*The new Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport.

January 11-14, 2008 - After many years of planning, finally I am visiting Bangkok. Yeah, so near to Kuala Lumpur yet it's my first time here. The main objective beside shopping for the girls?....It's to celebrate my birthday, I will let you guess my age. I think the girls make this excuse just to shop, not so much of celebrating my big day. But it's all right, I have no choice.

*Daily city life in Bangkok. Colorful, vibrant city that never sleeps. From left to right. Police traffic, Pratunam market and colorful taxi cars.

Arrived at our hotel around noon, and check-in at Baiyoke Sky Hotel, which is the country's tallest building. This third-tallest all-hotel structure in the world house 673 guest rooms and standing at 304 m (997 ft) tall, or 328 m (1,076 ft) tall if its antenna is included. It has 85 floors, with a public observatory on the 77th floor, a bar called "Roof Top Bar & Music Lounge" on the 83rd floor, and a 360-degree revolving roof deck on the 84th floor.

*Left: Exterior of CentralWorld Shopping Complex, the largest lifestyle shopping complex in Southeast Asia, with an unrivalled mix of products and services at prices that put the fun back into shopping for Thai consumers and tourists. *Right: Office building around Siam Square.

Right after we check-in around 1.20pm local time, I called my buddy, Sojiro who works in Bangkok recently. We arranged to meet up, but after 3 to 4 hours later as he is busy. Our group of six, decided to shop at Chatuchak, (or Jatujak; Thai: จตุจักร). I think this is the largest market I've ever seen in my life. Not really like this place, I think it's too hot and crowded. But it's a good place to shop and hunt for cool things. After we walk for 2 hours, or less, I think we have enough of the heat. Sojiro will be waiting for me at our hotel lobby.

*Left: Just could not get away with strong colors. *Right: I wish they take out the ID badge.

I guess I am late, and I think Sojiro a little mad at me. Anywayssss......he bring me to get my cellphone sim card. Get this 200Bhat prepaid package, and I'm ready to explore! The group decided to shop again, but I'm not really keen on that. So I decided to follow Sojiro for his personal tour. We just walk from Pratunam to Siam Square, Central World and Siam Paragon. It's quite near from where we stay, I think it's just around 15 minutes walk or less. Unless you really don't mind the dusk and hot weather.

*Life at Chatuchak market.

I think all of us agree that Thai girls are very slim. We manage to chat with some girls, and they allow me to take the photo. But we forget to take down the numbers. I swear.

*Local Thai girls.

It's about dinner time, and the group decided to eat at Chinatown for seafood. Not really up for it, I prefer something different in Bangkok. So, I was brought to this cafe called Cabbages & Condoms Restaurants. This restaurant promote the health and safety aspects of condom use in a fun and amusing manner. You can see condoms used as flowers, light decorations, coffee mugs and even on mannequins. A must visit place.

*Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant. Located at Sukhumvit Road, Soi12.

Dinner follow by party, which is the main reason why we're in Bangkok. We head down to RCA (Royal City Avenue), a long stretch full of pubs/discos. No cover charge, and a bottle of Black Label cost only 1500Bhat. Most clubbers attend one of the myriad venues playing hip-hop, R'n'B, house or trance, like Slim/Flix and Route 66. These are super-clubs by any standard, all vast sleek interiors, booming sounds
systems, funky furniture, soft mood lighting and dazzling lasers. The clubs found along this area have the modest honor of being allowed to stay open, legally, until 2am.

The following day, we went to the famous Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of the Dawn. This temple is one of the most published images of Bangkok and one of the best known landmarks.It consists of a massive elongated prang (Khmer-style tower), and is surrounded by four smaller prangs. The prang is described by the Tourism Authority of Thailand as 104m high, while most other sources quote figures around 80-85m.

*Wat Anum, also known as Temple of The Dawn.

It is decorated by bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China, a hallmark of the reign of King Rama III. The Wat had a brief period as host of the celebrated Emerald Buddha, which now resides in nearby Wat Phra Kaew. (Source: http://www.into-asia.com/Bangkok/attractions/watarun.php). Entrance fee is 20Bhat, and the ferry crossing is 2Bhat. It's open everyday from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

I can see many young Thais setting up stalls at night market or Chatuchak. They sell designer bags, shirts, photos, accessories, cd's, you name it you got it. The shopping malls are smaller compare to Kuala Lumpur, I feel. But right here, no doubt they sell more interesting items at a very cheap price. So it's not a suprise to see many shoppers will buy in bulk, to set thier own business back home. The displays and interior of the shopping malls are very creative.

I spend 3 to 4 hours walking alone the malls. Total in all, I think 4 or 5 malls. I did not get anything, as it's just too much to buy, too little to spend. Overall, it's a great experience to see small and nice cafe in the malls. Special mention to TRU CAFE in Siam Paragon. It's a very relaxing cafe.

*The interior and exterior of Central World Shopping Complex.

On my final night in Bangkok, I thought of a more relaxing night. Sojiro, together with a couple of Thai friends, bring me to Sirocco and Breeze at Lebua State Tower. The tallest bar/restaurant in Asia, at 63rd floor. Simply amazing and breathtaking experience. The price per bottle of beer is not cheap, around 300Bhat. I guess it's safer to be sober up here.

*Left. Breeze at 52nd floor. Right: The bar at Sirocco.

*A better picture of Sirocco, from the official website. (http://www.thedomebkk.com/web/sirc_home.html#)

The entire trip is just wonderful. Mixture of entertainment, art and local culture, together with friendly people and cheap goods, it's just no surprise that Bangkok is one of the most famous city in the world. This would be a perfect holiday destination if you running out of budget, and ideas.

Lao jer gun. (See you again)