On day 4, we were supposed to check out our hotel in Bangkok and head to Koh Samui. We decided at the last minute, on Day 3, that we would do Phi Phi instead, and then ended up scrapping the island plan altogether, and decided to stay in Bangkok longer. So much for investing in a GoPro right before heading to Thailand, but I really wasn’t ready to give up on Bangkok yet. I had hardly eaten! Plus, I did manage to make a lot of random videos.
Due to the unexpected change of plans, we had to check out of our suite in Hilton Sukhumvit and check back in, into a smaller room. After doing so, we decided to head to Siam Square, because up until now, we hadn’t found pork-free food anywhere else (we also hadn’t looked in the right places).
I should reveal by now (if you haven’t already figured, that M and I had zero point zero interest in temples, history, or culture of any other sort than the food culture. Yes, I know, we’re very sophisticated. The mall is my jungle. Ingredients with labels in languages I can’t read are my biggest thrill.
We decided to head back (once again), to Siam Square, and raid all the 3 Siams: Siam Center, Siam Paragon and Siam Discovery. Siam also happens to be an interchange and one of the busiest train stations.
I still can’t quite understand this installation….and am not sure if I want to.
Siam Paragon is the fanciest of all Siams. It’s where you’ll find Madame Tussauds, and all the other high-end designer stores. You’ll even find a McLaren showroom inside the mall! It’s also worth mentioning that we were total idiots who used to take the train from Phrom Phrong to Siam (only a few stations away) every single day, and didn’t even once think to explore Em Quartier and Emporium (which are literally connected to Phrom Phrong BTS station) since the fateful Night of Our Fruitless Although Rushed Quest for Pork-Free Food.
The very realistic details creep me out to the max!
Another lunch of crispy seafood omelettes that are basically deep-fried (YUM!), meatless curry rice, and one too many Thai milk teas (my pants had started getting tighter by now) followed by the mandatory sticky rice and mango at Food Republic happened. Oh, I also hit my (very tall) glass of Thai milk green tea with the back of my hand, whilst trying to remove the wrapper off of the straw. Hand slipped, slapped the glass, and the drink fell all over the stranger sitting next to me. I wanted to die, but more than that, M wanted to kill me.
After we recovered from the embarrassment and disgusted glares, finished our food and walk-of-shamed away quickly, we then discovered (on our 4th day!), that we were entitled to a tourist discount card at Siam Paragon. With said card, you are eligible for a VAT refund, as well as other discounts and offers.
We scurried over to Kinokuniya, bought ourselves a couple of books (sadly, no discounts on books), and spent the afternoon chilling out at this nice (overpriced) cafe we found in the department store at Siam Discovery (I think it was called The Kitchen). This place was like the cafe version of the Apple Store, except more out of Black Mirror. You order through iPads, paid with your cards through the machine on the tables, and the place was completely flooded with the best sunlight!
Towards 5 p.m., we decided to head back to the hotel and explore more of the street it was on. We always walked in one direction (towards the BTS station) and wanted to go explore the other direction. The manager of Lek Massage Parlour (our daily stop), told us about a certain Food Land, where I could count on finding some authentic Thai ingredients and curry pastes, as well as halal food. M on the other hand, wanted to check out this place that is literally called “If It Swims, We Have It”. I decided to let M win this one.
On our way from Hilton Sukhumvit to If It Swims We Have It, we came across a couple of very nice, fancy looking spas, and vowed to back to those in a couple of days. No, we did not go back. Lesson Numero Uno: Do not put off till tomorrow, what you can do today.
If It Swims We Have It was not the open-air street food market I feared it to be- it was worse. It was like a huge bingo hall from the 80s. I cannot word how fast I wanted to get out of there. The concept wasn’t all bad: you buy your ingredients of choice (including vegetables, and of course the seafood), give it to the chefs, and pick a method of preparation. They will then grill, sauté, stir-fry or turn it into a curry as per your preferences. As much as I love seafood, the totally empty restaurant which smelled as dated as it looked completely killed my appetite.
Bamboo shoot soup at Laem Cha-Roen
We then rerouted to the next place which Google told us is pork-free; the place that changed our lives forever: Laem Charoen Seafood. There will be a special, dedicated post on this, because from this day onwards, I wanted to eat at Laem Charoen for breakfast lunch and dinner. If ONLY we had discovered Laem Charoen 3 days earlier, I could have had so many more meals there! Also, we were entitled to a 10-15% (I can’t remember the exact percentage) tourist discount here!
After Laem Charoen, we went to Swenson’s, where I wanted to have the nutty, marshamallow-ey sundae I used to have with my cousins in Singapore, but then I saw a pandan sticky rice and mango dessert on the menu and all my loyalties went out the window.
Overall, it was a pretty chilled-out kind of day and just what I look for in a vacation. I can’t remember if we took the train back to the hotel, or the cab- it all depends on whether I won the toss or M did.
How we could have spent spent the day instead: we could have gone to Damnoen Saduak floating market, which is Bangkok’s only real and authentic floating market that wasn’t man-made. The only reason we didn’t go, was because the concierge said it’s 1.5-2 hours away by car (that’s the only way to get there), and I really did not want to spend that much time on the road. Ever since the nightmare commute to and fro Cameron Highlands in 2016 (read about that here), I decided to stay as far away from long commutes as possible.
Image source: Google
To read about the rest of our Bangkok trip, please find the links below: