Alex loves shopping…much more than me. Just as well we are in Bangkok, shopping mecha. So, Alex will be thrilled to know that our first stop in Bangkok is to the sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Given it is a Sunday, and it is a weekend only market, if we don’t go today, we don’t go.
So now we just need to work out how to get to this market… “Fear not Alex, I have a plan.”
We need to arrange our onward train tickets to Chiang Mai soooo we can get a taxi to Hualamphong Station to buy our tickets and, while there, we can get the MRT subway train to Kamphaeng Phet station (for the market).
Our taxi to Hualamphong station is a 10 minute trip and costs THB$100 / AUD$4.
Walking into Hualamphong station interior is like walking into an aircraft hangar, but with trains. It is covered by a huge arched tin roof and with a central skylight and pretty underwhelming.
Anyway, enough of being underwhelmed, nothing to see here folks, where is that ticket office we need. At the ticket window the young man who understands and speaks English easily, confirms that there are no first class tickets on our train of choice and again with the only female thing. I don’t question it, we just decide to roll with what’s being offered to us which is the 10:00pm train with two second class tickets. So Alex and I are all set for our onward journey to Chiang Mai in 5 days time.
Now lets flashback 6 weeks when I was looking to pre-arrange our (first class) train ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
My enquiries came to nothing at every turn. I tried agents and online booking sites. Nothing. All I seemed to hear was that they were sold out and/or that only female can book on the first class?? Can that be right?
We decided to say “stuff it”, we would take the chance to buy our tickets from the train station in Bangkok when we got there.
Back to the present day and we are standing at the ticket booth with fingers crossed.
The good news…two tickets successfully purchased on the 2nd class carriage on the 10:00pm train to Chiang Mai….yay! The cost of two 2nd class train tickets is BHT$1,132 (AUD$45).
With our tickets to Chiang Mai sorted, time to get on with exploring Bangkok, starting with our excursion to Chatuchak Weekend Market.
The underground MRT train from Hualamphong Station to Kamphaeng Phet subway station takes 30 minutes through 16 stations. Train ticket to Chatuchak Weekend Market THB$66 (AUD$2.50)
The exit from the station brings you out directly into the market which is perfect – “How awesome is this Alex…time to shop!.”
The only way to explore this place is to just “delve in” and get lost amongst it. Inside the market space is a covered labyrinth of isles lined with stalls chock full of everything. By everything, I mean everything. This place is huge.
Its hot and colourful and full-on and we are excited to be on our first shopping venture in Bangkok.
We are officially lost, not that we ever actually knew where we were. Up to this point we haven’t seen any food places, just shops. Right on queue we stumble across Toh Plue Restaurant. Alex orders a pineapple chicken dish which is served in an actual pineapple (totally unnecessary).
My chicken and cashew is served in noodle basket (better… and at least the noodle basket is edible).
My Banana shake and Alex’s watermellon shake are perfect in the air-conditioned space. Lunch cost THB$450 (AUD$18).
We are done with the market and begin our quest to find the entrance (or is that the exit) to the underground MRT station. Frustratingly, this actually takes a while as it seems impossible to actually work out where we are situated within the confusion of the market. We do finally manage to find the entrance to Kamphaeng Phet subway station. Along the way, we also find the hawker type open air food precinct which is unfortunate, given we have just had lunch. Bugger – we love hawker stalls!
We bid farewell to the Chatuchak Weekend Market with our next shopping destination in mind. The shopping centre we are headed to is called MBK and is well known in Bangkok so getting there by is no problem.
We get the train back part of the way and then jump a taxi which is perfect because all taxi drivers know how to get to MBK. “MBK please Mr Taxi Driver.”
MBK is made up of 4 levels of “hole in the wall” size shops.
I have to say, Alex is in heaven – for the second time today, and its only our first day in Bangkok. Last time I was at this shopping centre, I bought 9 pairs of shoes, because that’s what you do in a shopping centre like this, you buy stuff, lots of stuff.
While the items for sale in MBK are not necessarily all high end, it is affordable and there is a big choice which is probably why it is a very popular and busy centre.
Part way through we stop for a coffee at the Coffee Stop – perfect. Two coffees and cake THB$280 (AUD$11).
We leave the hussle and bussle of MBK behind and outside stumble across a western style eatery called “Rabbit in the Kitchen”. Dinner options are mostly curries which is fine with us. Our Thai chicken curries costs us THB550 (AUD$22) (for both).
Our taxi back to the hotel is a mere THB$120 (AUD$5). Why wouldn’t you travel by taxi at these prices?
It has been a big shopping day. Tomorrow I have another big day planned for Alex, with not a single shop in sight.
On the list for tomorrow is a visit to What Pho and the Grand Palace, two of the main attractions in Bangkok.
For previous post see Departing Melbourne for Bangkok, Thailand
For next post stay tuned….