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Published: November 15th 2009
One thing that has been consistent over the past few trips has been to leave the last few days of our trips for shopping. I find the selection is so much better in these larger cities than back home. As well, better prices are usually to be had. Bangkok would be no different.
After a very uneventful trip from Siem Reap to Bangkok (we even rode to the airport in Siem Reap -- seven very easy kilometers) we settled into small guest house on Sukhumvit Road right next to one of the skytram stops. If I would have known how much shopping we were going to do, I would have parked us in the middle of Siam Center (shopping heaven). The big change for me on this trip to Bangkok (third in total) is that they now have a skytram and subway. This makes a HUGE difference as Bangkok has a reputation as having some of the worst traffic in the world. For example, it took us over thirty minutes to move about three blocks at the end of our trip from the airport.
We got down to business and visited Siam Center (Bangkok's original downtown shopping mall), which I have visited before on previous trips. What I was to find out was that a number of other malls (three in total) have been built in the area since my last visit in 1994. This gave us a huge selection for clothing and Christmas presents. One mall took me six hours to move through its shops and six floors of retail heaven! We would be back again Thursday and Friday before calling this shopping madness to an end. All the shops one would expect from a major international city are here plus a number of chains that aren't found back in North America. Two of note were G2000 (U2) and Raoul. While every shopping center has lots of stores, they also have lots of places to eat. The food courts here certainly put ours to same. The variety of Asian food was mind boggling and the freshness... So much seafood to choose from such a low price! I must be in heaven. At Bangkok's food courts you get a card when you walk in and the different food areas will add their charge to the card. When you leave, you then pay. Given how much shopping we were doing, we actually ate at the malls a number of times. We weren't disappointed, though.
Perhaps it was the location we were staying in, but I was vey impressed at how international this city is now. We were staying next to the Middle East part of town. I'm not sure if it the location of Bangkok, food, or sex, that draws all of these foreigners. I guess I could now add shopping to the list, because I have never seen so many shopping malls concentrated in such a small area as around Siam Center.
By Friday afternoon, I could barely walk, so I called the shopping to an end. I did, though, want to see The Stock Exchange of Thailand. I had researched this out before leaving Edmonton, so I knew where it was and what to expect. As with almost all stock exchanges today, this one is all electronic. There was an exhibition hall where the "Money Talk" show was taping and a library, though. Bangkok looks like it has recovered from its implosion of 1997 and has picked up right off where it left off -- the city certainly wasn't short of construction cranes.
Sadly, three days in Bangkok is nowhere near enough time to do it justice. One could easily spend a week here shopping, sightseeing, and eating before even being a bit bored. I have put together a slideshow of our trip for those of you who are interested (see link below).
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