Having wanted to go to Thailand since I was 20 I finally decided if I don't go now, I probably wont go at all so packed up my backpack (almost as big as me) and headed over in the Summer.
As much as I thoroughly enjoyed my job that I had to leave in order to go, I don't regret going one bit.
To anyone pondering on the thought of travelling just do it. I know of many people working a mundane 9-5 job and complain about it yet don't act upon their wish to travel.
Who wants to get to an older age and think, "What if?" (an more then likely regret not going)
Although I only went for a month I thoroughly enjoyed what Thailand had to offer from the bizarreness of the gogo bars (yes, hanging around with male friends meant many visits) to the tranquility of the paradise like beaches.
If I had the opportunity despite the chaos and humidity of the country I would go back in a heart beat.
Anyway, getting back on point. As well as doing all the tourist shenanigans out there, whilst In Bangkok I felt obliged to visit some of the trainer stores/boutiques I had heard so much about.
After a bit of online research I made by way around the city, it wasn't the delightful stroll I thought it would be.
For anyone that has been to Thailand, you would have noticed the difference in the way in which us, 'Farangs' (foreigners) are treated between the islands and city's by the locals.
On the islands, life is slow and blissful. It's literally paradise in some parts and the locals have a lot of time for you. The majority you would find could also speak English even if it was minimal where as in the city, it seemed like no one did unless you were in the shopping complexes.
This made it some what a challenge when trying to get from A-B.
Going from 3.5 weeks of living life on the beach was like being smacked in the face on my arrival here. Being a city girl I soon got back to the reality of life in the smoke and the lazy beach bum days became a not so distant memory.
Having only spent my first night in Bangkok I didn't see a lot of it, I could only presume it would be like life in London just a bit busier. Well, it was just 100 times more chaotic. You literally cant walk across the road without having a moped or tuk tuk speeding towards you.
As awful as this sounds, the reality became quite humorous.
I met a girl sharing the same dorm as me from South Africa as well as an Australian we met along the way and headed to the Chatuchak market. The girls wanted to browse for jewelery where as I had other ideas.
I had seen online prior to going to Thailand that this market housed a very neat little stall full of all kinds of trainer gems from Vintage Adidas to rare Nike's.
After an hour or so of walking around in the sweltering heat the girls wanted to leave. Leave? Without finding the store? I thought otherwise.
We agreed to depart ways and I continued on the trail for this stall. I didn't want to have gone all that way to give up so soon. After another hour of walking slowly but surely around the maze of rows of the market I finally found the stall.
It was very small but as I expected was full of all sorts of gear from vintage Adidas Gazelles to nippers Nikes.
The guy who runs it didn't seem to be around. It would have been interesting to speak to him about his collection. I'm sure he would have had a few stories to tell and I would have liked to hear what he thought about the majority of the market selling fakes - Vans being the most popular with the western presence.
Unfortunately, none of it was in my size but I suggest to anyone that heads to Bangkok to pay a visit to the market as it houses a very strong fashion scene from streetwear to mod styles.
My next stop entailed a taxi ride back into the city center to track down the majority of stores I had on my list in the famous fashion quarters of Siam Square.
Now you would think that it would be easy to find them with each square having a number but that wasn't to be the case.
I was already feeling it hard from the heat and the 17 hours on a coach and train spent from Phuket to the city so after failing miserable in asking the locals where the following stores were at I had to swerve:
Sneaka Villa, Humankind Factor, Outcast Store.
Thankfully I did stumble across VII Athletic Club and a few others after chatting with a guy working in the skate shop Preduce who had lived in England for several years. Let me tell you that finding him was a massive relief. I also picked up a couple of nice store tees at a very reasonable cost.
My next stop was VII Athletic Club across the road. Now this was a proper store. It reminded me slightly of Size? with the layouts and stock etc.
Again, the selection of women's trainers was very limited with only around 15 styles available, none of which really caught my eye but I did leave with a couple of Nike t-shirts.
The staff were lovely, a big chap served me and answered a lot of my questions about the girls trainer scene in Bangkok of which I found out one didn't really exist.
The store house Jordan's and basketball styles up stairs with the more casual gear and clothing down.
I guess you could call it a trainer enthusiasts place of worship. At least that's what I guess they were getting at with the church like interior from changing rooms to arches.
This is one store definitely worth visiting!
One store you cant miss, makes a change to the usual.
Check out their sites:
The front of the store even looks top notch
The next spot stumbled upon was down the road. A little boutique run by a very nice chap who again, could speak English very well.
He had a fair bit of decent stock from toys to trainers. If anything with the presentation of his little boutique I felt more like I was at an exhibition then in a boutique which I guess makes a nice change to normality.
It's all about the presentation
The final store that I visited was the Genisis store housed in the larger then life MBK centre where you can literally buy anything especially technical and way ahead of its time.
Again, this store was fairly small but made up for it with stock.
Overall, there are defiently bargain to be had in these stores, I only saw a little bit of what is on offer in Bangkok.
If you ever make the trip yourself then be sure to learn the basics of the language and plan your routes before going anywhere in the city.
I personally like taking things as they come however in the boiling smoggy heat I would suggest to have some idea of where it is you want to see and how to get there.
On that note, I will leave you with some other things I liked in Thailand:
Mo;s Burger - Spaghetti Bolognaise Cheese Burger (Sounds horrible but was very nice)
Nail Art- Very cheap compared to the UK from a full set of acrylics to 3D designs
Accessories to make your phone look pretty - From only 25p
Muay Thai - A friend in Thailand is a journalist of the sport, it was a lot better then I expected very addictive
Hello Kitty Shops
Buckets of Booze
... banter, old, friends, new friends, crazy locals, beaches, living the life, banana splits, Buddhas, temples, party's, cheap food, bunk beds, wooden huts, mozzies and hostels to name a few.
Having to rely on using a 3 dongle means no patience when needing to upload photos, may try again tomorrow.
A huge thanks to my old mate Fletch for showing me the delights of Phuket and introducing me to Muay Thai as well as off course Amin who I used to work with at JD for spending a couple of weeks travelling with me and introducing me to Pharell's look a like.
One final note, to those that wish to travel with their trainers, make sure you take an old pair or cleaning utensils This pair of Air Max came back half alive after the dirty streets of Bangkok had their way even after a fine toothbrush and Aussie shampoo scrub down.