Friday, March 30, 2012

March 25th – Chatuchak’ed in Bangkok

My day started narrating from the bridge as we sailed up the mighty Chao Phraya River the 20 miles or so upstream from the Gulf of Thailand into Bangkok, where we berthed on the river at Klong Toey, about 30 minutes from the centre of town.

Our mission today, was quite simple – shopping and eating. And where better to go shopping than at the massive Chatuchak Weekend Market to the north of the city centre – we caught the efficient Skytrain up there, and then followed the crowds to the market.

This enormous market sells everything you can imagine - pets, plants, kitchen stuff, food, furniture, but mostly clothes. Whilst there were lots of the obligatory knock-off stuff (I bought some very cheap "Ralph Lauren" polo shirts – I wonder how many washes they will last?), there's also lots of independently produced stuff too. The choice and size of this claustrophobic place is just bewildering.

In fact, it was so bewildering that when our aching feet told us that it was time to go, we couldn't actually find our way out and we got totally lost. Every time we asked anyone to point us the way to the Skytrain, they pointed us in totally different and conflicting directions. Either people enjoy mucking tourists around, or they don't want to say they don't know so they just make it up. Either way it was quite frustrating, when all we wanted to do was to just sit down, cool down and chow down.

But, eventually we made our way out of this confusing retail labyrinth and made our way to a big shopping mall where we could just enjoy some air-conditioning away from the jostling crowds. By now, we were getting hungry, and we took a restaurant recommendation from a local ex-pat who directed us to a very nice restaurant on Sathorn Road.

As ever with Bangkok, our day had left us drained but keen to enjoy more of this crazy city.