Posted by: James Shannon | November 29, 2010

Modern Bangkok: Malls, Muay Thai, And Other Assorted Mayhem!

As of last night, I have landed back in the bustling metropolis of Bangkok, but for only another night. Tomorrow, I turn my sights north, heading to the old Siam capital of Ayutthaya. I will explore the old wats (temples) and ruins of the old city for a day or so, and then continue trekking north, with the eventual goal of reaching Pai by mid-December.

But seeing how I’m back in BKK for the moment, let’s explore the more modern side of this city of 14 million people!

After wandering around for an hour trying to find my hostel (lost the directions, grrr), I finally found the street … this is Rama 1 Road, the concrete superstructure you see to the right is the Bangkok Skytrain.  Apart from the obivous, it also hosts an impromptu night market (technically illegal) and allows access to 2 mega-malls in the area, MBK and Siam Discovery.

The monster that is MBK Centre, taken from the 6th or 7th floor … BKK has about 4 other malls nearby that also have 6/7 floors, but MBK beats them all for the sheer overload of its market-like stalls, selling everything you need/don’t need/didn’t know existed.

Famous the world over for amazing eats at unbeatable prices, eating Thai street food is a MUST for anyone visiting Bangkok, or anywhere in Thailand for that matter.  This plate of spicy pork and rice with soup and a Pepsi cost me 40 Baht (that’s $1.32 CDN for those of you scoring at home!)

One of the malls I saw that day was Siam Paragon, home of some of the richest shops I’ve seen anywhere in the world, and some of the best design I’ve seen in a retail environment!

Bangkok is infamous for its gridlocked streets, especially at rush hour .. shot by MBK Centre on Thanon Playa Thai

Adding to the almost daily travel surprises I stumble upon was MBK fight night, a FREE display of Muay Thai (or Thai kickboxing) put on every Wednesday outside MBK Centre.  Check it out below…

The day before I left Bangkok for Koh Chang, I went and checked out the old house of Jim Thompson, an American businessman.  He was responsible for introducing Thai silk to the West post WWII, making him wealthy beyond measure.  No photos were permitted inside the house, but I was allowed to take a picture of his garden … very lush in this tropical climate!


The last three photos were taken from the government bus I took to Koh Chang … they give a sense of scale to the largess of the Bangkok area (but of course, the best way to get a sense of this is to come here and experience it for yourself!)


One last photo before signing off: In the cities, Thais think big, as evidenced by massive skyscrapers, heavy concentrations of 7 floor malls, etc … enter the largest billboard I’ve seen in my life (and they are everywhere out by the International Airport)


Next post should be on the tropical beach paradise I just returned from, Koh Chang.  North Americans/Europeans, your virtual vicarious escape from the cruel winter you have been enduring is close at hand!



  1. Very interesting. Next blog let’s see you in some pictures. And I really don’t mind our winter that much. After all it doesn’t really start until the end of January… then there’s only 3 months of it. Great blog. I’m enjoying it very much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: