Another early start for another early flight this morning! This time from Chiang Mai back to Bangkok. As most of you probably know, Thailand (and much of SE Asia) has experienced a lot of flooding recently (there are some photos that we took from the plane where you can see the extent of the flooding). At the time of our arrival in Bangkok, it was at it's absolute worst and only the central parts of Bangkok were free from flooding. With this in mind, we decided that we would spend our few days local to Lou's brother's condo and when we are back in December, we will do the "tourist" things- some of which are suffering due to the flooding, i.e. the Grand Palace.
So, what to do in Bangkok when the majority of the city is under water?! Shop of course! In our defence, we didn't actually buy a lot but we did visit a LOT of malls! With Bee as our local guide, we visited MBK, the most well known of Bangkok's malls- it was a little overwhelming to say the least! After a look around MBK, Bee then took us to a local secret- Platinum Shopping Mall. This place is incredible. It's about 7 stories high and is basically a wholesale mall where all the locals buy the clothes to sell in their shops but it's also open to the general public too. The clothes are ridiculously cheap and beautiful but unfortunately designed for tiny Thai people and not big fat westerners like us!!! We had a good browse and managed to buy a jumper each (because that's just what we need in the heat and humidity of SE Asia!). After heading back to Matthew's place, we decided to head out and see if there was anything on at the cinema that we fancied. Lucky for us there was the new Justin Timberlake film on (In Time, well worth a watch) later in the evening so we decided we'd see that. When purchasing the tickets, the lady was going through all the pricing structures with us and pointing to where the different seats were and how much they were... she didn't tell us about the seats at the back, so I asked what they were. She told me that they were the premium sofas and could be ours for the equivalent of £4 each- SOLD!!! We had a couple of hours to kill before the film so we had something to eat and had a look around the mall (yes another mall) that the cinema is in. This one is called Terminal 21 and is brand new, on the Sukamvit Road (which is where Matthew lives), the place is themed after cities around the world and you'll see from our photos that the London floor is pretty impressive! It's 9 stories tall and has everything you could possibly think of! After stocking up on cinema snacks, we headed to our sofa to watch the film. We weren't disappointed, massive reclining, super comfy sofa just for us! In Thailand, everyone stands to listen to the National Anthem just before the film starts, it goes on forever!!
So, after a pretty "western" couple of days and some time spent with Matthew and his family, Bee asked us if we'd like to go to a temple with her. We weren't really sure what it was for but decided that we would do it as it'd be good to see something "real" and traditionally Thai. The gist of the event was that it was the anniversary of a monk having died and they have a ceremony every year in honour of him. We got there and were welcomed in traditional friendly Thai style but still none the wiser as to what was going on. After a while, the monks came in and sat at the front of the room. They then began chanting, which was quite haunting, not in a scary way though! After some time with them chanting, they were fed a huge feast. At this point, we went to another temple next door. Bee showed us how to get our fortunes read, it basically involves kneeling on the floor and shaking a pot of numbered sticks, a stick will fall out and then you find a piece of paper which corresponds to the number and this tells you your fortune. It was lovely to experience all of this with Bee and spend some time with the family.
On our last evening, we headed out with the family and some of Matthew's friends for dinner before heading home and packing (again!) ready for our 3am taxi to the airport- next stop, Bali! We can't wait to go back to Bangkok and explore a bit more when the floods have hopefully resided a bit.