We stayed 2 days in Bangkok, and we have 1 words to define this megalopolis: Contrasts
street shops / tower block
in the business / tower quarter, at the feet of the building the pavement are full of street food and clothes booths. The contrast is striking.
pollution / frying smell
the sense of smell is tickled all the time. Wherever it might be by the pollution (you realise what it might be to live in a big polluted city), the smell of all the small food booths on the pavements, in 5 meters you feel that you have traveled just with the smell of the environment. It can also be the smell of trash or sewer, which is not so pleasant but you know it is going to be here only for few seconds before the next nice smell of fried noodles or chicken brochette.
suv / scooter
we have been very impressed by the number of recent, brand new SUV in Bangkok (and now we can even say in Thailand). They seems to really love their vehicles and look brand new. They share the road with ‘poor’ scooters and touktouk. They seem to cohabit quite well on the big 6 lanes roads of the city. There is no klaxon ringing and no bumping cars.
consumerism / buddhism
buddhism temples in each corners of the streets and shopping mall at the other. One of the sentence you can find in buddhism percepts is “when money speaks, truth is salent” it is contradictory to find ‘temple’ of consumerisms. It is encouraged with very cheap products, advertisements… Also the add are most of the time with western women or american houses very far from the thai culture which doesn’t seem very right at a first glance (and still at a second one).
rules / chaos
it seem that the thai follow rules, they queue to go in the train, they drive slowly and at the same time you feel a atmosphere of chaos, with the dense traffic, busy pavements… it is a very contradictory feeling and it makes the city very interesting.
shed / roof top swimming pool
people living in sheds on the side of the highway or at the bottom of skyscraper, when you can go in the same tower swim on a roof top…
shopping mall / Siam Paragon
busy busy little shops in big shopping malls where you have to discuss the price of each items… cheap products and unusual experience. Siam Paragon is the luxurious shopping mall where you can buy cars and fashion in a very designed set. Only few unites form the other shopping mall. We saw students just walking around after school dreaming about all these luxurious products and laughing drinking take away juices.
train / water bottle
we paid 30 baths (£0.5) for a bottle of water (which usually is 10 baths) when we had to pay 22 baths (£0.4) for a train ticket.
taxi meter / taxi no meter
80 baths to cross the city with taxi meter. However, when your ride is too short the taxi refused to put the meter on and ask you 100 baths for 5 min ride. We were tired but not stupid and decided to walk 15 minutes to eat delicious seafood.
What we did in Bangkok
we stayed in a Palace (thanks to Clement’s aunt and oncle for this Christmas Present, which allowed us to have great night sleep and recover from the jet lag): Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel. We thought it will be difficult when we were at the airport to manage to get a taxi and find it … (we did not planed the arrival at all, we had no idea in which area that hotel was, how to get there form the airport…) It was without counting on our luck : when we went out of the sky train from the airport, on the platform we saw the name of our hotel on a tall building. We just had to walk for 15 min in this direction to find it.
Wat Phra Kea & Grand Palais
the pictures talk for themselves 🙂 We did it early in the morning (we were up at 6am because of the jet lag and we were in bet at 6pm when we arrive). It was already busy but nothing in comparison with when we left around 10am. It might be impossible during the day to enjoy it properly because of the crowd.
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles
it was included in the price of the tickets for Wzt Phra Kea. It was a good surprise , museum very well designed with beautiful garments.
Contrast on a same site: to see the main Buddha it was very very busy and 200 meters away it was empty. It resulted on a peaceful moment, where we were wondering almost alone watching some workers renovating panels or just chilling out.
Boat trip on the khlong
we were only two in the boat, beautiful ride on the khlong, again full of contrast. It was like being in the countryside sometimes when in the background you had the big tower blocks and high way.
Jim Thompson house
in a luxuriant garden, nice typical house in Siam Square area (tower blocks and high way). A bit too touristic for us, and in particular the restaurant which wasn’t very good and expensive/ However, again the contrast between the area and the site was striking.
Roof swimming poll at Centara Central
same owner of our hotel which allowed us to go for free
we felt asleep on the deckchair at dusk it was quite magical
see descriptions above
Chinese and Indian quarter
we did not really find the interesting part of the Chinese quarter at night as we ended up in streets full of rats un the trash and pavement, and if you don’t know I have a phobia of these devil animals so we stop searching for the ‘cool streets’ and went back to the hotel)