Downtown Bangkok Shopping Centers
Thailand is obviously well-known for its food and food culture. When I read about a mall food court called Food Republik, located in Siam Center, I knew it would be a good place for us to visit. First, because it is highly recommended and second, Siam Center is located in Pathum Wan District, known for its shopping. It was a good excuse to visit this part of Bangkok.
We were going to stay in this area, as there are many hotels close by. When I googled around for “traveling with a baby in Bangkok” advice, a lot of suggestions mentioned the big shopping centers as places that would have children’s accommodations (food, changing and nursing areas, family friendly, etc). Hotels plus family friendly places seemed to equal a great location, but we did decided on more of a resort for this trip – as it was the same price!
Since we stayed at the resort and on the edge of the city center, we had to travel to the shopping areas. A cab seemed like the most efficient way to go. The ride to Siam Center took a little while because we hit some traffic, but I was ok going slower anyway. The driver dropped us off a block or so away, and gestured in the direction we should head. It’s so funny the picture I get in my head of a new place before we visit – based on pictures or google maps or whatever – and the reality once there. Nothing was as I’d have imagined it (go figure). Having never traveled to SE Asia before, I didn’t have the confidence that I have developed for European travel – knowing how most things work. All the same, it wasn’t actually overwhelming when we realized we had no real idea where we were going, it was fine. I think we walked a block or two, bought a fresh juice, and eventually asked someone where to go? We walked up to cross over the street on a sky bridge, and then we were there.
Siam Center was quiet when we arrived, with a lot of very nice shopping. Not the luxury shopping that Siam Paragon next door has, but more boutique experiences. I think I remember Matt saying he liked it best. We walked around a bit, then found our way to Food Republik for lunch.
At Food Republik, you load money onto a card, and then can choose from a ton of different vendors. Food options range from many different Asian cuisines, to Indian, and Middle Eastern. There are many options, all delicious. The amount of choices was overwhelming in the best way. We bought dishes from a handful of places, the parked ourselves to eat. Honestly, I think it was a great place to go with the kids: lots of options for everybody and a casual experience. It looked like there were people on their lunch break and a few tourists, but overall not crowded or stressful. In Siam Center there were also other dine-in restaurants, and some fast places to grab bites to eat, too. We ended up trying a matcha ice cream cone, on the way out 🙂
And this is where I win the award for worst blogger/blog post ever because I have no pictures from the experience! Ah well, sometimes I just try to enjoy the moment, you’ll have to forgive.
After lunch we found our way over to Siam Paragon mall, just to look around. They have family rooms for changing and nursing babies, so we utilized that to the fullest while there. This was the most like a mall we’d be used to, but with a lot of luxury and higher end shopping. I noticed there were many Arab families out shopping – and I realized, of course, it was Eid (when people have time off)! In a way, it sort of felt like being home in the UAE- that is to say, familiar, I guess. It’s funny, after living in Abu Dhabi, when we see Emiratis, or Gulf Arabs, abroad there is a feeling of kinship, like, “Oh! You’re here too! Eid Mubarak!” Expat life is amazing in how your horizons, knowledge, and community expands. The world really does become smaller, but friendlier. Vastly more interesting. I don’t know if that sounds weird. Maybe we’re weird. But we love those connections.
After the Paragon, we crossed back through Siam Center, and over to a bridge that connected to MBK Center. The bridge/walkway goes over Rama I Rd.
MBK Center is huge, and bustling. We first found ourselves in a maze of electronics stalls, and then somehow got into Tokyu department store. I think I was looking for baby boy bathing suits, as Henry needed one. I was also looking for a family restroom to change and nurse him in. We didn’t find a baby bathing suit, but did find a grocery store, which we perused for a long while. Who doesn’t love a foreign grocery store?
We eventually left the store to look around the rest of MBK Center, but soon decided it was best to go home for the evening. On the way out to the taxis, there one of the better souvenir shops we’d seen, so Porter picked himself up a big toy tuk tuk!
Catching a taxi was easy and we headed home during sunset. On the way out of the downtown area, we were stopped in traffic in the Lumpini Park area. Had we stayed close by as originally planned, I had planned on visiting this park often for walks, playground time, and squeezing in a few runs. As I write this and remember things I am finding myself ready to go back to Bangkok for more!