Friday, December 4, 2009

Bangkok: Eating, Shopping and Evening-Outs!

Let me warn you at the onset. I am not much of a party person so I probably saw the tamest side of Bangkok. But we had fun and here’s the score!

Eating: Bangkok as you probably know eats everything and you will find all sorts of food and eating joints- from fantastic roof-top restaurants  to road side kiosks. If you are adventurous go for the local stalls. My husband tried a kiosk selling fish dumplings with lots of veggies and hot sauce (something like a bhel-puri). He asked the lady to make it hot, she did and he was soon gulping down a bottle of coke. Spicy in Bangkok can be really spicy. If you are on a budget try Cabbages and Condoms. The food is OK but is the atmosphere which is very pretty with fairy lights and outdoor seating. We also checked out the Sua-Lum Night market and did not like it much. You aren’t missing much if you don't go. Most malls in Bangkok have a food court serving good and varied food. The one in MBK has an Indian outlet too if you are craving for dal-naan-paneer. The fruit milkshakes are a good option too.

Another must to is heading to Sirroco- the roof top restaurant at Lebua for a drink. You can stand on the roof-top with a drink in hand and enjoy the view and the fashionable crowd. A meal here can be very expensive and one might have to book days in advance.

Evening-Outs: Like I said, my review will probably be very tame. If you have a great group of friends , any place can be fun and that applies to Bangkok as well. We checked out a couple of clubs and most were filled with tourist and Thai ladies. No surprise here. The places almost look and feel the same. Dance or enjoy a drink if you want to. We headed out shortly. What I would recommend for an evening out is a dinner cruise. There are a large number of these with a variety of budgets. Most leave between 7.00-8.00 PM, so be sure to make early reservations. It is not the food but the whole experience of Bangkok floating by with lights as you sip your drink and feel the cool air from the boat deck which makes the experience memorable.

After the cruise, we went to Bamboo- a restaurant at the Oriental Hotel where they play jazz after 10.00 PM. Dress code is formal and men must be in trousers and closed shoes. I thoroughly enjoyed the music and the voice of Frankie- the lady on the mike. She even autographed a paper coaster and told me how she wanted to be a singer ever since childhood.

$ Shopping $: There are three types of shopping experiences in Bangkok. First, the high end global brands: There are a number of malls in Bangkok which house global brands like Valentino, Todds, Gucci, Judith Lieber and the second rungs like Calvin Klien, Mango, Guess. If you are looking for bargains or the latest styles you would be better off buying these in US/or asking a relative to do so during sale season. The Bangkok prices are high with barely any promotions running.

The second shopping experience are the local Thai brands. These are housed in Central World, Robinsons, Zen etc. Trendy styles and good quality. An evening blouse might cost anywhere in the range of Bht 1000-2500. They have lots of home products, stationary and accessories. Take a look and you might find something you really like.

The third shopping is the local street bargain shopping which most of us are excited about when we go to Bangkok (including myself). Heading to MBK is almost mandatory. It is a mall with stores as well as kiosks. You will find all sorts of stuff here at good bargains. I found some lovely stoles for Bht 300, comfy cotton Giodarno t-shirts for Bht 350 (on sale) and some very nice bags for Bht 300-500. There are small picks like coin purses (Bht 35), cushions (Bht 200), movie CDs (Bht 50) and many more. If you have the weekend you might want to check out the Chatuchak market. The market comes up on weekends just outside Bangkok and is huge (about 20,000 stalls) and crowded like crazy. You will get anything and everything. Clothes, pets, food, furniture….But be armed with a hat, water and common sense. Having a friend helps immensely.

But if crowds are not for you and you still want to do some street shopping there is hope. Look around your hotel and malls post 6.00 PM. Stalls come up with clothes, CDs, bags etc. Take a look and bargain hard.

Most importantly have loads and loads of fun! We did :)


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