Bounding Pulse – Bangkok

My short stay in Bangkok was likened to a bounding pulse; a powerful and strong pulse which is experienced for a short period. The street food was so delicious, it was easy to overeat and suffer serious indigestion. Temple hopping and shopping (at both wholesale and retail levels) can be strenous activities. Ahem, I need good soles and elasticised pants. 😉

Sausage, Pad Thai, Egg, Vegetable stir-fry and Ham.

Sausage, Pad Thai, Egg, Vegetable stir-fry and Ham.

Toasts with Jams and Thai Orange Juice.

Toasts with Jams and Thai Orange Juice.

This morning after a hearty breakfast, my girlfriends and I were set to visit Ruamkatanyu Foundation where one of them wanted to pledge some donation. Founded on 22 June Buddhist Era 2513, the Ruamkatanyu Foundation (Bangkok)  provides coffins to victims killed in accidents or murdered in the event that no one comes forward to make a claim or identify the body. To the Thais and most Asians including Chinese, offerring coffin money as merit making is a good way to accumulate good Karma for our present and next life. We took a tuk tuk to the foundation.

“All that we are is the result of all we have thought” ~ BUDDHA

Everywhere you turn your head in the city, you will notice outdoor altars.

Everywhere you turn your head in the city, you will notice outdoor altars.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Click on image to view the original source.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Click on image to view the original source.

Ruamkatanyu Foundation (Bangkok) next to Wat Hua Lampong Temple (Rama 4 Road, Bangkok, Thailand). It is also near the infamous Patpong Night Bazaar in Silom.

Ruamkatanyu Foundation (Bangkok) next to Wat Hua Lampong Temple (Rama 4 Road, Bangkok, Thailand). It is also near the infamous Patpong Night Bazaar in Silom.

The donation sum is voluntary. You can write your name and/or family members names on a pink slip and paste it on the simple wooden coffins together with a prayer, inside the foundation. Afterwards you go to the temple next door and offer some joss sticks and more prayers.

The donation sum is voluntary. You can write your name and/or family members names on a pink slip and paste it on the simple wooden coffins together with a prayer, inside the foundation. Afterwards you go to the temple next door and offer some joss sticks and more prayers.

Just as we were departing, this monk in bright saffron coloured robe who happened to walked towards us, stopped for a while and made a peace gesture. Wow, that's what I call instant gratification!

Just as we were departing, this monk in bright saffron coloured robe who happened to walked towards us, stopped for a while and made a peace gesture. Wow, that’s what I call instant gratification!

Another common sight in Bangkok -  mobile street food.

Another common sight in Bangkok – mobile street food.

We decided to take the MRT to our next destination - Hua Lamphong (Chinatown). One stop cost me 16 baht.

We decided to take the MRT to our next destination – Hua Lamphong (Chinatown). One stop cost me 16 baht.

The rain had been relentlessly intermittent. As tourists, we came without umbrellas and do not intend to get any here. We would take shelter when it rained – treating it as a welcome break, sipping coffee even if they came out of cans. A good time to review our free and easy itinerary. That’s when I learn one of the girls had to go sleep over at a colleague’s who would be arriving that night. The female colleague was afraid of hotel phantoms! Now that got me spooked!

Things we saw along the street. Click on pictures to view commentary:

The rain finally stopped and we grabbed the first tuk tuk. Without even haggling, the driver agreed to shuttle us to MBK (Mahboonkrong, a large shopping mall in Pathum Wan, Bangkok, Thailand. Opened in 1985 and at eight stories high, the center contains around 2,000 shops, restaurants and service outlets, including the 4-story Tokyu department store).

The rain finally stopped and we grabbed the first tuk tuk. Without even haggling, the driver agreed to shuttle us to MBK (Mahboonkrong, a large shopping mall in Pathum Wan, Bangkok, Thailand. Opened in 1985 and at eight stories high, the center contains around 2,000 shops, restaurants and service outlets, including the 4-story Tokyu department store).

"MBK, 120 baht?" "Hop in!"

“MBK, 120 baht?”
“Hop in!”

Anyone who's been to Thailand will agree that elephants are a huge part of Thai culture. It is the symbol of the nation. Thai elephants are members of the Indian subspecies, even though they may be considered a separate race with distinct differences.

Anyone who’s been to Thailand will agree that elephants are a huge part of Thai culture.
It is the symbol of the nation.
Thai elephants are members of the Indian subspecies, even though they may be considered a separate race with distinct differences.

Part of my loot at Naraya.<br />The little tote is 190 baht and the cosmetic pouches, which came in a set of 3 costs 255 baht.<br />One USD is approximately 31 baht. Now that's a bargain!<br />And yes, I got something for my girls too :)

Part of my loot at Naraya.
The little tote is 190 baht and the cosmetic pouches, which came in a set of 3 costs 255 baht.
One USD is approximately 31 baht. Now that’s a bargain!
And yes, I got something for my girls too 🙂

After a shopping binge at Naraya in Tokyu department store we got hungry and went to Food Island on the 5th level of MBK.

After a shopping binge at Naraya in Tokyu department store we got hungry and went to Food Island on the 5th level of MBK.

We saw two food courts displayed on the information boards but couldn’t locate the one on level one. We went to the information counter but was asked to go “look one round” instead. We toured one round and couldn’t find it so we went to Food Island on the 5th level.

The payment system here is slightly different. You purchase a cash card (any amount) and use that card to pay at the stalls you buy your food.

You purchase a cash card and use that card to pay at the stalls you buy your food.

The payment system here is slightly different. You purchase a cash card (any amount) and use that card to pay at the stalls you buy your food. If there are still excess in your cash card, you proceed to the far end of the food court (out of the way, actually) and get your refund. I paid the cashier 200 baht and went to get lunch. Most of the stalls sold identical food so it’s a matter of luck of the draw, for us tourists, which stall sold the better tasting ones of the same items. Since I thought I should also binge on Thai food, I went to the first stall I encountered selling Tom Yum Goong. Big mistake! Not only did the food sucked, the service was rude, and that’s not Thai! 😦

Click on pictures:

We didn't eat at this stall. They serve beef noodles and soup. It is the first stall as you enter the food court after getting your cash card. I took a picture of the vendor and his giant wok (the size amazed me) of beefy broth and ingredients.

We didn’t eat at this stall. They serve beef noodles and soup. It is the first stall as you enter the food court after getting your cash card. I took a picture of the vendor and his giant wok (the size amazed me) of beefy broth and ingredients.

I am also pleasantly pleased to find this tub of hot water for dipping the utensils. We don't have such practice in Singapore. Perhaps it's time we learn.

I am also pleasantly pleased to find this tub of hot water for dipping the utensils. We don’t have such practice in Singapore. Perhaps it’s time we learn.

I'm fascinated by the sight of these colourful drinks.

I’m fascinated by the sight of these colourful drinks.

We had excess from the cash card and bought one of these crepes. Guess which?

We had excess from the cash card and bought one of these crepes. Guess which?

Click on pictures:

Chocolate whipped cream with banana and milk - 55 baht. The crepe was not crisp or warm. It was very soft and smooth in texture which I did not like. The filling was too sweet. Perhaps I was comparing this to the Harajuku Crepes I had in Melbourne Central, and using it as my yardstick. Well, the greater the expectation...

Chocolate whipped cream with banana and milk – 55 baht.
The crepe was not crisp or warm. It was very soft and smooth in texture which I did not like. The filling was too sweet. Perhaps I was comparing this to the Harajuku Crepes I had in Melbourne Central, and using it as my yardstick. Well, the greater the expectation…

Feeling unhappy with my lunch and dessert, guess where I went? Click on pictures.

Thai tidbits - Food souvenirs to bring back to Singapore for my family and friends. These goodies were recommended by my gfs who bought a lot more than my haul shown here.

Thai tidbits – Food souvenirs to bring back to Singapore for my family and friends.
These goodies were recommended by my gfs who bought a lot more than my haul shown here.

Click on pictures:

All that shopping and walking made me so tired I just want to travel back to the hotel in comfort. It would be a task fitting the 3 of us and all our shopping in a tuk tuk ride so we walked to the taxi station at the side of MBK building. A guard was there with a loudspeaker and told the taxi to what I understand as “go by the meter”. Some meter taxis do not and they will bargain for “tourist fares”. To make sure, we told the taxi we were willing to fork out 150 baht and he agreed. Later, we found out he didn’t even know the way to our hotel. We gave him the hotel card and he brought us back safe and sound. After we’ve unloaded our loot, P left us and went in search of hotel ghost with her colleague. Although we were tired, we were also unsatiated from our earlier meal, so the remaining two of us went in search for more street food to bring back to the hotel. My feet was killing me by this time being unaccustomed to long shopping spree. We promised ourselves that tomorrow we would go for body massage.

Click on pictures:

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My last trip to Bangkok was in 2007 and I reckoned if I were to visit Thailand once in every 6 years, the amount I ate this trip was justifiable but who am I kidding? 😉

Ruamkatanyu Foundation (Bangkok) is opened 24/7. The Foundation is located above San Yan Station (underground subway) next to Wat Lampong, Rama 4 Road, and is within walking distance from PatPong Night Bazaar in Silom.

Naraya (Bangkok)
L1, Tokyu Department Store and
Mahboonkrong (MBK)
444 Phaya Thai Rd, Pathum Wan, Pathumwan.

Pratunam (Wholesale and Night) Market is located in a maze of alleyways and sois. It can be accessed at the intersection of Ratchaprop and Petchburi roads (next to Amari Watergate Hotel). The name Pratunam means Watergate. While Pratunam Wholesale Market offers pure chaos and some of the cheapest prices in Bangkok during the day time (wholesale clothing), not all street food stalls open at the same time. After 3pm is the best bet to visit.

Happy eating 😀

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Comments
13 Responses to “Bounding Pulse – Bangkok”
  1. carmenw503 says:

    Your article makes me want to take a visit. I’ll be sure to when I’m able- even if in a few years.

    • Sam Han says:

      Bangkok is a fun place and there are many cities to visit. It is affordable and friendly (generally). I’m sure you will have a great time 😀

      • carmenw503 says:

        I can imagine it- especially when you went to get food on the street 🙂 I like that sort of thing, trying new, readily available food on-the-go. Thanks for the pics Sam and I’m happy you had a great time there. Looking forward to your other explorations (at least I can enjoy vicariously for now). Tc

  2. Lignum Draco says:

    Wow, what a trip, And look at all that food. Such great colours.

    I imagine you’d shrink away if you didn’t have at least 20 courses of food per day. 🙂

  3. Sheryl says:

    Whew, what an amazing amount of beautifully presented food. Bangkok looks like a fun city.

    I really liked the thought-provoking quote that you included: “All that we are is the result of all we have thought” ~ BUDDHA

    • Sam Han says:

      Whew is right Sheryl, the eating never stops and if you’re in the centre of Bangkok, the party never stops too! I found the Buddha quote to be thought provoking too. Have a wonderful weekend ahead 😀

  4. Superb post.l think food brings people together more than politicians do.Cheers.jalal

  5. Congratulations
    Excellent publication

  6. LFFL says:

    You’ve got great pictures!

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