Bangkok Journals

Thailand Ties - Part I

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An October 2002 trip to Bangkok by Ishtar

Sumptious Entrance to the Grand Palace Photo, Bangkok, Thailand More Photos
Quote: Thailand has long ranked high on my "to do" list as it held the promise of Asian je-ne-sais-quoi that gets under my skin whenever I visit that continent. After resettling in San Francisco, we were once again ready to lose ourselves in an ancient, yet quite modern, society.

Thailand Ties - Part I

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Overview

Sumptious Entrance to the Grand Palace Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
You'll start your journey of enchantment at the airport, which will greet you with sparkling floors and garden beds. Try not to stay where tourists abound: your experience will be so much more authentic. And The Royal River Hotel, right on the banks of the Chao Praya unequivocally contributed to our experience . Navigating on the river is the quickest, least polluted and most fun way to get around. A round trip anywhere will cost you 20 baht; I encourage you to hop onto one of those water buses, with no particular destination. Be amazed at the different faces of Bangkok: magnificent wats reside next to haphazardly constructed shacks; steely glass skyscrapers seem to question their less than g...Read More

Royal River Hotel

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Hotel

Royal River Hotel Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
This hotel will surprise the hell out of you!. At less than a week before departure, we found everything booked for the days we needed lodging. We braved it for all of 1100 baht*(USD24) per night at the Royal River Hotel. It is best to take a taxi from the airport so you can negotiate your rate prior to boarding. While en route, Chuck was doing his usual ritualistic dance about roach havens and snake pits in the room. As we turned right at the end of a run down street, a white façade and a holiday lit garden led to a ramp which promised an interesting entrance. There were steps on both sides, with the ones on the left leading to the registration desk. The bell staff were immediately at hand,...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 10, 2002

Royal River Hotel
670 Charansanitwog Road
Bangkok, Thailand
66-0-2433-0300

Ror Ruer Restaurant

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Restaurant

Ror Ruer Restaurant Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
We had been walking seemingly forever; actually, we had been on our way to Wat Pho, and took a detour, going straight ahead and decided to slum around a typical Thai food market which was riverside. The scene was no less chaotic than anything else in Bangkok, and after we did the once around, we found this charming bistro which looked very European from the outside; the doors were closed which meant the place was air-conditioned, and that was definitely a deciding factor. As we walked in, we could see that the wait staff was dressed in khaki outfits, looking like uniformed schoolchildren or safari candidates. The placed was filled with tourists, and it looked as if it had been devised for that pur...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 16, 2002

Ror Ruer Restaurant
Across from Wat Po
Bangkok, Thailand
n/a

Saichon Lobby Lounge

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Restaurant

Saichon Lobby Lounge Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
The Saichon Lobby Lounge is the perfect place to relax if you don't feel like stepping out, and you're not inclined to go to your room. It is situated to the left of the registration area, and one wall is completely glass, so that you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the Chao Praya River. This becomes truly magnificent in the evening, and I've posted a photo of that so you can get the flavor. In addition to hard liquor, wines and beers, you can have espresso based drinks, teas, and the greatest "lemon juice" I've ever tasted. If you like real lemonade, order it as such. By the way, wines from Chile are very popular here, as we later found out in Chiang Mai, and here, they ser...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 16, 2002

Saichon Lobby Lounge
Royal River Hotel - Lobby Floor
Bangkok, Thailand
n/a

Tang Nam Restaurant

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Restaurant

Tang Nam Restaurant Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Another blessing here is the 24-hour room service, courtesy of the Tang Nam Restaurant. Our $24/night room included breakfast for two. Our first night in Bangkok, we woke up at 3:00am to have dinner. We ordered a wonderfully warm lobster bisque with hot rolls which was delivered very promptly. VAT and room delivery charges are included in your bill. The next morning, we went down to the ground floor for breakfast. You can seat yourself where you wish. Breakfast is served buffet style, and you will find the usual Western favorites like eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French Toast, croissants, dinner rolls, miniature Danishes with assorted jams and butter. Additionally, Thai favorites such as frie...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 11, 2002

Tang Nam Restaurant
Royal River Hotel - Ground Floor
Bangkok, Thailand

Chao Phrya River Express

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Attraction | "Chao Praya River"

Chao Phrya River Express Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
The Chao Phraya river is Bangkok’s lifeline: it was our preferred mode of transportation, especially in hot and humid weather. It is a long ribbon of brown/grayish water, with Bangkok on one side and Thonburi on the other. Most important historical sites are built on its banks. We were at Station 16, a 5 minute walk from our hotel. Piles of sandbags are always around the stations; frequently, you will find wooden planks positioned above ground so as to offer dry paths to pedestrians. Alas, on most, only one person can really fit and it becomes a game of wills when 2 or more people are trying to get through. The river boats that are the workhorses of the Chao Praya are categorized as Yellow or Orang...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 16, 2002

Chao Phrya River Express
Chao Phrya River
Bangkok, Thailand

Temple of the Emerald Buddha/Wat Phra Kaeo

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Attraction | "What's a Wat?"

Temple of the Emerald Buddha/Wat Phra Kaeo Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
A Wat is very simply a Buddhist temple, where historically, it was the center of learning. No one writes specifically about Wat Phra Kaeo , as it usually gets mentioned via the Grand Palace visit. However, as temples go, this is the most important in all of Thailand and the most revered, as it houses the Emerald Buddha image (Phra Kaeo)since 1782. The image was carved from a single block of jade. .There are no monks living here, as this Wat serves as a royal chapel. It is strictly forbidden to take pictures while in the chapel, but one can see his image on any number of websites where people have captured a photo by zooming in from the outside. The story surroundi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 16, 2002

Temple of the Emerald Buddha/Wat Phra Kaeo
Grounds Of The Royal Palace
Bangkok, Thailand
02222-0094

Jim Thompson House

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Attraction | "Jim Thompson's House & Museum"

Jim Thompson House Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
The Jim Thompson story is a compelling one; we had read about him prior to our visit to Bangkok, and the mystery surrounding his disappearance doesn’t seem much of a mystery to me. He lived well and large, owing to the great success of his silk empire, and somebody didn’t like it. His house has been transformed into a museum, and the tour is well worth it. The gift shop is absolutely marvelous, despite the fact that it exploits his name shamelessly. The quality and selection of gift items is unmatched; you are left to browse to your heart’s content and no one will try to sell you anything. Since it was strictly forbidden to take photos in the interior of the house complex, you can go ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 14, 2002

Jim Thompson House
6 Soi Kasem San 2
Bangkok, Thailand 10330
+66 (2) 216 7368

Chinatown

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Attraction

Chinatown Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Much in Thailand’s culture is a product of Chinese and Indian influences dating back as early as the third century BCE. Chinatown is not only a geographic location, but it is an atmosphere, a labyrinth of incessant "in your face" people, smells, hawking, gawking, and so many alleyways that you do lose sight of the major arteries. Our taxi left us off in the jewelry district, where neon signs will overshadow Chinese lanterns. Huge is an understatement here. Chuck and I wondered if there would be enough people in the world to buy all the gold we had seen on just one street. If you’re not turned on by the jewels, as I am, I began to notice what was around on the street, on the pavement, and ther...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 14, 2002

Chinatown
Yaowarat Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10110
+66 02 694 1222 (Tou