Thailand: Shopping in Bangkok
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Lesson: Shopping in Bangkok

Setting the scene:

      The family arrived safely at the international airport in Bangkok, where a limousine took them to a fancy hotel near Lumphini Park. Early the next morning, a company vehicle chauffeured Dad to a tall building near the Chao Phraya River. Mom and a few women went shopping. She agreed to let Mel and Wes explore the city with a Thai friend named Jiap.

People in This Story:
  • Jiap; Jum (street seller); Mel; Wes
  • Brand Name or Company Name item is in green.
  • Slang terms are linked to the Slang Dictionary. Click on the term to view its meaning.
  • "Speed Talk" is in pink; meaning is in [brackets].


    [The three friends stare at a typical morning traffic jam. This one is in the Pratu Nam area.]

    Wes:       What a mess! It's worse than traffic in San Diego or Los Angeles. It's a waste of time to take a taxi. It would take forever to get anywhere.

    Mel:       Jiap, would it make a difference for us to take a bus?

    Jiap:       A Bangkok bus is slower than a taxi. But, we can ride a motorcycle taxi. It is much faster.

    Wes:       What? Hold the phone! You mean weave in and out of that heavy traffic, riding behind some maniac driver? No way! Mom and Dad would never allow us to do that, Mel.

    Mel:       You're right. We probably couldn't get away with it, especially if we had an accident.

    Jiap:       If you want, we can ride on a taxi boat down a Bangkok canal. It is rather fast and a dock is not far from here.

    Wes:       Right on! I like that idea. Let's do it.

    [After taking the taxi boat, the friends stroll along a sidewalk. The air is hot and humid, but many people mill about. Mel stops to chat with a street vender named Jum.]

    Mel:       Hello. Do you speak English? Can you understand me? I do not speak Thai.

    Jum:       No speak good. You want buy Thai food? Special price. Only 20 baht.

    Mel:       It looks good. What do you think, Jiap? Is it safe to eat or will I get sick?

    Jiap:       It is very spicy. Maybe too hot for you. Thai people like very spicy food.

    Wes:       You better not buy it, Mel. Even TexMex food is hard on you. You don't want to take a chance on getting the runs.

    Mel:       I guess you're right. I better pass this time.

    Jiap:       I will take you to a big department store near here.

    [Jiap leads the others to a typical Bangkok shopping mall that is several stories tall and covers a whole block. Thousands of people swarm around. Unlike in the United States, at least one salesman or saleswoman stands behind each counter in the store. They quickly help customers.]

    Mel:       Wow! This is huge! I can spend all day looking at things here.

    Wes:       Whatever you do, don't expect me to be stuck with the tab. When it comes to clothes, I consider it strictly Dutch treat.

    Mel:       Don't you worry about that. I have enough money to buy what I want. Now, let's do some serious shopping. This is gonna [going to] be fun!

    [Mel and Wes finally finish shopping and return to their hotel in preparation for a visit to various Bangkok temples. Click here to see the following story: Temples in Bangkok.]

  • © Page Publisher: Duane R. Hurst