Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Thailand Tour Part 4: Modern Bangkok

Thursday, November 26
Bangkok - Siam Paragon and Thai Foot Massage

On Friday, we would join our guide and the other members of our Overseas Adventure Travel tour of Thailand.  Today was our last day "on our own" in Bangkok, and we knew we would see more of the sights of Bangkok with the group, so we concentrated on places that were not included on the tour.

Before we set out for the day, we met our cute tour guide, Yo, in the lobby of our hotel.  (Yo is her nickname.  She adopted it when one of her former tour members used it to address her when he couldn't remember her name - as in Rocky Balboa's "Yo, Adrian!"  The name stuck so well that when I asked her what her own friends call her, she said, "Yo!")  We also met two of our fellow tour mates, Judy and Kevin from Colorado.  They had just finished an OAT tour to India and Bhutan and were continuing their travels with this visit to Thailand.

One of the things that struck me when we arrived in Bangkok is that it is a huge and modern city - a skyline crowded with skyscrapers, including some very "avant garde" architecture like this building that we saw under construction from our hotel room.
Weird new construction in Bangkok - Yes, those are men hanging on the walls!
Today we explored the very modern shopping world of Bangkok.  It was only two stops on the BTS (the "skytrain" monorail) to the Siam Paragon station, an enormous department store.  (Siam, by the way, is pronounced "See-ahm" here.  It may take some practice to change from my usual "Sigh-am"!)
The entrance to Siam Paragon

Even the department stores have "Spirit Houses" in front of them.  I loved these shrines
that are found outside every home and in front of many businesses in Thailand

The ground floor of Siam Paragon was a huge food court of fine restaurants, fast food places (including, sadly, many we know at home like Burger King, McDonald's, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts!), as well as Thai fast food counters making fresh spring rolls, soups, and other goodies.
Krispy Kreme in Bangkok?  Food court in Siam Paragon
At the back of the ground floor was the astounding Gourmet Market, a place that outshined our own Whole Foods.  We walked around the market for almost an hour drooling over the fresh fish, spices, candies, and exotic delicacies like birds nests and other items we couldn't identify at all.
Gourmet Market in Siam Paragon

Fresh fish in the Gourmet Market

Asian goodies in Siam Paragon

Bakery in Siam Paragon
We bought some spring rolls and freshly made Tom Yum Goong soup.  I watched as the servers made my soup to order.  They started with the simmering broth and added onion, lemongrass, garlic, a green herb, a red chili, and fresh prawns.  Rob and I were both in raptures over the just-right spicy flavors.
Tom Yum Goong Soup being mixed up fresh.

Yum is a great name for this tasty soup!

The upper floors of Siam Paragon were filled with high-end clothing, a car dealership, and gift shops, like this one filled with a huge variety of teas from around the world.  There was also a special exhibit of dinosaur bones that had been discovered in Asia.
The very modern Siam Paragon department store
Beautifully packaged teas from around the world.
Dinosaur exhibit upstairs in Siam Paragon
I had hoped to visit the nearby Erawan Shrine, which had been in the news just recently due to a terrorist attack, but we were getting tired and the day was hot, so we returned to the hotel for a nice nap instead.  In the later afternoon, we returned to the Coffee Cafe for a latte and a muffin.  Then we ended the afternoon with a wonderful hour long foot massage at the Oasis spa.  The two young men who did the massage were very sweet.  One of them spoke fairly comprehensible English and we chatted away - at least when I wasn't too busy moaning in pleasure at the great massage, which included neck and shoulders.  Heavenly.  Of course, the most incredible part was the price.  500 Thai baht for both of us, plus a 100 baht tip for each of the young men, translated to $19.57 - for the two of us with tip!  Try finding THAT bargain at home!
Oasis Massage Spa
Rob is ready for his foot massage!
That evening we met Yo and some of the travelers on her last tour which was just finishing up.  They invited us to join them for a very nice dinner.  Tomorrow we would meet all of our own tour members and begin our group adventure.
Rob and I join Yo and fellow travelers for dinner.

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