I woke up on our second day in Bangkok filled with happiness.
With my Dad arriving late the night before, I finally had my whole family back under one roof. And that roof came with a rooftop pool and a view to die for, courtesy of the Shama Suites on Soi Sukhumvit. I’d considered booking one of Bangkok’s lavish hotels but in the end wanted us all behind the same door, and hence went for a condo instead. Our two bedroom suite was simple but spacious and came with the nice perks of a kitchenette and a washing machine.
My Dad had requested one thing, and that was a little relaxation. After the whirlwind first day I had subjected my mom and Olivia to, they vigorously agreed. So we spent the morning swimming and sunbathing by the pool, and I spent it relishing the first time in my life I’ve been tanner than my sister.
We chose Shama Suites pretty exclusively because of this pool, but I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to be on a Skytrain stop, have tons of room, and have the freedom to wash your own clothes and cook or order in your own food.
After our morning of delicious laziness, we decided to explore one of the sides of tourism that Bangkok is particularly famous for: shopping. Personally I prefer the Chatachuk Market, but unfortunately we weren’t in Bangkok on the weekend and I knew my sister in particular would go ga-ga for Bangkok’s ritzy mega malls.
Our first stop was MBK, infamous among backpackers as the place to stock up on everything from cheap DVDs to contact lenses. It’s a bit chaotic though, and we soon escaped to the hushed halls of Siam Center, where we hit up my new favorite store, Loft.
The most amazing part about shopping in Bangkok during the holidays is, by far, viewing the Christmas decorations in the blazing heat. Rather than snow, these creations have the monstrosity of the BTS Skytrain as a background.
Even in 95% Buddhist Thailand, Santa still holds court in December. Though he is sponsored by Mastercard.
Some of the decorations were extremely clever, like this Christmas tree in front of Siam Discovery made entirely from empty plastic Coca Cola bottles.
Inside there was another bottle tree- and a Ronald McDonald giving the wai.
Our final stop on the Bangkok mall tour was the ritziest of all- Siam Paragon. The malls in Bangkok are very different from their counterparts in the US, one of the main differences being that the phrases fine dining and shopping mall co-exist quite peacefully in Bangkok.
Which is how we found ourselves eating quite an upscale meal at Greyhound, a restaurant with one of the finest chandelier collections I have ever laid eyes on. My parents couldn’t get over how reasonable the prices were for a place with leather menus.
I told them hey, that’s just Thailand for you. Excellent style and even better prices.
Have you ever spent Christmas in a hot tropical climate?
Did they decorate with the same fervor that the Thais do?
I’m about to suggest you to visit Virtigo and the moon bar for evening drinks on the 61th floor of the Banyan Tree hotel and look out for sunset over Bangkok. but seems like where you are staying is quite already intrigued with the pool.
I’ve been dying to go to one of Bangkok’s swanky sky bars! Unfortunately I only ever seem to have flip flops with me… not sure if those would pass the dress code!
Your photos show of a bit of my extensive wardrobe of Hawaiian shirts
Haha. They are a favorite of yours, aren’t they!
Great post, Al! Hey I also went to the Greyhound Cafe with Tom’s parents for lunch on my last day. Did you go to the one near his house? Its in the same area as Fuji (man I love the Fuj). Or are there multiple locations?
From what I learned in looking up the website to link to in this post, there are in fact multiple locations. This was was in Siam Paragon, the really fancy mall. You would have remembered the chandeliers, amazing! I’ll have to try out the other ones next time I’m in BKK. I love the idea of fine dining in malls.
I once spent Christmas in Egypt and we even managed to convince a shop owner to sell us his little plastic tree equipped with decorations. The funniest part was actually in a shopping mall. We stopped in a Virgin Records to grab batteries and another memory card. They had a guy (Egyptian of course) dressed up as Santa and then he announces he is going to get his elves. He comes back with 4 Egyptian “little people” all dressed in Santa outfits. They missed the memo about the pointy shoes and jingle bell hats. All the Westerners were on the floor in laughter.
Ha! That is a great story. I found out after Christmas that Autokan shop down south on the island was selling little Christmas trees. Wish I had known! Don’t think we could have done anything about the elves… I’ve never seen a “little person” on Koh Tao before!
Hey, you didn’t show the gym at the Shama Suites where I rocked out to Christmas music while sweating uncontrollably. Ironically, I was listening to Sheryl Crow’s “Home for Christmas” album during my very first ever Christmas away from home.
Well that is because…. I never made it to that gym! Ha.
I spent my first warm Christmas in Brazil a couple of years ago! It was a strange experience… santa in a warm climate – why does he still wear a fur coat?? No idea.
Looks like you’re having fun 🙂
Oh wow… Brazil is at the top of my wanderlust list! I would love to be there any time of the year, but Christmas sounds quite fun! 🙂
Well, everything at Siam Paragon is a bit upscale. There’s a normal MK suki, at Paragon is MK suki Gold. Basically, Greyhound at other malls aren’t decorated with the same concept as over here. Otherwise, if you have time, try Harmonique by the riverside if I remember well. Flip flop allowed but you won’t be disappointed with the atmosphere, cosy, antique, good food good mood.
Hm, I didn’t consider that the one at Paragon might be the fanciest. Still, I might like to check out the other Greyhounds at some point. It was so fun!
I wish that I had time in BKK to do some shopping! That pool is amaaaaaazing!!!
Well you are headed back, right? Are you going to be in town on a Saturday or Sunday? If so, email me ASAP. There are some markets you MUST attend! The markets are much better shopping than the malls!
Excellent point Dana- why would he do that?? So uncomfortable!
Wow, that pool! It looks like you might fall over the edge. (Don’t do that, please!)
There was definitely a little safety balcony one floor below! (I peeked over the edge just enough to check!) Still, makes for some amazing views…