Friday, December 6, 2013

Bangkok– not just eating

Between meals we endeavoured to explore places in Bangkok that we had either not been to before or had spent very little time in.

1st off was Chinatown.  We had been before but this time we set aside a day to just wander.  With a general plan and advice from the guidebooks that ‘don’t worry, you are guaranteed to get lost, but you’ll find your way again’ we headed into the masses of people and shops.

Shuffling our way down the pedestrian Sampeng shopping lane we got a good look at so many things we didn’t need to buy.  Stalls of Hello Kitty paraphernalia, plastic by the ton, materials, buttons, wigs... all of it interesting. We were always amazed that the motorcycles and delivery men pushing trolleys, kept their patience with the mass of humanity that they needed to negotiate around.  This was a weekday and it was packed.  The guidebooks say don't go on the weekend when it is REALLY busy!

quiet times in Chinatown


Tucked away there were local Chinese temples and lots of stalls with paper replicas of worldly goods to be burnt as offerings to the ancestors – paper Chanel Shoes, paper suits, iPhones and watches.

chinatown offerings

At the end of a long days walking and dealing with crowds we wandered past Wat Traimit. 

In 1955 during a renovation of a tin shack housing a Buddha statue a piece of plaster was knocked off the statue.  It was discovered that underneath was 5.5 tonnes of gold worth a mere 250 million dollars (give or take).  In 2010 a new temple building was constructed to showcase the treasure which they think had probably laid hidden for 200 years

wat traimit

Quietly tucked away off Soi Asoke and in the shadow of Terminal 21 mall is the Khamtieng House museum.  Although when we arrived there was a wedding ceremony happening in the front yard.  We were assaulted with noise pollution by way of not one, but two MCs bantering over a very loud speaker system while the guests blessed the happy couple.  Luckily this stopped half way through our visit and we could appreciate the calm and cool house museum, as it was intended.

Khanmtieng house

It is a traditional home from Chiang Mai relocated to the capital in which there are displays of normal 19th century life.  It exceeded expectations and we enjoyed it immensely.

Khanmtieng inside

Khanmtieng rice

As most people probably know by now…we like markets.  So we went to the biggest wet market in the city Khlong Toei, and wandered around and just enjoyed sights of daily life. 

khlong toei

Also in throwing distance from Terminal 21 is Benjakiti Park.  20.8 hectares of land which was converted from warehouses to a park, when the Tobacco Monopoly moved it’s operations to the city outskirts.  It is a quiet place and you can't hear the roar of the traffic.  There is a large central lake, bike paths and exercise stations, shady planted areas and lots of flowers.

Benjakiti Park

And 2 spots i forgot from the eating in Bangkok post

Cheap Charlies on Suk 11, which has apparently been there forever so we finally sat down for a drink there.     Meh, just a beer.  They do have a single unisex toilet with a sign posted saying no pooping allowed in the toilet

cheap chalries

And excellent specialist coffee in the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre (BACC) at Gallery Drip coffee on the ground floor.  With filter drip coffee, single origin coffee and art – it is a perfect spot to get your caffeine fix. Andrew was particularly taken with his sugar coming on the side as a shot glass of sugar syrup.

Gallery Drip Coffee
We started each day with a coffee in the Nana BTS station at D.Cup – consistently excellent coffee and a lovely personable barista, who had been Australian trained.  By the end of our trip he knew our orders.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the mayhem in Chinatown, always amazing to see how much traffic can actually fit down those tiny laneways! I shall check out these coffee options as previously have found it difficult to get the caffeine fix in Bangkok. Thanks!