Day 4 – Bangkok
There was no hurry in getting up this morning. A bright and sunny morning greeted us as we entered the final day of shopping in Bangkok. We only had part of the afternoon and evening to shop the day before but we would be having the entire day to hit the streets later. So we took our time and went for breakfast at the restaurant on the 8th floor. The buffet spread was good but not exceptional enough to entice us for many more helpings. So we didn’t stay very long at the restaurant.
Since it was still early and the shops at the shopping malls were not open yet, we explored the hotel instead. We went to the rooftop swimming pool for a look and took some pictures of the city from there. The swimming pool has a short width but sufficient length for some casual swim. There wasn’t anyone swimming when we were there. Next we went a floor up to inspect the gym.
The gym is well equipped but seems to be underutilized. Perhaps most visitors to Bangkok have more than their fair share of workout by hitting the road and shopping till they drop. The gym offers an excellent view of the city. So we took more pictures and enjoyed the view from there for some time. Satisfied with the pictures taken, we went back to our room.
After freshening up, we watched TV for a short while and then finally made our move to accomplish our mission with a list of stuff to purchase. Having experienced the way around the malls the day before, we knew how to take short cuts, walk under shades on the overhead skywalk and this helped us conserve energy to be out for the whole day. It was a clear sunny day but not very hot and humid yet when we left the hotel.
This time we skipped MBK Mall first and would come back in the evening for a last look if we still had time. Very easily we made our way into Siam Discovery Centre without a sweat and as expected didn’t find anything of interest to us. Then we went next door to explore Siam Centre and spent some time there only to do some windows shopping.
Next we entered Siam Paragon Shopping Centre next to Siam Centre which was bigger and offered more to see but the shops were just about to open so we also didn’t spend too much time there. So we left Siam Paragon Shopping Centre. This time we went up the skywalk to walk towards Central World Plaza in order to skip walking on all the road pavements and avoid all the traffics on the road. The overhead skywalk is a covered walkway and so we needed not take a beating from the late morning sun. Actually it was quite windy as we walked under shade of this bridge enjoying the city sights while Bangkok was coming alive with the usual buzz to capture and captivate visitors as to why Bangkok would be one of the top tourists’ destinations in the region. The way leading to Central World Plaza was so easy to find with prominent signage and soon we reached the mall without much effort.
It was a refreshing sight to be welcomed into Central World Plaza by those cute Snoopy toy figures once we set foot into the entrance. Central World Plaza is a very modern and clean upscale mall with many major businesses securing a foothold there. There are 8 levels from basement to level 7 for those who have the time to explore this mall. The shops were starting to open when we arrived and some staff were busy setting up the event hall for some promotional event for the day. Like the day before, we didn’t spend a lot of time there and after a quick visit to Isetan, we exited the mall and turned left to head towards Platinum Fashion Mall.
This stretch of walk to Platinum Fashion Mall was unfortunately not covered so most people would be carrying an umbrella instead of tolerating the pinching heat from the midday sun. As it was a little windy and there were some stretch with lines of tress to offer a little comfort, we made it to Platinum Fashion Mall without much damage. It was still better than a raining day having to contend with the pouring sky and getting wet and then suffering a chill when we reached the air-conditioned mall; so we were in fact quite thankful for a little sunlight.
We started from the top floor to work our way down from building B to do our shopping first as we could easily hop over to Novotel Hotel for lunch next door before continuing with the rest of our shopping at building A of Platinum Mall. Building B is actually smaller and from the top floor all the way down, it would not take a lot of time. So we looked at mostly shoes and bags and some clothes over here and bought some of what we intended to purchase. When we were done shopping in building B, we went over to Novotel Hotel for a quick lunch. Like the night before, we took our windows seats to enjoy our lunch with a view. The clay pot mushroom olive rice we had for dinner was so good that we ordered it again. Once again, the wait staff were polite and friendly and the lunch was good too. This lunch would see us through till dinner time with quite a bit more shopping to be done.
When we visited Platinum Mall back in 2007, it was a totally different environment altogether. The shops were not so organized, the place all cramped up and looked quite old. It was like the kind of shops we had back in the late seventies in Chinatown area in Singapore. Our impression of Platinum Fashion Mall has now taken on a brand new level of experience which we didn’t expect. No doubt the new facelift with the addition of Novotel Platinum Hotel next door has raised the overall shopping experience to a much higher satisfaction index than before. Although Platinum Fashion Mall cannot compare with Central World Plaza or Terminal 21 Mall or even Siam Paragon Shopping Centre in terms of sophistication and modernity, it has charm of its own as well as its own niche market where the stuffs sold here are much cheaper for the mass market. Quite possibly, we might simply stay over at the Novotel Platinum Hotel during our next visit for the convenience of shopping for my wife and daughters. There is tremendous wisdom for this strategic move. During the past two days we were at Platinum Mall, we hardly saw any man. The few we found were actually tagging along holding bags after bags of stuff for their female counterpart. This mall caters mainly to the women crowd and doesn’t have much stuff for guys anyway. So staying at the Novotel Platinum Hotel would offer these poor men a chance to quickly offload their stuffs in the hotel room and then continue with more shopping with the ladies. Or they might get a chance to chill out at a lounge or rest in the room while the ladies do their shopping. So we suspect Novotel Platinum Hotel might be a highly sought after hotel and we might have to book early in case rooms are sold out during major holidays or holiday weekends. After lunch, we continued with our shopping at building A of Platinum Mall. We combed every floor again and knew where to head for the stuffs that we wanted after yesterday’s quick survey. The whole operation took nearly 3 hours and our legs were feeling the strain and my sore neck and shoulder not helping either. Sure glad we were finally making our way back to our hotel. How we wished we were staying at Novotel Platinum Hotel!
So we began our slow plod back the same way we came this morning. When we arrived Central World Plaza, we spent a bit more time there with all the shops now opened. We went into H&M and bought some clothes as well. Having done shopping at Central World Plaza, we traced our way back to Siam Paragon Shopping Centre, Siam Centre and thankfully reached Siam Discovery Centre where Mercure Hotel was within sight. Finally, we made it back to our hotel room and unloaded all our bags from the shopping done for the day. A shower never felt so good and stretching out on the bed to rest our tired bodies and feet were indescribable joy. As night began to set in and our belly started to rumble, it was time to head out for dinner. The nearest place was the 8th floor restaurant which also allowed our dining bill to be reduced by half for Accor members. Surprisingly, we were the only diners there and we had the whole restaurant to ourselves for dinner. The restaurant also doesn’t serve buffet for dinner during weekdays. As expected, the restaurant didn’t fail us even though we ordered from the a la carte menu. The food was great and our tired bodies were coming alive once more. Since this was our last night at the hotel, we went up to the lobby lounge for our member's welcome drinks. We were given a drinks list and were surprised we could also choose hot beverages. So we ordered a latte and a cappuccino. Having been fully recharged, we left the hotel for some more last minute shopping for the final hours of our stay in Bangkok before taking our morning flight home the next day.
We went one round visiting the night markets nearby one last time to soak in the lively atmosphere of Bangkok City. With a little more shopping done, we entered MBK Mall the last time. The last thing I wanted to buy was a pair of casual shoes which I didn’t find anything suitable during the past few days rummaging through all the stores and shops in malls and markets. Before long many shops started to close and as we made our way back to our hotel, we entered one more shoes shop and took a look. Of all coincidence, I found a pair of casual shoes exactly the same type that I had been happily wearing for the past three years that had already worn out. Unlike my wife and daughters who buy shoes every other month, I only buy a pair or two every two or three years and so I am rather particular with shoes that are comfortable and that will last. And against all odds, the pair that was left on the shelf was the size that I needed which was also on offer for only 600 THB. The shop was actually closing and they entertained us for a little while so I hurriedly paid for the shoes and cheerfully threw away my old shoes and wore this new pair back to our hotel. This night indeed was meant for me as throughout the past few days of shopping, all those stuffs bought were for my wife and children. Thus I proudly wear this trophy shoes everywhere ever since. With MBK Mall closing, it was time to head back to our hotel. When we were near our hotel, we patronized another street seller who had laid some tee-shirts, shorts and blouses on the pavement of the road outside our hotel. We didn’t buy anything from her the night before when we left and returned to our hotel. As this was our final night here, we felt compelled to buy something from her, especially those goods she peddled was of acceptable quality and at such low prices. Sometime we wondered how much these street sellers could make with the kind of cut-throat prices they were selling their stuffs. Notwithstanding, they were happy people and led simple lives which were traits not to be lightly dismissed, for their resilience is something we probably might not attain given the same circumstance.
With these final shopping done, we went into the hotel and my wife returned to the room while I went to the lobby to get our MAS online check in done and our boarding passes printed out. When I made it back to the room, I watched the night scene of Bangkok City from our room one more time before heading to bed. We then did our final round of packing to get ready to leave the hotel at 8 am in the morning.
Having sent pictures of our purchases for the day to the children back home via our phone, it was time to crawl to bed and relax over some TV programs. Our eyes could hardly hold out after awhile and soon lost consciousness, recollecting the activities of the day in our dream world of peace.
Continue to Day 5 ...