Bangkok Journals

City of Angels- Fallen and Otherwise

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An August 2002 trip to Bangkok by phileasfogg

Grand Palace Photo, Bangkok, Thailand More Photos
Quote: Bangkok hits you- between the eyes. It’s a mind-boggling combo of incense-filled red-and-gold temples; of neon-lit strip bars and `short term’ hotels; of saffron-clad monks and barely-clad teenage hookers. Busy, bustling, wild- and not a place you’ll forget in a hurry.

City of Angels- Fallen and Otherwise

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Overview

Quote:
Bangkok literally teems with sights to see. Two centuries of being Thailand’s capital may not seem like much, but within just two hundred years, they’ve managed to fill Bangkok pretty much up to the brim with palaces, wats, and a whole lot more. Of all the attractions, my top recommendations would include the Grand Palace--a stunning complex of mansions and palaces and temples; the pretty golden teak Vimanmek Mansion; and the many wats of Bangkok--especially Wat Phra Kaew (within the Grand Palace), Wat Arun, and Wat Benchamabopit, an exquisite creation in white marble.If you’re in Bangkok over a weekend, browse around a bit at the delightful Chatuchak Weekend M...Read More

Ambassador Bangkok

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Hotel | "The Ambassador"

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We were touring South East Asia on a terribly tight budget, and we’d asked a friend of ours who lives in Bangkok to make reservations for us in a hotel that sort of fitted the budget we had in mind--i.e., as cheap as possible. Landing up at the Ambassador, therefore, came as a bit of a surprise because, for the kind of tariff we were paying, the place looked amazingly spiffy. Bang in the heart of town--on Sukhumvit Road--the Ambassador’s a high-rise hotel, ISO 9002, that's all vast lobby, gleaming glass, brass, wood, and orchids. Not the Waldorf, but good enough--with concierge, business center, health club, guest relations desk, lounge, pub, café, a special seafood center, two specialty restaurants (...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 26, 2002

Ambassador Bangkok
171 Sukhumvit Road
Bangkok, Thailand
(66-2) 6776240 to 5

Yong Lee

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Restaurant

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Yong Lee is one of those `where the locals eat’ restaurants which are almost ubiquitous in Bangkok. We discovered it on an exploratory tour around Sukhumvit, and even though it didn’t look too inspiring, the aromas wafting from it were tantalising enough to tempt us into venturing forth. The restaurant’s tiny and really rather dilapidated (wooden tables, no tablecloths, rafters overhead, and the entire room open on two sides to the pavement). The staff’s brisk, efficient, no-nonsense, and not the type to hang around chatting- either among themselves or with you. If you can overlook all that, and concentrate on the food, you’ll have a good time- because Yong Lee may be unprepossessing, but its food is ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 26, 2002

Yong Lee
On the corner of Soi 15 and Soi 13, Sukhumvit Road
Bangkok, Thailand

Chatuchak Weekend Market

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Attraction

Chatuchak Weekend Market Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Every Saturday and Sunday, the Chatuchak Park, all 35 acres of it, comes alive with a huge collection of things for sale (really- trying to put everything that’s on sale into neat little categories is virtually impossible!). We visited Chatuchak on our last day in Bangkok, planning to do a bit of last-minute souvenir-shopping, and gosh- were we spoilt for choice! An hour or two of wandering through the stalls here, and the sheer range of clothes, shoes, tapestries and stuff like that had us wishing we could’ve pushed up our budget by a few million baht.Anyway, to get to the basics. The easiest way to get to Chatuchak is to take the Sky Train to Mo Chit terminal (which is what we did)- the ma...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 26, 2002

Chatuchak Weekend Market
Paholyothin Road
Bangkok, Thailand

Grand Palace

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Attraction

Grand Palace Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Definitely at the top of the list of Bangkok’s major sights is the spectacular Grand Palace, a vast spread of buildings including temples, pavilions, palaces and what not, all of them sumptuously decorated. It spreads out over 61 acres, on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, and was built in 1782 by King Rama I. It’s really the ultimate in opulence, with mirror-covered spires, phoenixes, and kinnarees (half-woman, half-bird mythical figures), lions and Buddhas all across.Once you enter the Grand Palace, take your time wandering around: there’s lots to see here, and all of it is beautiful. Among the must-sees in the Grand Palace is a miniature model of Angkor Wat; the section known as t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 26, 2002

Grand Palace
Na Phra Lan Road Ko Rattanakosin District
Bangkok, Thailand 10500
+66 (2) 694 1222

Vimanmek Palace (Vimanmek Mansion)

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Attraction | "Vimanmek Palace"

Vimanmek Palace (Vimanmek Mansion) Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
The world’s largest golden teak building, the Vimanmek Palace is another of Bangkok’s big sights. A gorgeously mellow gold in colour, the mansion- for that’s what it really is- sits amidst an expanse of green lawns and flower beds- very pretty indeed. We came here straight after seeing the Grand Palace (the ticket to the Grand Palace, for 200 baht per person, is valid for entry to Vimanmek too), and arrived at just a few minutes after 2 pm- just in time to see the daily programme of traditional Thai dances which is held at Vimanmek at 2 every afternoon. The dances go on for about half an hour, and are pretty entertaining- and great photo material too. Down to what there is to see at Vimanmek: righ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 26, 2002

Vimanmek Palace (Vimanmek Mansion)
Thanon Ratchawithi
Bangkok, Thailand 10300
+66 2 628 6300-9

Ayutthaya Historical Park

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Attraction | "Tour to Ayutthaya"

Ayutthaya Historical Park Photo, Ayutthaya, Thailand
Quote:
Ayutthaya, 76km from Bangkok, was the capital of Thailand for about 400 years--from 1350 to 1767 (when it was finally sacked by invading Burmese armies). In its heyday, Ayutthaya was a metropolis of considerable stature and ranked as one of the world’s most important (and magnificent) cities. Today, all that remains is a series of ruins, which are very much worth a look. Our Ayutthaya tour had been booked by a friend, and the tour van came to our hotel at 6.45am to pick us up, although it was 8am by the time the half-a-dozen other people on the tour had been picked up. An hour’s drive out of Bangkok brought us to our first stop on the way, the Royal Summer Palace at Bang Pa In. Supposedly inspired...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 26, 2002

Ayutthaya Historical Park
86 Kilometers North Of Bangkok
Ayutthaya, Thailand 13000
+66 35 246 076-7

The Wats of Bangkok

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Story/Tip

Wat Pho Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Thai wats or temples are among the most prominent expressions of architectural creativity in Thailand, and the national capital swarms with them. Bangkok has more than 400 wats, all gently curving roofs, soaring spires, gilded statues, paintings, and prettiness. They’re all across the city, and an hour’s cruise down the Chao Phraya River will show you, along the banks, some of the loveliest of the lot.Wats, irrespective of when they were built, were traditionally not a single building, but a series of structures, all housed within a complex, which included a hospital, a school, a temple (of course!), a community centre, and often even a venue for dances. Even today, they’re important, not just as p...Read More