A Backpackers Guide to Bangkok: Part 2

Trip Start Jun 24, 2005
Trip End Mar 24, 2008

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, February 7, 2006

...Continued from Part 1

Lumphini Park is an area worth a visit. There you will find the Muay Thai Stadium (Thai boxing) and the Suan Lum Night market. Thai boxing is fun to watch but regular attendance is really for the gamblers who offer odds to each other by shouting and screaming as the fight goes on. Takers would accept by acknowledging the offer and the money is settled after the fight by an honor system. When I first approached the stadium, I was swamped with scalpers claiming to be official sales agents. Skeptical, I approached the ticket counter as they persisted. There were two ticket windows; one in Thai and the other said 'Tourists'. The tourist window was labeled 1000 B for outer ring, 1800 B for middle ring and 2500 B for ring side. The scalpers eventually ignored me and I stood to the side observing that the locals only paid a few hundred Baht while the foreigners dished out for the marked up prices. One thing that left a bad taste with me in Egypt was their extreme dual pricing system. This is the first place I have seen such pricing in Thailand and disliked it. I did not want to get ripped off, so after assessing the situation and making sure no one was watching me, I held my breath and approached the Local ticket window; quietly handing over a 500 Baht note. As my heart rate increased, I was prepared to be caught. After what felt like 5 minutes, the man behind the ticket window handed over a ticket and 275 Baht change without a fuss. My heart rate slowed and my confidence swelled. My coupe has succeeded, I passed as a local Thai. I was ecstatic. The ticket was of faded baby blue color on thin newspaper grade paper: unlike the smooth colorful magazine paper the foreigner tickets were printed on. My time to bask in my small victory was however short lived. At the entrance to the stadium, I was stopped. The man in the chair who herds spectators into the stadium looked at me, looked at the ticket and looked back at me. With a suspicious gaze, he said something in Thai to me, I nodded nonchalantly and said 'Chai' (Yes) with my best Thai accent. I was caught, darn it. Another man quickly came over and made me follow him back to the ticket window to cough up another 775 Baht for the tourist ticket. What gave me away? My perfect imitation Thai accent? It must have been the way I dressed or my shoulder pouch which looked suspiciously like a camera bag.

Beside Thai boxing, in the Lumpini park area is the Suan Lum night market. The shopping is not the best and I would recommend the Chatuchuk Weekend market instead. However, the massive food court with nightly live music is fantastic. If you decide to go, head over around 2130, walk around for a bit and go for some food at 2230 when the live music begins. Make sure you try the fresh papaya ice at the fruit juice stalls. The atmosphere is wonderful, just sit back and enjoy.

There are many temples in Bangkok as well as the King's palace. The one I recommend the most is the Arun Wat across the river. To get there, it is a 30 minute walk to the pier from Kao San Road. You need to find pier 8. Ask around for the right pier because there are many.

Shopping: what Bangkok does better than almost any place I have been. And MBK shopping center is the mecca of Bangkok shopping. Shopping there is hassle free, cheap, clean, honest and you will find great styles and products.
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