I had been to Bangkok a few times but they were business trips which never really gave me time to explore the city. I didn’t see much back then except for the hotel and office. And so this recent long weekend, I made the effort to spend a couple of days in this amazing city and to see what it has to offer.
The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok was only 2 hours. Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, I travelled on the Airport Rail Link (the Express Line) which connected me with downtown Bangkok, Phaya Thai Station. It is the quickest way to get to the city – 18 minutes – rather than getting into a taxi or arranging for an airport pick-up by the hotel which could get you stuck in Bangkok’s notorious traffic jam. At Phaya Thai Station, I moved on to interchange to the BTS (Skytrain) and alighted at Asok Station on the Sukhumvit Line. I was staying at Hotel Mermaid located on Soi 29 Sukhumvit Road, a short walking distance (4 blocks) from Asok Station. My luggage was light, so I didn’t mind dragging it while walking to the hotel.
Hotel Mermaid is a 4-star hotel and it was very clean and truly comfortable. It costs about US$40 a night without breakfast and its location is quiet, away from the din of Bangkok traffic.
As soon as I checked in and freshened up at the hotel, I walked out to the shops close to Asok Station. There are shopping malls and numerous shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants nearby. Hence there will never be a shortage of places to shop and eat. You will never be hungry and especially for ladies, you will never be bored because there’s plenty of shopping to do! Apart from the malls in Sukhumvit, you can travel from Asok Station to, for instance, Siam Station, to shop at other major shopping malls such as Siam Paragon, Siam Centre and so on.
Since I never got to explore Bangkok in my previous trips, I had forgotten how manic and crazy the city can be. In addition to the massive traffic jam, there are numerous commuters, shoppers and tourists milling around the train stations and shopping malls! Everything out there competes with your senses to get your attention – traffic, music, people, street vendors, announcements, lights, digital billboards and a variety of advertisements – it can get overwhelming sometimes. Nevertheless, it is a good buzz – this shows how exciting and vibrant Bangkok is.
Shop Till You Drop
My girlfriends know that I’m not really a shopping kind of gal. Yeah I do shop for stuff but I don’t go crazy shopping for hours on end 🙂 However, I was a little different from my usual self on this trip – I decided to do some real shopping! I have heard about the variety of stuff to shop in Bangkok, and how amazingly cheap some of the items were, thus I set off for Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Chatuchak Market is only open during the weekends, and it has about 8,000 market stalls! This means, any item that you want to shop for, you can find in this market. The market is roughly divided into…clothing & accessories, handicrafts, ceramics, furniture & home décor, art, books, antiques & collectibles, pets, food and beverage. With its sheer size and diverse collections of merchandise, on any given weekend, more than 200,000 visitors come to Chatuchak!
Family members and friends previously shared that they had spent a full day at Chatuchak (and apparently that’s not enough!) but I only spent half a day shopping there. Since I’m not really a shopping kind of gal, spending half a day in the market was quite a stretch already for me 🙂 I bought 4 blouses and 3 t-shirts – the quality of the clothes are surprisingly of good, and the t-shirts are sold for as cheap as THB50!
Even if you’re not really a shopping person, it’s still fun to go to Chatuchak Market but my advice is – do dress appropriately for the hot & humid weather – wear t-shirts and shorts, use sun-block and drink plenty of fluids to hydrate. Don’t worry, there are plenty of stalls selling food and drinks, and stalls offering massage in case you’re exhausted from shopping.
I did more shopping in the afternoon elsewhere and bought more t-shirts and cotton scarves. By evening, I decided to call it a day because the items began to look the same to me, and that’s when I knew I had enough of shopping for the day! My feet ached from all that walking and there was no better way to end a day of shopping by going for a foot massage (costs only THB250 for 1 hour). Thank goodness, there was a massage parlour just a minute walk from the hotel.