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Thread: Travel

  1. #441
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    Oh man, we had to give up on our planned trip to Thailand this year due to unexpected surgery, but I need to keep that list handy for when we eventually make it.

  2. #442
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    When I said above "dont look like a target", I could have added that Asian ethnics probably need to be more alert, they will assume Asian = target.
    Even if you are American Chinese, they will assume you are an easier target.

    Do be aware - but dont let is spoil your trip.
    Be direct and firm - a quick "no go away" will sort most issues out. They rely on people being polite and worried about offending.
    Worst case and you think someone is about to steal/scam/harrass you - be loud, yell help. Probably wont help if they have your valuables, but will help beforehand, they will just pick a quieter, easier target. Dont worry about embarrassing yourself or your family - better a minutes embarrassment amongst strangers than losing $1000.
    Muggings or actual "risk to person" is low, they just want an easy dollar.

    Also be aware of people "helping you" and then asking for money. Dont accept help unless you need it. Even if they do help, dont feel obliged to pay or have a small amount (1 euro/dollar) easily available to slip them, say thanks and look dumb and walk away.
    Dont open a wallet to pay a tip to anyone not working for a reputable place.

    Enjoy Europe - it is amazing, quite different to Asia/America, people can be nice, mostly once you are off the tourist path.
    Do some dorky tourist stuff, but also find that quiet cafe with mostly locals, take a few moments to feel like you are a local not a tourist.

  3. #443
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    thanks!

  4. #444
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    I was updating my first Bangkok review post with the extra restaurants and bars and I went over the post limit so for the people playing along my first post is now fully updated and I've moved the sky bar reviews here I'll do a post for Singapore in a bit

    Sky bars

    Note that I’ve been to a lot of them like vertigo, lebua, octave etc before so this time was trying some new places

    A.Bar in Marriot on Sukhumvit - decent but not fantastic view but this bar broke the normal tradition by having a nicely put together cocktail list and well made drinks. The only other sky bar to match it in that regard is the one in Hotel Muse on Langsuan but this had a much much much better view. Of all the sky bars in Bangkok this is my new favourite, it doesn’t have the best view but it is the best experience

    Sky bar on 38 - this is in a hotel who’s name I forgot Anyway, its close to sky bar in lebua but its not as high, not as expensive and not as good. Also nowhere near as busy. Don’t bother with cocktails here as they’re rubbish and while the view isn’t great it is pretty good so for a few beers and watching the sun set there are a lot worse places you can go. And the elevator is cool.

    Sala - in old town this is a very short rooftop bar overlooking wat Arun. Great bar, gets busy early so go early (before 5!) and watch the wat Arun get all lit up and look pretty. After that do Chinatown for dinner Not the typical Bangkok sky bar but worth a trip for after you finish at grand palace.

    HiSo in Sofitel - This is a sky bar I've been to a few times at night so this was my first time for sunset. It isn't super tall but is looking out over Lumpini park so you get a pretty good view. Cocktails aren't great but certainly the standard of somewhere like Octave but not at the Hotel Muse/A.bar standard. Prices are more reasonable than Vertigo which is 500m up the road but thats kinda fair as the views don't compare. Ultimately its a nice bar which isn't particuarly good at anything but not bad at anything either. Worth a visit if you're in the area but not really worth a specific trip to see.

  5. #445
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    OK, Singapore

    Restaurants

    Nouri - This was the 5th Michelin 1 star restaurant we've done in the past month or so and we both felt that it was clearly a level above the rest and personally I enjoyed it more than the 2 star dinner we had at Kikuchi in Tokyo last year. Wonderful food, some really well crafted cocktails and a casual, fun atmosphere. Most Michelin restaurants are obviously pretty good but this was better than that, I definitely recommend it if staying in Singapore.

    Apart from that I'm kinda having to think what we had, its almost easier to remember what we didn't have. We didn't do Tian Tian (couldn't be arsed with the queue), didn't do the other chicken rice down the road which has better rice but not as good coffee (it was closed). We didn't do char sui and roast pork at the really good place at old airport road hawker centre (sold out). So, hmm, we did birds of a feather which was good but I don't really remember it and we did find a good chicken rice in chinatown but I haven't got a clue which restaurant it was. Hmm, bars then.

    Bars

    Native - This is a really high rated bar and while it was pretty good we both felt it lacked soul. It's stated goal is to use only asian ingredients and present them in interesting cocktails but the 'story' behind each cocktail lacked soul and they took things just too seriously. Flavourt while the cocktails were all sort of subtle, fragrant and tending to incorporate some fruit while being pretty light in alcohol. Ultimately we felt it was pretty similar to Gen Yamamoto but without the real cleverness, passion and fun. It's worth a visit but it didn't stir our soul.

    Employess only - Hmm, we hated it. Walked in and it struck us as a generic ex pat bar and we had to do a bit of a double take to see if we'd walked into the wrong pace. We hadn't, we're not fans at all.

    28 Hongkong st - one of those bars that is hidden (but not really) so if you know its there its easy to find and you do get a great wow feeling when you walk in. A decent length signature cocktail list with a lot on there you want to try and bar tenders you could have a great chat with and remembered that you were, you know, in a bloody bar so had some fun. I really liked this bar, we came back on the last night as well when it was a lot busier but still great. Top fit out, top cocktails, great staff, genuinely vying to be on my top 5 in the world list.

    Atlas - holy fuck, what a building! The biggest problem you have in this bar is you walk into it, your mouth drops open and you start walking into things. Most impressive date bar in the world? Probably. Or definitely. It is an amazing art deco space where every detail from the largest (like the four story tall gin bar) to the smallest is utterly perfect. This bar specialises in Gin (largest collection in the world at around 1300 different bottles) as well as some vintage champagnes etc, and has a really good cocktail list which generally were nice twists on classics. Service superb, drinks really good but the space is the shining star here. Must visit in singapore, it will blow you away

    Operation Dagger - another very highly rated bar we didn't click with. We first went a friday night when it was a bit rammed and we weren't feeling it so we came back on a saturday when it wasn't in such an after work drinks for ex pat mode. We kinda found the staff a bit condescending, cocktail list close but not quite right and the drinks not great. It is a bit hidden and has kind of a gritty underground bunker kind of feel but it didn't work for us. Ordered a second drink because it is so highly rated and we figured we must be missing something but no, not for us. Not terrible but didn't do it for us.

    RPM by Despoke - Woohoo, this was a change. Japanese bar which is full of old vinyl and a great sound system with drinks featuring nihonshu and shouchu. We liked the drinks, got along great with the staff and really enjoyed it. I don't think this is a bar you'll spend more than a couple of hours because its vision is very narrow but it is a vision that you should try out

    Gibson - OK, this is a great bar. It's brief is to be inspired by japanese bars but taking it a little casually so for example the bar staff will be in nice jackets and denim cutoffs. This bar is fun without being annoying, much better vibe than bars like dagger and EO and had some great drinks with a bit of showmanship. Great bar, I highly recommend it.

    Jigger and Pony - Nothing fancy in the fit out but one of he best cocktail lists I've ever seen. Not just the drinks but the actual layout as its a book so for things like the classic cocktails it will have a history for each, seasonal cocktails explains the inspiration and ingredients, modern classics goes into the barman who invented them etc. We loved this bar, in our top three in Singapore and ended up staying a lot longer than we planned. Great staff, like really great staff, and excellent cocktails. No gimmicks, just a great bar.

    Tippling Club - This is another of the really highly rated bars in Singapore and is a bit on the molecular gastronomy end of bars. We enjoyed the drinks, a couple were really quite good and liked that while the drinks were highly designed the staff didn't take things too seriously and you could have some fun with them. We enjoyed it, but, its a couple of drinks and worth to see but it didn't really get an emotional response from us. Good bar, better on the intellectual level than the emotional level.

    D.Bespoke - This is an extremely japanese bar so a big wonderful bar, comfy leather seats and over the top precise bar staff. It's also a no list bar so you have a quick check with the bar staff about your likes and they'll make something up. My issue with these bars are that the bar staff have to be really good to get this to work and I have to say here yes, yes they are. I ended up having three drinks here and two wee absolutely outstanding and the third was a decent drink. For a bar like this thats a pretty good hit rate and what impressed me was that the first drink was brilliant when in bars like this it often takes the barman a couple of drinks to warm to your tastes. Like most bars of this type I think you get a lot more out of it if you are reasonably cocktail savvy so can give the bar staff something to work with but they are better than most. I enjoyed it but my one criticism is that because of the extreme japanese style of this bar, and its really a caricature of japanese ginza bar style, you don't get that relationship with the barman to bring the drinks to the next level. Thats a bit disappointing because one of our favourite custom cocktail bars is in Tokyo and is kinda the opposite to this bar as its irreverent and we have an awesome time joking with the owner. Anyway, this is a very good bar and well worth a visit, but my one suggestion is that I wouldn't recommend you going like we did - about 20 cocktails in and wearing shorts at the back end of about a 10 hour bar crawl. whoops

    I think thats all the bars, when I remember the ones we missed I'll update

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