Final Two Days In Bangkok

In planning for the trip I was worried about the final two days. I had planned for us to spend them in Bangkok making final purchases, getting final fittings, and wrapping up any loose ends before we went home. I was worried they would be anti-climactic and that we would wish he had just gone home. It turns out my worries were unfounded as the last two days became a couple of our best and when it came time to make that trip to the airport none of us were happy about it. We wanted more time.

The last two days weren’t great because of new adventures, but because of familiar ones. It felt great to be in a place so foreign yet familiar. We mostly just jumped around in Bangkok and shopped. We had our custom clothes tweaked in Sukhumwit, shopped many hours and the dizzying MBK Shopping Center, searched around in Siam Square for a good place to get a pedicure for the girls, enjoyed the lights at Siam Center, and had a great search for the greatest dessert at Siam Paragon. We had our final tuk tuk, SkyTrain, and taxi rides.

Outside of one of the shopping malls

Shopping can be vilified as a product of American excess and consumerism. Well, in Bangkok, where Americans are a small percentage, the shopping fervor is alive and well. Shopping in Bangkok isn’t an “American” thing to do, but a Thai thing. They do it well. Mall after mall line the Siam area in Central Bangkok. All have ramps that spill directly into and off of the SkyTrain. The Malls have all different feels, price ranges, and types of products. Just outside each of them are crowded streets with vendors selling all types of foods and crafts. At any moment you can reach out your hand and purchase something. Inside the malls is the same feel as the sidewalks outside. They are like casinos where you get lost and turned around and have a hard time finding an exit. The malls in this area are all 6+ stories high with multiple escalators. They are all full of shoppers.

We enjoyed the amazing food courts with the card coupon payment system and the wide variety of international food cooked on the spot. These are gourmet food courts. We could (and did) sit at a table with a mix of Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican, and American food all freshly prepared by a team of chefs—all at a great price.

Ebey buying lunch

Lunch at the Food Court

I particularly enjoyed watching Emily haggle via calculator (this is how prices are discussed when shopping) over the skirt she was buying for her mom for Christmas. The vendor had started at 850 Baht and made a final offer of 600 Baht. Emily really wanted to get this skirt for Kathryn, but when I explained to her that 600 Baht was about $20 she shook her head and started to go. The vendor then asked Emily what she wanted to pay and passed the calculator to her to type in her desired amount. After a moment of confusion Emily slowly punched in “400.” The vendor was incredulous and offered 550. Emily started to walk away again when the vendor finally said “500.” Emily took the offer this time. She did far better bargaining than her dad would have done. It was a proud moment for me.

The Christmas lights and displays were everywhere. Most Thais are Buddhists who don’t necessarily believe in Christmas, but they have embraced it by still singing all the faith-based Christmas songs, and participating in the all the pageantry. Instead of “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” they all say “Happy New Year.”

Christmas decore

Christmas display

Christmas lights

Few things stand out from the last few days, but we had a wonderful time enjoying being a part of the great energy and life that is Bangkok. It was hard to leave and we can’t wait to return.

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