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Thailand 2012: Madame Tussauds, Asiatique and leaving Bangkok

Date: 27th November 2012

I left Siam Ocean World and walked to Siam Discovery. It was still raining, but I still made my way to the top of Siam Discovery, where Madame Tussauds was situated.

Madame Tussauds elevator Bangkok
This was inside the elevator up
Madame Tussauds Bangkok entrance
Madame Tussauds is on the 6th floor
MBK BTS track from Siam Discovery
Hello MBK
Madame Tussauds Bangkok king Thailand
Various photos of King Bhumibol lined the entrance
Madame Tussauds Bangkok
You begin with the History zone of great leaders
Mahatma Gandhi Madame Tussauds Bangkok
Mahatma Gandhi is the very first wax figure
Chairman Mao Madame Tussauds Bangkok
Chairman Mao
Princess Diana Madame Tussauds Bangkok
The much beloved Princess Diana
Madame Tussauds Bangkok world leaders
You then have a selection of world leaders

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Thailand 2012: Psy in Bangkok, Siam Ocean World

Date: 27th November 2012

The previous day (26th November) was spent… nowhere. When I woke up, it was raining heavily. I had breakfast from the hotel restaurant and then just stayed indoors for much of day, doing some work online. The plan for today was to go to Maeklong ‘Railway’ Market, but it was far out and given the weather conditions, there was no guarantee I would get there in time for me to see the trains pass through.

Today (27th November), the weather only got slightly better.

Magnum chocolate truffle
I had a Magnum for ‘breakfast’

I decided to have an early lunch and walked around the area heading towards Asoke BTS.

Shalimar Indian restuarant Bangkok
I ended up find this spot on Soi 11, choc full of restaurants and a few pubs

I ate at Shalimar Sharma’s (pictured above) simply because I had reached that stage when I missed Indian masala. It had a North Indian thali which cost ฿250. Feeling full, I then began my day by going to Siam Center.

Siam Center stage setup Bangkok
I had seen a huge billboard stating Psy would be appearing on stage here today
Psy press conference stage Bangkok
Even though I was officially sick of the song, I thought why not just get a glimpse of the guy in person at this press conference
Psy press conference Bangkok
Being a work day, there weren’t too many fans either. Mostly press, and tourists.
Gangnam Style dance Siam Paragon Bangkok
I heard way too much “Gangnam Style” in Thailand. Like, every-freaking-day!
Elephants Gangnam style dance
“Gangnam Style”-fever reached fever pitch in Thailand, they even made elephants do the dance
Gangnam Style Psy in Bangkok
Psy was finally in the building!
Psy in Bangkok
Before taking to the stage, Psy left a message for the King of Thailand, who was hospitalized
Bangkok passengers Siam BTS station
Even passengers waiting for the train were looking at what was going on

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Thailand 2012: Chiang Mai to Bangkok by flight; Bang Na

Date: 25th November 2012

After a crazy night of rain ruined what was otherwise a memorable day, we were relieved to leave Chiang Mai in sunny weather. We reached the airport in time for our Thai Airways flight to Bangkok.

Nok Air Chiang Mai airport
You got to love the livery on Nok Air’s planes
Aerial view river Thailand
I sat by the window as usual
Cupcake fruit juice Thai Airways flight
The journey was just an hour long, so not much of a “meal”
Bangkok airport from sky
The old Bangkok airport, I’m assuming

River flowing through Bangkok city

Landing at Suvarnabhumi airport Bangkok
Landed at Suvarnabhumi airport on time
Bangkok Rama elevated highway
Ramesh and I took the BTS train to Phaya Thai
Bangkok Palace hotel from BTS
This is the first time I was taking the airport express during the day

Once we got to Phaya Thai BTS, we switched trains to get to Victory Monument station. We had booked a room at HI-Mid Hostel, which described itself as a stone’s throw away from Victory Monument.

It wasn’t that easy to find and we had to call up the hostel for directions. Once we did find the place and checked-in, we were quite… stunned.

Hi-Mid Bangkok room bed
This is probably the best “hostel” room we had seen!
Hi-Mid hostel bathroom Bangkok
The bathroom in our room even came stocked with soap and good shampoo
Hi-Mid hostel reception
This is the lobby
Hi-Mid hostel Kitchen
This is the kitchen, where guests can have breakfast. Usual hostel breakfast that is.
Hi-Mid hostel lobby Bangkok
This is the recreation room. Take our word for it, this hostel is awesome!

Our double room cost ฿1350 (Rs. 2700/$40/€30) for one night. Hi-Mid calls itself a “boutique hostel” — which is absolutely the case. This place is more like a 1-star or 2-star hotel. You really don’t get the same vibe here compared to your usual backpacker hostel. We didn’t find too many backpackers either. The only downside to this area, which we realized at night, is how few options we had late at night when it came to eateries. Clearly this was not a big touristy area, and it showed.

Ratchawithi road Bangkok Thailand
Hi-Mid is situated just after the red ‘Siam’ building

After freshening up, Ramesh went mall-hopping in Bangkok and I went to attend SM Town. You can read about how that evening went here.

Date: 23rd November 2012

The next day, Ramesh and I decided to check out Bangkok’s IKEA store.

Ramesh pedestrian bridge steps Bangkok
It was tiring to climb these steps everytime we needed to get to the BTS station
Victory Monument Bangkok
Anusawari Chai Samoraphum — or Victory Monument — is a major landmark in Bangkok (Couldn’t help but notice how badly the center lines at the bottom are drawn. How did that one guy screw it up so bad? 🙂
Victory Monument pedestrian walkway
We walked to the BTS station

Victory Monument BTS train track Bangkok

Terminal 21 tower Bangkok sky
This was a tower above Terminal 21 mall

Ramesh and I withdrew some money from Citibank’s ATM because I read on Citibank India’s website that ATM withdrawals made using our debit cards don’t incur any transaction. Ramesh used his HDFC debit card and I used my Citibank Maestro card. We got very good exchange rates on direct conversion and none of that 150 baht withdrawal fee usually charged by Thai banks.

Mega Bangna mall Bangkok
We then took the bus to Bang Na
Mega Bang Na mall Bangkok
The IKEA store was located in Mega Bang Na mall
Ultraman statues Bangkok
Ultraman!
Ultraman toys Bang Na mall
There were a whole bunch of Ultraman merchandise on sale. It was to promote a new movie — or something.
IKEA store Bang Na mall Bangkok Thailand
Our plan was to have lunch from IKEA’s ‘cafe’ too
IKEA cafe food Bangkok
We loaded up 🙂 I tried the salmon for a change
Home Pro furnishing store Bangkok
We even checked out the Home Pro store and I picked up a few items from here

Once we done with our shopping, Ramesh and I headed back to Hi-Mid to collect our bags. This was the end of Ramesh’s journey as he had to head to the airport to catch his flight back to Bangalore.

I on the other hand had two more days, but decided I just couldn’t stay in this area despite how great the hostel was. I realized I needed to be somewhere toursity where I had all the conveniences of 24-hour 7-11s, eateries and bars. I initially thought of Khao San road but with all my luggage, I dreaded how to get there. So I just hopped on the BTS and chose to see if I could get a room near Nana BTS.

My usual jaunt, Thai House Inn, was closed, so I ended up staying at Maxim’s Inn at the end of Soi 7/1. I got a single room for ฿750 (Rs. 1350/$22/€16), and although I wasn’t terribly pleased with it, I was tired and just wanted to dump my luggage and lie down.

Maxims Inn Bangkok Thailand
Even though there were a few bars on this street, it was still quiet inside the hotel
Maxim's Inn Nana hotel bedroom Bangkok
It’s a bad photomerge, I know, but you get the idea
Maxim's Inn bathroom Bangkok
The a/c room was clean and the wi-fi worked great!

The last three days had been hectic for me — especially our last day in Chiang Mai and then the awesome SM Town concert the very next day!

The other reason I like staying in the Nana area (besides being just 3 stations away from Siam interchange) is because of all the Middle Eastern food available.

Shawarma beef chicken Nana Bangkok
I FINALLY got to eat some really good shawarma!

Previous posts in this series:

SM Town World Tour III – Live in Bangkok: An Indian SONE’s experience!

Loy Krathong 2012: Yeepeng Lanna in Chiang Mai – A second chance to do it right

Thailand 2012: Golden Triangle tour – White Temple, Mekong River, Mae Sai, and entering Laos

Thailand 2012: Flying to Chiang Mai; views from Doi Suthep

Thailand 2012: Phuket beach hopping and bike ride to Promthep Cape

Thailand 2012: James Bond island, Koh Panyee village and Wat Suwan Kuha

Thailand 2012: Terminal 21 mall; Bangkok to Phuket by bus

Thailand 2012: Far end of Jomtien Beach; back to Bangkok

Thailand 2012: The Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya

Thailand 2012: Landing in Pattaya

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