Bangkok: Always Bustling, Never Boring

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Saturday, August 30, 2014


BANGKOK is one of those places that always has new experiences up its sleeve, teeming with options for first-time and returning visitors. Thailand’s most heavily populated city can be overwhelming with all that it has to offer. Aside from the must-see temples and elephants, here are others worth your while.

Shopping is one of the most obvious things to do in Bangkok, and the quality of the items continues to improve over the years. The Platinum Fashion Mall offers everything from clothing to gadgets, plus a food court with dozens of choices. Platinum has over 2,000 vendors in six stories on two adjoining towers. While not quite as cheap as the big outdoor markets, they offer wholesale and retail prices for most wares in a comfortable air-conditioned space. Many shops offer clothing of similar style and quality as big retail chains for one third of the price, and better souvenir choices than the usual keychains and chopsticks.

For lower prices, although good quality may require extra searching and some perseverance from the heat, vendors line the surrounding streets and pack small alleyways all offering clothes, food and knick-knacks. To buy baht for shopping, a number of currency exchange centers offering good rates are located around this area.

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Thailand is known for its tropical fruit. For a bevy of fresh picks, dried fruit, spices and textiles, visit Or Tor Kor market near Chatuchak. While some grocery stores will offer the same kinds of fruit, Or Tor Kor is popular for offering the sweetest of the bunch. The complex has a small food court in case it will take you hours to look amongst the small mountains of giant durian, mangoes, garlic, flowers and more.

Not everyone can have the chance to pose with the real Brad Pitt or George Clooney, so their incredibly lifelike statues at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum are the next best thing. Bring on the silliest of antics and let the eyes be deceived at the Art in Paradise 3D Trick-Eye Museum. These attractions are great if traveling with children, but are fun for all ages, especially when bringing along a sense of humor for funny photos.

For a comfortable stay in a convenient location, Amari Watergate Hotel is in the vibrant Pratunam area of downtown Bangkok, right across the Platinum mall. Rooms at the Amari are spacious, with many offering wide views of the bustling city outside. After a hard day of shopping and sightseeing, soak in the tub in the marble bathroom, or watch a movie on the 40 inch LCD TV. Share those travel photos on social media with high-speed complimentary Wifi. Recuperate for the next day with an excellent night’s sleep with luxuriously plush bedding and blackout curtains. In the morning, fuel up with an extensive buffet of breakfast food from almost every cuisine. The hotel’s location makes it easy to get a tuktuk or taxi any time of the day.

With the sheer volume and variety of things to see and do in this capital city, one visit is most likely not going to be enough. Bangkok begs to be visited again and again, and promises something different every time, whether traveling with family or friends.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 31, 2014.

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