As mentioned in my other blog post, I had a rather short holiday in Bangkok recently. Due to the timing of the trip, I didn’t have much time. I split my trip into two parts: One full day sightseeing itinerary which covered the major cultural sites in Bangkok and a half day for my first day in Bangkok (I arrived late morning so I had just about half a day). I cobbled a simple itinerary for my half day and I rather enjoyed it. You can maybe find from this some inspiration for your own itinerary planning.
Shopping – Fashion, Clothes, Accessories
While I am not a shopaholic by nature, the zip for my shorts misaligned (rather unfortunate for me) and was out of action. I therefore decided to go find myself some shorts while in Bangkok. If it’s your first time in this city, one good location to find such things is the Platinum Fashion Mall. The mall is a wholesale shopping mall with small outlets, selling both women’s and men’s fashion and accessories. The mall has 8 floors (inclusive of a basement) which equates roughly to 6 retail floors, 1 floor dedicated to a food court and 1 floor for parking:
As it was around lunchtime when I reached, I decided to check out the food court on the 6th floor. It was huge with a large central dining area surrounded by small shops selling different types of food including Thai, Chinese and Japanese Cuisine:
A quick cursory glance suggested that there is some alternative money payment system in place (i.e. you don’t pay cash to the stall operators). Instead there is some card or coupon to make payment with. You can get the card from a “Coupon” counter. Just pass them a good amount of Thai Baht and they will credit that amount into a card which you can use at the stalls. Don’t worry, you can always cash out later with no admin fee charged.
I looked at the different stalls and eventually settled for some stewed pork and intestines. I went with a mixed platter so that I can try the different cuts of meat and took a generous serving of chilli (slightly sweet and sour) which pairs nicely with the intestines:
When I was done with my meal, I cashed out my card without facing any issues.
Then off I went to do my shopping.
While there appears to be some order and structure to the mall (i.e. men’s clothes are supposed to be on the 4th floor with the rest being for women’s clothing), it appeared to me to be more of a guide rather than a rule. I could still find men’s clothing stores scattered on other floors:
I did manage to buy my shorts. 290 (SGD 11.75 / USD 8.75) baht a piece.
A word of caution is in order. I don’t think the sizes are accurate.
While I do not profess myself to have a slim waistline, I am certain I am not a size 36 (my work pants is a 33!). However, when I was there, the lady was certain that I was a size 36 and after measuring my waist concluded that I was either a 34 or 36. While I was doubtful, I was in a dilemma as the stores there usually enforce a no trying policy.
My ingenious work around to this was to inform the lady that I was buying two items but I would only get one first and try it out in the restrooms to confirm my sizing. I will buy the other pair from her after my sizing. After trying out that tight 34, I came back and asked to buy a size 36 and also swap my 34 for another 36. From the store owner’s point of view, there is little incentive for them to say no as they will lose out on another sale and plus the fact the item being swapped out is almost brand new (i just bought it off them 5 minutes ago). While not guaranteed to work all the time, this trick may help in avoiding the no trying policy.
Yunomori Onsen & Spa Bangkok
When I was done with my shopping, I headed over to Yunomori Onsen & Spa Bangkok. Yunomori is an authentic Japanese Onsen right in the middle of Bangkok boasting a fusion of two complementary cultures: The Japanese baths and Thai Massage:
The prices are not the cheapest in town but come with a more holistic experience if you do both the Onsen and also the massage as a package (such packages are slightly cheaper by maybe 100-200 baht compared to the aggregate ala carte price):
As I was busy the last few days in Taiwan, I didn’t make any bookings with them. So came the horror when I was registering myself at the reception when I was told that the earliest slot was at 9pm. I decided to just go with the Onsen (at 450 baht).
If it’s your first time in a Japanese bath house, expect to be naked as you move from hot pool to hot pool. There are small towels provided for some privacy but I don’t think it really matters.
There are various pools in the Onsen: Soda pool, Mineral pool, Jacuzzi pool and Cold pool. Each pool serves a particular purpose. The Jacuzzi pool, for example, helps relax the body as the water jet streams help massage certain points of the body. There is a big sign board near the bathing area that explains the steps and which pool to take and also when to use the steam room and/or sauna.
Just be sensible when doing the Cold pool. Don’t go in too fast as it may unnecessarily strain your body. I normally would take it slowly and inch my way into the pool.
Savoey Seafood Co.
Having completed my dip, I was famished. Normally, there is a rest area where you can sit and snack on food in a Yukata. However, as I had no massage planned, I gave that a miss this time round.
Instead, close to Yunomori is a restaurant that I normally frequent when I visit the onsen: Savoey Seafood Co.
While I believe that the menu has changed since the last time I visited, the food was still great. This visit saw me digging into a Phuket style curry with rice noodles and also an oyster omelet. Both dishes were great but I felt that they were more for sharing than as a main course. So, if you are travelling a group, why not give these dishes a try and also sample their other offerings?
As I did not get my massage done at Yunomori, I was off trying to find a decent shop offering massages. It did not take me long to stumble over a few good recommendations. While walking along Soi 24 Sukhumvit Rd, I saw not only Asian Herb Association (which is another recommended massage place other than Yunomori) but also an okay looking shop called Arbora that is further down the street.
I did not go with Asian Herb Association as I had not made any reservations and would likely be rejected or asked to wait. Instead I headed over to Arbora and did a Thai massage for a rather decent price at 525 Baht for 90 minutes. Awesomeness at an awesome price! So if you are like me and are going in unannounced, feel free to drop by Arbora if turned away at Yunomori or Asian Herb Association.
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