Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand, Day 4, Part 2: Of budget hotels, pingpong shows and Pad Thai (All Seasons Hotel Victory Monument, Patpong and Siam Cuisine, Bangkok)
April 5, 2011 Leave a comment
We arrived at Bangkok on time at around half past six in the evening. I was immediately awestruck by the Suvarnabhumi (read: suwanapum. I know, right?!?) Airport, but not so much by the very long immigration lines. After almost an hour, we got a big cab for 700 Baht and had ourselves driven to our hotel near Victory Monument. (I was very impressed as well on the highway that we passed from the airport to downtown Bangkok. *insert countless Manila comparisons here*)
All Seasons Hotel has many branches in Bangkok. Based from our “research”, the one at (actually “near” not “at”) the Victory Monument is one of the newer ones, having opened just this year. We booked two connecting rooms and we loved every inch of it. Except for the borderline motel-ish (not that I know motels ah…) voyeur bathrooms (glass walls!), the rooms were perfect, especially for the price (With buffet breakfast, just a little over a thousand pesos per person. Sweet!). It was conveniently-located, practical, comfy, modern and hip rolled into one. (Watch out for our lobby pics. Very upper East Side-ish. Hahaha!) I immediately looked at the towels because that was the only negative review I’ve seen beforehand (a blogger mentioned that they provided non-absorbent ones) but, fortunately, discovered that they now used better standard white cotton towels. Score another! Oooh, they have free Wi-Fi too!
Anyway, we freshened up and ventured downtown Bangkok for dinner, and perhaps look for some fun. We walked a couple of blocks from Sanam Pao (just a few steps from the hotel) to Ari in search of Thai street food good enough for dinner. We found a couple but the girls weren’t in the mood to be risky and experiment (bummer…) so we decided to board the train and go to Patpong instead. Now we’ve heard A LOT about the infamous street, so we were kind of prepared. Well, apparently, we weren’t. I’m sure I wasn’t.
The only two words I can remember were “Pingpong show?”. Gaaaawd. I am not conservative by any means, but I was scandalized. We can literally see girls (and/or lady boys?) in their neon glow-in-the-dark undies gyrating on poles! And we weren’t even inside any establishment! Eeeek. I really thought it was just one guy who’d be asking that. But no. Every freaking guy in front of every freaking building along that street. >.< To be honest, I would’ve dared to go in one, but I didn’t want to “alienate” the girls, so to speak. But what do you know, after we turned a corner, we saw a joint dedicated for girls (and girls-by-heart). Gaaaah. I think I was not looking at anyone at that point. I just wanted to sit down and find a place to eat.
Good thing we saw Siam Cuisine. It was a restaurant a couple of blocks from the main Patpong street and we hurriedly decided that we would have dinner there already, just for the sole reason that we wanted to sit down, collect ourselves from the experience that we just had and breathe. That proved to be a good decision as Siam Cuisine’s food was great. We had our first hit of spicy Thai food in this place. The beef and chicken dishes the girls ordered were deliciously hot! I, on the other hand, ordered Pad Thai (of course), and thoroughly enjoyed what was served. I found it interesting that they served the egg omelette-style on top of the noodles. They normally already mix it in the dish so I found that to be a welcome change. To no one’s surprise, the iced milk tea we all had was really good too.
After dinner, we braved the Patpong district again to see if we can shop for just about anything before going home. We passed by a night market, dotted sporadically by night clubs, and a sidewalk strip with products ranging from sun dresses, girly accessories and plastic male parts (Eep!), but no one really bought anything. We decided to go back to the hotel by that time and were gloriously ripped off by the cab driver that we got. (200 Baht from Patpong to Sanam Pao, we figured from the next day’s trip, was a huge amount to pay for that short a distance.)
Dazed from the night that was and excited for the day ahead (first day with no wakeup call!), we decided to retire and sleep. I posted a status in FB and Twitter just before settling in bed: “Patpong, never again…”. It was thirty minutes past two in the morning.
Next: Bling bling, the Golden Buddha and tricky massages.