Is this even possible, venturing out of central Bangkok for shopping?
Bangkok is probably one of Singaporeans’ favourite places, especially for shopping. Not much more can be said about the shopping malls dotting central Bangkok that we are not familiar with. However there is one hidden gem that many are unaware of: Papaya Vintage Shop.
First, a warning. It is a challenge to get there. I had obtained the address from a blog: Soi Lat Pharo 55/2, Lat Pharo Road. Unfortunately, none of the 4 taxis we hailed initially knew what it said. So off I went into the hotel reception to ask for a Thai translation. With the new address in hand, we tried again. Three or four taxis refused to drive us there, citing that it was too far and not worth their while. One gave a ridiculous price. Another didn’t even know where it was located. Finally, a young man came along in a battered taxi and agreed to drive us there. He wasn’t sure how to get there, but he assured us he would try.
After half an hour and a few wrong turns, we reached what we thought was an old crumbly warehouse unit. I was worried that it might not be worth the time and effort to get there. Boy was I wrong! A middle-aged lady sat at the counter and welcomed us, seemingly swallowed up by the immense collection of knick-knacks. She told us to be careful while in the shop, and that if we fancied anything, to take a picture and show it to her to find out the price. With that in mind, we explored what seemed like a huge labyrinth of used furniture and items. A weird sense of eeriness, nostalgia and awe overcame us. Old armchairs, antique tables and dinner pieces that looked more at home in a castle were displayed in a manner as if patiently waiting for a prince to start his dinner. In another corner, we saw a beautiful bar counter, complete with liquor bottles, bar stools and a beautiful cash register. Climbing up to the second floor, we saw a row of larger than life movie characters, such as the Hulk, Captain America and Wolverine. We also met a couple taking wedding photographs. It is not difficult to understand why, the many pretty pieces of art and furniture will make their photos interesting and unique. In fact, there is even a room available for rent for photo shoots.
Fancy bringing back a life-sized model of Green Lantern? Or a standing surgical lamp? How about airline seats? Well if you have the means to, why not? A warning though, most of what is for sale will not come cheap. In any case, just that trip down memory lane is well worth the time spent in this wonderful place. Platinum Mall and Chatuchak can wait.