Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Day in Thailand

We weren't sure what would be open on New Year's Day in Bangkok, but we knew no one would start early. We hired a taxi to take us to Chinatown. The driver suggested he drive through the main artery in Chinatown and if we saw something interesting, he would stop and wait.

I mentioned the Bangkok Doll Factory to him and he pointed us in the direction of the toy section of the market. We spent 30 minutes (we could easily have spent more, but that's how much time we budgeted before having him return for us). Anna fell in love with a yarn bird marionette and Drew snagged a multi-pack of Lego-type cars.

Our next stop was Vimanmek Mansion. However, the guard told us it was closed. The zoo was next door and it looked busy, but no one really wanted to go. Our driver asked if we wanted to go to the aquarium. This turned out to be an inspired choice as Siam Ocean World was a terrific treat! While more expensive than we had budgeted, it featured a theme close to the hearts of all school-age boys: Monsters of the Deep.

We were familiar with Underwater World in Guam and have annual passes. At Siam Ocean World, we received a free drink with a souvenir squeaky squid lid, rode on a glass-bottom boat and watched the sharks feed, and ate some of the best popcorn we've had in southeast Asia. We also viewed a 4D short movie as part of our entry package.

On our trip to the Floating Market, we watched a video in the van. Drew fell in love with Pingu. We traipsed through the Siam Paragon Mall trying to find a copy of the DVD without success. For consolation, we let Drew pick the restaurant for lunch; he chose Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok. After eating, we returned to the hotel to wait for our ride to the airport to travel to Chiang Mai. Fortunately, we didn't wait long.