Second time-Sights and Sounds of the Thai Capital
01.07.2004 - 05.07.2004
The capital of Thailand is a magnetic city. It always attracts you and offers something new even for someone who would it visiting it the umpteenth time. Although it’s not a city one would fall in love because it’s very commercial but it still amazes you.
I have stayed in a lot of areas in Bangkok the most common being surawong road, silom road, khao san road. The silom area is famous for the fact that most of the south Asians live and work there. Khao San road on the other hand is a totally different spot. It’s the heart of backpackers visiting Bangkok. This is the place where all the cheap accommodation is available; don’t be surprised if you get your won room for one and half US dollars here! The place is also littered with a lot of bars and other hangout places but the activity starts only at night so if you are here in day time you would probably just doze off in the Bangkok humidity!
Aside from the accommodation places, the places to visit in Bangkok are quite a lot. Firstly there is the Floating Market which as the name conveys is a market on the river. The growers come to sell their stuff in long boats which are powered by small engines. They have tasty coconut juice here as well as some souvenir shops but you have to bargain a lot if you want it at the right price because the place is too touristy. Moreover there is area in the centre of Bangkok where all the temples are located but I didn’t go too much here because I am not too much of a history guy. Anyways these temples are worth visiting due to the intricate way in which they are built.
Besides there is the Safari World. This is the open Zoo and it’s got two parts. The first part comprises looking at the animals in the wild from special buses but one can only stay in the bus and look at the wild animals from giraffes to lions to hippos to a lot of other species. They are too much to name.
The other part is about special performances by the animals which have been domesticated. The shows include the dolphin show, the parrot show, Elephant and the snake show. Besides there are also some performances like the Wild West Show and a show inspired from the James Bond movie. The performers do a good job with the audience truly involved. You have to devote an entire day or at least half a day for the Safari World.
The crocodile farm • crockey farm for all those stevie fans- is also a treat where one can see live crocodiles playing with their handlers from close range though I got some goose bumps of the crocs being so close to the handlers!! Anyways this is a place to go if one wants to pass some time or see some real action.
The suan laum night bazaar is a place for the night. Here you can see a fight of MUAY THAI and enjoy the night as well as do some shopping and indulge in local Thai food. The atmosphere here is one of resigned friendliness but don’t come too close to the competitors you might get a punch or a kick you don’t know where! A lot of tourists come here through booked tours although I think this is a place where one can come without any hassle and save some money besides one can truly experience the local touch unlike what you had get when you come with a guide.
The chatuchak market, also called the weekend market, which is supposed to be the biggest of its kind is a place worth paying a visit to especially on a weekend. The sky train directly takes one there so its not such of a hassle to go there. The place is a shopper’s paradise especially for those people looking for some authentic Thai stuff to decorate their houses. The place has wooden goods whose quality is much better than what is generally available in the rest of the city and the things are cheap as well. Though don’t forget to do some bargaining; rather a lot of. There is also an animal market in close proximity to the furniture market but I wouldn’t recommend people going there especially after the bird flu scare.
These are some of the places I think Bangkok is famous for. I am writing this after a lag of 3 years since I last went to Bangkok so could have forgotten a place or two.
Now about the areas. The most famous or the most infamous area in Bangkok is the Pat pong area nowadays populated too a large extent by lady boys. Lady boys are Trans gender who most of them are guys but dress as girls and act like them as well. But other than that the small road side stalls in pat pong are one of the best places to get a bargain on shirts, shoes etc all of the stuff being fake though. From the most recent released CD to the perfume everything is fake. I would advise people to be on one’s toes because this is also a dangerous area as most of the people working here work for the mafia as well so its better to maintain a low profile and not to get into an argument with the stall owners which in no time can get into a full blown fight with police unable to do anything. This information is three years old so don’t know about what’s the scene right now.
Bangkok has got loads of shopping malls the most famous being MBK and adjacent to it is TOKYU. Again they can be reached via the sky train so not a problem in terms of transportation. MBK is the place where most of the stuff is copied or just own designer labels so it’s a bit cheap but the quality of the goods is a lot better than those bought form the street but TOKYU is the branded one. It’s a bit more expensive so all those rich people don’t go to MBK!!!!
Besides there is an area where most of the city’s best restaurants are located which is near these shopping malls though I seem to forget the areas name it starts with an S. the restaurants here offer local as well as European , Arabic and Indian cuisine though they seem to be priced on the higher side. This is also the area where most of the massage parlors read Spa’s are located so one could indulge in a bit of relaxing foot therapy here after a good dinner.
One thing one needs to be careful in Bangkok is the women. A lot of them I don’t want to sound biased but most of them all go after foreign men and you would find a great deal of old British men with two or three Thai girls. I think this is the worst part of life in Bangkok and its become a big problem. Besides I almost forgot if one would like to cover small distance I mean 5-10 Kilometers then one can hire the three wheeled tuk tuk. Though most of the drivers one would come into contact double up as pimps offering to take you to some “massage parlous” but please decline those overtures and be on the lookout that where the guy is taking you because a lot of times people have been mugged by some of these guys. You can also go with the biker boys, they also run motorbike taxis but I think there are still some security issues with them.
This I think is all I recall about Bangkok till now. I would be adding stuff if I recall later.