Escape from the sauna
February 22, 2019
Bangkok is pretty f-ing hot and humid so to escape we did what seemingly half the population does, we went to the mall. I know what you're thinking, you've three days in exotic Bangkok and you're going to the mall. I'm thinking it too, in fact I hesitate to write it, and it really is something I would normally never do because I hate hate hate shopping. But a friend suggested it (thanks, Linda!) and it seemed a good idea. So after a leisurely breakfast on the hotel balcony we set off for the nearest metro station.
Half way between the Loy La Long hotel and the station we walked by the golden Buddha, which has an interesting backstory. It was encased in plaster and accidentally dropped, chipping the plaster which revealed the solid gold Buddha underneath. That the 3m tall plaster statue weighed 5 tons might have been a reveal, too.
Upon the discovery a four-storey (!) marble building was constructed to hold the 3m statue. It is now a tourist attraction.
Admission to see this Buddha isn't free of charge, though, so I've not visited as I don't want to pay any more money to see another Buddha. I've seen enough Buddhas. I have achieved Buddha satiation.
So we walked to the metro. Now walking in Bangkok is not bad, if anything it's sort of the complement to walking in Chiang Mai.
Bangkok's sidewalks1 are wide and clean and in ship shape whereas Chiang Mai's2
range between crappy and non existent and what sidewalks exist are used as parking for the ubiquitous motor bikes and food vendors. Also you often find extension cords running to and fro on Chiang Mai's sidewalks because those food vendors need electricity.
So, kudos Bangkok. However, Chiang Mai lacks the many-laned streets of the far bigger city so you've a shorter distance to run for your life when crossing. Bottom line: in Thailand, cars rule.
Anyway, going to the mall gave us the opportunity to try out the Bangkok metro which works well though what's with each line3 having its own ticketing? The metro let us off at the MBK mall (over 2,000 stores), eight floors of claustrophobic hallways with stores grouped by type, like floor five has maybe a hundred cell phone and cell phone accessories stores, floor six is cameras plus ugly and torturously-uncomfortable furniture that makes your house resemble a faux palace. I kid you not. How one decides whom to buy from I've no idea. I need a new phone case for my trusty iPhone but faced with so many choices I just threw up my hands and left.
We left the MBK mall and crossed on an overhead walkway, thus avoiding the nasty task of crossing the street, to enter another mall and then after that mall we passed into a third mall next door and after that we walked into yet another mall next to that. The last three malls, I can't believe I am reviewing malls, the last three were far nicer than the first, more like the north American flavour, with the usual stores you see everywhere, in fact some appeared several times there is so much space dedicated to retail.
The malls were all packed with people, shopping and eating at the extensive food area. We didn't buy anything except lunch. The only items that interested me were yet another Fuji lens4
and a white Aston Martin (one floor featuring high-end car dealers) but the pricing wasn't tempting, Canada actually being cheaper for once, plus there's the problem of getting it home. And no I didn't really consider a $1m Aston.
1Of course I'm speaking for the infinitesimally small bit of Bangkok we've seen.
2We saw enough of Chiang Mai to make this broad statement.
3Actually there are only two ticketing systems for the four metro lines.
4One cannot have too many Fuji lenses.
Writing today's blog
Me on the hotel deck working on the words you are now reading.
Breakfast at Loy La Long hotel
The home of the golden Buddha
No durians ok but how's one to get balloons home?
Sign in Bankok metro listing prohibited behaviours
Good enough for James (Bond)
Fireworks as seen from hotel
Just after sundown the river fills with brightly-coloured dinner boats cruising up and down the river. Most feature music so loud that I wasn't tempted to take a ride. I'd rather be on our hotel's deck.