Bangkok 2017 || Chatuchak Weekend Market + Bangkok Art and Culture Centre + Jim Thompson Restaurant and Wine Bar

Our first full day in Bangkok started off with us sleeping in until 8 AM and heading down to Miss Siam Restaurant in our pajamas. Haha! I know it’s what other people would consider late but back home, we don’t really get as much sleep with work (being an entrepreneur meant he worked 7 days a week at all hours, and my work had me on night shift which has messed up my body clock so badly), managing our own household, going on errand runs, and the like. We’ve early on decided that we will try to get as much rest as we could get during this trip. Since we would be staying in the same hotel for six days, I didn’t sample everything the buffet breakfast has to offer on our first morning. I went for a tea and a lot of vegetables since my metabolism has an uncanny habit of going haywire whenever I’m somewhere new.

Since it was a Saturday, we headed to Chatuchak Weekend Market. Being near the Skytrain, we took the train to Mo Chit station which was quite near to the market itself. Now if you’ve been to or is from the Philippines (and any other South East Asian country), it really did resemble a marketplace. Since it’s only open on weekends and included in almost every ‘Things to do in Bangkok’ list that has ever been written online, the place was jam-packed. You definitely need to venture out deeper into the market before the crowd thins out and you can actually mind your own personal space.

Aside from the souvenir stalls, there was an abundance of the customizable passport holder stores. Most of the items are all priced similarly within the market, and these passport holders all cost 100 baht, and if you buy 10, you’ll get one for free. There were also A LOT of cheap clothes that you can buy, and feel free to haggle especially if you’re buying in bulk. We were told by a friend who grew up in Thailand that since we’re obviously foreigners, there’s a chance that some sellers would jack up their prices so unless they have a sign with prices on their merchandise, we should always start haggling with half the amount we were told. Do not haggle if you don’t have any intention of buying. You can walk away if they don’t agree, but if they do, you have to buy it. Although most of the clothes look like they wouldn’t last past a season’s use, there are some stalls that offer great quality items at a slightly higher price. I’ve been lusting over ARANAZ bags for some time now and they’re not exactly within the affordable price range for me. There was a booth that sold similar looking bags for 350++ baht. I always get chicken boy to quality check items for me, and he gave it his seal of approval with a ‘this is durable, go crazy’ (not an exact translation but you get the gist of it). Overall, we were very happy with our finds!

Since people are bound to get thirsty and hungry from all that shopping, there are also a variety of food and drink stalls available. C and I personally got well acquainted with most of the cold beverage available in the market since it was so hot. My favorites were the fruit shakes (40-60 baht) and Thai iced tea (35 baht). We also enjoyed the coconut ice cream that came with a lot of toppings, sticky rice included. Who knew that sticky rice (we weren’t sure what it was called but it was something similar to either biko or suman) worked well with ice cream? I sure didn’t!

While walking on our way back to the hotel to drop off our things, I saw a shop across the street and was fixated in trying to check if it was worth a visit. I felt a slight bump and thought someone passed by me and accidentally bumped into me, and didn’t realize how serious it could have gotten until C pulled me away and started checking me for any injuries. I was honestly baffled until I caught sight of a guy (looks like a teenager) who fell off his scooter. Apparently, he was going very fast and since I wasn’t paying attention, didn’t attempt to avoid him. He sharply swerved and my bag hindered full contact between us, and also absorbed all the impact. We were walking at the side of the road, mind you, and while we were both at fault, I was assured that it was an accident and most of the blame lies with him (I didn’t want to get in trouble in a foreign country). The guy got injured and walked away limping while clutching his sides, while my Vedasto leather bag walked away unscathed (no scratches nor dents). No regrets over using this bag as a travel bag even if it’s a pain in the shoulder due to how heavy it is. Scooter guy = 0, leather bag = 1. It is also where I realized how important travel insurance was because it could have ended much worse for the both of us.

I collect snow globes from all the countries I’ve been to with my own money, and even if it’s a repeat trip, I still buy one to mark the occasion. There were a lot of snow globes available in Chatuchak market, but nothing really called out to me as unique until C found this. They had an array of different snow globes in a glass display case, I had a difficult time choosing one to purchase. I bought this elephant one for 200 baht!

It was already way past lunch time when we decided to check out the Food Republic over at Siam Center. There were a lot of restaurants to choose from, and I wanted to go somewhere that serves Thai cuisine. When in Bangkok, right? My advice is – don’t do it! This was easily one of our least satisfactory meals in Bangkok and looking back, we were so disappointed because we’ve had good food everywhere else. I guess there may be some great food finds in the Food Republic but we didn’t go back to try anything else out and stuck with local recommendations.

The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre was a five-minute walk away from our hotel, so we decided to head there with the assumption that it was an art museum. While it is home to a lot of art installations and exhibits, you can also find a number of cafes as well as art in different forms. There are artists who will paint or draw your portraits while you sit still (we did this for 400 baht), musicians who will set up their instruments randomly and leave an open case for donations, and independent small time crafts businesses with stalls to sell their handmade products. You can find a lot of unique items you can buy for [mostly] reasonable prices. The exhibits are all free as well and they just ask that you keep your big bags in lockers before entering. I wasn’t aware that Bangkok is also a bustling local art scene, even architecture students have their craft on full display here. I’m not sure how to have your work featured here, but it seems that at least there is a governing body that encourages them. So much talent!

We again headed back to the hotel while I research on where to have dinner (we didn’t have our mobile data on so we’re dependent on wifi) to avoid having to dine on sub-par Thai food again. Our room had a coffee table book about Bangkok and we decided to pick the nearest restaurant that was featured in it, preferably walking distance from our hotel. While we were choosing, we received a complimentary plate of snacks. I swear, our hotel was awesome.

We decided on Jim Thompson Restaurant, located at Jim Thompson House, that was less than 500 meters from our hotel. Google Maps gave us directions which seemed easy enough, but definitely not the best path to take at 8 PM. It required us to take the path under the bridge, and walk through this dark narrow alley that was straight out of the opening scene of a thriller where we both get killed and our bodies found mutilated floating along the river. We even got into a heated discussion since I just wanted to run for it and get to the restaurant, while C understandably wanted to turn back and find somewhere else (or take a taxi). My stubbornness, fortunately, did not kill us, but the conversation was tense until we got our food.

The restaurant is beautiful and gave the vibe that food was expensive, even though prices were mid-range and serving was definitely not fine dining as it was HUGE. They did hand us cold towels and would place your table napkin on you while you go over the drink menu before ordering. There were also a few cultural dancers who performed in the middle of dinner. I have no complaints about the food, although the salad my dish came with was a tad bit spicy for my taste buds. It’s not any affront to their cooking, it’s just my personal preference. C finished his chicken and did admit he’d eat it again even though he would take a taxi if we ever plan on coming back here. Haha! I did feel like I would probably love it more if we went for lunch because I saw photos of it on Instagram and the place looked even better in daylight.

The restaurant had a shuttle to bring guests back to the main road which was great because we weren’t planning on walking back the way we came. We were discussing if we could ask them to call a taxi for us, but the shuttle was good too and brought us to the main road and near the National Stadium BTS. We knew we could walk back from there and found out how this longer path would have made our lives easier and we could have avoided the unnecessary scare. No thanks to you, Google Maps. Haha!

We were still full when we got back, and I went it for another soak in the tub while watching vlogs on Youtube, while C went to walk around the area some more. He takes longer to fall asleep than I do, and whenever we travel, he tends to roam around and check things out while I relax and get ready for bed. This is also how he knows how to navigate the area by the next day, and how we find out where the convenience stores are. 😛

Do you have any travel stories where something seemed sketchy but you pushed through with it? Or travel experiences which triggered a ‘heated discussion’ between you and your partner? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂