Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bangkok: A Day for Shopping

Although we did not quite plan it 0ut, Saturday was our only "weekend" in the city of Bangkok, so without a doubt, we made our way to Chatuchak Weekend Market. Although our guidebooks told us it was the biggest and most intense market, we were still surprised by the sheer size! And because everything we do in travel reminds us of some adventure on amazing race, we felt JUST like we were embarking on our next challenge - to find something.

We made our way to the market on the wonderful BTS skytrain, fairly new and super convenient. Our first stop was the tourist information center to secure a general map of the market. We knew right away there was no way we could see everything, so we centered in on the clothing, massage and art areas. The market was sort of orderly, but also CRAZY! You can walk around the outsides and enjoy drinks and snacks along the way, or brave the smaller thoroughfares to escape the sun and heat. There is something to be found for everyone, this wasn't a junky market of trinkets but full of things you need (or don't need) and is a showcase for local designers. it really wasa great shopping destination. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people and stalls but still managed to find a good bargain for silk scarves (typical, I know...but when in Rome!). After a couple hours of wandering we also stopped for a 45min massage, a relaxing and welcome break for my feet right in the middle of the market. On our way out, we made our way to the art section, and I was more than pleasantly surprised. I was expecting some typical cheesy "tourist" art, but the art corridors were really like exploring an art show, every stall was unique. We saw some great art we'd love to take home...oh but the trouble. Overall, I am so glad to made our way to the market, despite my initial hesitation to brave the crowds. Chatuchak Weekend Market is definitely a must-see in Bangkok, even if you don't need/want to buy anything, it's an adventure just to look around and experience the orderly chaos!

It was dark by the time we left the market, you can really get lost in time just walking around. And since malls here are open until 10pm, we decided to stop in Siam on our way home to check out some of the mega department store complexes. We decided on Paragon Shopping Centre, which was ridiculously big! After stopping for a quick bite, we started to explore. I don't know if I was just "shopped" out or it was just too much, because the store just seemed too sparkly and full of product that I had no interest in really "shopping." We did some walking around, but like walking around a museum you're not that interested in. Paragon is well known for carrying interational and high end brands, which was actually a little boring. Why would I buy Nine West shoes in Thailand?? Nonetheless, I can vouch for the shopping mecca that Siam is, it certainly was a sight to see.

What a day we've had of "shopping," although not actually a lot of buying (probably a good thing). We're off to Cambodia tomorrow and will be back to Bangkok in a couple days for more city adventures :)

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