Just for the continuity from the previous post on my grades, thank goodness one of them was a barely safe A. Another subject probably wouldn't too nice to me.
I probably wouldn't strangle myself if I hadn't apply for the Asia Pacific Veterinary Conference 2014 in BITEC, Bangkok last October!
The whole batch wanted to go at first, but after all the deliberation and stuffs, it boiled down to only 11 of us going for the conference.
My intentions for the conference originally were to learn more on large animal, make connections as well as get insights of my future career path. Yet, the conference geared more towards small animal practice; something which I don't mind learning at all though it isn't in the top of the list.
Back to the conference, it was held 3 days in BITEC, a very strategically placed trade center about 15 to 20 kilometers away from the city center.
Our stay was in a pretty budgeted hotel around BITEC named Avana Bangkok for a stay of about RM80 for a king size bed for 3 person wasn't that bad.
The promotion we took named Trendy room was located in the new building of the hotel, probably for more economical budgets compared to the old building which is obviously more posh and well furbished. But, our room was pretty comfy for 4 nights stay with minimal hassle. Good bed, TV, pretty decent toilet even a tub, complimentary bottles of water everyday; its a good deal to have 3 person sharing the room.
I spoke Thai throughout the stay in the hotel and to everyone else's delight I'd actually understood almost 90% of the conversation between the staffs in the hotel and transactions were smooth. The staffs in Avana Bangkok were also extremely helpful and nice throughout our stay. The only downside was wifi wasn't complimentary and you need to pay for it. It ought to be better to get broadband services for a cheap RM7 from the nearest 7-11 for 1GB.
BITEC is about a 3 minutes taxi drive from Avana Bangkok, making the hotel one of the best hotels in terms of distance to BITEC. Taxi services are really fast and safe here, and it really only take about RM4 just to get from the hotel to BITEC. If I were to come to BITEC again, I'd probably still go for this hotel.
The first day in the conference was pretty cool because you get to see people from all over the places. The speakers in the conference were almost, if not all Americans from the North America Veterinary Council. The talks spanned from orthopaedics, nephrology, emergency care, clinical pathology, soft tissue surgery, diagnostic imaging, cardiology, neurology, infectious disease, internal medicine, and feline medicine. The catch of the conference is the topics in a day for one subject links from one lecture to another. To get the most of it, the best thing is to go for all the lectures under the same subject for that day; which was what I did.
I couldn't appreciate the other subjects, hence I went for nephrology, cardiology, emergency medicine as well as a small session on internal medicine. I personally adored all the speakers of the subjects I have attended , and they are probably the reason I could stay in the talk for the whole day 9am to 4pm.
The conference was extremely useful even for veterinary student like us because the lecturers were concise and pretty basic. It is probably like a refresh for all the veterinarians attended, as well as a little bit more on the new approaches in handling cases and discussions. It was fun looking at how the veterinarians discuss their cases and views in the end of each talk with the questions flying across the halls; someday when I'm good enough I would probably do the same as well.
For 3 days, the lectures were conducted in the day. And I have definitely exposed more on the field of small animal; or rather companion animals. It is not a bad field, but I'm not too certain if I'm the type which stays in the hospital one whole day. Maybe a mixed-practice veterinarian will suit me better? Going to the conference is like entering a national scale of a veterinary faculty; and almost everyone knows everyone around there because the veterinary circle is just so small! So small till the point that every little mistake can be noted by everyone in the field too.
The best part of the conference is, we are paying the price at RM300 as veterinary students, while the working veterinarians are paying RM3000! It was a 90% discount for us, with access to all the facilities available under APVC 2014. The 2nd best part of the conference was probably the food! World class standard food for lunch every afternoon, man I gained like 5 kg when I'm back from the conference from the good food.
The good food doesn't end in the lunch because we too had great food at night.
On the first night we've decided not to be too adventurous because we barely had time and we wanted somewhere close. We went for the nearest 7-11 for good ol' Chareon Porkphand on the go food. Not much pictures here, but I definitely love Thailand's 7-11 1000times more than Malaysia's.
The second night we've decided to be a little more adventurous, but time caught us in our back because we were taking too much time resting after walking back from BITEC. We went to a close stop taking taxi, namely Central Bang Na for a food court experience. The food was so so, not very cheap but we had an okay meal. We were baffled when we found out there were street food vendors right beside of the mall when it closed at 10.30pm!
Grilled seafood, padthai, friend insects, som dtam and grilled pork were the main attraction in this area. The seafood was great because of the chilli and spice sauce which goes with it, and the grilled pork was downright juicy and breathtakingly good. We stooped by 7-11 nearby again before we walked back to the hotel, with some little pups feeding along the way.
The 3rd night was probably the best because we've finally decided to try our luck on the BTS from the Bang Na station. We didn't know where to go until the senior we met in the conference suggested that we head to the Victory Monument for the famous Thai boat noodle. We took our chances, and heck we totally loved the experience there. The BTS sky train in Bangkok is extremely efficient, similar to the LRT in Malaysia. It connects the central of Bangkok to a little bit further in the outskirts of Bangkok, far enough to the BITEC station to our glee. The map of the BTS probably will show where you need to board and get off to the places you wish to go.
Victory monument is an area not only for tourist but for the locals as well. The place there is famous for their boat noodles, in while the noodles are only RM1.20 each but you can finish them in like, seconds. The idea is for you to order more and eat more with less portion in a bowl. There are other side dishes like pork curry, fish curry,sliced beed, and fried pork skin to be ordered for about RM4 to be shared among 5 or 2, and they were really good too. They have several different flavors of boat noodles too, some including tomyam, braised pork, braised beef, braised chicken, spiced chicken, and a few others. I adored the braised series because the broth was yummilicious~~
For every 10 bowls of noodles comes with a complimentary bottle of coke too. Something really cute in this business; I meant the cups. The restaurant had like multiple competitions along the streets, but I guess everyone have their own no.1 in their mind when they step in. The local Thais infested the whole place, and we are probably the really odd aliens around with me as the pseudo-thai speaking to the waiters and boss for order.
The Victory Monument is definitely one of the most bustling areas in town. The density of the people is probably double of that in Kuala Lumpur. In KL, you see more laborers around, and the density is not as packed as it is over here with all the locals. A great area to walk around for cheap stuffs and great food.
The 2nd night didn't end there because the boat noodles didn't exactly quench our hunger. We took another train trip to the Mo Chit station to get down on the mall Terminal 21. Terminal 21 is an extremely chique mall with the idea of an airport; hence the Terminal. Even entry to the mall require the security check and we were required to go through the metal detector.
Every floor has a different theme of destination; spanning from San Francisco to Tokyo, Istanbul to Hollywood; with also a set of security guard uniform and toilet to go with the theme. I wasn't crazy enough to enter all the toilets in every floor to snap pictures, but its definitely a good thing to do with your loved ones if they were to be of same sex; or with a crazy bunch of friends.
My favorite floor is none but the 5th floor- Pier 21. It's remodeled after the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, but it collects all the food in the mall within this floor. There are the usual convention Starbucks, Bubba Gump, Ice Monster and etc; but we were all aiming only for the food court.
The food court collects probably the best and the cheapest food in Bangkok ranging from authentic Thai food and dessert to the typical Mediterranean, Asian and Western mix. We went all bonkers for the Thai food and dessert because they were THAT cheap. RM3.50 for a decent Pad Thai, RM4.9 for a really good Durian Sticky Rice and RM2.00 for a coconut shake about 500ml is definitely cheap in such a posh mall.
Our hunt for food ended in Terminal 21 on the 2nd night, and we headed back to the hotel on BTS and taxi for a good satisfying night sleep.
Our 3rd night was just so so because we had to go to multiple places to get multiple items, especially souvenirs for all the lost souls back in Malaysia. We had time, so we went to Siam Paragon just for a short 30 minutes to see how posh the place is, MBK Center to check out the cheap items; which were not all that cheap after, and the sleazy Patpong Road.
I enjoyed Patpong road a lot because of the sleazy experience, as well me being so holy to fend my friends from the dealers offering sex shows around the streets. They were all extremely surprised when I spoke Thai and it really stopped them from coming after us. It's even more fun to talk about the people who'd actually pay visits into the bars or the deep rooms upstairs to enjoy those sex shows. It's not like its a crime or what not, but its just something to gossip and laugh over the walk around.
I will definitely pay a good visit to Siam Paragon again because we really just walked to the Underwater World to see the entrance, and a stroll around the grocery area. That was it. I will want to explore it well, even for window shopping the next time I'm back in Bangkok; which is just really soon. I wouldn't really bother about MBK anymore, because Chatuchak market is much cheaper and better than MBK. It was just an airconditioned Chatuchak with more expensive price.
The last day, just 4 hours before our flight back home we took a short session to Chatuchak Market. Heck I'm definitely coming back here again to get more stuffs.
This place has everything under THE SUN.
From souvenirs to everyday domestic use items, from potteries and plants to exotic pets; I've probably seen almost every products to be sold in this market.
We didn't haggle much in this place because it is already very cheap; what we do was rounding up a better price for the stuffs that we want. Saying so, we have still managed to get what we wanted for much cheaper price compared to the items outside of this market.
Getting to Chatuchak weekend market is pretty easy. Take the BTS or MRT line to the Mo Chit station, walk along the Chatuchak park and you will see the market around the corner. If you wish to come from the Don Mueang Airport directly, taking the A1 bus for RM2 directly to the BTS Mo Chit station and walk towards the area.
Overall, this trip to Bangkok was extremely fulfilling. It made me loved Thailand so much more, and being an expatriate in this place ain't that bad either. The living condition is probably still fine, but really it has so much to offer. Maybe being a veterinarian here wouldn't earn that much, but I'd probably going for a regional work instead for me to get the best of my vet experience.
APVC Bangkok 2014 was a blast, and heck, I'm dying to go back to Bangkok again to experience the life there better. The next time, for a whopping 28 days!