12/28/09: Bangkok, Thailand
Having enjoyed the relatively cool weather in Chiang Mai for the last five days, stepping out of the train into the sticky Bangkok heat this morning was quite the shock. By the time we walked the ten minutes to our guesthouse, Kevin was dripping with sweat and I was even glistening a little.
So we decided against doing any real sightseeing – the air-conditioned indoors being a more attractive option. Mindful of what happened the last time we wandered around Bangkok with no itinerary and a map out, we spent a few minutes planning out what we were going to do: MBK, Siam Paragon, King Power.
What, you say? Those are all malls?
Hm, what a coincidence.
Even though we never actually shop in malls, we like visiting them because 1) they are air-conditioned, 2) every mall has a food court, usually good, and 3) in Bangkok, they give tourists free stuff!
Our first stop was MBK, one of the biggest malls in Bangkok. We came here once before, but didn’t have our passports on us and so couldn’t get our free drinks. But this time we were prepared! We stopped by the fifth floor “Food Avenue” and finally got our two free glasses of Thai iced tea. Yum.
Our next stop was Siam Paragon, about ten minutes away from MBK. Paragon is my favorite mall in Bangkok because it has THE best pad thai I’ve ever had. And for 50 baht (less than $2), it’s also a pretty good deal.
After we ate lunch, we decided to watch a movie. What can I say? We like to live like the locals. Bangkok is said to have some of the nicest movie theaters in the world. The Cineplex at Siam Paragon had tickets ranging from 140 baht (roughly $5) to 3000 baht (about $100). I’m not sure what they give you in the 3000 baht seats, but if it doesn’t come with your own puppy that sits in your lap during the movie, then in my mind it’s just not worth it. There were at least four or five different theaters, one of which looked more like a nightclub than a movie, another that had seats in pairs in their own little booths and a third that looked like a super-fancy opera house. Kevin and I splurged (shocking!), spending an extra 30 baht for a seat in the digital theater. I have to admit that when we first walked into the theater, I was a little disappointed. There weren’t any puppies or even any blankets – it was just your plain, old, ordinary movie theater.
After 25 minutes of previews and commercials, the movie was finally about to begin. Oh – wait – except it wasn’t really about to begin. We looked up at the screen and instead of seeing the beautiful faces of Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr., we read, “Please stand to honor the king as we play the national anthem. (Feel free to sing along.)” And then, of course, they played the Thai national anthem to a montage of footage of Thai people with – get this – not the king, but PICTURES of the king. Like there was one scene where some business people stopped to help some other people push their bus that had broken down and in the background in the grassy median in the intersection, there’s this huge picture of the king looking upon the whole thing benevolently. And another scene where there was a flood and an old woman is being rowed out in a canoe with all of her belongings, looking heartbroken but hopeful as she clutches onto the frame of – you guessed it! – a giant picture of the king.
Is it just me or is all that a bit weird?
Anyway, after the anthem was over, the movie finally did start. The movie itself (Sherlock Holmes) was enjoyable – and paying that extra 30 baht for digital was definitely worth it. The picture quality was amazing, no crackling at all. It was like watching a gigantic HDTV.
After the movie, we went to King Power mall to shamelessly pick up a free keychain and free drink but not buy a single thing. Because that’s how we roll.
We ended the day with two giant bowls of noodles at Grandma’s Noodle House (recommended) near King Power. It’s our last day in Thailand, and though we’ve had a couple of not-so-good experiences here, we’re both a bit sad to leave. I think someday we’ll probably come back – but when we do, we’re coming in mango season.
If you are travelling to Thailand be sure to check out many Bangkok holiday deals and special offers in order to to save money and time. (Sponsored by Flight Center.)
Puzzles for Postcards
Rhyme Time! (Solve all four of these building-related rhymes)
An addition onto Mel Gibson’s estate
A large, wide or college-ruled metropolitan tower
Sitting Bull’s home, after being taken over by witches
A stick protruding from Butch Cassidy’s pad
Picture of the Day: I had never seen a section thusly labeled in a bookstore before this.