Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bangkok: Day 8 - Siam Center and The Golden Mountain (Wat Saket)

[At the end of January I spent 10 days in Bangkok, Thailand. Here are the retellings of Day 1 - Getting There, Day 2 - Wander Walking and a Thai MassageDay 3 - Wat PhoDay 4 - Saranrom ParkDay 5 - Wat Arun and the Grand Palace, Day 6 - Chatuchak Weekend Market, and the memory card mishap. Day 7 - Thai Cooking Class]

Believe it or not, we're over halfway through April and I still haven't finished writing about my trip to Bangkok back in January! Last I wrote, Anne and I had spent most of Monday at a great Thai cooking class in the city.  What I failed to mention is that Anne had been getting sick, and after a night without much sleep (noisy night at the hostel) she was feeling even worse on Tuesday.

We'd planned to go to Ayutthaya that day, but quickly changed plans when it was obvious that she should stay at the hostel and rest. So I set out to do a little more wander walking. First I explored the Siam Center, a huge shopping complex, just to see it.

I ate in the mall there, chicken fried curry, while reading my book.  Each shop and display in the mall was uniquely decorated; this was the nicest mall I've ever been in.


There was a real, live interactive set of piano key stairs that I walked up and down!


I took those stairs down to get to the mall's bathrooms, which were super hard to find because I didn't see the restroom symbol on any signs. When I got to these stairs I finally realized why I hadn't seen any signs.

It was because this was their bathroom symbol:


I hadn't recognized it on the smaller signs on each floor, since I was looking for the classic lady-in-dress-standing-next-to-a-man symbol.

Then I took the SkyTrain to the same stop (S6) where I'd gotten on the ferry the other days, but decided to walk instead of taking a boat. I wasn't sure where I'd end up or how long it would take to walk where.

I bought some strawberries from a small fruit stand along the street -- so delicious! This was summer in the middle of winter for me, remember.

I stumbled upon a pharmacy and - using awesome gestures to explain what I was looking for - purchased earplugs for Anne and I. No more sleepless nights because of hostel roommates going in and out all night. Success!

I walked through Chinatown, and saw decorations getting put up for the lunar new year later in the week.

Bangkok Chinatown

I was very thankful for my good sense of direction that day. I read about the Golden Mountain (Wat Saket) in the small Bangkok book I'd borrowed from the hostel, and found it by walking and turning where I thought I should walk and turn. Wat Saket is a temple located at the top of an artificial hill in the middle of Bangkok, and it cost 20 baht to go up.


I climbed up the gradually inclining stairs for some great city views at the top:


On the way down, I saw this model of the Golden Mountain (below, left) -- so you have an idea of what this steep artificial hill looked like.


When I got down, I found my way on foot past Democracy Monument, back to the river. I passed lots of closed shops and barricades on the way (remember the protests were going on), but there weren't many people around. Turns out I was near Pier 13! So I took an express boat back to the Central Pier to take the Sky Train back to the hostel.

Anne and I got dinner on the food street. I had pad thai and she had curry.

Pad Thai in Bangkok
Pad Thai

That night we watched Silver Linings Playbook on the projector back at the hostel. Nice to relax with a movie in.
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