14.6.06

City of Angels

Bangkok, Thailand

Time to sum up our time in Bangkok. We ended up getting in a day late due to a delayed flight, which turned out to be a good thing, instead of getting in at 10 PM we got in at 11 AM. Finding a hotel was much easier.

After 4 months in Vietnam, J freaked out a bit seeing McDonalds, Starbucks, 7Eleven and fat people. Once she was over that though, we have had a good time.

From a planning standpoint, Bangkok feels a bit like Los Angeles (which is funny since they're both the City of Angels). In a lot of ways it's a bunch of people living near each other more than it is a city. The buildings are either 2 stories or skyscrapers. The infrastructure feels like an afterthought. Highways and public transport are mostly placed above the streets on soaring concrete. Like LA though, there is a ton of stuff to see. Here's the rundown of our days here:

Day 1:
It just so happens that we came in on the 60th anniversary of the King's ascension to the throne (which is especially impressive considering he only looks like he's about 50 years old). People love the king here. We went to a movie one night and before hand they play a video that strongly implies that the king is the one who makes it rain.
Bangkok, Thailand
So we both got I (heart) King Rama VIII t-shirts and joined in the celebration.

Day 2:
The only problem with being there for the King's thingy was that a lot of the tourist stuff was closed for visiting dignitaries. We ended up riding the subway (yea!!!) around for awhile.
Bangkok, Thailand
We ended up at a mall that had the trendiest shops I've seen since Berlin.

In the afternoon, we went to the Jim Thompson house.
Bangkok, Thailand
Thompson was an American art collector who lived in Thailand for a long time. His house was actually six traditional Thai wood houses that were taken from different parts of the country and then reassembled for him in Bangkok. He disappeared in the 60's in Malaysia, but donated his collection to the city. I really like Thai art and architecture. The traditional houses are all wood panels that slide together. You can build an entire house with no nails. The statuary is also super cool. We ended up buying this little guy.
Bangkok, Thailand

Day 3:
We spent the morning at the National Museum.
Bangkok, Thailand
We got a great tour that explained the art of Thai Buddhism. Buddhism is interesting because it doesn't have a god. Instead it grafts itself onto the existing religion or philosophy. So there are basically two types of Buddhism, the kind in Vietnam is based more on Confucianism (since it came from China) whereas the Thai Buddhism is based on Hinduism (since it came from India). Very interesting stuff.

In the afternoon, we went to Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Jade Buddha) and the Royal Palace. It was amazing. I don't have words. It was so far from anything I've ever seen before that we just stood there. So here are some pictures. Even these don't do it justice. Imagine that it is sparkling in the sunlight.
Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Tomorrow we fly to Luang Prabang, Laos. Fingers crossed.

3 comments:

Heather B 12:45 PM  

Delightful photos. Gorgeous.

My sister did a backpacking tour of southeast Asia and blogged about it. I've been meaning to post the link for you - perhaps it will be of even more interest after you return to the US.

http://www.agerbak.com/michael/blog/katie

Anna 2:21 AM  

I just can't believe you are seeing these things. Wow.
I went and saw the Red Sox play the Twins at the metrodome tonight and they (the Red Sox) got massacred. Very depressing. Then a drunk guy dumped beer on my purse, and threw a bucket of popcorn at us. The only cool thing was two guys ran out on the field and security gaurds had to chase them. One of the guys ran the bases and finally was tackled by the Red Sox's bat boy. I might go tomorrow if I can find someone to go with me, or maybe I'll just wait for Fenway. Might be more fun, but definately more expensive. Sorry for telling this story that had nothing to do with your trip. Nice pictures.

Karina 5:51 AM  

Wow!
I have no words!
What the fascinating pictures!!!
Bangkok is my lovely city.
Thai people's houses is a very unique. They love to decorate their houses with many national ornaments, they love the red color, with national symbol of Thailand, a mythical half bird, half human figure. Thai people also like everything golden and shiny.
I am glad, really glad that Thailand is doing its best in order to attract tourists, businessmen to invest in Thailand property. Thailand has a big potential.

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