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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Tackling Thailand - Bangkok

After the Pattaya adventure, we are back to Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, a city I have visited several times. It was "The Land of Smiles" with much to offer - good food, very affordable shopping, exotic shows and exciting pubs.

Arrivals and Stays
The Bangkok International Airport has recently been revamped, and is now very large, and modern, with scores of eateries and some shops. Feel free to pick up some brochures or maps.

I stayed at various hotels here before, including Pathumwan Princess, Amari Watergate, Eastin Hotel and Asia Hotel. The one here is Baiyoke Sky, the tallest in Bangkok.

It has its own revolving deck at the top where we could "board" and get swept away by the magnificent Bangkok views on the travellator belt.

Let's talk Food

Yes, Thai food? You can find delicacies such as Tom Yum Soup (spicy and sour soup usually cooked with seafood or chicken), Pineapple Fried Rice, Phad Thai (Thai fried glass noodles) or Thai Mango Salad anywhere - from pricey restaurants to food courts or street stalls. Remember to try some sweet and fresh Coconut Juice for cooling effects since the weather there is usually hot, as is the heaty and spicy food items.

Head to Yaowarat Road (better known as Bangkok's Chinatown) for nice seafood, the freshest Tiger prawns, cheap Shark's Fins or Bird's Nest.

Let's Talk Drinks and NightSpots (Shows)
There are many nightspots and clubs in Bangkok itself, especially along the sides of Patpong, where one could also see some mediocre / replicant "Thai Girl" Shows over a beer or two.

For Cabaret shows (performances by transversites), I recommend the Calypso at Asia Hotel - lovely song and dance by beautiful ladyboys. It was almost moving.

For drinks at more classy spots, one could head to Baiyoke Sky's Rooftop Bar, where the nightviews of Bangkok are offered from the 72nd floor of a full-ceiling-to-glass bar.

Khao San Road is also a hotspot filled with clubs and restaurants for those who would love an evening of chilling out and good food - it is a rather Westernized spot in decorations, so not surprising to see many expatriates hanging out there.

Let's Talk Shopping
There are plenty of shopping malls in Bangkok such as Platinum Fashion Mall, MBK Center, Central World or Siam Square (in picture below).

In the past, the malls used to allow bargaining, but lately, probably with increased number of tourists to Bangkok, or the better quality apparel, they no longer allow bargaining of prices. Still, one could get rather nice clothes or shoes for a mere SGD$10.00 - SGD$20.00.

Night Bazaars are common in Bangkok as well - many stalls selling clothes, ornaments, shoes,  bags and accessories etc for you to take your pick from. These are usually bustling with people and opens till late, like 2a.m.  This one in the photo is the Chatuchak Weekend Market - there are scores others such as Asiatique the Riverfront, Patpong, Suan Lam and Pratunam, to name a few.

Lets Talk Tourist Attractions
Yes, what would you like to do besides shopping?

Hop onto a ferry or boat ride tour to see the lovely sights of Bangkok and feed some fish? To go experience the river taxis and floating market in Bangkok or visit the more dilapidated houses not seen amongst the malls?

Visit the Grand Bangkok Palace for some cultural infusion and see the ways of the Thai Royalties?

Head to the Parliament Area (not during times of riots or strikes, of course) to see the lovely parliamental buildings?

How about visiting some of their famous temples such as the Watpo Buddha Temple, Four-Faced Buddha temple, or Temple of Dawn, and dress up in their traditional Thai garb for a photoshoot or two?

Or how about a cultured museum visit? There are many museums in Bangkok itself for the culture and history lovers- National Museum (in photos), Forensic Musuem (in Siriraj Hospital), Dolls Museum, Madame Tussards Museum, Folk Museum etc.

Overall, Bangkok is a city filled with many interesting activities. For many, it is all about shopping, eating and drinking; but for me, the culture seeker, I definitely enjoyed the other activities tried herein so far.

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