(This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the beginning, click here.)
If you ever in Bangkok for the first time on a weekend, there is one place you are bound to visit – Chatuchak market. Chatuchak is synonymous with Bangkok, its probably the largest of its kind in Thailand. Its open on weekends only so if you are planning to go, go early to avoid the crushing heat. Getting there is the easy part – both MRT and BTS bring you right to the market.
We reach just after 9, there was already a steady stream of tourist making a beeline for the market. Even as you get down from the overhead bridge, the stalls start.
Navigating the market is a little tough. there are a few broad streets, but most of it are narrow enclosed ‘soi’s or lanes like this one.
The adage is if you can think of it, they sell it here. That’s not exaggerating too much. But a lot of stalls sell clothes, shoes, foodstuff, souvenirs, and the like. We looked for some slippers for Hannah here.
Every few blocks you see a stall like this selling Thai version of ice-cream potong, minus the cream. So its just iced sugar water.
Whether you like animals or not, one section you must visit is the pets section. Here you find stalls selling the most adorable puppies. The shopkeeper was unfriendly, though.
One small stall was selling this strange creature, I think its a lemur.
Along one of the main roads, we bought some siu yoke and fried spring rolls from this guy. THB100 for a pack, tastes good – less salty or crispy compared to the stuff you get here, but juicier.
There’s a drink you can find all over the market, I didn’t take any pics of it, its their orange juice. Really refreshing, a must try.
After more than 3 hours in Chatuchak, we went across the road to Or Tor Kor Market. OTK is one of the best indoor markets in the world (or so says Wikitravel) but I would recommend anyone to go there. its covered and clean, so it provides a respite from the heat of Chatuchak. Inside, they fresh fruits, seafood, dried food, and there’s an excellent foodcourt.
Or Tor Kor isn’t targeted to tourist, so the foodcourt doesn’t have English signs. But you can just point and order. There was one lighted sign I recognized, though – COFFEE.
With this plus the food at Chatuchak, we were quite full.
After Or Tor Kor we went back to Chatuchak again, and concentrated on their local designer section. At past 2pm, we were hot and tired but very satisfied, so trudged back to MRT back to Sukhumvit.
Hannah still had the energy to frolic in the pool all by herself. Me, I had to take a short nap.
After swimming and a nap, in the evening, it was time to go out again. this is a photo in front of our wonderful hotel.
I planned to have dinner in Thip Samai, a famous shop serving the best pad Thai in Bangkok. Although it was still early evening, we reckon since we were quite tired from Chatuchak, we should to take a cab all the way there. The trouble was, Thip Samai was a long, long way from Sukhumvit. After trying 4 or 5 cabs, they all refused to take us. A gwailo who was very familiar with BKK also tried to help us with some other alternatives, but I guess we were set on trying Thip Samai.
So we went back to the hotel and guy at the reception gave us some tips to get their via MRT/BTS.
Man, what an adventure it turned out to be. We had to take MRT from Petchaburi to Silom, walk to Sala Daeng, board to the BTS and exit at the furthest station, Wong Wian Yai. From WWY, it was still a distance so we have to take a cab (about THB60). No wonder none of the cabs from Sukhumvit wanted to take us here!
The cabdriver didn’t know where exactly on the street Thip Samai was, but it was easy to spot. we reached at 7.30pm but there was a line outside the shop.
Why make the long journey here? Well, my family loves pad Thai, and since we are in BKK, might as well try the best, right?
The line moves really fast, coz they basically they sell 4 or 5 variants of the same staple dish. 3 or 4 sifus churn out woks of pad thai, while staff plate them according to order.
The type we order is wrapped in two eggs, kind of like nasi Pattaya here.
The pad thai here is different from most places in BKK – its orange in colour coz it is cooked with shrimp paste.
Well, the verdict. Yep, its good. we had 5 plates between the 4 of us. Is it the best in BKK? Probably, since we didn’t taste that many here, but its the best we had. Would we come back? Definitely.
After dinner, we took a tuktuk ride to Yaowarat, just a few streets away. Yaowarat is the heart of Chinatown in BKK. Its quite quieter compared to Chiang Mai, maybe cos its spread out. But the traffic here is quite slow.
Didn’t really spend much time here, it has been a tiring day for us. So walking to the end of the street, we took a long cab ride (THB400) back to hotel. So ends Day 3.
Next – Shopping malls!