Bangkok Journals

Bustling Bangkok

Best of IgoUgo

A July 1999 trip to Bangkok by akakd

Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel Photo, More Photos
Quote: Just days before we left for Thailand, Associated Press put out an article about six known tourists robbed & murdered in Bangkok by a taxi tour guide. Since we were traveling independently, this was a concern. Not to worry. We managed fine, even with frequent encounters with "bandits".

Bustling Bangkok

Overview

tuk-tuk Photo,
Quote:
Bangkok is a striking, must-see destination. You'll not find more unique, brightly colored buildings in more common European destinations. Among the best & brightest: Wat Phra Kaeo (home of the Emerald Buddha) & Wat Pho (home of the 160 feet Reclining Buddha). Add to this the Floating Market, Bridge Over River Kwai, & a trip in search of the Floating Nun & you've got the makings for a trip-of-a-lifetime. The grandeur of this land is astonishing. Thailand is, indeed, a majestic kingdom, & Bangkok is its heart.Quick Tips: Best Way To Get Around: Tuk-Tuks are an inexpensive, though precarious, form of transportation through Bangkok's gridlocked streets. Use some caution, however...Read More

Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel

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Hotel | "Royal Orchid Sheraton"

Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel Photo,
Quote:
First-class, all the way! Shortly after checking in, we received a vase of fresh orchids & a plate of fresh, locally grown fruit. The fuzzy ones & spiked ones were especially fun to eat! Our room overlooked the Chao Phya River, with a sitting area next to the window. Oversized terrycloth robes were just part of the amenities of the room. Breakfast was a delectable feast. The Concierge was helpful in finding a (safe) private car & driver to take us out to Kanchanaburi & beyond. We also particularly enjoyed the Cultural Show on the Riverfront at Royal Orchid, called "Thailand Tonight".

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 22, 2001

Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel
Siphya Road · 2 Captain Bush Lane
Bangkok, Thailand 10500
+66 (2) 2660123

Temple of the Emerald Buddha/Wat Phra Kaeo

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Attraction | "Wat Phra Kaeo Temple Complex"

Temple of the Emerald Buddha/Wat Phra Kaeo Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Built in 1782, Wat Phra Kaeo is regarded as one of the world's greatest religious sights: a dazzling collection of guilded spires, sparkling pavilions, & towering mythological gods. This is the only one of Thailand's 29,000 Buddhist temples in which no monks reside, though we did see them on site. This was a place to delight the senses: glittering buildings, rustling chimes, whiffs of incense... Wat Phra Kaeo is home to the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred object in the country & a national symbol of freedom & prosperity. In a private ceremony at the beginning of each of their three seasons, the King personally dresses the Buddha in an appropriate set of robes: gilded robe patterned with blue fo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 22, 2001

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

Grand Palace

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Attraction | "Royal Grand Palace"

Grand Palace Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Leaving Wat Phra Kaeo Temple Complex, you enter the Royal Grand Palace Complex. Two rooms are open to the public: Amarin Vinichai, where the King reads his annual Birthday Speech & Dusit Maha Prasat with its mother-of-pearl throne & where deceased members of the royal family are kept before burial. The Royal Grand Palace is still used for state banquets & for receiving foreign dignitaries. We were there for the ceremonial changing of the guard.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 22, 2001

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

Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)

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Attraction | "Wat Pho"

Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Wat Pho is home to the massive 160 foot long Reclining Buddha, representing the Buddha entering the state of nirvana. To give you an idea of size, your face would be smaller than the tip of one of the Buddha's toes! The soles of the statue's feet contain 108 mother-of-pearl ornaments describing various attributes of Buddha. Wat Pho is also centre of a national movement for teaching & conservation of Thai medicine, including the art of massage. We walked back behind the tourist scenes to get a glimpse. We saw many of the children playing around in their classroom after their monk master left the room. They were dancing, chasing each other, standing on tables. Children are children everywhere. I...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 22, 2001

Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)
Rattanakosin District Adjacent To Grand Palace
Bangkok, Thailand 10200
+66 02 222 5910; 226

Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun)

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Attraction | "Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn"

Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun) Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
After several false starts through narrow alleyways crowded by dried fish, fruits, & vegetables for sale, we finally found our way to Tha Tien Pier to catch a ferry across to Wat Arun. Don't even attempt to ask directions in Bangkok! We learned quickly to depend completely on guidebook maps. Bandits abound in Bangkok, deliberately steering you away from your destination & into their stores to shop & spend money. They will tell you your destination is "closed, special Buddhist holiday". Don't believe it. If you take a cab, they'll stop at a shop & request you go in, before they'll take you on to your destination. It can be quite a frustrating challenge to travel independently in Thailand, but we...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 22, 2001

Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun)
Thai Wang Road
Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Traimit

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Attraction | "Wat Traimit's Golden Buddha"

Wat Traimit Photo,
Quote:
The story behind the famed Golden Buddha is a captivating one. During the 1950's, renovation work in a modest temple compound resulted in damage to a huge Buddha statue thought to be made of concrete. Through the crack, a gleam of gold was seen, & when the protective shell was chipped off, it revealed a SOLID GOLD Sukhothai-style statue, 10 feet tall, 5 tons in weight, dating back to the 13th century. A rare find indeed! The Golden Buddha had been completely covered in plaster to conceal it from an invading enemy. Today it is treasured for its historical, artistic, & cultural value. Parts of the plaster covering are on dislay inside the temple building.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 22, 2001

Wat Traimit
Between Charoen Krung, Yaowarat and Traimit Roads
Bangkok, Thailand 10330
+66 (2) 225-9775

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

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Attraction | "Damneon Saduak Floating Market"

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Photo,
Quote:
Rivers & canals are the highways & byways of Thailand. Known as "Klongs", these waterways are at the very core of Thai life. On these waters, vendors sell their goods, parents take kids to school, & saffron-robed monks paddle door-to-door to receive their morning alms. To get a glimpse into this way of life, we took a long-tailed speed boat past the stilt houses to the famous Floating Market. En route, we passed people bathing, washing fruit, doing laundry--all in the same canal. An eye-opening experience into Thai culture.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 25, 2001

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Bang Phae-Damnoen Saduak Road
Damnoen Saduak, Thailand 70120
+66 2 694 1222 (Tour

Bridge over River Kwai

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Attraction

Bridge over River Kwai Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
The Bridge over River Kwai was built in 1942 when Japanese decided to build a 260 mile railway linking Burma & Thailand, guaranteeing an unbroken link between the Japanese base in Singapore & the Indian front. Hundreds of thousands of laborers from the region, along with 60,000 allied prisoners of war were forced to work under inhuman conditions in order to complete the Kanchanaburi section through mountainous jungle territory. More than 90,000 laborers (coolies) & 16,000 prisoners of war died during construction of the railway, giving rise to the name 'Death Railway'. Unbelievably, the bridge was used only once by the Japanese in their invasion of India. It was bombed by Allied Forces in 1945. T...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 25, 2001

Bridge over River Kwai
Kanchanaburi
Bangkok, Thailand

The Floating Nun

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Attraction | "In Search of the Floating Nun"

The Floating Nun Photo,
Quote:
Warily, we hired a driver that didn't speak a word of English to drive us out of Bangkok to several sites over an entire day. I had the hotel concierge write out names of five places in Thai for us to show the driver. Clearly having never been there, he had a difficult time finding Wat Tham Mongkorn Thong Buddhist Compound, but I was determined to find the "Floating Nun" I'd read about. We were met at the entrance to the compound by a (thankfully) tethered elephant, a Thai symbol of good luck. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 25, 2001

The Floating Nun
Wat Tham Mongkorn Thong Buddhist Compound
Bangkok, Thailand

Sampran Riverside

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Attraction | "Rose Garden Cultural Show"

Sampran Riverside Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
For a fabulous overview of Thai culture, the Rose Garden Cultural Show has it all. It began with a Big Drum Duet, followed by a Buddhist Ordination Ceremony. Next came Thai Boxing, a serious bout of boxing mixed with pure comedy. Very funny & entertaining! We also delighted in the graceful Long Fingernail Dance & marveled at the theatrical display of flags from all nations. We also saw sword fighting, followed by flirtatious couples dancing between moving bamboo poles--one wrong step in either activity sure to be painful! Also included was a traditional wedding ceremony. Wedding couples are joined by a sacred white cord (also used to join mourners at funerals on the walk to the burial site). G...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 25, 2001

Sampran Riverside
Km 32 Pet Kasem Road
Sampran, Nakorn Pathom, Thailand 73110
+66 34 322 544

a mouth full!

Story/Tip

Quote:
The full Thai name for Bangkok is listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest place name. It is "Krungthep Mahanakhon Bovorn Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokpop Noparathatchathani Burirom Vdomratchaniveymahasathan Amornipiman Avatarnsathit Sakkathattiya-avisnukarmprasit"! In everyday usage, this is shortened to Krungthep, City of Angels. (And I thought "Te Whakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao" Thermal Hot Springs in Rotorua, New Zealand was a long name!
Quote:
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose picture is aptly featured on Thai Currency (Baht), is well respected in his Country. He is the longest-ruling monarch in Thai history. Along with Her Majesty Sirikit, His Majesty has visited every province, reaching even the most remote, inaccessible villages by helicopter, jeep, boat, or foot. Together, the Royal Couple have initiated hundreds of projects to better the lives of Thai people. One such program helps wean hill tribes from their traditional dependence on opium cultivation. His Majesty's picture is found all over Thailand. I've heard that at the beginning of movies shown in theaters, his picture is projected onto the screen, & everyone stand...Read More