Bangkok trippin' (Part two)

By Esther Rachel Lai. - 7/31/2013

Bangkok day two saw us heading to MBK, & like I said in my previous post, their public train's probably the best way to navigate around Bangkok cause it's cheap, convenient & fast! If you've motion sickness like me, I'd recommend taking the subway instead of hailing a cab cause the traffic can be quite terrible. Our trip to Terminal 21 (in the previous post) took us an hour's ride thanks to the heavy traffic congestion even though it wasn't very far off from our hotel.

I actually had our itinerary for the trip mentally planned out:
  • Night 1: Asiatique (but that got ditched, as you would've realized from the previous post, cause it was too late & Shane and I were too sick to leave the hotel)
  • Day 1: Morning market, Platinum Mall, Terminal 21
  • Day 2: MBK, Chinatown
  • Day 3: Chatuchak, Asiatique (since we couldn't make it there on the first night)
  • Day 4: Platinum Mall, Airport
I chalked up this itinerary based on recommendations from a few friends and colleagues but ended up having to do away with most of the night/evening plans because the husband's not the best shopping companion in the world. He'd have backaches after walking around for half an hour and request to go back to the hotel to rest after about 3-4 hours of exploring the city & refused to leave the hotel bed & television until late evening. What bummer. I have to give him a little credit though, he's never been this patient with me when it comes to shopping in Singapore, in fact, I don't even remember ever shopping for more than half an hour with him. So the fact that he shopped around with me for hours at a stretch without complaining much was a real miracle. 

I like how the streets are really interesting in Bangkok. You find stalls selling food and knick knacks in the middle of nowhere, children playing, stray dogs roaming around, rooster & even wild boars!

We got ourselves a pair of shades each from this random guy with a makeshift shop out of nowhere while walking towards the subway & managed to haggle the price to only SGD3 for one! Super love my pixel shades!

I was pretty amazed by this coin thing we used to enter the rail link. I think this is used for short, one time trips & you actually tap in with it like how we would do with our EZ-link cards back here in Singapore. You only drop it into a coin slot when you're exiting the train station. I don't know but I found it really cool to tap in with these coins instead of your usual cards.

Right after we took this shot, the station personnel blew his whistle at us super loudly cause Shane was standing too close to the edge. The sound of the whistle actually echoed through the whole station, how embarrassing. Good thing there wasn't many people around.

Oh, & be sure to take a map of the city with you so it's easier to figure out which station you should alight at. You should be able to get one from your hotel lobby. It's pretty easy to read, the subway lines are all plotted in pretty clearly, & if you're unsure, you can just ask one of the locals, they're all pretty friendly and willing to guide you to your destination.

My first thought when I saw MBK was that it looked like a spaceship. haha. Which is pretty apt I guess. Here, you can find your gadgets & phone accessories on the 5th level if I remember it right. Even though it's a mall, remember you can still haggle! Pat recommended me to do my manicure here but I was a little short of cash after the first day of shopping and I was tired so I eventually headed back with a few buys & bare nails. Kinda regret it after though. I've been wanting to get my manicure done in BKK for months cause it's so damn cheap & in a spur of a moment, I didn't. I managed to activate my ATM card for overseas withdrawal in the end & had more than enough cash but we never went back to MBK :(

On the map, our hotel looked relatively near to Phaya Thai station so we decided to alight there and walk back instead of transferring to the airport line to take a train to Ratchaprarop. Heh, we ended up walking beside the railway where trains actually pass by. I was quite scared cause a train had just passed before we begun to walk along the railway & I kept looking back to see if another train was approaching cause we were so damn close to the rails, I was so paranoid thinking i'll get hit by a train & die in Thailand. hahaha. Shane then knocked some sense into me saying that the trains won't come so often.
It was a further walk back to our hotel than what we expected but again, it's an eyeopener. Saw how the locals lived in shabby looking houses that were so small and congested I couldn't even believe people would live like that. Kept asking Shane "do people actually live here?". It's quite sad to see young children & old folks living in such tiny, dirty spaces while back at home, we've all the luxury of a big bed, hot shower, internet & all. It really broadened my mind & helped me to appreciate the things I have. Every so often we complain about the littlest things like slow internet & stuff yet these people don't even have proper houses to start with.
Fell in love with this dog when I saw it! So cute & scruffy! Where to find such cute stray dogs like that roaming around our Singapore streets?!

Managed to cut through the back alleys and find our way back to our hotel.

Plans to make a trip down to Chinatown for some famous TK Seafood got tossed aside because the husband was too much of a bum as usual so we ended up just checking out the night market & getting a massage. There's several massage parlors around the area and one just right beside our hotel & it's really cheap too! Depending on the kind of massage you opt for, it'll only cost you about SGD8 for a good full body massage. Oh, & if you see one of the street stalls selling fried chicken thigh, be sure to buy it! It only costs about a dollar but it's so damn yummy! 
Blind busker in the middle of the streets. I felt quite bad after taking this picture cause instead of giving him some money I took a picture of him. I was in some kind of psycho tourist mode luh. Told Shane & he started laughing at me for being so mean. heh. I wasn't thinking, but I had no intention of being mean at all!

I love how the same streets can be so vibrant & interesting at different times of the day. In the morning, there's the morning market then at noon, the stallholders clear up and the normal stores operate for business then at night, it evolves into a whole different feel with the night market! All these along the same streets!

DAY 3!
We got up & dressed light to prepare to conquer the famous Chatuchak market! It's advised you wear really light clothes there cause it's a crowded market that's really hot and humid with the sun beating down on you.

We were on our way to take the train to Chatuchak but then this Tuk-Tuk driver offered to bring us there at only 20baht which is so much cheaper compared to taking the train & we get to alight right outside Chatuchak market so why not right? 
The tuk-tuk driver first brought us to two tailor shops and a jewellery workshop cause he would get free gasoline if we bought something. We were alright with that & we even bought a leather belt from one of the tailor's cause we felt bad for the guy BUT he didn't drop us at Chatuchak! In fact he dropped us way off the map! He wasted a total of about 2 hours of our time bringing us place to place & when he dropped us at some street market, we walked around for another 2 hrs until I realized that this might not be Chatuchak. Finally found a hotel & asked the receptionist who told us that we'd need to take a cab to get to Chatuchak cause it's quite far. Was so damn pissed! Best part, we even tipped him thinking he was so nice to us and all! I still feel so damn pissed everytime I think about it! 

On the brightside, at least we experienced what riding a tuk-tuk's like and we got to see how they made jewellery which was kinda cool...

Real gemstones! Managed to snap a couple of it before we were told that no photography was allowed.
I still feel damn cheated, he was so nice the whole time, even let us sit in his vehicle & took a picture for us. Now I'm thinking, maybe he didn't want to be in the picture at all cause he conned us & didn't want us to remember his face!
See, still so happy take picture in some lok-kok market, didn't even know where we were. 

Thankfully, we managed to hail a cab, get out of the place & reach Chatuchak in 15 minutes. One thing that made me realize that the tuk-tuk driver didn't drop us at Chatuchak was cause I didn't see any of the coconut ice-ream people raved about!

TADAHHH!!! Yeah, THIS is pretty darn good!

Shane needed a break from all that walking & figuring our way about so he jumped at the opportunity to sit & get our caricatures drawn. I think he knew that I wouldn't stop shopping & sit for a second so he'd rather pay to sit hahaha. It's quite a cute souvenir to bring home though!

Had a simple lunch at the hawker area just behind where we had our caricatures done.

Local dancers in the middle of Chatuchak.

Super love Chatuchak! Everywhere you go, there's something good to buy! Although you have to go to the right section first. I could've spent all my money there if Shane didn't ask to leave the place cause of his aching back :( 

Took a break again after about 2 hrs of shopping.

We were sitting beside a young Singaporean couple & Shane even bumped into his friend. BKK actually felt a lot like Singapore cause there were so many Singaporean tourists there.

The massive crowd heading towards Chatuchak from the subway.

Their cars there are literally kissing each others' asses. Look at the carpark! I wonder how people even drive out of the "lots".

Took the subway back to our hotel again! The sun was still up when we went back, I really could've shopped till the dark if it wans't for Shane. boo. 

We were super tired after Chatuchak so again, Shane didn't want to head to Asiatique, wehhhh :(
So we had dinner at our hotel's cafe instead. meh.

Our loots for day 2-3!

Our last day, we headed for Platinum again & then to the airport, homebound!

Tired us waiting for our night flight.

The husband buffing my nails with his jacket because I was still bummed that I didn't do my nails. heh.
Bangkok was a much needed getaway for the both of us. I had been so angsty the past few months before that, Bangkok took all the angst & frustration away. But a week was more than enough, I was getting homesick & missing my babygirl way too much! SO happy when I got to see her at the airport after we touched down! Best feeling in the world!

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