0. Checking in to Petchaburi Centrepoint
After the trip to Ayutthaya and Lopburi, we got back to Bangkok at 2pm on the Saturday (05/01) afternoon. We took a cab from the Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chi Mai) back to Petchaburi Road where our next hotel is. We will be staying at Petchaburi Centrepoint which is just opposite Phanthip Plaza. It took us quite a while to locate the entrance to the Centrepoint service apartments as it is at one of the smaller roads off Petchaburi main road. Petchaburi Centrepoint is similar to a city condo which allows tourists to stay-in. There are security at the entrance and there are many facilities in the main buildings.
Once we got to our room which is at the 6th floor. We are pleasantly surprised by the large beds and spacious room. I have photographed our room into two separate photos as it is really wide.
Here is the view of our service apartment building from the ground floor up. Looks and feel just like a condo.
We made our way opposite our apartments to where the mega shopping complexes are. Along the main road, there are many small stalls selling foods, clothings and accessories. The pedestrian walkways are just packed with people and the roads are jammed with cars as can be seen in the picture below.
We made our way to Pratunam Plaza which is just next to Phanthip Plaza. Pratunam Plaza is somewhat similar to Singapore's Far East Plaza in which there are lots of small boutique shops selling clothings and accessories. We made our way to the top floor where a Food Centre is. By the time we had our lunch/dinner, it is already 4pm. After quite a sumptuous treat, we left the Food Centre and made our way down the shopping mall through the maze of shops at 5pm. We did not really buy anything from here except for window shopping.
We made our way up to Ratchadumri Road where more shopping malls are located. It is said starting from here to Siam Square, this area is similar to Singapore's Orchard Road. At a traffic light junction, we noticed a small make-shift store selling ties at 3 for 100Baht, it is an offer which DK couldn't resist. We went into one of the shopping malls to explore.
At the traffic light junction of Phloen Chit Road and Ratchadumri Road is the Erawan Shrine. There are many shrines all over the city centre but this is the most famous shrine. There is quite a history behind it and it gives tribute to the 4-face Brahma.
It has been recommended by the travel guides to watch free traditional Thai dancing free here. I have captured a super short video of it together with a quick snapshot below.
There is an elevated walkway just spanning the entire length of the BTS rail. So I capture a night fall shot of the shrine with the mammoth Grand Hyatt Erawan at the back.
While making our way through the shopping malls, we came upon Ronald McDonalds in a Thai style greeting. Sawadii Khrup!
Walking past Siam Paragon and Siam Center, we came to the shopping mall where we will be spending quite a bit of time next - the MahBoonKrong(MBK). I love shopping at MBK cos the stuffs sell by the shops really appeal to me such as DVDs, Digital Gadgets, Clothings and fine crusines. Compare to Pratunam Plaza earlier on, we find there are more guys in this shopping malls than girls. At Pratunam Plaza, it is just the opposite. I think the Games DVDs in this place is also much cheaper than those being sold in Phanthip Plaza as it is priced at 100Baht each as compare to 200Baht at the latter.
DK did quite a bit of shopping here and he also went for tailor-made shirts at one of the shops. We went on to Nana next via MTR. We walked round Nana as this place is notable for its pubs and stuffs.
Here is a photograph shot of our breakfast dining area, al fresco!
2. Complete Spa Therapy and Traditional Thai Massage
After breakfast, we proceed to Nakhon Pathom which is shared further in a separate posting. After Nakhon Pathom, we went on straight to a highly recommended Health Spa called Indara which is around Bangkok City Inn. There are a great variety of massage services and went for the most expensive one in the list - Buffet B costing 2000Baht which spans 3.5 hours long. It consists of Thai Oil Massage, Herbal Massage, Facial Massage and it is rounded off with traditional Thai body massage. Had quite a good chat with the massage therapist along the way. She's quite fun loving too from the conversations and found out quite a bit of the Thai approach to living from her. Then again, I also realise if I spend too much time on conversations, she gets more distracted easily.
The traditional Thai body massage is the best. They really know the key acupressure points to deliver the most effective impact.
Here is a shot I took after the massage of Indara. Highly recommended for visitors to Bangkok who would like to try traditional Thai massage and is able to bear a higher cost for it.
3. Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson House is one of the top 5 recommended places for visitors to Bangkok. It ranks 4th after the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. The cost per entry is 100Baht and there are guided tours being conducted in there.
It is really a fascinating place and I would personally recommend first-time visitors to Thailand to pay a visit here in order to appreciate Thai architecture. There are 6 traditional Thai houses in the Jim Thompson area and they are notable for the red wooden buildings as seen below.
Jim Thompson has quite a collection of Thai art pieces and sculptures. A number of which are Chinese in origin. He is also credited to bringing Thai silk pieces into international renown.
This place is really quiet from the hussle and bustle of city life. Here I am taking a seat.
It is said that Jim Thompson disassembled the houses from other parts of Thailand and brought them here to Bangkiok.
Here is our lovely guide. The tour is 40minutes long and photographs are not allowed in the house.
Take a peek into the interiors of the main hall. Notice the images to the right of the walls. These are supposed to be windows but Jim Thompson placed sculptures into it and combine several houses into one continous flow. The walls are also placed exterior-in which gives it a unique wall design. He is extremely creative. The guide really enlighten us a lot on Thai architecture and culture.
Nevertheless Jim Thompson went missing in 1967 while taking a walk in Cameron Highlights. There are several parody posters at the souvenir shops which say "Lost in Bangkok, Jim Thompson Returns!"
4. King's Palace and Dusit Park
As our flight is delayed in the afternoon, I decided to take a slow walk from Phetchaburi to Dusit Park and back. The walk is 3 hours long.
Here is one of the corners of the King's Palace (Chitra Iada Palace). There are guards station around the edges of the Palace.
It is separated by a continous long moat.
I arrived at Dusit Park and enter the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. It cost 100Baht per entry. This hall is designed based on European architecture and the interiors are surprisingly quiet and spacious. There are beautiful murals at the top of the interior dome. There are many amazingly stunning jewels, thrones and exhibits being placed on display in the museum. Many of it require the painstaking efforts of hundreds of artists over several years. I greatly respect the Thai King and Queen efforts in preserving the Thai traditional culture. Looking at all the exhibits, it is easy to assume that these are works centuries past. But the artists are all still around. There are also a large number of gold pieces here. The one exhibit which I admired the most is the Octagonal-Shaped Room Decorated with Beetle Wings. The artists uses dead beetles' (who died a natural death) wings in creating a large luminous green chandelier. Here is the view of the Throne Hall from outside.
5. Wat Benchamabophit
Just a short distance away from Dusit Park is Wat Benchamabophit. It is also known as the Marble Temple. I didn't really know this is the Marble Temple as I went in through one of the back entrance, thinking it is a school or something. Until I arrived at the main gate and I turn over, then I recognised this famous photo of the Marble Temple. Visitors arriving at the main gate have to pay a 30Baht entrance fee. For all the sights in Thailand, the locals do not have to pay for the entrance charges but foreigners have to pay an entrance charge. If you are an Asian, chances are you might just be able to blend in as a local. But just pay the entrance charge nevertheless; as a donation for the preservation of these historical and cultural treasures.
I got back to the service apartment to rendezvous with DK for our return trip back to airport at 5.30pm. Our delayed flight departs at 9.10pm. We were given a snack treat after we have check-in as an apology for the delay. The snack treat only entitles us to a 80Bhat discount to food ordered from the restaurants listed.