Mini Review: Zanom Sunrise Resort (Budget stay with Superb service)

From the second floor of its restaurant
From the second floor of its restaurant

Service:

This actually why I am writing this post because I was so impressed with the service by Zanom’s staff. No wonder why they got the Certificate of Excellence 2014 from Tripadvisor.com

The staffs were really friendly. They were willing to help you on anything, answer your questions and provide your conveniences.

For example; I have missed my first breakfast because I didn’t know that they provided the meal and I had to leave for snorkeling trip. But then when I got back around 3 pm that day. They came and asked me when would I like the make-up meal to compensate for that missing breakfast!? So I actually got the muesli (full of fruits) with milk, and a banana pancake that I asked to replace a toast…. 😀

Muesli full of fruits served with milk (sorry no photos of the yummy pancake)
Muesli full of fruits served with milk (sorry no photos of the yummy pancake)

Accommodation:
I booked a room here just for two nights (THB 1,500 each or about USD 50) because another night we will be at the Mountain Resort Sea-view room which is quite pricey (THB 4,800 for high season or about USD 150) just for the view and the comfortable accommodation.

We stayed in the farthest bungalow from the beach which is actually not that far because the resort is quite small. So in the morning I would just wake up for jogging then come back to change for snorkeling.

The wi-fi connection is strong and covered well throughout the resort. (Especially when compare this to that of the Mountain Resort which is only strong at the lobby area, but yeah it was quite huge.)

Sunrise Beach from Zanom Sunrise's view

Convenience:

It is really close to the night shopping street just 5 minutes away on foot but the main road was quite dark and dangerous so take a beach walk until you reach the walking street.

It is right on the beach so it has chilling beach front area that you can enjoy reading books and can also be reached easily by a boat.

Zanom Sunrise Resort from the beach in the morning
Zanom Sunrise Resort from the beach in the morning

Food:

I had my first meal on Lipe Island here. The price is the same as on the night street (around THB 200 per person per meal) but it is delicious.
Even for the breakfast meals that came with the room price was superb. It seems like they took long time to prepare a meal for us but for my 3 meals here, they worth the wait.

A plate of beef burger during the raining evening
A plate of beef burger during the raining evening

all of these photos were taken with my mobile phone.

Link to my post on Koh Lipe 🙂

Life: The First Time at Meetup.com’s Meetup

Last week, I just went to my first meetup and I enjoyed it so much that I came back home and wrote this post.

What is meetup? Let’s see the definition from Wikipedia.

Meetup is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. Meetup allows members to find and join groups unified by a common interest, such as politics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers or hobbies. Users enter their postal code or their city and the topic they want to meet about, and the website helps them arrange a place and time to meet.

Hmm… To me it is the online platform that lets people who are interested in the same thing get together. The common categories I have found in my area, Bangkok, are Languages (English, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, etc.), Health (Running, Badminton, Yoga, Dance etc.), Business (Entrepreneur, Tech, etc.), and Lifestyle (Photography, Volunteering, Movie, Food, Music etc.).

To Thai people, I believe it is quite uncommon to randomly go to any events like this. So most of people I have found including at the event and as shown-up members of any groups are mostly foreigners. My friends also asked me whether is a dating event, well, it really depends on each person!

I have found Meetup.com on an offline news article then I went look around on its site. It took me the second visit to register here. Then it took me almost a year to go to the first meetup of mine! wow. I just checked that on my profile. I have registered since December 2013 and now it is November 2014.

Why did I register on meetup.com?

  1. To practice languages – at that time, I just came back from Beijing, China. So I wanted to use Mandarin to prevent me from forgetting it which I did now…
  2. To meet new foreign friends – of course I do have Thai friends and I don’t have any problems about them but I would like to know more about other cultures as well.
  3. To try new thing – as far as none of my friends know about it, I would like to try checking it out.

Hey and it’s free for attendees! The organizer of each group has to pay some monthly fee to the website.

Why did it take me so long for my first meetup?

  1. I just started my job back then. I wasn’t sure when would I really be available for the events. I didn’t want to RSVP Yes then changed to No for my first meetup.
  2. At that time there were not as many groups as this time! The one that has really a large number of members is Bangkok Language Exchange meetup which including many languages you want to learn or teach. Then the Mandarin group I was looking forward to was founded in late July 2014.
  3. I forgot about this. You know, things are going on in your life since none of my friends are talking about this, so I forgot it until late October 2014.

Then, I went to my first meetup which was a Korean club….. as funny as it sounds, Korean was not on the first list of languages I want to study which are English, Chinese, Japanese, German. I wanted the Chinese  meetup to be my first event but they don’t held it quite often then recently the organizer of the event sent me a personal message noticing me on the next event which was really kind of him and that reminded me of meetup.com!

Unfortunately, the date for that upcoming Chinese dinner I will not be around here 🙁 So I took my time to check the website out and found many more interesting groups. I wanted to have Korean for dinner and I accidentally found the upcoming Korean club’s first meetup… so I decided to join.

I know some basic Korean from my friends I have met in Beijing. I can listen and  understand some basic things, I can also read its alphabet slowly (not as fast as what is shown in karaoke songs) BUT I can’t speak that well.

The funny but most fortunate thing that day was Korean and Chinese meetups share some of the same members. So I was able to communicate with English and (my broken) Chinese there 😀

We started of the night with Korean dinner at the Bangkok’s Korean town. I enjoyed the meal there (of course). After that some of us (six of us to be specific) moved on to the Japanese place for karaoke!

The nationalities of people who joined the first meetup were various including Thai, Korean, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Malaysian. Another funny thing was that we actually spoke in 4 languages: English, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese! Hahaha. I was so confused at the time.

I really had fun there regardless of language barriers we had make it through. Those people were nice and helpful to me (in any languages). It was a great first impression on meetup.com to me. Moreover, now it made me more interested in the Korean languages even more. Thanks everyone!

Who should come to meetup?

  1. Who wants to extend his or her circle of friends.
  2. Who wants to practice languages – I speak in terms of meetup based in Bangkok for Thai people who would come because at least you will practice your English.
  3. Who wants to find business networks – each group has specific interests so you know where will be your potential clients are, and where for your potential partners.

In conclusion, let’s just go out and meet some new people! to extend your thoughts or else have fun 🙂

Thanks for reading.

MP

Travel: 5 Reasons to go to Asiatique the Riverfront!

This is my fourth time here at Asiatique the Riverfront which is a night market by the river. This land used to be a pier for exporting teak wood in the past so they turned the warehouses into shops and restaurants, provided some space for walking around on the deck and added a ferris wheel to make it more fun.

 

Let’s get to the point.
5 Reasons to be here:
  1. Ferris wheel – I have to admit. It is becoming one of the Bangkok’s (non-cultural) landmarks. Since I could not think of anywhere that has a ferris wheel for the whole year. (some places might have it for a festival in winter season). When coming here at the twilight time, there are pretty much chances that you will get the blue wheel with the purple sky as a background like this.  This object can also be seen from far away. Note: Sorry, I havn’t riden this since if I want the view from the top I would go for a tall building..

    the Asiatique's landmark: Ferris wheel
    the Asiatique’s landmark: Ferris wheel
  2. Free boat ride all year long – well, if you enjoy a boat ride then you will probably like this. Since they don’t charge for a ferry boat from the skytrain station that linked to the center of Bangkok, Siam and Sukhumvit area.

    This shuttle boat is what you should be looking for.
    This shuttle boat is what you should be looking for.
  3. Organized and clean – OK. It’s new. It was just opened to the public like since 2012. So, the shop sections are well divided and the area is well-organized, and easy to get around. The main sections are shops, food court, restaurants, deck, and the ferris wheel which is currently held the River festival for Loy Krathong day, November 6 for this year. Its size is manageable to walk around in a couple days comparing to the Jatujak weekend market which is huge.

    The area for the River festiival during Loy Krathong day in November
    The area for the River festiival during Loy Krathong day in November 2014
  4. Takeing vivid photos – the lighting is nice. Each shops are decorated nicely. You can see from the photos here. Thus, I would come here when I want some photos of variety of shops with enough light at night.asiatique shop asiatique shop DSCF1649 asiatique shop
  5. Tourists – I put this as a good thing since I think if you want to study the customer behavior of some groups of tourists; what do they buy (from their shopping bags), what do they eat (from their dish), where do they come from (if you ask). Then, this is the nice place to do so. It is chilled.
A clown is making some balloons for these young clients
A clown is making some balloons for these young clients
Then, here are some reasons just to prevent you from disappointment.

 

3 Reasons not to be here:
  1. Pricey stuffs – It is the same reason for many tourist attractions that I would say this. Well, maybe I think I could find the cheaper things somewhere else but if it is the only market you come in Bangkok and you found some unique stuffs, you should get it. If you want to taste the local food, just walk outside the Asiatique and turn left or turn right and go straight for like 5 minutes you would find the first local restaurants on street (I was walking here from another hotel and I passed a lot of restaurants.) It is much cheaper and the taste is real but yeah, if the menu does not contain some photos, it would be difficult to order. These are the examples of things I had that day (ones that I could remember the prices): matcha soft cream with a waffle cone at THB 59 (this is the normal price for this though!) and pepper pork steak in the food court at THB 139 (but I feel like THB 70)
  2. Seats are not by the river – from the name ‘Asiatique the riverfront,’ it is really by the river, we can hang out on the deck; however, I saw some restaurants here that claimed they are by the river, actually yes with some spaces but if you expect to dine by the river,, it is not really unlike other standalone restaurants/hotels along Chao Phraya river such as Sala Rattanakosin (opposite of Wat Arun as the photo on my about me page here) or Vivi coffeeplace for the afternoon drink.

    These restaurants are the closest to the river in Asiatique but still quite far.
    These restaurants are the closest to the river in Asiatique but still quite far.
  3. Too touristy – If you are looking for a place that Thai people hang out normally, this would not be it. But if you want to check it out, yes you should do! To me, it is quite far from the city center where most of people gather around, so I would come here once in a while as I put it on the reason to come here that I want some photos. But some Thai in the neighborhood come here as well since there are a couple times I came here on the weekend and found lots of families came and some students came. But most people I have seen here are the East Asians tourists 🙂
 In conclusion, it is a nice and neat place that you should go check it out. Though many upcoming malls are in construction along the river. I think it could beat this one if the location is closer to the tourist attractions area aka Phra Nakorn district, or closer to the skytrain station or the more gimmick/ prominent landmark such as this Ferris wheel here.

Useful information:

 

Opening hours:
17:00 till midnight
How to get there: 
Take a skytrain on Silom line to BTS Saphan Taksin station then take the exit no.2 to the pier and wait for a free shuttle boat.
External links:
Asiatique’s offical site: http://www.thaiasiatique.com/index.php/en
The view from captain room towards the Asiatique
The view from captain room towards the Asiatique

 

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Review: Fujifilm’s Basic Photography Workshop (with some photos and useful links)

The photography workshop I have been to today was held by Fujifilm, the brand of my camera, and Big Camera, the shop that I have bought my camera from. Fortunately, it was free! Just you buy a Fujifilm camera from them, you can come here! (even getting it at a discounted price like I did.) Oh, and they also held for other brands as well.

 

Fujifilm The Master Of Premium Workshops 2014 was a one-day workshop which including 3 major parts: the introduction to the speaker’s profile, the content of basic photography and basic modes, and the hands-on session.

 

The speaker of today’s event was Tamm Pasin Auttayatamavitaya. He looks young, he is actually young like just 3 years older than me but with tons of experience! (link to his social media is provided below) He was a fashion photographer (since 17!) who is an expert at lighting and currently a film producer.

 

The model and K Tamm in black and white
The model and K Tamm in black and white
I would like to jump to the hands-on session since the basic is pretty much the same everywhere (which I have found the online articles are the best source of knowledge, some of my favourite links will be listed below.)
There were four stations of the workshop:
  1. Model shooting: there was light settings, so everyone would set the same ISO, aperture and speed shutter on manual mode. I was standing next to the host and his assistance so they helped me a lot and I got to try 35mm (53 equivalent) which was really quick and sharp though its price is even higher than my camera+kit lens but still! is what I’m aiming for next. I really like the model’s look today which was very vintage. This station would be something I cannot find outside or even I would not try to find soon … so I asked Khun Patai’s assistance to shoot me a portrait at the workshop ended 😀 Thank you. It was so generous of you.

    Mali: today's model with the vintage look
    Mali: today’s model with the vintage look
  2. Macro on jewelry: nothing much just zooming and using macro. I enjoyed more on shooting something else rather than the main objects.

    A cute gap in front of me
    A cute gap in front of me
  3. Depth of field: I use this a lot already when I go out and shoot small interesting objects. At the setting, there were some car models and merry-go-rounds. There was also some lights to play with Bokeh.

    A toy car
    A toy car
  4. Landscape: Honestly, I just knew it was landscape station when I came home and searched for the event information… I thought we were just shooting anything on a boat (and outside.) This station is what I like the most since I like shooting people in their natural acts. Most of other attendees might shoot lots of buildings, sky and the river which I have recently been on the boat to shoot them already.

    the capture during the boat trip
    the capture during the boat trip

What I have further learned from this workshop:

  • Manual mode: Honestly, I don’t use M mode since it takes time, the moment I wanna take is already gone by then 🙁 Using this mode basically start with ISO (just like other modes that we have to know the condition of the room light) then aperture then speed shutter. and then if the photo is still dark, just go back to loop with moving up one thing and moving down the other thing the same stop.
  • Sunny 16 rule: The check on the exposure. Especially when going to the beach (I am going to the beach soon.) set at f16. Then ISO and Shutter speed go together such as set ISO at 100 and 1/100s. But this is just another rule that you would break. I mean I would, when I want to play with depth and else.
  • Dynamic range: He was emphasizing the great thing about dynamic range of Fujifilm model. I have not searched about this on other brands. Basically, it is normally set at 100% but if we adjust it to 400%, the photo will look less contrast and quite pale. The good thing is when you adjust this afterwards, you can play with the color a lot since the details were captured better than settings at 100%.
  • Advanced filters: many Fujifilm’s old film styles like Provia, Velvia, etc. I still think Black and whit is the best to play with which he also mentioned this 🙂 even taking a photo of garbage can looks nice.
  • Materials to study as an example: those 3 studys
    • Composition: learn from paintings
    • Feeling from lights: learn from movie
    • Capturing moment: learn from music video

In conclusion, this was a really great and entertaining customer relationship event. It was well-organized and even held at a riverside hotel providing us with meals and some prizes for the winners such as Fujifilm Instax, a portrait book, and some t-shirts.

I have been to a paid photography session once which was really nice and provided me with lots of basics knowledge about photography but it was lacking the shooting session so pretty much the attendees will know how to do it but have not really do it until they go out and shoot later on.
The great things about this workshop are:

  • The organizers are the camera shop and the camera brand so when we don’t know how to use any functions, we could just ask them and really expected them to be able to answer since the previous workshop I have been to, the speaker did not know a lot about Fujifilm settings and most of the attendees were using either Nikon or Canon.
  • No hard sales. Surprisingly and fortunately.
  • It was nice to meet and talk to people who use the same camera brand like I do. It made me feel like I’m not here alone…

Until next time : )

MP

At twilight time on the Chatrium riverside hotel's deck
At twilight time on the Chatrium riverside hotel’s deck
External links:
K Pasin’s instagram: http://instagram.com/tammfotografie
My favourite street photography blog: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/
My favourite Thai photography youtube channel which is easy to follow and understand: www.youtube.com/user/iLoveToGoDotCOM
Another useful site about photography: http://digital-photography-school.com/

 

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Life: When your student Thanked You for tutoring them :)

This post is going to be really positive thought of mine, so prepare to smile 😀

When I was in middle school, I wanted to be an English teacher. Just because I like to learn English. (To be specific, right now as I have grown up, I like learning language”S”.) But as time passed by, when I was choosing my major in college, instead of majoring in English or teaching, I chose Accounting… (wait what?) It was probably my environment back then, and I could not think of the way to make money from learning a language. (I know there were actually more reasons than this.)

After finishing my degree, I went to Beijing to study Mandarin Chinese which would be in detail on another post. Then, I came back to Bangkok and pursued my first professional career as a business consultant! It did not come out of nowhere since when I was in my last year of university, I have experienced strategic consulting field and I was really into it; the challenging work, the learning environment, the unique projects.

Even though it was not exactly like I expected it to be, I enjoyed my job which later on I have discovered one thing from a part of my job that: I like teaching. I mean I like standing in front of the crowd, speaking something, teaching/coaching people, and explaining until they understand.

At that point, I started trying to find some students by posting my profile on potential websites. Surprisingly, there were a lot of calls but I did not know many things about private tutoring yet including pricing. (I have developed some pricing strategies right now.) So, I asked for too little from my first students. But it was alright since they came in pair and they were my first experience 😀

These two young girls were in their last year in high school. They applied for so many English exams such as IELTS, CU-TEP, TU-GET, etc. The one that they came to me for was TU-GET, an English exam of Thammasat University. When they came to me, they already took this test. One of them got 380 and another got 350 from 1000 points. They needed 500 points to get into their desired programs.

The reason why I am writing this today was that one of them just said hi to me in the chat and told me her improvement on the score. She got 530 points from her recent one 😀 She thanked me for helping her to get it. I felt unbelievably wonderful. I told her that it was mainly due to her hard work and continuous learning. I was just a small part of her success.

I feel like it would be great if people give you some compliments from time to time just to motivate or show support for what you are doing. Even though it is just a normal chat or the sender would not think it would be meaningful at all, but it is actually meaningful 🙂 So, if you know that some of your friends are working on new projects, give them some genuine supports. It can really make their days, and motivate themselves.

Thanks for reading.
MP

(I think it is) Sakura in Japan
(I think it is) Sakura in Japan

Note:

  • Later she said she will hand in her IELTS score instead.
  • Don’t be surprised and wonder like how come my writing is pretty bad.. this is why I am writing it here, I want to practice 😀 (some excuses: I know it was better than this when I was taking the tests (SAT,TOEFL, etc.) myself. But after that time, I have not really write on complicated topics.)
  • If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to tell me. I will be really appreciate.

Cafe Hop: The Girl and The Pig

the girl and the pig 2
The Girl and The Pig: Table next to the window

 

With its catchy name, The Girl and The Pig was really hard to be forgotten. I came across this one on the day that I went for a dinner with my friends too early, so I decided to stop by this place. Guess what? It currently offered an afternoon tea set promotion; a pot of my choice of tea and a plate of any dessert for THB 390.

Dessert:

I finally ordered Chocolate Lava and Poached Pear. It looked good and did taste good! Its chocolate lava caked was filled with mocha dark chocolate so it was not too sweet for my taste. The poached pear in white wine complemented the cake so well that you will feel the balance of the richness of chocolate and the feeling of freshness from pear. Another thing that came well with the rest was little scoops of homemade vanilla ice-cream 🙂  So, overall was the great combination of taste and texture (crispy, soft, moist, cold, hot… yummy!)

the girl and the pig 6
The Girl and The Pig: Chocolate Lava with Poached Pear

Drink: Keep Reading