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One Night in Bangkok

Shopping as far as the Bangkok Eye can see! On the third and final leg of his six-day tour around Thailand, Matthew Mok stops at the royal beach town of Hua Hin en route to his second “hometown” Bangkok.

Part 1: To Lampang with Love

Part 2: To Chiang Mai with Love

Our van was caught in the evening rush hour gridlock as we made our way to our hotel in Pratunam area in sin city Bangkok. Through the window, I gazed at the nearby pedestrian bridge and saw feet clambering down from it, matched by their equally tired but still friendly faces of Bangkok folks. Ahhh….the fumes, the adrenaline rush, the sweet tangerine juice stalls by the road….it felt like home again. I usually visit Bangkok about five times a year for holiday, but since I had not done so in the last two years, I was pleasantly surprised by what’s new in this favourite city of mine.

24 Hours Earlier

Just a day ago, we were in Hua Hin, Thailand’s popular royal beach town, about 2.5 hours away from Bangkok central. Stopping by Maeklong Railway Market along the way, we saw why the locals call it the Scary Market!

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Hordes of tourists crowding the best vantage point to capture the passing train 

For four times each day, a train runs through the market where locals shop for their daily essentials. And every time a train approaches, the peddlers will push their stalls-on-wheels away from the track by a few inches –complete with their poultry products and all— just to allow the train to pass by, leaving some goods beside the railway track. Indeed, a fascinating watch! There were even tourists who arrived here via the train from other provinces.

After much ‘’chasing after the train’’, we arrived at Lungkhan Seafood Restaurant in Samut Songkhran province for lunch. Hungry for more of the best Thai dishes, we ordered an array of seafood goodness enough to satisfy an army.

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Deep fried fish-Seafood Tom Yam Soup-Lungkhan Seafood Restaurant-Samut Songkhran-Bangkok-Hua Hin-Thailand-AirAsia-Travel 3Sixty

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Food stalls outside the restaurant served up even more choices for all to have a seafood picnic by the sea. 

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During school holidays, locals love to gather in Samut for picnic. 

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       Just before we reached Hua Hin, we passed by Cha-am Beach in the beautiful Petchburi province. This long stretch of shoreline dotted with beach chairs and pine trees is one of Bangkokians’ favourite weekend destinations, especially for families and couples. Many city dwellers would drive out here just to escape the metropolis for a day or two.

Finally, Hua Hin beckoned. The first thing I noticed about this town was the litter-free streets. We stopped at the quintessential Hua Hin Railway Station for a memento that we finally made it here!

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     The day ended with yet another yummy seafood dinner at Chaolay Seafood Restaurant perched on stilts by the beach, followed by a quick visit to Hua Hin Night Market for some souvenir shopping.

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Expect to see lots of tourists at Chaolay as it is said that even Thai royalty had visited it 

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Lots of creative souvenirs on offer 

As we drove back to Bangkok the next day, we visited Wat Huai Mongkhon to see the biggest statue of Luang Pu Thuat. He was a revered Buddhist monk in all of Siam, said to have performed miracles.

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Many people came from all over the country to pay respect and offer prayers 

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Both sides of the giant statue of Luang Pu Thuat have a similar statue sitting on a wooden elephant, albeit much smaller in size. 

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If you seek luck, longevity and virility, make sure you circle below the belly of the elephant and touch its wooden penis three times, clockwise

Next, we arrived at the recently opened Santorini Park in Cha-am, a vast shopping cum playground catering to all ages, in the style of Santorini Island in Greece.

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A fun environment for shopping! 

The park features the best retail brands for those who love shopping; and theme park attractions, such as the Ferris Wheel, G-Max Reverse Bungee, Flying Swinger, Merry-Go-Round, 4D & 7D Motion Masters, and Tubby, for thrill seekers. Counting myself as one, I tried Tubby for an adrenaline rush. I sat on a sliding tube and screamed all the way down from the towering platform before being shot sky high up in the air. Then, bam! I landed on the huge Ed Hardy airbag, much to my relief.

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The kids would love spinning on this, while you shop at the many boutiques nearby 

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Ride the Ferris Wheel to view the Santorini Park’s lush green surroundings 

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It’s a bird, no! It’s a plane, no! It’s Matt on the Tubby! 

Shopping galore in Bangkok

Back in Bangkok, we checked out the capital’s recently opened shopping spot, Asiatique The Riverfront.

Open 5pm to midnight daily, Asiatique is where you wanna be! The Bangkok Eye at the background adds fun for the whole family

Dubbed Bangkok Night Festival Market, Asiatiqueby the Chao Phraya River is the trendiest landmark in the city to date! Formerly Siam’s first international trading port, the entire area has been beautifully transformed to combine casual street markets with a mall and upscale riverside dining experiences with over 40 restaurants serving Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Italian cuisine.

You can hop into one of the many shuttle boats from BTS Skytrain Saphan Taksin stop to Asiatique for free 

Ten ‘’warehouses’’ to meet all your shopping needs! 

Come here for the great shopping, food and ambiance. “Lock” your love at Juliet Love Garden and choose your entertainment for the night at Calypso Bangkok and Joe Louis Thai Puppet Theatre.

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Cheers to an awesome trip around Thailand! 

By the end of our six-day trip through Thailand, we were all exhausted but thoroughly happy. We experienced the charms of Lampang city, the fascinating facets of Chiang Mai, and tonight, the buzz of Bangkok. I can’t help but wonder—what else does Thailand have in store for me on my next visit in August?

Part 1: To Lampang with Love

Part 2: To Chiang Mai with Love

What were your most memorable moments in Bangkok? Sound off in Comment section below!

GETTING THERE AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok (DMK), 10x daily. For flight information and the lowest fares, go to www.airasia.com.

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