Cheap hotels and other travel tips

Overwhelming, loud, crowded: these are just a few words that could be used to describe the massive Chatuchak Weekend Market. That said, this is one attraction visitors to Bangkok on the weekends surely cannot miss out on. It is one of the largest markets in Asia, and hosts thousands of vendors and stalls to prove it. Rare art pieces, northern handicrafts, genitalia-shaped soap: you name the souvenir, Chatuchak is bound to have it. The best time to visit is in the morning. It is not as hot and vendors are more likely to give shoppers a deal, as the first sale of the day is meant to bring good luck. Be sure to barter, as well.

Bangkok shopping pick : Talad Rot Fai Srinakarin Night Market : A shopping paradise for fans of vintage stuff: If you are into things in vintage style, then you will find your place at the Warehouse Zone and Rod’s Antiques areas. Products are impressive in variety and quantity. And shoppers can get more inspiration for their love from many fellow vintage stuff lovers and hunters there. Genuine vintage and antique items available: Collectors can rest assure that items showcased at Rod’s Antiques section like French chandeliers, classic cars, motorbikes, cameras and kitsch furniture are all real things. Some comes from Thailand while others made their long way from all over the world (American, Europe, China and Myanmar) to shine their beauty at the market.

If you think Siam Paragon is gargantuan, wait till you know about Central World right next to Siam Paragon. Overall, its area size is a whopping 830,000 square metres dedicated to the retail shops, restaurants and entertainment. This makes Central World the largest shopping mall in the country and one of the world’s biggest. With a size this big, one only ought to say that it has everything from luxury boutiques, the newest technology, gourmet restaurants, entertaiment and so much more. It also houses an ice-skating rink and an outdoor venue for big events such as Bangkok’s New Year countdown celebration. I actually stood here celebrating the New Year in 2014, what an experience! Read more travel tips about Paris, Bangkok or Los Angeles at Bangkok food guide.

Siam Center’s design is a clever marriage between nature and technology. Who would’ve guessed wooden panels and LED screens would look so good together? Here you really must check out all the unusual shop designs! Siam Center houses international brands such as the largest Forever 21, Nike, Steve Maddex, Levis and more. It also boasts national Thai labels such as Jaspal, Baking Soda, Kloset and Greyhound Original.

The Arc de Triomphe is dedicated to the soldiers who fought in the French armies of the Revolution and the First Empire (Napoleonic Wars). Napoleon commissioned the building of this mighty structure in 1806 but did not live to see its completion in 1836. Designed by JF Chalgrin, the massive 50-meter-high arch features bas-reliefs with larger-than-life-size figures, which depict the departure, victories, and glorious return of the French armies. Particularly noteworthy is the bas-relief by Francois Rude on the Champs-Elysees-facing side: Departure of the Volunteers of 1792, also known as The Marseillaise, illustrating the troops led by the winged spirit of Liberty. On the inner surface of the arch are the names of more than 660 generals and more than a hundred battles. From the top of the monument, a viewing platform affords panoramic views of the 12 avenues that radiate from the Place de l’Etoile, including the route from the Champs-Elysees to Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. It’s possible to see all the way to La Defense, Montmartre, and the Eiffel Tower.

If you only visit one major historical tourist attraction in Bangkok, this should be the one. The royal compound lives up to its name, with spectacular structures that would put the most decadent modern monarchs to shame. It’s also the home of Wat Phra Kaeo, which houses the Jade (or Emerald) Buddha. Built in 1782, the grand palace was the royal residence for generations and is still used for important ceremonies and accommodating heads of state. Dress modestly when visiting the Grand Palace, which basically means covering your arms and legs and avoiding any sloppy attire. To avoid any hassle and to make the most of your visit, take the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew Tour. This is a half-day sightseeing tour, either morning or afternoon, with pick up from your hotel and a local guide to put what you are seeing in context. Without a guide, it’s easy to miss important features or not fully understand the relevance of what you are seeing, and the hotel pick up makes the whole experience that much simpler. Source: Flight booking tricks.

Paris shopping pick : Grand Magasins on Boulevard Haussmann, Rue Tronchet & La Madeleine Start exploring this shopping area in Paris by strolling around the Place de la Madeleine. The streets surrounding the church-with its stately neoclassical temple design-are lined with trees and elegant shops, cafes and gourmet food shops such as Fauchon. Follow Rue Tronchet from La Madeleine and you’ll head directly toward the huge department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann (See Department Stores section below for more details). Along the way you’ll pass lots of neat shops. Keep your eyes out for a super handbag and luggage store called La Maroquinerie Parisienne on the right as you approach Boulevard Haussmann. The streets here are lined with shops all along Boulevard Haussmann leading toward the beautiful Opera Garnier. Stop in the huge Monoprix store near Galeries Lafayette for an uniquely Parisian shopping experience. This area is a shopping haven all day long and also after dark when the Opera creates a dramatically beautiful backdrop.

Sainte-Chapelle is rarely used for mass but often serves as a venue for music concerts. Listening to a choir or classical music performance in this space is an inspiring spiritual experience. Sainte-Chapelle is considered a rare jewel among medieval houses of worship and is certainly one of the most exquisite churches in Paris. This masterpiece of Rayonnant Gothic architecture was built from 1242 to 1248 for King Louis IX (Saint Louis) to house the precious relics he had acquired from the Byzantine Emperor. The altar displays a relic of the Crown of Thorns. The chapel is renowned for its breathtaking stained-glass windows, which give the sanctuary an iridescent glow and serene aura. (It’s recommended to visit in the morning and especially on sunny days to appreciate the windows at their most brilliant.) The chapel has 15 stained-glass windows (covering 600 square meters) depicting over 1,000 scenes from the bible, both Old Testament and New Testament stories. The colors and light symbolize divinity and the Heavenly Jerusalem.

Paris restaurant pick : The one haute-cuisine restaurant in Paris that’s really, truly worth it? L’Astrance. Chef Pascal Barbot has the most elegantly lyrical gastronomic imagination of any chef working in Paris today, and it’s expressed by dishes that are often spectacularly simple, like his buttermilk and burnt toast crumb soup. The dish is not always on the menu, but if you tell them you’re desperate for it when you make your reservation, Barbot and maitre d’hotel Christophe Rohat are such nice guys, they might make it for you. Otherwise, you should beg for the mille-feuille of white mushrooms, apple, and foie gras.