On our first day in Bangkok we slept in until 12pm! I never sleep for this long. But then again I never suffer from jet-lag on an ordinary day. One thing I want to get used to do is not to be governed by an alarm clock.
As soon as we were up we got ready and left the hotel to walk around, explore our surroundings and get an idea of distances and where everything is. Bangkok transport system is very good, but usually when we are in a new city I like to first explore on foot.
And we walked A LOT!! We didn’t even realise exactly how far we went, only a few days later when we had the city train system nailed down and we had to travel the same route on train did we realise how lengthy our trek on the first day really was. (Basically if you know Bangkok, we walked from the Baiyoke Sky Tower to Silom).
On our first day we happened upon the market area of Pratunam, the trendy shopping centre district of Siam, the beautiful Lumphini Park and the busy nightlife of Silom.
Observations we made about each of these areas:
Pratunam: (ARL train stop: Rochapaprop)
If you are after new clothes at penny pinching prices, you should come here when you visit Bangkok! I Pratunam clothing market is apperantly Thailand’ biggest clothing market. I got a lovely dress for 200 Baht (around £4.50) and Adam got a T shirt for the same price. The market stalls are packed tight on the street and in the labyrinth of the Baiyoke Gallery. The amount of things on offer is overwhelming! Leave the way you shop in London behind – there are no second chances, if you like something, grab it, because there is no way you will find the same stall again..
Also visit the enormous IT plaza on the nearby if you are after any electronics. They have everything you can imagine spread on 5 floors, the place is huge. You can find shops for all brands, like Apple or Canon, but also independent shops that sell everything from cables to memory cards, cameras and anything you might need on your travels. Prices are probably around the same here as in the UK a Canon 24-70 f2.8 lens cost 57000 Baht (around £1250) and I got a 32Gb SD memory card for 600 Baht (£13), but it’s good to know that should anything happen to your gear while travelling, you can easily replace it.
Siam: (BST stop Siam or National Stadium)
If you want a more trendy, shiny and designer way of shopping, you should head to Siam. There are 4 shopping centres right next to each other on the intersection of some incredibly busy roads, but you can easily get around and reach each shopping centre on the skywalks.
Visit the Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery and Siam centre which are all next to each other and the MBK which is across the road. They have designer clothes and goods, beauty shops, and the Siam Centre has a lovely FoodCourt as well, called FoodRepublic. The food here is really tasty and good value considering it’s in a shopping mall. The chefs at each eatery don’t take cash, instead you have to get a food debit card at one of the many cashiers around the food court. You pay a deposit of 10 Baht for the card, then put a minimum of 200 Baht on the card and hand this to the chefs when buying food. We ate here a couple of times. Had an bamazing beef noodle soup for 80 Baht (£1.75) and Pad Thai for 70 Baht (£1.50). The food debit card is valid for 90 days and one you finished with it you can return it to the cashiers who will give your deposit back as well as any money left on the card unspent.
If you want touristy activities, Madame Tusseauds Bangkok is in the Siam Discovery mall and you can also visit Seaworld which is just outside the Siam Centre.
Lumphini Park: (stations: Sala Daeng)
I loved this park! It’s just next to Silom which provides the perfect backdrop with its high rising hotels and office buildings. The park is quite big with a lake in the middle of it, but it’s not too big and you can easily explore it by walking around. Go about an hour before dusk and watch the sun go down over the park and the business district, it’s beautiful. This time of day is also fun as the locals start gathering after a long day at work and do various exercises around the park. They run around the park in their hundreds, stretch on park benches, do Tai-Chi and there are various outdoor aerobic classes going on as well, anyone seemed to just join in without paying, which is quite cool I think.
Silom: (BST station Sala Daeng)
This area comes to life in the evening when stall holders set up for the Night Bazaar. There is so much to look at and buy, if you want your imitation designer goods, come here!
There are also lots of bars and the infamous ‘sexy shops’. If you are a man, you will be targeted by shop promoters while walking outside, who will try and draw you in. Adam was asked to come in even though we were walking down the street holding hands.
We stopped for a fish foot spa on our first night here, which was really good fun! When you first put your legs in the tub the fish swarm at your feet, it’s really weird and really ticklish 🙂 you slowly get used to it though and emerge from the spa with lovely soft feet 🙂 The place we had this at is in the open street though, so be warned, other tourist will look and gawk at you and your feet – you will become the tourist action yourself as others take photos of you in this slightly odd position. 15 minutes of fish foot spa cost us 150 Baht (£3.25 per person).
If you are in the Silom and want a nice coffee in a nice environment go to BluBird Coffee – it costs the same as a coffee in the UK, but there are not that many coffee places in Bangkok where you can just sit down and spend a relaxing hour like in London, but this is one of those places and the coffee is lovely. The staff are lovely as well, Adam asked his coffee to be super hot (lukewarm coffees served in most cafés are his gripe) and they obliged and also remembered next time we went there 🙂
We also found a tiny coffee shop called Launch Cafè in Silom by a busy main road where we had the most amazing Blackberry smoothie, a nice big cup for 40 Baht each (£0.85) – highly recommended if you are ever in the area.