Sunday, June 22, 2008

bangkok day 1...

Have I mentioned that I was in Bangkok last month for a holiday?
These photos are a bit late, but didn't really have the time to write a lengthy post until now, so this is the update.
The gueshouse we stayed during the first two days.
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is locally known as 'Krung Thep' or 'City of Angels', It's a short form of the Thai name, which I don't think anyone uses at all. The full-length version of its name, when translated, is something like 'Great city of angels, the repository of divine gems, the great land unconquerable, the grand and prominent realm, the royal and delightful capital full of nine noble gems, the highest royal dwelling and grand palace, the divine shelter and living place of reincarnated spirits'.
Now you know why us 'foreigners' simply call this capital 'Bangkok', derived from 'Bang Makok' or Village of Olive Plums.
Cafe Kaldi is a local version of Starbucks. This is one of many you'll find along the streets in Bangkok.
During our four-day trip, we stayed in Silom for the first two nights. We stayed a bit further from the Riverside, closer to the nightlife in the city. While it used to be known for the shipping and ports during the olden days, Silom has transformed into a business area packed with office workers during the day.
At night though, the entire place magically turns into the infamous night bazaar and red light district of Patpong.

One of the stalls in Soi Pradit, Silom.


We stayed in a decent guesthouse called 'Take a Nap Hotel', which really isn't a hotel. It's a budget guesthouse for free-n-easy travelers like us, but with more privacy. Every room has different 'themes', if that's what it's called, and at 1300Baht/night (~RM130) for a double room + breakfast, it's considered relatively cheap in the area.

Our first meal in Bangkok, and it's heavenly. ;)

We arrived at the guesthouse at 11.30am, and the receptionists are more than welcome to allow us early check-in. Once settled down, we proceed to walk over to Soi Pradit Market, about 20-30 minutes walk from our guesthouse. Not known for anything extravaganza, but always packed with office workers during lunch hours. We went for the stall with the most customers and ordered what everyone else were eating, rice with braised (?) pork. Or something like that, I don't know. I just pointed and showed 2 fingers (for two), and there comes the plates with delicious pork rice. It's a pretty common sight to see Thais plucking the chilli and chew them when they're eating any meals, but since spicy's the trend here I'm not surprised.

Neilson Hays Library


On the way back we stopped by Neilson Hays Library. This wasn't our intended stop, but the architecture and designs are so captivating that we went in for a short visit.
Entrance of Neilson Hays Library

It was a pretty well-kept old library with the classic feel. Very brightly-lit, and although a bit small, it's extremely cosy to be sitting in here and reading a book.

Enjoying the air-conditioner in the library after a long walk.

You'll find plenty of foreigners taking some time and hang around in this library and enjoying a book or two.


Jim Thompson Store.


Opposite the road of our guesthouse is the Jim Thompson Store. Jim Thompson is the company that revived the silk industry in Bangkok and you'll find plenty of Jim Thompson outlets in Bangkok. There are plenty of stuff (not just silks) sold here, tableclothes, wallets, handbags, pillowcases, cookies and even Jim Thompson postcards. While I think everything in the store are quite overpriced, the place is worth a visit for any tourists. I don't encourage to buy anything there though...;)

Soi Polo Fried Chicken.


Towards the evening we took a cab to Lumphini and went to try out the much recommended Soi Polo Fried Chicken. Most cabbies have no idea where is the location unless you show the map, and seriously at that time I felt I may have been misled to think the fried chicken is really that good.

Personally, it tasted so-so, pretty much like our local mamak's fried chicken. Perhaps 'farangs' don't really enjoy their KFCs and prefer these, I don't know.

Suan Lum Night Bazaar.

From there we took a short walk to the Suan Lum night bazaar. When we arrived it was still pretty early (6pm), but most stalls were already up and ready to do business.


Illegal vendors in Suan Lum operating as usual despite court battles to close it down.


Suan Lum night bazaar is only a few years old, and is just getting its crowd when it was announced to be closed soon for other developments. But that doesn't stop the vendors from opening the stalls. If you don't read the local papers you won't even realize that these vendors are actually operating illegally!

This night bazaar isn't the cheapest naturally, but bargain hard and you'll be able to get a thing or two for dirt cheap prices. Of course, there are some other bazaars and markets in town where you can get great deals as well, but for the first night we're content to get our hands full shopping for souvenirs here.

Patpong Street at night.

Around 9pm we left the bazaar with both hands busy carrying plastic bags filled with clothes, souvenirs and shoes. Took a taxi back to our guesthouse and had a short rest before we went back down to enjoy the nightlife in Patpong.

Patpong is famous for its gay bars and tiger shows, while the night market is filled with over-inflated items. For a T-shirt you can get in Suan Lum for 150Baht, you're likely to find the same shirt here selling at 300Baht.

The notorious street filled with gaybars in Patpong.


We took a short stroll along the few streets there, but really, if you're smart and have done your research you wouldn't want to buy anything here. Plus, it's not really fun to have 20-30 Thais
asking if you're interested to watch pingpong shows, which I don't really want to explain here.;)

To be continued...

3 comments:

WY Kam 甘永元 said...

where's ur model (aka sharon)?

forbidden_lover said...

aiya! read until on the mood, suddenly ends with...to be continued...wat the...

I wanna go Bangkok too!

cLiu.

Livingmonolith said...

@kam,

her photos are all, um, modelling photos. since we're talking about bangkok, might as well concentrate on the subject right? ;)

@cLiu,

haha, then wait for a few days for the second day post, i don't have the energy to write about the entire trip in one post. ;P