17.11.2008 30 °C
One of the things I was most looking forward to in Bangkok was shopping. After saving money all summer, during which I literally only worked and slept and watched Grey's Anatomy on DVD, I was ready to hit the shops. However, turns out that I can't find a way to shop in this city! Even though they seem to sell anything for any kind of budget.
Khao San Road area where I'm staying is obviously a cheap place to shop, but I haven't found many things from there. It's just one of these places, like Veronicas in Playa de las Americas, only the prices are cheaper. But even when it's cheap it doesn't really mean that I need any of that stuff.
I went to have a look at the huge shopping centres in Siam Square area. This is another Bangkok altogether, full of 5 star hotels and big advertisements for luxury labels. This area was mad. The streets were absolutely packed with people and it was a bit frustrating to try and move there. There were massive malls everywhere, they really are HUGE and surrounded by some impressive high-rises.
As soon as I entered Central World Plaza shopping centre, I realized I was a bit out of my league there. It consisted of seven floors, each one of them an endless labyrinth of thousands of shops and fancy restaurants, everything clean and modern and frosty with air con. I felt exhausted just looking at it - how could you ever go through all the shops? It was super modern and they had all the possible stores there from higher end labels to high street shops, plus big cinema and posh food hall. They had everything you'd find from any big European city - unfortunately they had prices to match! I pretty soon discovered that things that are expensive back home aren't gonna be any cheaper here unless they're fake. I had obviously been in denial!
This kind of place can really spin your head though. I almost got into the shopping bubble, and at some point found myself in a trance like state making my way to the fitting rooms to try on some dresses at Guess and Ted Baker, before I got a reality check and told myself I was getting carried away, big time! There was no way my budget was gonna strecth to 10 000 baht dresses, especially when they were the last thing I would need whilst on the road! When even a Topshop dress had a price tag of 5000 baht I had to admit defeat and put myself back to where I belonged - in search of Khao San bus.
MBK is another big shopping centre close by and has cheaper prices. The only thing is that it's a bit FULL with so much stuff that it would take you a lifetime to really go through all the shops. I had a quick look at the place and gave up there and then. I'm obviously not much of a shopper!
So for future's reference, if you see me in some pictures wearing uncharacteristically hippy clothes, it's not because I'm trying to prove some point that I'M IN ASIA NOW, it's just because that's what I can afford! Besides, that sort of clothes are really comfortable in this humidity.
On Saturday I went to see Chatukhat weekend market. It took about half an hour to get there by metro that I had just discovered Bangkok had (it's quite new so spotlessly clean and modern). Chatukhat market was really chaotic place and knowing that I have real trouble spotting a gem from the sea of useless crap, I had my reservations to begin with. True enough, markets are not for me! I always wander around them, thinking oh should buy this, or should I just have a little look around if I find something better, in which point I don't find the original thing anymore. This was easily the biggest market I've ever been to, my guide book tells me there are more than 200 000 stalls. You can really get lost in there! I was determined to buy something, but was already giving up and making my way back to the underground when I finally spotted a cute pair of sandals. With a sigh of relief I was good to go.