When they say you should get a life you don’t need a vacation from, I didn’t know I could obtain it with just the right job. So here I am in Bangkok for business, and during my free time, leisure. If I were to plan this trip solely for pleasure, I’ll surely love to go down south for the best beaches Thailand has to offer. But since that’s not the case, I have to savor what the hustle and bustle of the city that is Bangkok has to offer.
From widely renowned shopping centers in Manila such as Greenhills, Divisoria, Baclaran, etc., I could hear the sellers refer to good RTW (ready-to-wear) pieces as, “Bangkok yan!” That phrase signifies good quality, maybe better compared to cheaper clothes which comes from China, therefore deserving of a higher appraisal. Bangkok is a mecca of affordable clothes and Chatuchak (pronounced as Jatujak) Market, one of the largest weekend markets in the world with over 8,000 stalls is a testament to that. I was first here in Bangkok on a Sunday and Chatuchak Weekend Market is what its name suggests – open only during Saturdays and Sundays, from 9AM to 6PM. On weekdays, just a percentage of the stalls are open.
If it weren’t for the tragedy of long lines for the Immigration of NAIA Terminal 1, we should have checked in at JW Marriott Hotel by 4PM, giving me ample time to travel from Sukhumvit to Mo Chit BTS station, the nearest station to Chatuchak. But then again, we Filipinos have a valid claim to having the worst airport in the world so we reached our hotel at 6PM already.
I didn’t intend to waste any opportunity to explore Bangkok, especially that it was just the first night and I still had all the energy and enthusiasm so I booked a Grab car to my second destination of choice for some cheap retail shopping, The Platinum Mall.
Just 75 baht from my hotel and Grab dropped me there already. Upon reaching Platinum Mall before 8PM, most of its stalls were closed already. It’s similar to Manila’s Divisoria except that as a general rule, buyers are not allowed to try on the clothes to see if those fits well. Platinum Mall plays by the game that they are selling items at a “lower” price because they are wholesale thus, the buyers are there to shop with the intention of also selling it to other end-users or consumers thus eliminates the need to fit or try on the clothes.
It hurts me a bit to think that I cannot go home with anything from this first mall so I made hurried purchases to some stores which were still open.
There are food stalls in this market and some more established food joints. There was even Starbucks and Mcdonalds so do not fret at all by too much walking and shopping as food is literally on your way.
Night Market Outside of Platinum Mall
Night Market Outside of Pratunam
I didn’t intend to go here at Palladium/Pratunam. I was on my way back to the hotel trying to hail a cab so I walked around the area. I remember crossing 2 pedestrian lanes and voila! I was at at Pratunam, immersed into more stalls offering more of almost the same thing as that of the night market outside Platinum Mall.
Terminal 21 Mall
Bangkok has 2 International Airports and I really thought that apart from Suvarnabhumi, it was an airport housing this Terminal Mall. The other international airport is Don Mueang, by the way. A couple of minutes inside this mall and I realized that it was just the concept of the mall. Every floor features a popular international destination evident from the designs of the stores and the common areas of a particular level.
The ground floor, for example is dedicated to Rome, thus the presence of statues of mythological gods and goddesses on its balustrades.
It is located adjacent to Sukhumvit MRT Station and is definitely very accessible. I was a bit misled by the escalators saying it was an exit towards a flight to a particular country. It’s nice to be amazed by our ignorance sometimes and you’d realize that’s what traveling is for.
Bath and Body Works has a store here. Is there a legit store of it in Manila? I thought none so I stock on 2 sets of scents and personal care products from here.
I was tempted to buy food souvenir items inside Terminal Mall’s grocery in the basement. There were lots of interesting finds there that offer some glimpse of what the consuming Bangkok population prefer. A trip to the grocery store also shows familiar brands available in the Philippines offering other flavors or variety aside from what I thought they only sell.
MBK Mall: Souvenirs Haven
My colleague who goes to Bangkok every now and then get his pasalubong at MBK Mall. We took the train and walk some to get here. This a huge multi-storey mall where almost everything from food, clothes, electronics, and souvenirs can be found. We did not explore this much, though, as we just targeted food souvenirs at a certain store then went back to our hotel. Souvenirs here are a cheaper price plus you can bargain if you are to purchase more so definitely worth a visit.