At some point when you are planning your trip to Thailand (especially Bangkok), you are going to read in a guide book, or someone is going to helpfully insist, that you must go to a Thai mall while you are there. And you are going to think, a mall? Why would I take my precious Thai vacation time and go to mall for goodness sake? What kind of lame-o travelers are these?? And you’ll be tempted to question everything else that book or friend encourages you to do in Thailand.
But here’s the thing – they know something you don’t. The Thai people are serious about their malls. We, from the land of capitalists, may have some notion that (insert pompous American attitude here) we have malls – we don’t need your silly Thai malls. And we would be wrong.
Bangkok is a busy, bustling, and very, very warm city. We were there in the cool season and we laughed openly at our friends when they were digging around for a hoodie when the temps were in the high 70s Fahrenheit. I’m mean, that’s just craziness right there! But when the temps the rest of the year can soften the runways at the airport… we realize this really is quite chilly to them.
Temps being that warm outside, people flock to the places where they can shop, and eat, and see a movie… inside with reliable air conditioning. And then these malls became such people magnets, that then the space becomes prime real estate, and you wind up with things like an aquarium and an exotic sports car dealership popping up inside.
We weren’t quite that exciting when we went. The new Star Wars movie was out, so our focus was on getting to a theater. So on this night we learned that Thai movie trailers are AWESOME. Like, every corny, B-movie snippet you ever laughed at strung into one wonderful barrage of previews. Oh the giggles! And yes, the anthem for the king is played, and be respectful and stand. It means a lot to the Thai people. Afterward we found our way through the maze of escalators, the brilliantly lit exterior walkways, and into an almost cool evening – by Bangkok standards.