Day 8: 1st June, Bangkok
The planned part of the tour had now come to an end. The tour had gone pretty smoothly and we now had about a day and a half to ourselves. Following the wise advice of the friends and relatives who had been to Thailand recently we decided to invest the time we had in shopping. The plan was to visit the local markets after an hour of rest. I was actually more interested in exploring the local market than the shopping part. My grandparents decided to spend the remainder of the day resting.
We decided to begin with the Indra Square. The first place we visited was the Indra Mall. I was excited because the mall housed a lot of shops selling electronic goods. The place has a lot of variety when it comes to knockoffs – you can find the knockoffs of whatever brand you like. The only issue you might face is the quality. I remember my uncle telling me that we would find knockoff iPhones for about THB 2500. Sure enough I found iPhone 5S which worked on latest Android OS! 😛 The options weren’t limited to the phones – they had everything ranging from phone accessories to the wireless speakers. The choices were endless.
Splitting into 2 groups, we decided to meet up later in the evening. We decided to explore the street shacks. It was a pretty smart choice, as the street markets had a lot more variety to offer in terms of trendy stuff and options. The place was more or less like Mumbai’s Fashion Street – all the trendy and fancy clothes and accessories available without burning a big hole in your pocket.
We spent some time in the nearby Palladium Mall before returning to the street. It appeared as if the streets had come to life after sundown. Bright and vibrant shacks adorned both sides of the roads. The range of items they had was really cool – for the first time we found ourselves spoilt for choice. The coolest thing I came across was custom made t-shirts – the guy had all the blocks and ink and a blow-dryer. We could have our tee exactly the way we wanted it to be in a matter of minutes. Speak about personalising!
It is one of the general observations in life that we tend to ignore the simple pleasures and desire for the complicated stuff. One of such highly underrated pleasures is having a hot cob of corn in cool breezy weather. I was glad we decided to give McDonalds a miss. I felt for a moment that I was back in my childhood days again.
The lady who prepared it was like a pro – she boiled the corn along with the husk. The corn was put in a plastic cover and seasoned. The best part was that she was really efficient (she took barely a minute to make one) and didn’t have to touch the cob even once! The best part about the whole experience was seeing the lady’s face break into an infectious smile when I thanked her. Seeing her smile made all of us smile. A nice long walk later, we hopped into a cab back to the hotel.
Here are a bunch of tips for those who plan to spend a decent amount of time shopping:
- You get knockoffs of almost every brand you can think of near Indra Square. That being said, do not expect to find any original stuff there.
- If you are looking for cool accessories or gadgets, check it before you buy it. I wasn’t satisfied with the headphones they had (in fact I couldn’t even recognise my favourite song while listening to it through the headphones!).
- Instead of looking at big stores, try looking at small roadside shops. They have trendier and cooler stuff.
- Many street shops open in the evenings, after sundown. I suggest enjoying the scenery of the market area. The best time to visit would be in the evenings.
- The clothes from the street shops have the latest trends and interesting ideas. They are totally worth.
- Don’t shy away from bargaining. No matter how big or small the shop is, you get a better deal if you bargain well.
- Regarding the transport: We had a tough time finding a cab or tuk-tuk (equivalent of an auto-rickshaw) back to the hotel. It is advisable to insist on travelling only with the meter on (or you end up paying more than twice or thrice the actual fare).
- There have been cases of pickpockets. Avoid carrying any such thing in your purse whose loss will ruin your holiday
- It is advisable to carry copies of the documents and to keep the original documents under lock and key in your hotel room.