Bangkok, day 3 – markets and malls

There are many markets and shopping centers in Bangkok, each stand selling different products than the others, with big diversity and many choices.

Pratunam Market in Bangkok

Apparently it’s the cheapest market in all Thailand and people all over the country come to shop here, especially in bulk, as the prices go lower for bigger quantities.

The choices are endless and the prices are too good to be true compared to European prices. Most products are made in Thailand and have a good quality.

Pratunam market bangkok pratunam market in bangkok bangkok pratunam market pratunam market

Platinum Mall in Bangkok

It’s a wholesale mall just next to Pratunam Market and it sells mostly women clothes and accessories. There are so many products and choices! Basically, you can dress yourself from head to toes at reasonable prices. The sizes are usually small, because Thai women are petite.

platinum mall bangkokaround platinum mall

Street food in Bangkok

Would you believe that for 2-4 Euros you can eat a great dinner and have drinks? It’s true! The street food is good it’s safe, considering that for a hole month I’ve been eating it and didn’t have any troubles 😀 They cook and sell things like: soup, fish, rice, chicken, pork, fruits, seafood and curry. Sometimes there are tables on the sidewalk and eating with the locals is the best way to dive into local culture.

street food bangkok eating on street bangkok

Central World Mall in Bangkok

This one has brands from Calvin Klein to Forever 21.  It wasn’t the inside that intrigued me, but the nice Christmasy feeling around it, with lights, decorations and teenagers hanging out.

central world in bangkok christmas tree at central world bangkok central world mall bangkok

Night traffic in Bangkok

Day and night, the traffic is horrendous!

traffic bangkok bangkok night traffic night bangkok night traffic bangkok

motorbikes bangkok

Dont miss:

Touching the stars in Bangkok, Thailand – Sirocco Sky Bar

The Sirocco Sky Bar in Bangkok is the highest rooftop bar in the city, located at the 63rd floor of Lebua State Tower – the second tallest building in Thailand. What makes Sirocco Sky Bar in Bangkok more special than any other rooftop bar is the fact that scenes from the movie “The Hangover 2” were filmed here.

Apart from being the highest rooftop bar in Bangkok, Sirocco Sky Bar serves tasty, strong, but expensive cocktails. Enjoy your drink while admiring the panoramic view of Bangkok, Thailand’s vibrant and bright capital. It’s truly breathtaking!

I recommend you try their ‘Long Island Ice Tea’ and the ‘Hangovertini‘ – the cocktail created for the staff of the movie “The Hangover 2” while they were shooting in Bangkok.

The service at Sirocco Sky Bar in Bangkok is impeccable. The staff is guiding the guests from the ground floor, to the elevator until the bar at the roof. There is a dress code (men can’t wear shorts and sandals, but jeans and snickers can be accepted).

The view over Bangkok from the 63rd floor is breathtaking and made 20th of December 2013 an unforgettable, beautiful memory.

sirocco sky bar in Bangkok Sirocco Sky Bar in Bangkok – they serve very good, but expensive cocktails!
Barul Sirocco, situat la etajul 63 pe cea mai inalta cladire din Bangkok. Printre multele si scumpele cocktailuri pe care le servesc aici, se numara si Hangovertini, special creat pentru echipa din filmul “Marea mahmureala 2”.

view from 63rd floor from Lebua HotelNight view over Bangkok from the 63rd floor of Lebua State Tower

view from 63d floor, BangkokNight view from Sirocco Sky Bar in Bangkok

Bangkok Sirocco bar, where hangover II was filmedThe dome at Sirocco Sky Bar in Bangkok

Sirocco Restaurant, BangkokRestaurant in the sky, overlooking Bangkok
Restaurant in cer, cu vedere asupra orasului Bangkok

63rd floor at Lebua hotel. Sirocco BarPeople enjoying the view
Toata lumea admira orasul de la inaltime

hangover II locationI’ve been here, at Lebua Hotel and Sirocco sky bar, where “Hangover 2” was filmed.
Am fost aici! unde s-a filmat “Marea mahmureala 2”

Bangkok, day 2 – temples

On the second day in Bangkok, the plan was to see Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Grand Palace.

(Wat=Temple)

Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn/Templul Rasaritului)

I thought I will see yet another temple, but Wat Arun is slightly different than any other that I’ve seen so far. The central tower is built in Khmer style and has pieces of colorful porcelain encrusted on its surface. It has very steep stairs and there are statues of monkeys and demons all around it.

To get to Wat Arun, we took the sky-train to Saphan Taksin (the Central pier) and from there the express boat to Tha Thien pier (40 Bahts/person), from where we took a ferry to cross Chao Phraya River (3 Baht/person).

Wat Arun seen from the express boat on the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok/ templul wat Arun vazut de pe raul Chao Phraya din BangkokWat Arun seen from the express boat on the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok/ templul wat Arun vazut de pe raul Chao Phraya din Bangkok

The entrance at Wat Arun Temple/intrarea in templul ArunThe entrance at Wat Arun Temple/intrarea in templul Arun

Guardian at Wat ArunGuardian at Wat Arun

Beautiful columns at Wat Arun Temple in BangkokBeautiful columns at Wat Arun Temple in Bangkok

at wat arun complex in bangkokWat Arun gardens, in Bangkok

thailand king
Thailand’s king photo is all over the country./Poza regelui Tailandei este peste tot
wat arun bangkok sculptures
Sculptures at Wat Arun Temple in Bangkok./Statui
buddha statues at wat arun
buddha statues at wat arun./Multe statui ale lui Buddha
inside Arun
inside Wat Arun
wat arun posing
some people posing in Thai costumes./oameni pozand in costume tailandeze
wat arun Bangkok
Insite Wat Arun./In interiorul templului Arun
an Asian lady wanted to have a photo with me/o doamna asiatica a vrut sa faca o poza cu mine
an Asian lady wanted to have a photo with me/o doamna asiatica a vrut sa faca o poza cu mine
Attention, if you are a foreigner and you don't pay the 50 Baht ticket, this fierce Police Dog will bark, and bark...and bark.../Daca nu cumperi bilet, acest "fioros" caine politist va latra necontenit
Attention, if you are a foreigner and you don’t pay the 50 Baht ticket, this fierce Police Dog will bark, and bark…and bark…/Daca nu cumperi bilet, acest “fioros” caine politist va latra necontenit
Sculptures on the central tower at Wat Arun/sculpturi pe turnul central in Templul Arun
Sculptures on the central tower at Wat Arun/sculpturi pe turnul central in Templul Arun
Stone sculptures in Wat Arun complex
Stone sculptures in Wat Arun complex
Monk vacuuming in the temple./calugar dand cu aspiratorul
Monk vacuuming in the temple./calugar dand cu aspiratorul
Beautiful flowers at Wat Arun/Flori proaspete in templul Arun
Beautiful flowers at Wat Arun/Flori proaspete in templul Arun
children
children
Porcelain on Wat Arun central tower/portelan pe turnul central din templul Arun
Porcelain on Wat Arun central tower/portelan pe turnul central din templul Arun
A fat Buddha./ Un Buddha cam grasut
A fat Buddha./ Un Buddha cam grasut
columns at Wat Arun./Coloane la templul Arun
columns at Wat Arun./Coloane la templul Arun
Wat Arun Complex
Wat Arun Complex
Statue at Wat Arun
Statue at Wat Arun
Me at Wat Arun
Me at Wat Arun
Garden at Wat Arun in Bangkok./Gradina templului Arun
Garden at Wat Arun in Bangkok./Gradina templului Arun
Tower at Wat Arun
Tower at Wat Arun
Steep Stairs at Wat Arun./Scari abrupte
Steep Stairs at Wat Arun./Scari abrupte
Wat Arun Complex viewed from the central temple./Complexul Templului Arun, vedere din turnul central
Wat Arun Complex viewed from the central temple./Complexul Templului Arun, vedere din turnul central

Wat Pho (The Temple of the Reclining Buddha/Templul lui Buddha culcat)

Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest temples in Bangkok and it hosts over 1000 images of Buddha and also the biggest Buddha statue in Thailand – a 43 m long Reclining Buddha (his position before entering Nirvana -the ultimate state of peace and happiness).

Around the temple there are 16 gates  guarded by Chinese rock giants. Inside the courtyard there are many beautiful chedis containing the ashes of Buddha.

The reclining Buddha in Wat Pho, Bangkok./ Buddha culcat in templul Pho din Bangkok
The reclining Buddha in Wat Pho, Bangkok./ Buddha culcat in templul Pho din Bangkok. Statuie de 43 metri lungime
Wat Pho/Templul Pho
Wat Pho/Templul Pho
Chedis (Stupas) at Wat Pho
Chedis (Stupas) at Wat Pho
Chinese guard at one of the entrances at Wat Pho/Statuie de paza la una din intrarile in templul Pho
Chinese guard at one of the entrances at Wat Pho/Statuie de paza la una din intrarile in templul Pho
Reclining Buddha with his giant feet./Buddha culcat si picioarele sale uriase
Reclining Buddha with his giant feet./Buddha culcat si picioarele sale uriase
one of the many chedis at Wat Pho
one of the many chedis at Wat Pho
Detail
Detail
many Buddha statues
many Buddha statues
Rules./"Ingenuncheati pe podea pentru a arata respect statuii lui Buddha"
Rules./”Ingenuncheati pe podea pentru a arata respect statuii lui Buddha”
Wat Pho
Wat Pho
Another Buddha statue at Wat Pho./O alta statuie a lui Buddha in templul Pho din Bangkok
Another Buddha statue at Wat Pho./O alta statuie a lui Buddha in templul Pho din Bangkok
Bell at Wat Pho
Bell at Wat Pho

Shall we see Grand Palace?

At least this was the plan, but at the first gate the guard told us the site is closed until 2PM.

At the next gate few hundred meters further, a friendly man with guard badge and very official looking approached us and said the temple is closed for a few hours, but in the mean time we should take a tuk-tuk to see 3 other places around Bangkok  and that we should not pay more than 40 Baht. He sounded very plausible so we fell for it.

Apparently, this is one of the biggest scams at Grand Place, in Bangkok, but I had no clue about it!!! They want to take you to different tailor shops to buy clothes and they get commission for it (they get much more if the clients that they bring in order suits or dresses).

Only in the tuk-tuk I realized something is not right and the scam was confirmed when one of the sites we “visited” was a tailor shop and the driver asked us to go in and have a look. Of course we did not buy any suit or dress, so we went to the third site, The Golden Mount, where our tuk-tuk driver abandoned us (we didn’t even pay him before he left). Luckily it wasn’t far from Grand Palace, so we walked, having the chance to see more parts of Bangkok.

On the streets of Bangkok./Pe strazile din Bangkok
On the streets of Bangkok./Pe strazile din Bangkok
Bus on the streets of Bangkok./Autobuz in Bangkok
Bus on the streets of Bangkok./Autobuz in Bangkok
Barbed wire due to the protests in Bangkok./Sarma ghimpata datorita protestelor din Bangkok
Barbed wire due to the protests in Bangkok./Sarma ghimpata datorita protestelor din Bangkok
Pink elephants statues next to Grand Palace./Elefanti roz langa palat
Pink elephants statues next to Grand Palace./Elefanti roz langa palat

So, the Grand Palace is NOT closed during day for monks to pray, nor for god know what ceremony! Don’t believe anything anyone is telling you! If you have to ask for direction or information, is better to ask another tourist.

At the Grand Palace it was very crowded, lots of Asians and noisy tourists. The first thing you see is that you have to wear long pants and cover your shoulders (but they lend you clothes to cover yourself if necessary). The entrance is 500 Baht.

Considering all that happened before (the scam) and the ridiculous price and rules to see just another temple, we decided that Grand Palace is not worth the visit.

Outfit rules at Grand Palace in Bangkok./Restrictii vestimentare la palatul din Bangkok. Obligatoriu pantaloni lungi!
Outfit rules at Grand Palace in Bangkok./Restrictii vestimentare la palatul din Bangkok. Obligatoriu pantaloni lungi!
Grand Palace viewed from outside
Grand Palace viewed from outside

And 3 more photos taken from the boat:

Buddhist monk on the boat./Calugar budist in barca pe raul Chao Phraya din Bangkok
Buddhist monk on the boat./Calugar budist in barca pe raul Chao Phraya din Bangkok
View of Bangkok from Chao Phraya river./Bangkok vazut din barca de pe raul Chao Phraya
View of Bangkok from Chao Phraya river./Bangkok vazut din barca de pe raul Chao Phraya
Bangkok- view from the boat/vedere din barca
Bangkok- view from the boat/vedere din barca

Bangkok, day 1 – the city

night bangkokNight in Bangkok, view from the 16th floor
Noaptea in Bangkok, vedere din camera de hotel

A 5 star hotel with an infinity pool in Bangkok is a nice way of ending a 28 days trip through Thailand and Cambodia, a month of heat, dust, funky smells, poverty, scams and ancient temples full of stories of past history.

The view from the hotel room at the 16th floor is magical, especially at night time, when cars in traffic and skyscrapers are full of sparkly lights.

View over bangkokView over Bangkok from the 32nd floor
Vedere de la etajul 32 asupra Bangkokului

One happy thing leads to another….(’cause life has to keep balance): not even 5 minutes in the room, ecstatic of how perfect everything is, and I step on a sharp thing on the floor (a nail going through the carpet). My heel is bleeding from a tiny hole. Handymen come to fix the nail. A nurse in uniform like taken from an old movie, comes to disinfect the wound and puts a band aid on it. The manager of the hotel comes to apologize offering us free pass to the Executive’s Lounge during evening at the 32st floor, with free cocktails and food. Perfect turn of events – the view from that height is dazzling!

So, the first day in Bangkok looked like this:

Sky train (BTS)

It’s like a subway, but the rails are in the air, in between buildings and above the streets.

The stations have 3 levels: the street level with stairs towards the second level where you buy tickets from machines or ticket booths. Escalators will take you the the third level to the platforms where the train comes.

You pay accordingly to the distance of travel. People stay in line waiting for the train. It doesn’t cover all the city.

The platform level is good for photographing the flowing traffic underneath: with colorful taxis, lots of motorcycles and tuk-tuks.

sky train bts bangkokPeople waiting in line to get in the sky train in Bangkok
Oamenii asteapta civilizat la coada sa urce in trenul suspendat in Bangkok

bangkok trafficTraffic in Bangkok, view from the sky train station. On the right is the stair towards the level with ticket booths for the Sky Train
Trafic in Bangkok vazut de la nivelul statiei de tren suspendat. In dreapta sunt scarile ce duc spre nivelul unde se vand biletele.

bangkok streetView over traffic and the Sky Train rails crossing over the streets
In dreapta este una din statiile Trenului Suspendat.

traffic bangkokView of Bangkok, seen from one of the levels of the Sky Train Station
Strada in Bangkok vazuta de la nivelul statiei de Tren Suspendat

Siam Paragon

One of the biggest shopping centers in Asia, with luxury labels from Fendi to Lamborghini, was (finally) a sign of modern civilization and the closest I felt to Christmas here in Thailand (nice decorations and colorful globes in the fake Christmas trees put between the palm trees).

The best part in this mall was the bookshop, with only english books from where we bought 3 books: 2 from Terry Pratchett: “Small Gods” and “Sourcery” and 1 by Elizabeth Gilbert -“Eat, Pray, Love”.

The “funniest” part was to see the pure stupidity in human kind: the Louis Vuitton shop with their “too full to come in” sign and the idiots staying in line waiting to get in.

The yummiest part was eating a very spicy red curry in the food court, followed by the sweetest, most flavored cinnamon rolls.

Bankok Mall siam paragonSiam Paragon Mall, on of the biggest shopping centers in Asia
Mallul Siam Paragon, unul din cele mai mari din Asia

Christmas decorations in Bangkok/Decoratiuni de Craciun in BangkokChristmas decorations in Bangkok
Decoratiuni de Craciun in Bangkok

Christmas ornaments in Bangkok at Siam Paragon mall

Christmas decorations and Palm Trees in Bangkok at Siam Paragon Mall/ decoratiuni de Craciun printre palmieriChristmas decorations and Palm Trees in Bangkok at Siam Paragon Mall
Decoratiuni de Craciun printre palmieri

"Due to the crowd in the store, please kindly wait for a moment. We apologize for any inconvenience caused". I still can't believe there are people willingly waiting in line to get in the shop./"Datorita aglomeratiei din magazin, va rugam asteptati. Ne cerem scuze pentru disconfortul creat". Mentionez ca in magazin erau doar 5 persoane, iar alti cativa asteptau la coada in afara magazinului. No comment.

“Due to the crowd in the store, please kindly wait for a moment. We apologize for any inconvenience caused”. I still can’t believe there are people willingly waiting in line to get in the shop.
“Datorita aglomeratiei din magazin, va rugam asteptati. Ne cerem scuze pentru disconfortul creat”. Mentionez ca in magazin erau doar 5 persoane, iar alti cativa asteptau la coada in afara magazinului. No comment.

Floating spoons/Linguri in aer!Floating spoons
Linguri in aer!

Hot cinnamon rolls for desert/Rulouri calde cu scortisoara la desertHot cinnamon rolls for desert, because “Life needs frosting”
Rulouri calde cu scortisoara la desert, pentru ca “viata are nevoie de glazura” 🙂

christmas decorations

Walk around Siam Square

I like going off the beaten path, away from tourist sights, to “get the feeling” of the city.

Thailand welcomes the new year of  2557. /Tailanda se pregateste pentru anul nou, 2557Thailand welcomes the new year of 2557.
Tailanda se pregateste pentru anul nou, 2557

A colorful tuk-tuk./Un tuk-tuk coloratA colorful tuk-tuk.
Un tuk-tuk colorat

Pool and cocktails at the hotel

At the Eastin Sathorn Hotel in Bangkok everything is nice: from the big, cozy rooms with fabulous views, to the infinity pool at the 14th floor. I admired, I photographed, I relaxed.

I was quite melancholic (being away from home and missing everyone, far away from a real, cold Christmas), but the evening spent at the Lounge with a Long Ice Tea made everything seem better.

The infinity pool area at the hotelThe infinity pool area at the hotel

View from the 16th floor/Vedere de la piscinaView from the 16th floor
Vedere de la piscina, et. 16

At the pool

Admiring the view/M-a furat peisajul, ca sa zic asaAdmiring the view
M-a furat peisajul, ca sa zic asa

The next photo is taken from this location at the 32nd floor/ Poza urmatoare e facuta de aici, etajul 32The next photo is taken from this location at the 32nd floor/ Poza urmatoare e facuta de aici, etajul 32

Bright and colorful BangkokView from 32nd floor

Bangkok during day