When we were back at Bangkok last December, there was a new shopping mall that was IconSiam. Being the typical Singaporean, that became one of the must-go destination, because it’s new!
However, IconSiam is unlike those malls I frequent – because it was nowhere near a BTS station! haiz… That meant plenty of reading up online to find out how exactly we could set our foot there.
Getting to IconSiam from Sukhumvit
First, we tooK BTS to Saphan Taksin on the Silom Line (dark green line), which was the station just before the BTS crossed the river. After alighting, we headed to Exit 2 (initially, my thought was to “follow the crowd”, but unfortunately, everyone was split in where they were heading lol) which led to the Sathorn Pier.
Yes, we were taking a ferry to IconSiam!
Thankfully, there were staff carrying signs for IconSiam herding us to the right queue. However, there were just those few fingers over there and signs were put up for which pier was used for which ferry. That being said, the staff’s assistance did help us to quickly reach the pier and “choped” a good position in the line!
The wait for the ferry (we were one of the first in the line because we just missed the ferry, duh!) was about 10 minutes, though it felt like 1 hour in the Bangkok heat… zzZZ… When it finally came, we quickly took the seats to the left of the ferry, because that would be the side that we could see IconSiam from Chao Praya River when we approach the spanking new mall!
N was quite surprised that I took the window seat; the ferry was open, so the water would splace onto our faces as it careened through the river. Yup, unknown water on my face is a taboo… and I sorta regretted my choice…
The trip to IconSiam took about 10 minutes – which allowed us to enjoy some sights along the river, like going under the Thanon Krung Thon Buri bridge, klapsons The River Residences Bangkok and The Peninsula Bangkok (sorry, I could only see one side of the river lol). The river really felt cooler than being on the streets.
Or maybe it was the sprinkling of the water…
From afar, we could already see the towers of IconSiam looming over the banks, but it was the big sculpture that greeted us as we alighted from the ferry. In a congested city like Bangkok, they really afforded plenty of space for IconSiam – the plaza by the riverside was wide and even with the crowd, didn’t feel claustrophobic!
Entering the building, we were greeted with dark, intimate decorations resembling the old streets of Southeast Asia. The surprise came when we went up the nearest escalator which opened up to mall huge cavernous mall that was decorated with glorious gold and white, just like the exteriors of the tower!
Internal space was also not an issue, as the stores were wide as they were tall. It was like they were recreating shopping streets within a shopping mall! There was an angle where we could see through 2 lines of shops, 2 storeys of them (but about 3 storeys tall) and see the Apple store gleaming at the end. It was a very impactful sight.
Needless to say, there was plenty of shopping and food in IconSiam. We managed to find Greyhound Cafe (if you recalled, I nearly ate at Greyhound Cafe when I went to The Commons, so I just wanted to take the chance to dine in its newest outlet in the comfort of AIRCON).
Lunch at Greyhound Cafe in IconSiam
The cafe received plenty of sunlight, thanks to the high windows and the sky garden outside (which reflected the light, I guess).
I ordered a very healthy salad (it was supposed to be Thai-style noodles, but it came covered with tonnes of vegetables, which was the 2nd time in the trip I felt healthy) to go with my cappuccino, which was adorned with its iconic
dog hound logo. N on the other hand ordered a safe choice of Carbonara and we shared a plate of its signature fried chicken wings.
I must say my salad (I totally forgot what its name was!) was very tasty. There was a lot of crunch, not just from the beansprouts, but also from the cracker-ish fried thingy they added. The serving was deceivingly HUGE. I suppose the narrow opening of the bowl concealed its depth which made me dig for my food like a paleontologist digging for a dino girl.
The wings, on the other hand, was just OK. Yes, it was fried OK, but the batter they used was nothing unique. The mid-wing was also one bone missing – which meant that we were eating half wings. Singaporeans will know the feeling – that feeling when you ordered your Prawn Mee and when you turn over the big prawns covering your noodle, you realised they were sliced into halves and the 4 big prawns you had were actually 2.
That kind of feeling.
That being said, dining in Greyhound Cafe felt very laissez faire despite the crowd. It was fun watching people running around the garden outside and taking photos like they were at Eiffel Towel. But come to think of it, there aren’t many places in Bangkok where you could run around like you’re filming a K drama without getting hit by a car.
The rest of our time in IconSiam was spent just browsing around – I grew to hate such huge malls because the amount of things I got to see did not correspond to the amount of walking I had to do! But oh well… We spent some time stuck in a a bath soap store and I actually got crazy enough to buy a bottle of cologne that I started hating the smell 3rd day into using it.
View Bangkok from the Top at King Power Mahanakhon
The other touristy thing we did was to visit King Power Mahanakhon. I remember taking a picture of it when it was almost built (though given its design, it looked like it has never finished construction), when my BTS rolled past Chong Nonsi BTS station. A few trips later, I realised we had been seeing it popping over the skyline as we zipped around the city, but never visited it.
So to the lego building we went.
We bought the tickets to the open observation deck (aptly called Mahanakhon Rooftop, which was literally the rooftop; the indoor observatory Mahanakhon SkyWalk, which was also included in the price, was just 4 storeys below and is a Plan B for adverse weather). That same ticket also included a free drink we could redeem from the rooftop bar. Because there was a pre-opening promotion (er… yes, despite seeing it all these years, the observation deck was only opened last Dec…), we got our tickets at about SGD20 each.
The elevator wall was made of TV screens that showed an immersive animation of the cityscape surrounding the skyscraper. It was quite like that seen in One World Trade Center’s One World Observatory’s elevator, except that the former did an animation of the development of Manhattan island as the elevator progressed upwards.
The lift first opened into the indoor observation deck Mahanakhon SkyWalk at level 74, which in itself provided unblocked views of the Bangkok metropolis (and yes, the window panes were clean and free of scratches).
Another glass lift took us up to the Mahanakhon Rooftop open deck area; there was a drizzle right before we reached Mahanakhon, and we counted our blessings that the rain had stopped and and the deck opened by the time we visited!
The entire rooftop was available for the observation deck, which was split into the prominently glass-floor area and a terraced omnitheatre area.
Climbing up the terraced seating, we were brought to a smaller open space that offered unblocked, stunning views of the sprawling urban footprint of Bangkok! Yes, I think that small climb was super worth the effort!
Then, we claimed our drink from the bar that was situated just beneath the terraced seating and sat on the terrace to look at the others who wanted to walk on the section of the deck with glass floors hanging over the edge of the building.
In human language, there was only a piece of glass between you and the sidewalk 314m below.
It was cute to see people immediately regretting their choice to enter the space and crawling on the glass panels. More often than not, people were lying on the floor to get their friends to take pictures of them from the top.
As there was a restriction to the number of people allowed on the fishtank, the queue to enter the section was snaking (perhaps with over 50 people in the queue) and the wait about 15 minutes. During this time, you would be handed condoms for your shoes (so that you don’t dirty the glass panels the staff painstakingly cleaned, duh).
Needless to say, N and I did not partake in that activity, because we found our time better spent soaking in the views and enjoying the
gale breeze through our hair, than queueing up for a sense of dread.
By the time we were up on Mahanakhon Rooftop, it was late afternoon; the sky was overcast from the drizzle earlier (in retrospect, how the hell did we think we were safe from lightning strikes up there?!) and we were unable to see the sunset. However, the heavy clouds created another scene for us and offered us a cooling experience in heated Bangkok!
So yes, the weather did not offer me a HD 4K view of Bangkok cityscape, but it was kind enough to let me enjoy a rather clear view in a non-punishing environment, which was the best anyone visiting an observation deck would wish for!
That was my experience at Bangkok’s latest 2 tourist spots in Bangkok: IconSiam and King Power Mahanakhon. If you enjoyed this post, do give a thumbs up and subscribe to my blog for more travelogues!
Or, if you can’t wait to read my new travelogues on Bangkok, you can read up on some inspiration on how I found hipster cafes in Bangkok that were near the BTS stations, or had the fluffiest pancakes in Bangkok!
Till then, stay wanderlust!