Lilypie - First Birthday

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bangkok! 2007 - Part 1: Shopping

It's at times like these that I suddenly feel like blogging. To chronicle the journeys I'd taken; my footsteps in a foreign country. To re-live the feelings I had when I set foot on lush, exotic, unknown territory. To fight that feeling of boredom and that small, throbbing feeling I have in the back of my brain after I'd slept too much while traveling under the hot sun and watching five episodes of Grey's Anatomy in a row.

My trip to Bangkok early this year succeeded immediately our departure from the capital of Cambodia - Phnom Penh. I'll blog about that other capital another time cos it would take an excruciatingly long time for me to recover from the horrors of that country if I were to recount it in my current mental state. What I intensely remember though, was my cry of angst/agony to my brother in that tight, cramped little motel room above the bustling traffic of Phnom Penh, "I wanna go back to civilization!"

And there I was, relieved to find myself, slightly more than one hour later after the flight from Phnom Penh, standing in the glaring lights in the fresh, modern space of Bangkok's brand-new Suvarnabhumi airport of Thaksin's legacy. After gathering our baggage, we hailed a cab that took us all the way to the hustle and bustle in the thriving heart of Bangkok.

Hustle and bustle of city traffic

Bangkok - City of Life, City of Angels!

BTS/ Sky Train service

The first real impression I had of Bangkok while riding the cab to our destination was that WOW... Bangkok is much, much more developed than Kuala Lumpur with all its beautiful, wide highways and skyscrapers compared to KL. I think Bangkok city is larger because the high rise buildings extend much further outwards from the city center. And it was the first time I sat in a comfortable, clean, Camry cab!

Pastel Camry cabs

Bangkok is a colourful, vibrant city with all the positive, pumping energy you can get. It just makes you feel so alive! I mean, especially, the SHOPPING CENTERS. Boy, can I ever get enough of them??? Before I arrived in Bangkok, really, nobody ever told me it was a shopping haven! All the impressions I had before that about Thailand were negative, think - illegal drug trafficking, prostitution, monks swathed in robes walking around asking for alms, and bombings. (However, the bombing part is true, we'll get to that later.)

Here, everywhere, you can see foreigners, either sober or non-sober, walking around with their Gucci sunglasses down to their tropical island flip-flops. Twenty-something yuppies in office-wear slinging either fake or genuine LV merchandise. Slim, pretty university students dressed in their custom black-and-white uniforms and trendy makeup, bags and heels.

Shopping malls galore!

We stayed near MBK shopping complex

Siam Square's cute & youthful interior

Christmas decoration outside Siam Paragon

The Siam Paragon

The interior beats Suria KLCC & Starhill anytime!

Foodcourt - I make a pledge to eat there the next time I go to Bangkok!

IMAX in Siam Paragon

Erawan high-class shopping centre with all the Guccis and Pradas you can imagine

LV flagship store in Bangkok

Central World - We hung out for quite a while at its Kinokuniya

Nutcracker on guard

Cartoon parade outside Central World

Simply lovely...

Hahaha... the girls and metrosexuals must be bursting to get there now!

The taxi drove us right up to the doorsteps of our lodging - Reno Hotel - a tastefully decorated small little hotel tucked neatly away in the bustling area of Bangkok's high class shopping district. The hotel is situated near the MBK BTS, a mere 20-minutes walk to all the big-name shopping malls. As soon as we checked in, we couldn't wait to go sightseeing at all the beautiful malls! Although Christmas was over, the streets were still nicely decorated. Someone please tell me, does it look nicer than Singapore's Christmas? However, all Christmas celebrations were canceled due to bombings all over Bangkok city on Christmas Eve.

The Erawan, Siam Paragon and Central World were all the classy malls that sells things which I can ill-afford, while MBK was the ideal choice for me to get cheap clothes and accessories. One very unforgettable incident was that our backpacks and handbag had to be checked at the entrance to each shopping mall as a precaution against terrorists.

We also didn't miss the chance to visit the famous Erawan (四面佛) shrine at the intersection directly in front of Erawan shopping complex. Many times if you flip open a Chinese entertainment daily you'll see news of which Hong Kong actor/actress flying to Bangkok to worship the Erawan shrine. To suddenly see a place of traditional worship surrounded by so many modern, swanky malls... the feeling is simply indescribable.

A devotee lighting her joss-stick

Bin and the world-famous Erawan

Naturally, we were soon tired and hungry looking for lunch after walking around in a daze at all those wonderful malls. What else to eat in a completely foreign country? The Golden Arches, of course! ^_^ We ate the McRice Burger and Pork Burger which is non-halal in our beloved country.

Another thing I must mention is that the tropical fruits in Bangkok are super sweet!!! Maybe it was because of the heat and I just fell for something juicy... but it's so easy to be tempted when you see fruit-sellers with little individual road-side stalls everywhere along the road! And it's so clean, the way they sell it! With plastic wrappings and a clean cut with their sharp fruit knives... and the watermelons and mangoes just burst out in flavour you know...

Sawadee

A must-eat classic symbol of globalization

In the evening, we took a walk round Siam Square Soi area where the Hard Rock Cafe, Bangkok, is located. There are plenty of eateries and boutiques selling cute, funky stuff around that area. I think it's supposed to be a cool hangout sort of place for teenagers? However, we didn't dare stay long around that area because we were scared to go to places that were heavily populated with foreigners (Theory: More foreigners = more bombs!!). Also, that was also one of the reasons why we didn't dare stay at Khaosan Road (backpack heaven), though, I'm feeling a teeny bit of genuine regret because a friend just came back from Bangkok and he said that Khao San Road is a very INTERESTING place to stay! Wary of bombs and dragging around a very tired body, we retired back to our hotel early that night.

More to come, stay tuned! ^_^

3 comments:

pik lay said...

One day I want to visit Bangkok too

Xweing said...

Yes... it's really lovely! Just stay away from the slums though...

Wait for my Part 2 to be up!!

EereNoon said...

Khaosan Rd is not a good location actually... For backpackers, yea, because cheap guesthouses, bars, pubs, and fellow travellers. For those who likes shopping, its not good at all... far from most shopping malls and bts stations...