As we lift off over the outskirts of Bangkok, from Suvarnabhumi (meaning Golden Land), I feel satisfied yet saddened. We have had a good holiday here in Southeast Asia. We enjoyed the people, the sights, the food and the culture and are comfortable here. With immense gratitude we leave this land hoping to have the opportunity to visit yet again.
Bangkok on the back end seemed to make sense to us, we will however explore more deeply the possibilities of sidestepping this huge city. With much to offer, it is truly a metropolitan tangle and we would consider bypassing it at least on one end or the other the next time around, if the cost was not prohibitive.
Centre Point Silom was our home base this round. We decided to give a different piece of the city our attention this stay. Silom Road runs parallel to the Chao Phraya River and is a hub of jeweler and textile/tailor wholesale business and financial centers. The hotel itself sits just behind Robinson’s department store and if shopping is on your list this is a place to check for deals. Cosmetic counters all hosted great values for common brands. Check in was friendly and first rate efficient with fresh Longon or Bael juice (used historically for warding off leprosy), select coffees and iced water available 7am-10pm in the lobby. One bedroom suite is a diminutive description of the luxurious space we walked into at 2205 Centre Point. Decorated in white marble and wood this 900 square foot space gave us a base model for a more minimalist need in a future home. Electronic key card entry, with a slot just inside the door to power up the place was a common denominator for all stays on this trip. (I wonder at what savings this might bring consumers and corporations in the U.S.?) The entryway was spacious with floor to ceiling storage, entry door to the restroom and round the corner to the full kitchen. Abundance of cabinets and white ceramic tile floors and countertops set the kitchen decor. Conveniences included electric hotpot, apartment size refrigerator, built in double burner, full sink, microwave, dish and silverware, dining table with four chairs, all in one washer/dryer and more storage! Doorway (with pocket door) on the other side of the kitchen led in to a small living room with European style tweed sofa, matching chair and coffee table. Built in wall unit housed the television and stereo with sliding glass doors to the balcony. Accordion wood doors were pushed back against the wall opposite the wall unit to lead into the master. King bed, nightstands, desk and chair with sliding glass doors to another balcony completed this room. Walk in master closet with built in his and hers armoires to either end connected the master to another door leading back to the restroom. It was equipped with walk in shower, jacuzzi tub, large vanity (with storage) and badet. Supreme space. Totally ideal for two people and we loved the layout. Sure, it was more than we needed, but after 6 weeks in one room the extra living space was welcomed! We highly recommend this location, keeping in mind my travel agent hubby finds the best prices on these types of bookings typically through Expedia. (Note that this hotel has regular size rooms as well as these suites.) Another noteworthy mention as we close out this international excursion is the fact that every property we stayed in had rooms equipped with amenities such as toothbrush and paste, cotton swabs, disposable razors, shower caps, sewing kits and combs as standards.
Walking the neighborhood after 9 pm, when we had settled in, did not yield many restaurant options so we continued walking until we happened upon the Patpong Night Market. Here, we heard the sounds of live jazz coming from a place called Brothers Bar that had a good looking menu perched on the podium at the bottom of the staircase. We made our way up to the 4th floor and found ourselves in a place with a cool vibe. Quite a few parties were dining and enjoying libations via bottle service or large tabletop draught beer dispensers. The decor was cool with a metal frame hung from the ceiling tied with dried flowers as one chandelier and another strung with various lengths of PVC pipe with twinkle lights dangling through them. Dinner was very spicy and original with curry, shrimp and mushrooms as our staples, plate garnishments were artistically original. We made our way back to the hotel after we ate to crash for the night. I must warn you when wandering the streets of Bangkok be prepared for the rats and roaches that call it home. You can’t walk very far after dark without spotting them skittering about feasting on the tasty street morsels they can easily find as shop owners move their trash curb side. (Think NYC…)
We managed to walk ourselves back to Silom Road and then headed to a tailor my partner had found via Trip Advisor. This was on his wish list since our last visit. Clothes measured, cut and sewn specifically for him. The gents at Universal Tailors had high ratings and were in our neighborhood. This day they took the measurements and we picked the fabrics. At first glance around this city you would think you could “steal” some nice shirts and trousers. You could, if you wanted inferior fabric, haphazard sizing and glued instead of sewn seams. Not these guys, quality threads was their business and they would see him back for three more fittings before the final products would be presented. Friday evening found us dining in on sushi, fruit, smoked meat, cheese and fresh baked rye bread with wine we had picked up in our daily wanderings. Later we listened to music, relaxed and took in the sights and sounds of the closest active night time neighborhood until the wee hours.
With the threat of rain at 90% we struck out for Pratunam Indoor Market shortly after noon. Shopping was part of our game plan before exiting the country. We wound up and down a few aisles and agreed we were going to risk the weather, Chatachuk Outdoor Market and it’s 27 acres of goods were our main goal while back in the city! We hopped in a tuk tuk and as luck would have it we had landed a scammer who just needed to get his gas coupon. “Sunday sir, you know holiday, I need my gas coupon.” My hubby ordered him to stop boisterously enough that I nearly jumped out of my skin! This “scam” we fell for once last year. (i.e.Tuk tuk driver pleads your mercy and then waltzes you into a silver or jewel salon where you are on for the hard sell all under the guise of helping him get some free gas aka kickback.) This falls under the heading of “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!” When he quoted us our fare before we jumped in we just should have known! So, he pulls over, we jump out, get our bearings and realize there is train tracks overhead. Looking ahead about 5 blocks we see the station. When we arrive we are advised it is the Airport Rail Link not the BTS. We are pointed straight ahead. Straight ahead is an under the tracks dirt path that leads us past homeless encampments complete with chickens, dogs, children but yes indeed after about 3 more blocks it does lead us to the BTS station. Fare to Mo Chit and still no rain! At the 4th stop, we hopped off and made our way past Chatuchak Park and finally into the market where we really wanted to be. We grabbed a light bite to eat at one of the markets many temporary restaurants, Toh Plue, before getting serious. I needed something to get me going so…Tom Yum, surely the spice would chase away any bacteria remaining! The rain held off with only a sprinkle here and there and we had fun wandering through all the stalls of goods. We decided to get wooden serving dishes and condiment sets as well as wok and cleaver for utilizing our new Thai cooking skills. We did a little wholesale goods shopping as well, not much, just a little, in case we need an excuse for another trip sometime. At the end of the day (because my shopping mate goes “great deal” crazy), we had too much to return by train so we flagged a tuk tuk. I actually thought between us and our goods we might tip over in traffic as our driver expertly wove in, out and around mastering the jam up at the close of the market. Needless to say it had been a day! Really fun, we love the off beat adventure and the walking.
To reward ourselves, (and to make up for 24 hours of no food the prior day?!?) we went for Italian food at a corner cafe my man had spotted in his previous days wanderings between fittings at the tailor. Torlente was well worth the mention here. One Osso Bucco, one spinach ravioli (housemade), a Caprese Salad, cheese baked cauliflower, a nice DOCG Italian wine and a check that came in 1/3 American pricing topped off the night. By the way, even though I had packed extra backpacks inside our bags for just such a day of shopping we decided new luggage was in order as well to haul all these goodies home. Not to mention, ours are looking ragged with the miles we’ve put on them the last few years. We got the hard side version on four wheels at a market just in front of Robinson’s at about 1/4 Amazon pricing. I’ll keep you posted on how they roll and how they wear!
Heels dragging, Monday still came. We seriously were not ready for this to end. (Although, we do miss things home, family and friends 😉 The last full day of this part of Snowbird Travels 2017 had arrived. Packing was priority one, to be sure everything fit and weighed as properly as I could guesstimate. I packed the backpacks with no liquids and put them to one side in the big bags so that if need be they could be pulled last minute and carried on. Laundry done by yours truly means one bag is packed and ready for the start of Spring Fling 2017 when we get stateside. That “work” complete, we headed out for one last gad about town. First stop was food at a Thai hole in the wall the hubby discovered on my sick day. Baan Thai on Silom Road. A great place with ridiculous pricing. Thai style minced chicken and vegetable omelette and noodles with Shrimp and 2 Fried Eggs made for a happy meal at about 260 baht total with 3 bottled waters. Next, the tailors for the final fitting and with great success the guys at Universal sent my man out the door ready to be stylin’. On the way by a street vendor my honey grabbed me a quick couple sun dresses for the trip with the kids in just a couple weeks time. The agenda also included spa treatment too good to pass up one last time.
What a wonderful stay in a marvelous part of the world. As I wrap this up, we are somewhere over the waters about 7 1/2 hours from LA. By posting time, it will be Wednesday I think, after pic upload and gaining back a day, that should be about right. I may die for a day via jet lag. Don’t forget to #travelwithme. Another adventure is about to begin, to be followed by another, and yet another. I’d love to have you along! Such a lucky lady I know 🙂 Be grateful, appreciate and the world will give back to you!