Monday, February 9, 2009

Bangkok - crazy, bustling, hectic, hot Bangkok

It's time for me to leave the daily meals, beautiful country, and the friendly, amazing and inspiring people of Mirror. It's time for me to adventure on to Thailand's capital Bangkok. Before I even leave Mirror I'm a bit 'iffy' about heading back there. I wasn't the biggest fan for the first night that I stayed there, and I have heard mixed reviews since. All i know is that I have to go there with my eyes and mind wide open to the mix of culture, poverty, cleanliness and attitude of the city. 

Bangkok is nothing like I've ever seen before. What can I say - its crazy. It probably doesn't seem that big to people who come from large overseas cities, but for an Aussie, this is massive !

I'm staying back at the Indra Regent Hotel for a couple of nights before heading back to Australia. I have a few plans while I'm here - Grand Palace and Tiger Temple are high on the list, but besides that its just me, my map and a few days of exploration.


The area around the Indra is one of the main shopping districts in Bangkok. 

First stop is Central World - 7 floors of expensive sports, tech, fashion and home decor. 

Next stop, Siam Paragon - yet another enormous shopping complex with a decent and fairly well priced food court. There's a huge array of thai inspired dishes and the Paragon has a fairly unique payment system - you purchase a food court card (similar to a gift or debit card) - you put as much money on it as you want and then everything in the food court is purchased using the card. to get any money back that remains on the card you just have to return it to the main desk. 

The Pratunam markets have a very cool (but dirty) vibe. There's some really cheap items and food available if your willing to barter. The streets of Pratunam come alive at night. The street vendors and stalls creep over the sidewalk and out onto the road, leaving barely a lane for traffic to drive. 


There are a couple of places I ate at during my stay. 

The first was an outside area at the Gold Palace Plaza (one block behind the Indra). As far as I know it has no name but its brightly lit and has a huge sign that says "Food". They sell everything from steak to seafood, hamburgers, chips as well as Thai style dishes. 

Across the lane from the Palace Plaza is a cool looking little place called "The Sidewalk" which I decided I'd come back to eat at the following night. I was a little disappointed in the meal - rice and vegetables that didn't have that much flavour, but at least it was still cheap - $2.25 - Bargain!

The final place I ate at was an Indian/Pakistan Restaurant on the backstreet of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel. I kind of stumbled across the place - I was wandering around the streets looking for something different to look at or to eat and I stopped to look at their menu. A friendly stranger walked out of the restaurant as I arrived, said it was the best meal in Bangkok, and so I decided that this would be where i'd eat. I had butter chicken, a butter nan bread and some water. I'm not into spicy food at all and this was making my nose run, but it was still amazing food. I can't recall exactly but I'm sure the restaurant was called 'Al-Dara' (or something similar).

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