Christmas Eve in Bangkok
We had a slow and relaxing morning before checking out of the Old Palace Resort today. With a cool breeze in our hair we sat on the porch reminiscing on our trip while drinking tea (me) and coffee (Jordon). We said our good-byes to the outstanding little bed & breakfast and made sure to thank our hosts for their generous hospitality. In Thai, you thank someone by saying Krab Kun Kha (if you are a female) or Krab Kun Khap (if you are male).
The owner of the Resort personally drove us to the local mini van station for our trip to Bangkok. Could she be any sweeter?
Ayutthaya to Bangkok
The trip from Ayutthaya to Bangkok was less than two hours and cost us 60 baht each + 60 baht for our luggage for a grand total of 180 baht ($6 dollars) to the big city. We initially planned to take the train, but Bo suggested we take the mini-van and at that price why not? We could never hope to pay so little back home.
As opposed to our van ride to Ayutthaya, this particular van was packed full of locals (who did not speak English) and was slightly less plush. It made periodic stops along the way like a bus would do, but it was a simple trip nonetheless. The mini van made its final stop in Bangkok at a bustling square near the Victory Monument.
We both felt dazed and confused standing in the middle of a crowded noisy street with pull-behind (carry on) luggage in tow. Could we be more touristy?
Tourists in Bangkok
We quickly found our way to a tourist booth located along the street amongst clothing vendors and street food. An English speaking man helped us locate our hotel on the map and wrote the name in Thai to help taxi drivers understand where we wanted to go. This was an extremely useful tool that we continued to use throughout the trip. Most of the taxi drivers speak little to no English (besides numbers) and this helped ensure we made it to the right place in as little time as possible.
We also learned in was important to tell the taxi drivers to “put the fair on the meter” and not go with an agreed upon price. Otherwise you have to haggle the price of your trip and the drivers always seem to start high with a 200 baht price even for a short trip.
We checked into the Hotel De’ Mok and tried to strategize what we would do for the next two days in Bangkok – during Christmas no less. Tours? Shopping? Dining? A Show?
After loving the charming small-town feel of Ayutthaya, we both felt like Bangkok was not exactly our cup of tea. It is not only less welcoming in one-on-one situations, but is also packed with the traffic and pollution you would expect in a big city. “If you’ve seen one big city you seen ’em all” we kept saying.
With all that said, would you believe the first place we headed off to once we booked into the Hotel was a shopping area? In fact, we spent part of the next day shopping too! Admittedly, the shopping is very different than your typical Mall experience – but not far from our life in “Do-Buy” if you know what I mean.
We took a tuk-tuk over to an extremely popular shopping area called MBK and the smog was terrible. Wow, no wonder so many people wear face-masks in Bangkok – it’s terrible to be in the streets.
MBK is a well known landmark in Bangkok for its mix of authentic merchandise, knockoff items, packed hallways, and 8 stories worth of merchandise. At MBK there are stores-upon-stores on top of each other and there is actually haggling involved (and expected) in certain shops.
NOTE: the MBK website says that it closes at 10pm, but it’s really 9pm if you’re thinking in true terms. We initially strolled slowly on (only) one of the many floors with plans to walk through the others afterwards – only to find that the stores were closing down at 9:30pm and the shop-keepers themselves were out the door at 10pm. Not the typical way you think of “closing at 1opm” if you ask me. humph.
We finished the day back at the Hotel De’ Mok’s restaurant for a late night dinner since we’re still having a little trouble with the time difference.
Jordon’s favorite meal and our comfort food for the trip has been Pad Thai – and we didn’t stray far from the norm this evening. It’s all about presentation and I just love seeing all the different variations of the same dish you can get here – so cool!