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Monday, March 19, 2018

Hidden Archeological Gem of Thailand

Monday, March 19, 2018 4 Comments
Continue my Bangkok Travelogue early February trip.... Check my awesome KhaoYai post HERE .

After spending my time touring around KhaoYai, I travel back to Bangkok. As I wanted to Kill Two Birds with One Stone (Poor Birdies) I  end up detour to Ayutthaya on the way to the City of Bangkok. 

Ayutthaya is must visit place for those who love the historical kind of sightseeing. I would say this place is a hidden archeological gem for Thailand. Same like Bagan, Myanmar which I visited few years back. Ayutthaya brimming with Buddhist temples, monasteries and ancient statues. Some even dating back to 1350. Not as old as Bagan and this place kind of small scales. 

Ayutthaya has gone through glory and strife stages. This place is also a UNESCO World Heritage city which is worth for sightseeing. I had chance wandering around the ancient ruined! I wish to rent bicycle and stay around this place.

I didn't have chance to visit many places since it requires extensive walking tour around the place. Plus the weather was super hot during my visit. My skin feel heat like being roasted. I just told the driver to drive me to hotel in Bangkok after 2 temples. isk isk isk

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

This 14th Century temple full with towering chedi. This place is still active and there are monks still living at this place. Very touristy area plus many local come for praying too.

This place was largely destroyed too during the Burmese invasion.

That stairway on the East side leads up to the entrance of the 60 meter tall bell shaped chedi. The visitors who climb up can find the small chamber with several images of the Buddha covered with gold leaf .

I just walk away from the crowd. I found less hot place. The cats within this place kind of their own funny character., I just sat and keep on watching them from far.

Especially this 2 cats. Aren't they look solemn by the window? Its kind of funny pose...but hey they just don't bother even when I was shooting my lens towards them. kekekeke...kawaiiii!!! They just don't bother me even when I was waving at them. Annyeonggggg!!!

This is found within the complex and one can make some offering for prayers too. Like I said this place is active and many devotees visit this place. 

At the North East corner of the grounds are reclining Buddha image. A yellow cloth is draped around the huge image that faces East towards rising sun. I was told the Buddha image was restored in year 1965.

Wat Phra Mahthat

This place located at the center of Ayutthaya. This place kind a symbolic center where the Buddha's relics were enshrined and also the residence of the Supreme Patriarch Thai Buddhist monks. It believe to be built during 14th century A.D (the early Ayutthaya period). It collapse during the Ayutthaya period and then restored. Subsequently in 1911 it collapsed again.

Famous Buddha Head embedded in between tree root

Its easy to spot this place. You will see many tourist pose selfie here. This place also know as the most photographed spots in Ayutthaya. If you walk closer to the area , you will find the large stone Buddha head set in a colossal and deep-rooted tree. It remain mystery on how the head became locked in between of the roots. Many make assumption that this is linked to flood and destruction many centuries back then and some even linked it to some legend. 
The legend of Wat Phra Mahthat is about two brothers fighting for the throne as King of Siam. The brother who won the throne built the palace with all the Buddha statues as an honor to his brother. Many believe the head in the tree is from one of these status and thought this is sort of eerie replica of defeated brother. This is just a legend told by most tour guides here and nobody verify the truth of this story.

I love walking around this place away from other tourist. This place kind of give me peace of mind. Historical place totally my style. I feel like I am a romantic type while wandering around this place. 

The driver brought me to visit the Golden Buddha but that place was closed during my visit. I end up took a stroll around those place.

I found this place right beside the Golden Buddha place but don't have the mood to go in for a visit. My leg too tired and all I want is to take afternoon nap.

Plus I need to pay for entrance fees and the staircase is too high for my bad knee. I was like...haihhhh...where is my driver ???

Even the squirrel found some coconut to drink. I can't even find coconut drink seller. I found my driver outside the gate. This is how my Ayutthaya tour abruptly ended due to me... lazy to walk around. huwahahahaha... I just wanna go for shopping at Pratunam! Save energy for shopping spree!

Friday, March 16, 2018

General Guidelines for Renovating Your Home

Friday, March 16, 2018 17 Comments

There are many properties available for sale and for rent in Singapore recently, such as  property in Geylang. If you have just recently gotten a new house yourself and you are planning to renovate your house, this article is for you! I will be writing about some general guidelines for renovating your 'home sweet home'.

You are renovating your home? So what ? Just call the contractor to renovate.... mmmmm...isn't that impulsive? You need some planning works to do that.

There are 2 options in hand for you to choose :

* Engage an ID (Interior Designer) ? At least you less headache. Just leave the the entire process to complete it all the way for you. Start from designing to the move in day. Leave it to the 'pro'. This will cost you more money.

* Self manage by engaging with contractors and various service providers. I won't say this will not cost you more money or less money. If you don't manage it properly , this could be a huge disaster.

Well, if you are opting to self manage the entire process or renovating your home , then read further. Here are guidelines for you to follow when it comes to renovating your home.

1. Design and Planning

Make an Excel worksheet to jot down :

* ideas
* list down the costing from different suppliers and some input from family and friends

Why you need an excel sheet? This is to simplify your process to keep it smooth , easy and easier for your overall comparison of ideas and costing. 

Important note : Please set a realistic budget for your renovation to make sure its within your budget or getting a huge renovation loan. Make sure you don't end up regret when it come to payment time or it will be too late to even turn back time.

Nowadays, the technology make us convenient to browse for information. Just search around for some inspiration or idea. Sites like  Pinterest or Qanvast will show you different ideas from paint color or bedroom designs and up to even types of lighting and furniture used.

After you done with your search and identified the style and design suits your preference for living room, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms, you can then make and appointment and start to discuss with your service providers to achieve your ideas. 
Always bear in mind , you might not achieve 100% as what you see in photo but you may get your contractor to works towards the closest.
There are many contractors available in Singapore, so make sure you do some research before you engage one. Make sure engage the one you feel most confident with in their workmanship.

2. Demolition and hacking

If you plan to restructure your house, make sure you double check with your contractor on whether any demolition or hacking work is allowed in your premises. An experienced contractor will then be able to give you some advice on what can be done and what cannot be done.

Cost of hacking could go from $400 to $1,000, depending on the size.

3. Electricity, plumbing and air conditioner

Any shirting in electrical points, pipes and air conditioner trunking should be done as early as you can before the massive renovation work starts. Air conditioner trunking should be done earlier and the air conditioner units can be installed much later.

Furthermore, you will also need to decide on whether do use a storage tank heater, electric heater or gas heater when it comes to water heater at home.

 4. Masonry and flooring

There are a few areas in your house that you might wish to build kerbs at, such as the main entrance door, toilet area and the kitchen entrance door.

If you wish to have a change in the floor tiles, the cost of it would go from $6,000 onwards, depending on the material and size of your home. I personally love laminated flooring.

5. Windows and grills

There are many types of windows: top hung, casement or sliding. You could choose to soundproof your windows and tint the glass as well to prevent heat from entering and blocking the noise. As for window grills, it is mainly for child safety purpose. Oh!for my case I would add more fencing to my grills to avoid stray cats and dogs to enter. I am afraid of animals. isk isk 

6. Painting and wallpaper

Choosing the right paint, the right color makes a huge difference. Using the right paint can instantaneously revive and brighten your initially dull looking unit. Some people prefer all white. Hence, choose a color that will brighten up your unit or a color that adds a touch of liveliness for your unit. Nobody wants to come back to a place where it further brings down the already-tired-from-work mood. Make sure to use only good quality paint as well to protect your home and will certainly last you a few years. If you are unsure of which color to choose, you can always ask for advice from the stores, as most stores offer a wide variety of colors for you to choose from and they will be able to advise you on the matching of the color that suits your house theme.

You could also opt for having wallpapers it is a cheaper option to nice and creative painting. Moreover, it is easily changeable if your tastes ever change in the future.

7.  Ceiling works

You could install false ceiling to your home to beautify the place. You could choose to install false ceiling at your living area, foyer area and the bedrooms. Different ceiling work such as lighting holders or L Box could give a different classy effect to your home. This work well for those who love to install chandelier to make home look more grand.

8. Carpentry works

You could do some carpentry work on your kitchen cabinets, TV consoles, false ceilings, doors, feature walls, wardrobes, bed frames and the tables at home. Do your research and look for a carpenter with good workmanship. If you are using the same design and material for your whole house, you could try to negotiate for a better price with your carpenter as the material will be cheaper when it is ordered in large quantity. Up to you feel this is so much work to do? are almost there to own a fabulous dream home.

9. Cleaning up

You are now one step closer to moving in to your dream house. After the renovation is done, it is time to clean up the mess left behind. You will need to engage with some cleaning service and disposal service to dispose all the renovation debris, and do clean up your house, including a chemical wash. I would rather hire the cleaning service people to do it for me rather than breaking my arm and waist to do this myself. Its not an easy job you know!

10. Moving in

Finally, you can move in your furniture and electronics items. This is normally the last step as it is to prevent any unnecessary damage to your precious furniture and electronics during the renovation period.

In conclusion, renovating your home on your own is not too difficult of a job, as long as you monitor closely to the work done by different service provider. Most importantly, they are definitely affordable as compared to engaging an interior design  that would break your bank account. Additional reminder, make sure you have the time to manage it all too.