"Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself." - Charlie Chaplin

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

One night in Bangkok

Day 6

When we touched down in Bangkok, it was late morning. With our clumsy backpacks, we decided to be adventurous and took public transport to our hotel. The BTS Skytrain goes straight to our hotel's doorstep at Ratchathewi station, so it'd be fun and convenient.

First, we had to get to the nearest BTS station at Mo Chit (near the famous Chatutchak Market, but it only opens on weekends and it was a Friday!). We hopped onto a bus, and prayed we wouldn't miss our stop - there were no signboards to tell us where to get down. All we could do was ask, "Mo Chit? Mo Chit?" at every other stop and a nice lady used hand gestures (polite ones) to let us know when to get off.

BUT she told us a little too early, so we had to trudge along a good block or two before we arrived at the station, bought the tickets and got into the wonderfully air-conditioned train.

When we arrived, we found the station conveniently linked to the second floor of our hotel (Asia Hotel). Before long, we checked in and had our first Thai lunch at a small little eatery next door called Siam House (recommended by JH). So yummy...

Lunch! (Or this could've been dinner at the same place later that day.)


Then it was off to MBK (kinda like our Sungei Wang, only with more variety and at even cheaper prices). I saw a shop selling iPod accessories and decided not to walk in (AAAIIIIEEEEE!!!). I already have a black leather case for my iPod, but the red leather on display was so beautiful (and CHEAPER!) I had to will myself to walk away.

So we went bargain hunting at shops selling shoes or clothes, and at optical shops to find LY a pair of sunnies (her sunnies broke in Siem Reap - tip: don't buy the fake goods from the market). The genuine stuff were still kinda pricey though, so she didn't get one. Overall, things weren't all that cheap here, although they were very nice and relatively cheaper than KL. So we didn't buy anything in the end (but oh, how I wish I bought that lovely leather satchel for RM160).

Next, Siam Discovery Center. Lots of nice clothes but expensive and a really funky food court (funky toilets too). Then we ended up at Siam Paragon. Wow! This is one beautiful shopping mall. The facade of greenery, mirrors and running water was a lovely sight to behold. But of course, we couldn't afford to buy anything as this was a upmarket mall for high-end branded goods (think Hermes and Gucci). We walked around and had gelato upstairs, and drooled over some designer home accessories at Loft.

We only had one day in Bangkok, so for more shopping we quickly hopped on the BTS to Asok Station, then down the Sukhumvit MRT to Lumpini. From there, we walked to the Suan Long Night Market as it was starting open. We shopped quite abit when we were here (I bought 4 skirts), bargaining like crazy. But as usual, we left with a funny feeling that we got suckered into paying more than we should have. Ah, the art of bargaining... still a skill we need to sharpen.

Later that night, we took a tuk-tuk to the Saxophone Bar (and the tuk-tuk driver ripped us off at 50 baht, saying it was very far away when it wasn't). When we got there it was closed because of Wesak Day. AAARRGGHH. Can you believe it? So we took a nice cab back to the hotel, and whaddya know, it was the same fare. Only the cab was more comfortable AND air conditioned.

Day 7

We got up early and had some very nice coffee at a little shop selling nothing but coffee, near the hotel. The owner reminded us of a cheerful retired army general, with his graying crew-cut hair, square jaw and beefed up frame. He was very proud of his coffee, and had every reason to. After soaking in the sounds and smells of the busy Bangkok street, we walked over to Siam House again for a breakfast of Pad Thai (stir-fried noodles), bacon and eggs. Then we checked out and headed for the airport to Chiangmai.

Again, the cabs were trying to sucker us. When we refused a cab outside the hotel charging 350 baht, we asked our hotel how much THEIR cabs would cost. They quoted 500 baht so we walked away. But they called us back immediately and offered 300 baht instead. Gosh. To think they could've pocketed 20 whole ringgit just like that.

Sigh. We left for Chiang Mai, hoping this second largest city in Thailand won't be as ruthless as Bangkok!


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