Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thailand - roaming around Bangkok - Part 1 (Pratunam area)

I stayed in Bangkok for almost a week last month. I know I barely scratch the surface of Bangok's countless tourist spots. This post will focus around Bangkok's shopping mecca which include Ratchaprarop, Pratunam, Phetchaburi and Rama1 area. All of them within or near Pathum Wan district. Note the red marking.

I booked "my Hotel" through their website for 6 nights. It is located at one of the side streets in Pratunam area. Wait for "my Hotel" review.

Upon arrival, I scouted the area in preparation to my wife's arrival. She would visit me for 3D/2N. I could say that if you plan to shop in Bangkok better stay within this part of the city. There is no need to elaborate Pratunam and Platinum because of my recent posts regarding these two great shopping places.

I normally start my day trekking from Platinum mall which is located at the intersection of Ratchaprarop and Phetchaburi roads. Aside from Platinum mall, another big mall is just across the intersection. The Palladium. I didn't bother to visit this mall. It looks generics.

The Palladium
Baiyoke Hotel

From the intersection, you'd see Bangkok's tallest hotel, Baiyoke.

At the other side of intersection, Rathchaprarop road is connected to Ratchadamri road where Isetan and Centralworld are located. I am still wondering whether our Isetan in Manila is connected to the Isetans of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok. Anyway, Isetan is one of the tenants of Centralworld. It is quite huge and can rival our SM malls in Manila.

I have noticed that some malls in Bangkok have Buddhist altars or shrines outside their buildings like Platinum and Centralworld. It generates the impression that businesses in Thailand are deeply rooted to their religion. Note the devotees praying on the street.

By the way, while I was taking some shots around these altars one guy approached me. I kept on wondering why I sometimes attract some people. Anyway, this guy introduced himself as a lawyer and having a Malaysian father and Indian mother. We shook hands. He asked my nationality and explained to me about the two Buddhist statues which I was taking shots. According to him, if you are praying for your business, career success and other wealth related things then you should pray to Buddha's statue at the right side whereas if you want good health, happiness in your family and other personal matters then you should pray at the four-faced statue at the left side. He surely knows many things about their religion and at the end of his explanation comes the "catch." He asked me if I wanted to see a great Buddha temple that was open 24 hours and so on; I could freely take pictures according to him. I politely refused and simply replied that I have seen the Emerald Buddha at What Phra Kaew, Grand Palace and I am happy with that. I added that in my knowledge, there was no other temple in Bangkok that can rival or exceed What Phra Kaew's grandeur and importance. That ended our conversation.

Centralworld front facade, Baiyoke hotel at the back

Centralworld is located at the corner of Ratchadarmi and Rama 1. I turned right at Rama 1. Along this road you will find some upscale malls such as Siam Center (the oldest mall in this area), Siam Paragon and Siam Discovery (Madame Tussauds wax museum). Aside from these malls, National Police office is also located along this road. I didn't take any picture of this office after my experience in Platinum mall food court.

I never bothered exploring the 3 Siams, my wife was interested at Platinum and MBK malls due to good review from other Filipino shoppers hence I frequented these places before her arrival.

traffic enforcer at Siam Paragon
typical Bangkok street road sign, stay with the map, LOL

Walking along Rama 1 road I reached an intersection with pedestrian overpass or footbridge. At the corner of this intersection is Siam Discovery while at the opposite corner is MBK mall. Another great place to visit for wholesale shoppers.

On that particular day, J-Trends celebration was on-going at MBK mall similar to our cosplay.

I didn't understand the song but the beat and rhythm would surely entice you to dance along with them.  It was pretty exciting to witness this kind of celebration in Bangkok. I wished my daughter was with me since she used to be a cosplayer in Philippines and anime fanatic.

I loitered for a couple hours inside this mall. I want to maximize the shopping time of my wife while she's in Bangkok thus I need to know those places where she can wisely splurge her limited shopping budget. Unfortunately, I found MBK great for IT or electronic shoppers. Wife's interest was ladies clothing apparel and accessories. Anyway, upon leaving MBK and traversing the overpass I noticed that like Manila, Bangkok was also plagued with horrendous traffic.

you are not in Manila
colorful Tuk Tuks

On my way back to hotel, I decided to pass on different roads for added sight-seeing and scouting. I walked along Phaya Thai road. 

I noticed these graffiti along Phaya Thai road. I didn't know what these numbers stand for but they surely made these concrete barriers alive.


Another one on the wall 

Upon reaching Petchaburi road, I turned right until I reached Panthip Plaza. I was surprised to see an on-going promo. There was a dance presentation by two gorgeous ladies at the front of Panthip Plaza. It was my lucky day indeed!

After the dance presentation, it was time for me to take rest. Going back to my hotel required me to go to the other side of the road by overpass. Again, traffic mess along Petchaburi road.

Petchaburri road

Bangkok is now back in business after a devastating flood though I have seen sandbags still lying in front of some shops and houses. Well, it takes some time before we all return to our comfort zone. I know how it feels for I myself was a victim of typhoon Ondoy's (Ketsana) flood few years back.

In few weeks time and if everything goes as plan, I'll be back in Bangkok for my monthly vacation and will try to complete part 2. I am planning to stay at Khao San road.

In addition, I hope I'll have the resources and time to visit other tourist places in Bangkok such as Wat Pho, the floating market and the Asia hotel Calypso Cabaret show. I'll try visiting the night attractions such as Patpong, Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza as well, if wife will allow me, lol.

Stay tuned.


  1. Thanks for blogging about this. I'm going to Bangkok (and it's my first time) this coming April 26 and i find this blogpost of yours helpful. You stayed at Myhotel pala, ako din kasi doon nagbook. Kamusta yung quality ng MyHotel? Malinis po ba yung rooms?

    Tsaka tanong ko lang po, paano magcommute from MyHotel to the Grand Palace? Maraming salamat.

  2. I will try to finalize "my Hotel" review in few days. If I have time I would also complete my GP post in coming week.

    My wife and I went to GP by tuk tuk from MBK mall. We agreed for 80 Baht fare. However, upon arriving at GP, the guy was aking 200 Baht. After negotiation I paid 100 Baht.

    Be careful of the tuk tuk because it dropped us at one of the side gates of GP. 2 touts were already awaiting and told us GP was closed and we can opted to visit other temples and shops, SCAM!!! I asked the soldier guarding the entrance and he directed us to the main entrance. In addition, there were signs that tourist should go to main entrance to buy tickets.

    Returning back to Platinum mall, we hired taxi and paid around 80 Baht, as per meter.

  3. Thanks for the reply. So you can go to GP pala by taxi/tuktuk? Kasi according sa mga nababasa ko, from Saphan Taksin BTS station, sasakay ng Chao Phraya Express boat. Thanks for this info. Ano kaya mas ok na transpo, mag taxi/tuktuk o yung Chao Phraya Express boat na lang?

  4. I have no idea about Chao Phraya Express boat. In case you will stay in my hotel (Pratunam), Taxi is advisable than tuk tuk. When I return to BKK after 2 weeks, maybe I can give some light about Chao Phraya boat.

  5. I went back to Bangkok several times and stayed at Khao San area. For Nick and others, yes, you can visit GP by Chao Phraya Express boat from ST BTS station. Alight at Tha Thien Pier. GP and Wat Pho are walking distance from the pier while you need to transfer to another boat going to the opposite bank to reach Wat Arun.

  6. Guys, if you're thinking about outdoor stuff, avoid The North Face store at Siam Discovery. Utterly horrible service.

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