I’m not gonna lie, I take a lot of pride with the fact that C knows I don’t need him in my life to be happy. This came up when we were talking about marriage, and how we both don’t see it as the ‘be all and end all’ of our relationship. People’s needs vary, and what feels healthy for us may not be what works for other people.. But in our case, C acknowledged that I’m self-sufficient and he feels great about the fact that because of it, he knows I’m in this relationship because I choose to be, and I agree because he is the same way. It’s weird how different yet how similar we both are. Just to be clear, it hasn’t always been this great (we’ve been together since I was 17, I’m turning 26 in a few weeks) as we’ve endured through a couple of rocky years and challenges, where breaking up felt like the best thing to do. And I think that after everything, having our happiness and ‘being’ independent of each other, have multiplied that happiness exponentially. It comes off as illogical to some, but different stroke for different folks. 🙂
Having said that, it’s also the reason why I find it difficult when I get asked how we’ve managed to stay together over the years. There’s no secret. It’s hard work, a lot of adjustment and compromise, and willingly doing it because you know the feeling is mutual and that it’s worth it. Learning how to choose your battles work too, and something C would often tell people. When we went to Tokyo last year, he wasn’t opposed to my idea of us wearing a kimono. So when we were planning this trip, one of the first things I researched if there’s somewhere in Bangkok where we can do the same. When I showed him the photos, he was not exactly thrilled about it but he knew it was something I’d be stubborn about and he caved. I scheduled it for a day where we didn’t have any agendas aside from walking around and doing nothing. 😛
Unlike Japan, I had a harder time scouring the internet for a rental. It wasn’t as common to rent one to walk around in as Bangkok is as hot and humid as Manila, and traditional clothes are usually stuffy. I read that there were some costumes you can wear over your clothes when you visit the temples with a cheap rental fee of 100-200 baht per person. However, we weren’t really planning on heading to all of the temples and I doubted C would enjoy wearing more clothes with this heat. I found a photography studio that does traditional wedding photos at MBK Center and decided to head there instead.
MBK Center is similar to Manila’s 168 Mall, albeit more spacious and less crowded. However, they do have what I assume are legit gadget stores (not stalls) and branded stores (such as Adidas) so that’s where the similarity ends as 168 Mall is filled with cheap knock offs. We weren’t sure if the items that had brands on it was authentic or a knock off though, so the only thing I bought from the mall was a LOT of bath bombs. These bath bombs were way more bubbly than the ones sold by LUSH, and cheaper than LUSH too at 3 pieces for 500 baht. The mall had 8 floors so it wasn’t a surprise for us that some of the stores sell the same item in varying prices.
Thai Style Studio, the rental and photo studio is located on the 3rd floor of MBK Center. I knew it was on the 3rd floor, but as the floor area was huge, we checked out the map to pinpoint its exact location (in front of one of the escalators heading up to the 4th floor). They offer different packages and the cheapest one for couples cost 5,700 baht. Yes, I agree it’s not exactly cheap. But it does include clothes rental, hair and makeup, a professional photographer, printed copies of the photos in an array of sizes, and a disc containing all of your raw and digitally retouched shots. Once we paid for our package, we were handed a slip of paper with the date and time of when we could pick up the photos. They had a huge album filled with hundreds of photos of different clothes combinations to choose from. I skimmed a few pages and just pointed out whatever looked nice. Then off we go to change in full traditional wedding regalia. If you’re concerned about makeup hygiene (because you will definitely be using shared makeup), I would suggest bringing your own makeup or maybe doing it yourself before you head there. I personally didn’t because our hotel is walking distance from the mall and I knew I can wash all of it off 10 minutes after getting our photos done. The photographer would literally position you before taking the photos by arranging where your limbs should be, tilting your head, and smoothing over your clothes. He got some good shots of C & I because he kept whispering comments from Asia’s Next Top Model (which I got him to watch), and we both started laughing for real. Once we were done, the guy who did my hair and makeup fixed my hair too. 🙂 We got our photos the following day at 6 PM.
When we got back to the hotel, we went to Miss Siam Restaurant for our late lunch after washing off any trace of the studio makeup on our faces. All the meals on the menu were above the 100 baht price range but the serving was HUGE. They also gave us complimentary biscuits while they cook our food. Of course, C had Chicken Pad Thai which he did say was great. So much better than the one you can find in the Food Republic. We both had milk tea (it tasted the same as the ones you can buy off the street so I like those better), and Tom Kha Gai for the appetizer. C surprised me by enjoying the chicken coconut soup as much as I did because he used to scoff at my choices for appetizers. Although given our history of him liking most of the things I pick from a menu, it should not have come off as such. Haha! I forgot what I ordered for myself, but the photo of it on the menu did not do it justice because when it arrived on our table, it looked enough for the both of us. As much as the food was delicious (even if it was spicy), I wasn’t able to finish everything because I felt like my tummy was ready to burst at any minute.
We were both so bloated from the meal that we decided that the next best course of action was to once again head back to the malls and walk around. C is not the biggest fan of spending hours walking, so this was a testament to how full we felt. We went to explore Siam Center. Siam Center houses the diverse food court, Food Republic, which was also connected to the Skytrain. We didn’t get to explore any other offerings of Food Republic while we were there but I would assume that there’s something for everyone. The crowd here, compared to the ones in Siam Paragon and Siam Discovery, are mostly comprised of teens to young adults. This is just a random observation but the stores here would definitely attract that specific demographic as this is where a lot of relatively affordable western brands are located such as Pull & Bear, Cath Kidston, LUSH, Sephora, Adidas, ALDO, etc. I did say ‘relatively affordable’ because both malls adjacent to Siam Center (Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon) houses more high-end luxury brands. They did have a display of works by local designers that if I had the money to burn, I would splurge on (spoiler alert: I don’t have that kind of money, unfortunately).
There was a Madame Tussauds booth where tickets are half off when you go past a certain time, which was something C and I decided to do on a whim when we found their stall at Siam Center. They also have a booth in Siam Paragon if I remember correctly, but the actual interactive museum is located on the 6th floor of Siam Discovery. Unlike the one in Hong Kong, the place was less crowded when we went because it was already late. I guess the lack of the view of Victoria Peak is not as appealing? We almost didn’t have to wait for our turn to take photos with any of the wax figures which was great!
We didn’t know some of the Thai celebrity wax figures, but I gasped and fan girled a little when I saw Wax Mario Maurer dressed in his Pee Mak outfit! I watch Thai movies (mostly horror ones because Asians know how to do their horror movies so much better than western horror films), and watched Pee Mak because the 4bia and Phobia 2 guys (Aey, Ter, Puak and Shin) starred in it. Mario Maurer also became popular in the Philippines as Shone in Crazy Little Thing Called Love. He was popular enough to warrant endorsements from big local brands, as well as shoot a Thai-Filipino movie.
When we were done with exploring Madame Tussauds, we decided to check out the upper floors of Siam Discovery as well. We’ve only been to the three lower floors, and oh man, were we missing out. This mall’s format is highly reminiscent of a department store, but a high-end one at that. A lot of the brands here I was not familiar with, but the ones that I am are Issey Miyake, COACH, and Apostrophe’S for really nice home stuff. Definitely things that were out of my price range. They also have a hipster looking (aka aesthetically pleasing) dining place called ‘My Kitchen’ at the 4th floor that we didn’t get to try (a story for another post), but I’d definitely come back to when I found myself in Bangkok again.
We were still full after all that walking and decided to just have coconut ice cream, french fries, and drinks for dinner, just before the restaurant closed for the day. I’m still not quite sure whether it was a blessing that they don’t serve coconut ice cream for room service because I would probably have it in bed every single day we were there.
Do you like dressing up in traditional costumes when traveling? Let me know in the comments below. Happy weekend! 🙂