Bangkok is an incredible city. A visit to Thailand’s capital is an experience both memorable and exciting. There is so much going on, almost constantly, so many sights and sounds and even smells that there really is no other place to compare it with on earth.
If you are staying anywhere near the Bangkok city center, this will certainly be one of the most exciting trips of your entire life. And, to tell the truth, this holds true even if this is your second, third, or hundredth visit to Bangkok!
Once you disembark from your plane, and make your way through Immigration, whether with a visa free entry or a obtaining for yourself a Thailand visa on arrival, the short trip from the international airport, BKK to Siam (in the Bangkok city center), and finally checking in to your hotel BKK Siam, is one filled with anticipation of all the excitement and energy found in the city of Bangkok, Thailand.
The vision of downtown Bangkok is simply and wonderfully mind-boggling. It takes a little getting used to, but every moment is fun — having fun is one thing you’re assured of in this sprawling and dynamic metropolis.
Amidst the whirlwind of new sensations, the BTS Skytrain rushes by overhead. A fleet of cars and motorbikes slides by, alternately halting and crawling and rushing with the flow of the city’s notorious traffic, and occasionally including some other kind of vehicle such as a pickup truck with benches in the back, or a motorized cart, or something even more difficult to describe, such as the famously sputtering Thai Tuk Tuk. Crowds of people pass by, shopping and talking, perhaps even stopping on a corner to say a prayer at the nearby shrine. A variety of exotic foods and clothing and other goods are sold from stalls along the roadsides.
And all of this activity is done with the celebrated Thai smile amidst the frenetic, yet somehow also relaxed, energy that is truly a hallmark of Thai culture and especially of Bangkok.
Amidst this symphony of stimuli and sensation, there is a central point of the city, which is called Siam. This is the actual Bangkok city center and where you will discover the true nexus of everything that makes Bangkok such an amazing place to visit. Siam offers the best of everything in Bangkok.
Most notably, it is here in this bustling area of Bangkok, that you will find all of the most famous spots for shopping lovers. The shopping malls in Siam are a goal all the world over for those love to browse and buy. And also for those who love to relax, to eat, and to enjoy themselves with family and friends! This should come as no surprise as the cluster of shopping malls in Siam is really extraordinary. The typical mall is seven stories high and completely, very coolly, air-conditioned—which is a huge attraction right from the start, a fact you will realize as soon as you make the trip from BKK to Siam in the hot and sticky clime in which Bangkok is situated.
While the lower floors usually offer more bargains, the upper floors may be devoted to anything from fashionable apparel to electronics. You will find anything from bookstores, to every kind of shoe and clothing, to gold and jewelry shops galore, to printing shops and beauty salons, and even massage parlors. A floor or two containing a splendid range of dining is usually found on the 5th and/or 6th floor. The uppermost floor typical features a cinema and a bowling alley along with some other type of entertainment zone such as a kids’ zone or laser tag or karaoke booths. And to make things even more complete, there are so many shopping malls available all together in this tightly bunched central area. Siam has it all!
Each of the shopping malls in Siam are even specialized to some degree, from very posh and high-end to an anything goes venue for wheeling and dealing.
Paragon shopping center, with its attractive fountain display, starts us off the top of the list, with name brand products ranging from foods to apparel and even auto supplies (for the most expensive cars!). A place where you are probably most likely to spot a Thai celebrity, the BTS Skytrain Siam Station connects directly to Paragon with a bridge. This is important as the Siam station is the central interchange station for the two lines of the BTS Skytain. From here you can ride to the north or south of the metropolis, down to the industrial suburbs past Samut Prakan, or change lines to ride out all the way across the river to the great area of Bangkok’s westernmost reaches.
And if you are coming from BKK to Siam, connecting from the Airport Link train to the BTS Skytrain at Phayathai Station, the Siam Station just a couple of stops down!
Beneath Paragon, in the underground levels, is housed the vast and fascinating Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World. An amazing aquarium 10,000 square meters in size, it is home to a tremendous variety of undersea creatures.
Next door to Paragon is Siam Discovery, which besides being a great mall in its own right is also home to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum!
Across the street is a little square of exciting and trendy shops called Siam Centrepoint. One Skytrain stop up, on the Silom line, you can lose yourself in the massive MBK centre, which is the ultimate place for bargaining, whether you have your eye on clothes or electronics.
Not far from Siam is the newest large high-end shopping mall, Central Embassy. And it there is even more as you circle around the area. Choosing accommodations in a hotel BKK Siam is the best choice you will make.
But shopping is not all that Siam has to offer by any means. Culture is readily apparent and accessible.
The Jim Thompson House is well worth a visit. Built by the American silk industry entrepreneur (and some say spy), who later disappeared in the 1960s under mysterious circumstances, his house is a beautiful composite of traditional Thai teakwood architecture. It also contains fascinating works of art, a delightful restaurant and an excellent shop for picking up some fine quality silk souvenirs.
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, located just past Siam Discovery, presents interesting exhibitions from the best of local artists.
However, if you are looking for a bit wilder and more astonishing experience, try out the Playhouse Theatre Cabaret. Located just across the street from VIE Hotel Bangkok, this is a world of talent that will amaze you.
Extremely easy to get to, VIE Hotel Bangkok is centrally located in the Siam district. A few steps from the Ratchathewi BTS Station, which is just one stop from Siam (a ride of five minutes), it is also possible simply to make the walk of only ten minutes right to MBK Centre, and just beyond that are all of the other amazing shopping malls of Siam and the sights as well.
This, along with its comfortably spacious rooms, absolutely delicious gourmet dining and famously personable service, makes VIE the best hotel for enjoying the Siam district of Bangkok.
While a certain number of countries are granted a visa-exemption entry into Thailand at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and other entry points for a short period, a Thailand visa on arrival is not difficult to get either, once you land and proceed to the Immigration section.
At this time 19 countries are allowed a Thailand visa on arrival (as opposed to visa-exemption or having to actually make a visa before landing).
Currently these countries include Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, and Vanuatu.
The visa itself does not cost much at THB 2,000. It is also required that your passport must be valid for at least 30 days, you will have to show evidence of where you will be staying and of a ticket onward within 15 days.
However, to be sure, please do check these details with the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs before your flight. You definitely do not want any obstacles in your way to explore the magic of the Siam district in Bangkok and before you check in to VIE Hotel Bangkok.