Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ladyboys at MBK Bangkok 21st March 2012

Siam square,  MBK and Ladyboys..

Today's agenda, well there really isn't one. Just under a week left in Bangkok and the list of things to do has dwindled to practically zilch. I could cover the same ground again, and I might just do that with the Air force museum, or I could splurge a bit and take on those Thai cultural experiences that could leave finances rather dented. The Tiger temple is one such experience, where there isn't actually a temple, but a group of Monks that have a few domesticated tigers, and I'm sure you can imagine the tourist circus that follows. Plenty of cash required just to go and fondle a doped (allegedly) tiger, about 1,200 b minimum, then more to get close and personal and that prize photo. There is an option to go by train, but then getting to the actual tigers complex is a pain, not easy at all, so I've read anyway.

A last minute decision, to go and look around the MBK shopping centre, the place in town for bargain hunters according to a website, a cinema there to. The express boat down to the Central pier, also called Sathorn Taksin, 30p and as always crowded to the roof. Siam central is the station that gives access to the plazas and squares, 60p is the fare from the Sathorn Taksin Sky Train station. The view of Bangkok's concrete and glass jungle is quite impressive from up here,  Worth seeing from the  different perspective as buildings and architecture not noticed before make my photographic hall of fame!

A mass exodus at Siam central, it's also the connecting station for the south to north line and the airport line, worth noting and could save a hefty taxi fare for the budget conscious traveller. On the right, a connecting walkway to Siam Centre whilst on the left, down to street level and into Siam Square, no sign of the MBK yet. A quick look at Siam Centre whilst I'm here, Siam Paragon too since its just next door.

Very Nice and Expensive!
Siam centre is the place to get those gadgets and get connected. Laptops, notepads and tablets along with thousands of the latest 3rd and 4th generation phones. Nothing is cheap here though - all branded goods, all priced to just a fraction below prices paid in the UK, some considerably more even.  Latest Blackberry is here for £450, although there is a scheme where tourists can get back the VAT. Four floors of consumer electronics, busy with mainly Thai teenagers haggling over the latest smart phones and fashionable gadgets.

Next door, the Siam Paragon. Home to Imex cinema, a seal-life centre and exhibition space. Add to that, 5 floors of exclusive luxury shopping and this is where folks who have that passion for indulgence let it all hang out! Only one problem, the place is  largely empty. The Prada shop, empty, as is the Armani shop and most of the others. Food court in the basement is doing brisk trade though, most dishes quite reasonably priced between £3-6, and a good variety of local and Japanese. I need to make a hasty exit before the temptation to purchase that Rolex watch actually turns into reality!

Off to find the MBK shopping centre, renowned as a shopping experience for the more Ordinary folk of Bangkok. It's massive, 4, maybe 5 floors of garments, watches, electrics, home and house, and ladyboys. The fashion and garments are all on the first floor, and an all to familiar setup. Row upon row of 'I Love Bangkok' t-shirts, all the same designs, all the same price. Occasionally a stall with something different, but the prices nothing to write home about, similar to UK prices in many respects.

A lot of music pumping out from the basement - those night club classic floor fillers from the late 90's. Down to see whats around, maybe some bargains. More of the same really, with one big difference - Ladyboys! Of all the places to see a ladyboy show, well, not a show in the real sense, Just a bit of larking around promoting the MBK fashion show. Glitz and glamour, dynamic but without the overkill. No outrageously colourful frocks, nothing particularly revealing, infact it's all very tastefully done. Russian tourists are bemused, having their photos taken. Quite a crowd gathering, watching the flamboyant show and kids are even joining in. As much as I want to stay and explore the place further, I need to get back for the last boat, otherwise an expensive taxi ride back to Khao San.

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