'd ask the chef to go easy on the chili next time.

I had a taste of my classmate Romina's Kai Pad Med Ma Moung, which, according to the menu, was fried chicken with cashew nuts, onions and oyster sauce! Perhaps the restaurant meant stir-fried. It was so funny because she was expecting fried chicken! I had some of this, too, and it was also spicy, but not too much.

After every bite, I had a tall glass of fresh orange smoothie and a bottle of water to soothe my burning tongue!

The CityLifeStylist