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Bangkok 2013

Once again, thanks to my work, I got an opportunity to spend a few days exploring a city in the Far East. This time, I had four days in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Luckily, only two of those days were going to be for work. The rest of the time was mine to use as I wanted. And what I wanted was to explore as much of the city as possible using public transport and my own two legs. 🙂

Day One

Bangkok is very Buddhist, so temples aplenty, but I didn’t have much trouble finding a mosque too. And, as you’d expect for an Asian capital, there was no shortage of Indian food if you were keen to chow down on some desi khana.

So… accommodation. I booked myself into a “boutique hotel” – whatever the hell that means – called VIE MGallery. As you know, I prefer walking and public transport to taxis, so it was mainly chosen for its location. To me a holiday hotel is just a base for exploration.

Ratchathewi District, Bangkok
I’m staying in the Ratchathewi district. Getting an early start so I can make the most of my limited time here.
Masjid Haroon in Bangkok
Jummah (Friday) prayers at the Masjid Haroon in Bangkok

Day One Summary: I walked all the way across town and back. Must have sauntered past several hundred Bangkok hookers during the day. NOT ONE said ‘hello handsome’ or flirted with me. I have, however, been harassed by what seems like thousands of taxi drivers. I can only conclude that my public image is basically ‘lazy asexual’ – rather than the ‘dynamic lothario’ vibe I was hoping for.

Bangkok Skytrain
The legendary Bangkok traffic jams. Horrendous. So decided I was going to use the “Skytrain” as much as possible to get around the city.
Siam Centre
Famous Siam Centre… an expensive place to shop by Thai standards.
Paragon complex in Siam Square
The guide books say visiting a Thai cinema is an unmissable experience while you’re here. So this afternoon I went and watched “Gravity” – Clooney, Bullock, Sci-Fi – at the huge Paragon complex in Siam Square. Nice place. Cheap tickets. Very high-tech. One VERY WEIRD scene just before the film though. A 90 second propaganda film saluting the King of Thailand was played, replete with montage of his boring life. EVERY Thai in this massive multiplex cinema ROSE TO THEIR FEET. Paying their respects to a VIDEO of the King. Very Orwellian. I refused to stand up. Firstly, he’s not my monarch. Secondly, I’m not giving a standing (silent) ovation to a ****ing cinema screen! Worshipping leaders is very common in third world countries.
Lotus dealership - Siam Square
Lotus dealership – Siam Square
Rolls Royce dealership - Siam Square
Rolls Royce dealership – Siam Square
Bamboo Bar, Mandarin Oriental.
Sipping cold drinks in the world’s best hotel… The Bamboo Bar, Mandarin Oriental.
The Bamboo Bar, Mandarin Oriental.
The Bamboo Bar, Mandarin Oriental.
Sukhumvit district.
Going to be spending the day walking through the Sukhumvit district, and to get there you have to LITERALLY cross over to the wrong side of the tracks! This railway line – no crossing barriers by the way! – is the border between the elegant Siam Square area and the much grittier Sukhumvit district.
Arab Street, Bangkok
ARAB STREET! I’ve found what I was looking for… 🙂
Arab Street
Hmmm.. Arab Street is starting to look a lot more “Indian” than I was expecting. For those of you can’t read Arabic, it says “Bakistani Halal” on the sign. (Arabic doesn’t have the letter “P” so they use a “B” instead.)
Sheesah bars, Bangkok
Sheeshah bars! Sadly, it’s waaaay to warm to sit around inhaling hot smoke.
Sheesah bars, Bangkok
Sheeshah bars, Bangkok
Arabian Oud, Bangkok
A whole alleyway off Arab Street dedicated to cheap Arabian Oud and assorted scents.
Pakistani Embassy, Bangkok
A piece of the motherland in Thailand… Pakistani Embassy.
Pakistani Embassy, Bangkok
Pakistani Embassy, Bangkok
Pakistani Embassy, Bangkok
Pakistani Embassy, Bangkok
Lebanese-Russian cuisine in Bangkok
Anyone able to tell me what Lebanese-Russian cuisine is supposed to be??
The Queen Victoria Pub, Bangkok
The Queen Victoria Pub… where I overheard many creepy old British men swap notes about their adventures in Thailand. #SexTourism
Himali Chacha and Son Halal Indian restaurant
No matter where I go in the world, I can always find a Halal Indian restaurant. 🙂

Benjasiri Park

I ended day one by exploring the Benjasiri Park, which is a very large (12 acres) green space on Sukhumvit Road in the Khlong Toei District of Bangkok. The centrepiece is an ornamental lake, and it’s dotted with sculptures by contemporary Thai artists.

Railway tracks, Bangkok
Time to head back, which means crossing the tracks back to Siam Square.

UPDATE: I’ve FINALLY been propositioned by a Ladyboy! And I only had to visit FOUR red light districts before it happened. 😛

Soi Cowboy, Bangkok
This is the notorious “Soi Cowboy” – home of the oldest gogo bars in town. I visited during the day though, when it’s eerily quiet and not a soul around. I really wanted to see it, but I’m not nearly brave enough to visit these places when they’re full of perverts and in-your-face nudity… If you recognise it, that’ll be because a) you ARE a pervert and/or b) it’s featured in many Hollywood films – most recently in “The Hangover 2”.

Day Two

I’d spent the previous day walking for hours. Today I had two objectives. Firstly, see some of the most ornate Buddhist art and architecture Bangkok has to offer. Secondly, explore more of the city via its waterways. I’d read that there are lots of water buses running through town that the locals use and they’re dirt cheap…

TAK SU RA, Saphan Hua Chang.
So, today I’m going to do some city touring using the canals the locals use to get around the town.
(At TAK SU RA, Saphan Hua Chang.)
10 baht canalboat, Bangkok
Jump on a canalboat (10 baht!) and take the (dirty) scenic route through the backstreets of Bangkok.
Canalside home in Bangkok
How the other half lives! Canalside homes in Bangkok.
How the other half lives!
How the other half lives! Canalside homes in Bangkok.
Bangkok canal boats
Bangkok canal boats
Bangkok canal boats
Bangkok canal boats
Golden Mount district (Phan Fa Lilat)
Arriving in the Golden Mount district (Phan Fa Lilat).
King Prajadhipok Museum, Bangkok
King Prajadhipok Museum, Bangkok
leader-worship, Bangkok
You see pictures of the country’s leaders everywhere – typical of the leader-worship seen pretty much everywhere in the third world.
leader-worship, Thailand
You see pictures of the country’s leaders everywhere
Mahakan Fort, Bangkok
Mahakan Fort, Bangkok

Wat Ratchanatdaram

aka Temple of the Royal Niece, that was built on the order of King Nangklao for the princess, Somanass Waddhanawathy in 1846.

Wat Pho

aka Temple of the Reclining Buddha, built by King Rama I in the 16th century, is a temple complex in the Phra Nakhon District. It’s classed as the finest of the first-class royal temples in Thailand, and if you only visit one place in Bangkok then this should be it.

Wat Arun

a Buddhist temple in the Yai district of Bangkok, on the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya River, on the exact opposite side to Wat Pho. Wat Arun temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna,

Exploring south of the city

markets, Bangkok, Thailand
Wandering around through the backstreet and market alleyways in Bangkok.
markets, Bangkok, Thailand
Wandering around through the backstreet and market alleyways in Bangkok.
markets, Bangkok, Thailand
Wandering around through the backstreet and market alleyways in Bangkok.
Chao Phraya river, Bangkok
Chao Phraya river, which runs through the centre of Bangkok.
Tha Thien Pier, Bangkok
Getting ready to cross the Chao Phraya river on a rickety boat. — at Tha Thien Pier.
Chao Phraya near Wat Arun
Chao Phraya riverbank near Wat Arun.
Chao Phraya river, Bangkok
Riverboats on the Chao Phraya river, Bangkok
Riverside "apartments" - Chao Phraya river.
Riverside “apartments” – Chao Phraya river.
Chao Phraya river - CAT Tower next to the Sheraton Hotel.
Chao Phraya river – CAT Tower next to the Sheraton Hotel.
Krung Thonburi Bridge, Bangkok
Krung Thonburi Bridge
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