Visiting Thailand: 4 Days in Bangkok
Day 1: The Start of Our Search for Bargains!
Once we had arrived by sleeper train from Chiang Mai, we took a taxi from the Hualamphong train station to our hotel, S2S Boutique resort. Initially, we planned to head straight to Platinum Mall as we had heard there were lots of bargains there. However, as it rained, we made a short stop at Pratunam Center first. Unlike Platinum Mall, the Pratunam Center offers less variety. Nevertheless, we still managed to purchase cheap bags there.
Once the rain had stopped, we crossed the road towards Platinum Mall where we spent a few hours shopping to our delight. The mall also has a pretty good food court with lots of variety and affordable prices (from about 40 Baht onwards).
After that, we had to visit MBK as someone told us, "If you have never been to MBK, you have never been to Bangkok!" MBK was definitely huge and offered lots of variety. However, we felt that the things sold there were definitely more expensive than the ones at Platinum Mall.
Night view in Bangkok
Day 2: Shopping at Pratunam and Chinatown
Due to the uncertainties caused by the red shirts protests near the Grand Palace area, we decided not to proceed with our original plans to visit the area. Instead we started off the morning by going shopping AGAIN!
After that, we took a cab to Chinatown (Yaowarat Road). The pavements were packed with people and stalls selling food. Definitely not a place for a stroll. Along the road, there were many snacks stalls selling food stuffs like dried longan, durian chips and so on. If you are not sure whether you will like the taste or not, most shops offer samples to try. Also, remember to bargain and ask for discounts especially if you are buying in huge quantities. Some of the owners are also able to speak in Mandarin or Cantonese, so you may find bargaining with them directly instead of their staff easier.
From there, we headed to River City. We only stopped for a while because we were not that interested in the antiques or art pieces which were on sale there. Most items are expensive and way out of our budget. Venture out of the mall and you will see the Chao Phraya river. Many boats travel along this river and we took a free shuttle from River City to the Saphan Taksin Pier.
Upon reaching the Saphan Taksin Pier, we walked up to the BTS Station and rode all the way to Chidlom. Here, we explored some huge and very Singapore-like malls such as Central Chidlom and Central World. And that was the end of Day 2 in Bangkok!
Day 3: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Rose Garden Tour
On Day 3, we took a tour (1900 Baht for two). These included visits to the:
1. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Thailand is famous for its floating markets. These markets exist because many Thais love to stay close to the river. By doing so, they can easily irrigate their farms, catch fish and also use water transport. This was my first visit to a floating market so it was interesting. The waterways were packed with small paddleboats and each boat was filled to the brim with goods to be sold.
Before reaching the market, we took a "James Bond" long tail speed boat which allowed us to see homes build close to the waterway. At the market, each person only needs to pay 150 Baht for a ride on a paddle boat in the market itself.
2. Wood Carving Factory
Here, we could witness how the carving was done. It definitely requires lots of skill and patience. There are amazing woodcrafts on sale including huge wood replicas of elephants!
3. Rose Garden: Traditional Performances and More
At the Rose Garden, there is a replica of a farmer's house and collections of Thai fashion throughout the centuries. At 2.45pm, the show starts. Throughout the one hour show, we were introduced to a Thai wedding, muay thai, dances and a monk ordination ceremony. Watching the short skit on muay thai, made me interested in watching the real thing. But I guess I will have to do that on my next trip!
Later, back in Bangkok, we had dinner at Siam Square. As it was Friday night, there were lots of people walking about. Bangkok really has lots to offer for nightlife besides Patpong.
Day 4: Last shopping round at Chatuchak Market
As Saturday was our last day in Bangkok, we had to squeeze in a visit to the famous Chatuchak Market early in the morning. We reached at 8.30 am when it was not that hot yet. However, not all shops were opened yet. Here, we found amazing bargains from 50 baht onwards for shirts, dresses, skirts etc. As we had to rush to the airport to catch a flight, we could only spend 2 hours there. We realised that the whole market had lots of sections but we did not worry about getting lost. Just get lost in the market and you will find that it may bring you to some of the best things for sale.
This was my first visit to Bangkok and I loved it. In fact, I loved it so much that it is among my top 5 favourites cities. For more pictures, click here. The next time I visit, I hope to visit the Grand Palace and stay longer at Chatuchak!