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NATHALIE'S LIFESTYLE EXPERIENCE

Top 10 things to do in Bangkok *

Markets & Malls Boat tour Sirocco Restaurant Cabaret Grand Palace

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Please find herewith a compilation of reviews consisting entirely of the ones I feel are worthy of recommendation...

1. VISIT MARKETS & MALLS

Bangkok is a shopper's Mecca, with something for everyone at prices to fit any budget. Great deals on clothes and accessories, gems and jewellery, handicrafts and gift items can be found throughout the city at outdoor markets or modern malls and luxury retail complexes. And with the BTS Skytrain, river ferry service and new MRT subway, much of Bangkok's shopping is within fast and easy reach. I am a bargain hunter, that's why I personally like the bustling bazaar atmosphere of street markets. But I have also listed some elegant shopping malls for fashion victims...

FOR HER: PRATUNAM MARKET
PRATUNAM MARKET located next to the 'Amari Watergate Hotel' is my secret tip in Bangkok.
It's not a typical tourist market! Many Thai traders and vendors come to make their daily purchases at Pratunam and sell them later in their own shops - much more expensive, of course! The choice is yours...here you'll buy the most fashionable and 'real fake' T-shirts, shoes, belts, jeans and bags at wholesale prices. I have bought fancy belts (2 € / piece), a "Van Dutch" T-Shirt for my daughter (1€) and beautifully embroidered jeans (~ 50 €). I have seen similar trousers in Nice, France, for approx. 900 € and was proud about my shopping deal. Pratunam truly is a "Fashion Market"! Please note: I'm talking about the outdoor street market and not about the indoor "Pratunam City Complex" next to it.
Take a taxi to the Amari Watergate Hotel, 847 Petchburi Road, or the Sky Train to Chit Lom Station. On the left you'll find the 'Pratunam City Complex' and next to it, in a side road, the Pratunam Market.

FOR HIM: PANTHIP PLAZA
(IT MALL)
Business people or just anyone with a computer will be overwhelmed in this shopping mall.
The five story PANTHIP PLAZA, also located in Central Bangkok is totally dedicated to competitively priced PCs, software, hardware and anything to do with computers or digital cameras. It's an excellent place to bring your computer for repairs or upgrades, as labour and components are quite inexpensive and the work is very good. You'll also find a huge selection of computer programmes, CD's, DVDs and MP3 compilations priced under 7€. I've bought the latest "Sanyo-Xacti" - a digital movie & photo camera...all in one (~450 €)
. www.pantipplaza.com

MORE MALLS & MARKETS
MALL: EMPORIUM - Bangkok's top shopping mall for fashion.
Upmarket boutiques selling designer labels such as Versace, Chanel, Hermes, Dior etc at competitive prices.Shoppers will also find jewellers, an art & crafts pavilion, restaurants & cinemas.
Take the skytrain - the mall is directly connected to the "Phrom Phong Station" by a footbridge.

MALL: ERAWAN - Bangkok's "Boutique Mall".
It is adjacent to the Erawan hotel and joined to Amarin Plaza by an elevated walkway. It's full of up-market designer brands and also features a wellness & beauty center and a variety of restaurants.
Skytrain: Chit Lom Station.
Take the Skybridge to the mall.

MARKET: PATPONG NIGHT MARKET - Bangkok's largest night market.
Here you can find practically everything. Clothing, clocks, watches, leather goods, silk, souvenirs, but you must be able to bargain well! The main products on sale are ready-to-wear garments with many imitation brand name items, Versace, Gucci, Levi's, Nike, etc. Also available are pirated CD's, DVD's and videos, computer software, Rolex watch copies and so on.
Open every night. My tip: Negotiate well and always start with half the price they are asking for !!

MARKET: CHATUCHAK MARKET - the world's biggest weekend market
.
The always crowded market covers some 35 acres with approx. 9000 stalls and sees over 200.000 visitors a day. Here you can buy everything: from clothing, handicrafts and old books to animals and furniture. It's a great place to pick up souvenirs, curios or a piece of art as a memory!
Open on Sat. & Sun. from 8:00 - 18:00. Take the BTS Skytrain or subway to Chatuchak Station


2. SEE BANGKOK BY BOAT

Please note: This trip can be a full-day experience! The easiest and cheapest way to observe the way of life along the Chao Phraya River is by boarding a "Chao Phraya River Express boat". The route starts at Wat Ratchasingkhon pier near Krungthep Bridge and ends at the pier of Nonthaburi (a province north of Bangkok). This special ferry runs all day, stopping at key attractions along the way: Want to see the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Chinatown, the Royal Barge Museum and other attractions on historic Rattanakosin Island? Then you should book this trip !!

Get a one-day tourist boat pass and jump from pier to pier. Tickets are available at the "Central Pier" at the BTS Saphan Taksin Station, the Phra Athit Pier near Khao San Road and the Maharaj Pier at the Grand Palace.
An English speaking guide will explain the sites on the river, and tell you at which pier to jump off to fill out your itinerary. You'll also get a free river guidebook.
Fare: The fares for a standard express boat trip are from 5 to 16 baht, depending on the distance. 100 Baht for the entire day (2 Euro). Cost cover all Chao Phraya Express Boats. Service available daily from 9:30h - 15:00h.Tel: 02-6236001-3. Web: www.chaophrayaboat.com


3. DINE AT THE WORLD'S HIGHEST OPEN-AIR RESTAURANT

The Dome at "State Tower" is a complete entertainment complex of Bangkok with awards winning restaurants & bar.

SIROCCO
My preferred restaurant - and may be the most spectacular one that I have seen so far while travelling the world. It is also the highest restaurant in the world. Sirocco features Mediterranean food and the Sky Bar, the outdoor bar that voted recently as the "Hot Tables" by Condé Nast Magazine. They report: "Bangkok's beau monde is rhapsodizing over Sirocco, the favorite new eatery of moguls and models out to preen and be seen". Important note: Check out weather conditions as the restaurant is closed during the rain period. See also my photo-gallery... MORE

DISTIL
Distil is a combination of a DJbar, smoking lounge and restaurant. Experience another level of life as Distil features world class Grey Goose vodka, single malt whiskey, hand rolled cuban cigars, fresh imported oysters and excellent wines.

MEZZALUNA
Distil and Mezzalune are the best alternatives if Sirocco's open-air terrace is closed. Dine in elegant warm surroundings and enjoy finest Italian food that combines cuisine from all 21 regions of Italy.. Like Sirocco, Mezzaluna has also received the honor from Conde Nast Traveler as "Hot Table". They report: "Mezzaluna draws crowds with its stunning setting and drop-dead views." Being on the top of Bangkok's second tallest skyscraper certainly helps in qualifying that statement.

Contact
Sirocco & Sky Bar / Distil / Mezzaluna @ "The Dome", State Tower
1055/1713 - 1716 Silom Road. Tel: +66-2-624-955
E-Mail: reservations@thedomebkk.com ; Web: www.thedomebkk.com


4. GO TO THE CABARET "CALYPSO BANGKOK"

If you haven't already enjoyed this Thai treat, stop by a cabaret and see a stage performance by talented, beautiful performers. The shows at "Calypso Bangkok", for example, are well-choreographed acts designed to bring out the talents of the actor and actresses. Prepare to be entertained in grand style at this world renown cabaret show and see over 50 talented transvestites performing in a spectacular dance show. You'll find the familiar red curtains, long legs and feathers, plus constantly changing costumes, decorations and concepts. If you come to Bangkok, don't miss this extravaganza. There's non other like it and it is highly recommended - also if you want to take your kids along!

Take a taxi to "Asia Hotel", 296 Phayathai Road. BTS Sky Train: Ratchthewi Station.
Tickets: 1.000 Bht (~20 €) for adults and 500 Bht. for children (~10 €)
Show time at 20:15 pm and 21:45 pm


5. VISIT THE GRAND PALACE

One of the most visited attractions in Bangkok is the Grand Palace, which is a complex of many buildings dating from 1782 to the late 19th century. It was built for the coronation of KIng Rama I. The area of the original palace was about 51 acres. King Rama II expanded the area to todays size of about 60 acres. The huge compound that includes Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), is enclosed by a high fortress which occupies an area of about one square mile. The Grand Palace was built as the residence for the Chakri Kings but today is used for royal ceremonies and state occasions. A trip to Bangkok would not be complete without visiting the Royal Grand Palace.

Inside the Royal Grand Palace are the Maha Monthien group of buildings. The most striking features are the late 18th century "Chakri Throne Hall" built in traditional Thai style and the "Dusit Throne Hall" designed with a combination of European and Thai styles. The Dusit Palace compound includes 10 palaces that have been converted into museums. All museums hold priceless treasures of royal families.

Opening Hours: Daily from 8.30-12:00 am; 1:00-3.30 pm (except during special royal ceremonies)
Please note: A visit can be a full-day experience! Tel: 0-222-0094; 0-2224-3273.
Entrance ticket includes free admission to :

Royal Thai Decorations & Coin Museum
Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
Vimarnmek Palace See details next page...


Vimarnmek Palace Temple 'Wat Phra Kaeo' Safari World Snake farm Jim Thompson House


* This special feature "Bangkok Experience" - including all photos & text - has been produced by Nathalie Gütermann for Nathalies-Lifestyle.com © 2005. The reproduction of any text, photographs, layout etc. needs the written permission of the Chief Publisher.

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