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Jim Thompson Museum Bangkok

 

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The Jim Thompson museum in Bangkok is a nice place if you want to learn more about traditional Thai architecture and art – and of course, traditional Thai silk. After all, Jim Thompson made his fortune as the man who popularized traditional Thai silk in the west and made it fashionable by promoting it to contributors of magazines like Vogue.

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He was also very fond of traditional Thai architectures, and he bought traditional Thai buildings from different provinces of Thailand and had them transported and rebuilt on his compound in Bangkok – which now houses his Jim Thompson museum.

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It’s very nice and tastefully decorated, with lots of flowers.

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And you get to learn a lot about Thai silk, and how it’s made.

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And in case you’re wondering what this blue-white ceramic thing is good for – it’s a heater. Chinese people used to put hot coals inside during the cold season and then it would radiate warmth – especially if you sat on it.

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If you would like to visit the Jim Thompson museum in Bangkok or do other Bangkok sightseeing tours, just contact us.

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Butterflies in Bangkok

Bangkok Butterflies

If you’re a nature lover, you might think that Bangkok has nothing to offer you. That’s why I feel delighted to tell you that despite all the grey concrete and crowded streets, there are still many beautiful things to discover in Bangkok, and all forms of live are finding their space in corners everywhere. Look at these beautiful butterflies which I encountered during a random stroll through a park in Bangkok – and I wasn’t even visiting the nearby Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.

Bangkok Butterflies

A nice nature sightseeing tour in Bangkok – and if you really want to learn more there are some great books about the butterflies of Thailand.

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Queen Sirikit Park Bangkok

Bangkok Park Impressions

This is one of Bangkok’s most beautiful parks – yet, it’s surprisingly not very well-known among tourists. Compared with the popular Lumphini park, which almost everyone has at least heard about, this one is much more interesting and varied, with lots of beautiful exotic flowers and plants, and it’s very well maintained. Makes for a nice, relaxed break of a full Bangkok sightseeing program.

However, it’s located in northern Bangkok, near the Jatujak weekend market, so farther away from the city center. However, if you want to escape the busy concrete jungle which Bangkok is in so many places, this is a great escape for a couple of hours.

 

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Giant Monitor Lizard in Bangkok’s Lumphini Park

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Remember how we recently mentioned that turtles aren’t the most spectacular creatures which live wild in Bangkok? Well, how about these giant monitor lizards?

They are some Bangkok sightseeing attractions that you can’t buy your way into – you just have to spend some time in one of Bangkok’s parks by the water, where they sometimes just emerge out of the lake and move around the grass, often in search of food.

monitor lizard Lumphini Park Bangkok

I still remember the first time I saw one of these – I didn’t know that there are these creatures in Bangkok, and I was reading a book on the grass when I saw some movement in the corner of my eye. I looked and I saw… ‘A CROCODILE! No… wait a moment… that’s not a crocodile… that thing looks like something which escaped from Jurassic Park!” Well, I later learned that they are called monitor lizards, but I was extremely amazed, partly because of them, and partly because of how little attention Thai people paid to this semi-saurier.

Thai people have a bad name for this animal – hia. It’s also one of the worst insults you can throw at someone in Thai, and in fact, I strongly urge you to not ever make use of this word, unless you want to get engaged in a physical confrontation.

They can grow to a length of almost 3 meters, and something between 1,50 to 2,50 meters is actually quite common to spot in Bangkok – drainage pipes, parks, lakes, rivers, canals, swamplands and golf courses. And they often show up in people’s gardens or houses (in search for food).

When they’re not hanging around in Bangkok’s parks, they often live in the extensive networks of underground drainage pipes which can be found underneath the city.

One reason why they can be seen so easily, even in a busy and polluted city like Bangkok is that they have almost no natural adversaries, and they eat pretty much anything – chicken, fish, frogs, eggs, snakes, birds, turtles, all kinds of wildlife and even rotten meat if they come across it.

They are surprisingly intelligent for reptiles too, and scientists found out that they can even count to seven.

 

 

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Chinese New Year 2013 in Bangkok’s Chinatown

Last month we’ve been at the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown, Bangkok – on February 10, 2013. It’s always a big spectacle with lots of things to see, buy and eat.

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Vendors are preparing snacks, and often quite spectacularly.

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Of course, lots of Chinese food to be had too.

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Taking pictures with Chinese figures.

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All kinds of knick-knack which you could buy on the streets.

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The streets flow over with the auspicious color of the Chinese New Year: red.

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Turtles in Bangkok’s Lumphini Park

turtle in Lumphini park Bangkok, Thailand

 

Bangkok used to be mainly a tropical swampland not too long ago – and sometimes you still get a sense of how short a while ago human progress has found it’s way into this place. In Lumphini park for example, you still find plenty of large turtles like this one who meander around and crawl out of the lake – considering that Lumphini park is located right in the heart of Bangkok’s business district, it’s quite impressive. And what beautiful and fascinating creatures they are!

So if you have some time to spare and are in no rush with your Bangkok sightseeing activities, check out some of the parks in Bangkok – they have even more amazing creatures than this magnificent turtle 🙂

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Kite Flying in Bangkok near the Grand Palace

In Bangkok’s historic district, right adjacent to the Grand Palace is a big green area called “Sanam Luang” (สนามหลวง). One of the popular activities for Thai people here is kite flying – and you’ll often see Thai’s, both young and old, letting their kites fly here.

This is not some new fashion, but indeed an old tradition which has been around since the founding days of Bangkok.

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In the past, during the reign of King Rama I (who was the very first king of Bangkok) people were already flying kites at Sanam Luang – including the His Majesty the King himself.

On certain occasions you can still observe kite flying contests here, which have been promoted since the reign of King Rama V (his reign lasted from 1 October 1868 until 23 October 1910). However, Thailand has a very long tradition of kite flying, which was already a part of Thai culture since the Sukhotai period (1238-1438) – and in fact, kites were used in warfare hundreds of years ago in Thailand!

Kite Bombers

King Petraja, who reigned from 1688-1703 used kites to fight a rebellion in Nakhon Ratchasima against him. He tied small containers of gunpowder to kites, let the kites fly over the rebels and thus forced the rebels into capitulation with what could be called a “traditional air strike.

The best time to come to see kites in the sky at Sanam Luang (or let one fly yourself) is during Thai summertime – around the month of March, as the Thai people find that the hot “Tapao wind” is best for letting kites fly. Kite festivals are also held in other provinces of Thailand (and you can watch a video of the kite flying festival over at YouTube).

Thai people usually fly two types of kites: Chula kites and Pakpao kites, and King Rama II enjoyed kite fighting with his brother – his brother had a Pakpao kite, and he had a Chula kite.

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So if you have enough time to spare during your Bangkok sightseeing trip and are here at the right time of the year, why not stop by to watch the kites fly? 🙂

 

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Bangkok Sightseeing By Boat From The Chao Phraya River Express

Bangkok used to be called the “Venice of the East” long ago – because life was happening mainly on waterways. Nowadays of course, it’s a concrete jungle, but there are still some remaining waterways which are used as a mode of transportation. The most popular one is the Chao Phraya river – which floats all the way from northern Thailand into the gulf of Thailand and separates Bangkok in two halves. If you’re visiting Bangkok, taking a boat ride on the Chao Phraya is an old tradition, especially for a view of the Grand Palace either in the early morning hours when it’s glistering with the rays of the days first sunlight, or at night, when it’s shining it’s golden light brightly in the darkness.

But even during the daytime it can be an interesting boat ride. If you don’t want to go with the Bangkok dinner cruise, you can also take the very cheap and low-key Bangkok River Express Boat, which actually serves as a means of transportation for local people, but is popular with tourists too. A ride here costs just around 20 Baht – but it can be very crowded. Here you find a map of the stops the Chao Phraya River Express boat makes. (Click on the image for full size view).

Chao Phraya River Boat Map

Be aware that there are different colored lines, and not every boat stops at every pier, so it’s worth checking that the boat you’re getting on will stop at your destination.

There are a couple of noteworthy attractions along the river, like the Grand Palace and the Wat Arun temple, and some of the impressive bridges, but mostly a boat ride is interesting for the atmosphere, and the sometimes little quirky and fascinating things you can spot along the waterside.

Bangkok Sightseeing By Boat

You can do this kind of sightseeing tour in Bangkok on your own, or hire a personal tour guide.

There are all kinds of boats maneuvering on the river, some big, some small, and many in between.

Chao Phraya Boat

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James Bond Movie Marathon

Every once in a while strange things are happening in Bangkok. Well, they are happening every day, but some day we blog about them. Like the James Bond marathon that’s coming up. Imagine spending three full days doing nothing but watching all James Bond movies which have ever been made. In case you’re wondering, that’s 22 movies.

If you want to spend the three full days of October 28, 29 and 30 sitting in a cinema and watching one Bond movie after the other, then you can apply to join the marathon here.

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Bangkok From Above

If you’re lucky to sit on the right side of the plane on the right flight on the right time of the day with the right weather conditions… you might see something like this:

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What you see shining here is the Chao Phraya river, also known as the River of Kings. It separates Bangkok in two halves – the right (eastern) half is where most tourists will spend most of the time, and it’s also the area that’s more developed, whereas the left (western) half is more a residential and business area.

The only place on the western side of the Chao Phraya that’s a real tourist attraction is the Wat Arun temple, opposite of the Wat Po temple. But the river is also a great way to go sightseeing in Bangkok:

Going on a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya river can be great fun, because you get to see Bangkok from the river by night and can enjoy some nice food at the same time.

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