Today was my last full day in Bangkok and I had a few things I wanted to check off my list.
I once again got a late start to the day as everyone else in my room was long gone when I woke up. After a skype call with my brother I was out the door around noon.
First stop was to Siam Paragon Mall to see a movie. Yes, a movie. I had heard how there were these awesome couch-like seats available for movies here and I wanted to give it a try.
The movie of choice – The Lego Movie. The seats aren’t general admission like in North America but, rather, you chose your row and seat number.
The prices were 120 baht for the cheap seats and 140 baht for the better seats closer to the screen. And then there were those couch-like seats…
Yikes! That’s about $25! I was on the fence as to whether to buy it or not but then I realized the only reason I was going to a movie was to sit in that seat so I just forked over the money.
The 700 baht is actually for two 350 baht tickets as 2 people can sit on one of the couches. Since I didn’t have anyone with me I would just have to put my feet up on the couch and lie back and enjoy.
The movie wasn’t starting for a bit so I went back downstairs to the food court to get some breakfast/lunch.
The food court here is alot fancier than the little junky places we have in our malls in North America. I knew as I sat down at a restaurant there that the prices were obviously higher than, say, street food but I was hungry and the movie was starting in about 40 minutes.
I ordered some pork with rice and a bottled water. When the bill came I noticed a 10% service charge added to it as well. So, not only are the food courts here fancier but they (or at least this place) have the gall to charge an auto-grat. Considering no one tips anywhere here in Southeast Asia, this little charge kind of shocked me. I just let it slide though as it was 14 baht which is about 50 cents.
As I walked back towards the escalator to get to the movie theater I spied a Dunkin Donuts store and grabbed a “Smile” donut. It actually made me smile so it was aptly named!
At 1pm I returned to the movie theater and went inside.
There are 6 couches and they are located at the back of the good seats (about row 20-ish) but that’s actually just about the right distance from the screen you want to be.
The theater was actually pretty empty (granted, it was 1pm on a Tuesday afternoon) and as I sat down I realized this was a stupid waste of money.
I could have easily just sat in a seat in the row right in front of me and saved about $20. I guess the couch seats would be better if you were on a date or something like that.
Oh well, I wanted to experience it and I did. So, for $25 I sat back and watched the…
Wait, first some coming attractions…
Okay, and then the…
Oh, more coming attractions…
Okay, finally, now the…
God damn it! Some more coming attractions and now some commercials too!
After more than 20 minutes the attractions and commercials were over and it was finally time for the…
Oh, wait, a big image of the King of Thailand came on the screen and everyone instantly rose to their feet as the national anthem was played.
After a half hour… the movie began!
It was a cute little movie but the entire time I kept thinking how I blew that much money on this thing just so I could experience sitting on a couch in a movie theater.
The movie was over at 3pm and now it was time to knock a couple more things off my list – the Royal Palace and Khao San Road.
I had planned to do both these things yesterday but after a few hours visiting a couple of temples I was pretty spent and decided I’d do them today instead.
I headed back onto the skytrain travelling over to the same pier I went to yesterday. As a complete expert now on the whole ferry thing I popped on and traveled over to Pier 9 where the Royal Palace was.
It had taken about 40 minutes to get there as it was coming up on 4pm when I arrived at the building.
A man standing by his tuk tuk told me the palace was closed and…
I stopped him in his tracks and just said ok, ok, thanks and kept walking up to the gate.
I had heard about people telling you stuff is closed and instead directing you somewhere else so they could make some money from it.
I figured this was one of those cases as I saw people up the street coming out of the palace.
And then I found out he was telling the truth. On the gate was a sign that indicated they closed at 3:30pm.
As it turns out, even if I had gone yesterday as planned I would have also been there after they had closed so it didn’t matter that I had missed it the day before.
I shrugged it off. After all, through Europe and here I’ve now seen my fair share of palaces, temples, churches, castles and waterfalls so missing this palace wouldn’t wreck me.
I hopped back on the ferry passing countless people offering me rides on their tuk tuks. Man, are they ever annoying!
The pier that leads to Khao San Road was number 13 and was only a few minutes away. When I exited the ferry area and walked to the main road a tuk tuk driver offered to take me to Khao San Road for 40 baht ($1.25) but I turned him down as I figured it was pretty close by.
It wasn’t as close as I figured but I did finally come upon it about 20 minutes later.
Khao San Road is basically the big backpacker/tourist area with a bunch of bars, restaurants, shops and massage parlors.
I purposely didn’t stay in this area even though it’s by far the most popular area to stay in. As I entered the street and was literally bombarded by touts trying to sell me stuff I knew I had made the right choice not to stay here.
Granted, my head space just isn’t into the whole party scene so while I’m sure this is an awesome place for other people it wouldn’t have been for me.
I walked up and down the street and pretty much saw what I had came to see.
I was going to hire a tuk tuk to take me back to the pier. I asked a guy at the end of the street how much to get to the pier figuring he would quote 40 baht like the other guy and I would haggle down to 30. Instead though he just asked me how much I wanted to pay. God, I hate these stupid little games! So, I lowballed and just said 20 and he just kept asking me how much and I just told him to forget it and I would just walk.
I’m glad I walked as I took a different route that took me down some side streets (still ultra touristy) with some cool little stands. I ended up stopping at one place displaying a bunch of necklaces that were priced at 25 baht or 5 for 100 baht ($3). I selected 5 cool ones and was on my way.
It actually didn’t seem to take as long to get back to the pier and I was happy to be heading home.
It had only been a few hours and most of it was inside a nice air conditioned mall but I was tired again. The heat just really takes it out of me.
I got off the skytrain and stopped by my favorite little pad thai stand to get my fourth order of pad thai in the last 3 days. There were actually a bunch of carts selling pad thai on Khao San Road but I decided to hold off as I figured I owed this lady my business. Besides her pad thai is so damn good!
I got back to the hostel around 7pm, ate and took a shower.
The plan was to go out to one of the seedier areas of town tonight to see that part of Bangkok but, frankly, once I was freshly showered and sitting in my nice, air conditioned room I was done for the day.
Overall, I didn’t really do that much in Bangkok and my experience here was vastly different from what other people do here.
However, for me, it was just right. In fact, the rest of my trip (all 30 or so days left) are going to be on this level I think.
It should be interesting as I will be visiting Phuket next and it’s known as a party area.
I’ll just have to adapt and make it work for me and what I want to experience.
This time tomorrow I’ll be there so I guess we’ll find out what happens…