|22nd October 2009, 21:54||#16|
Jim Thompson House and Grand Palace
Morning folks, sorry, had to pop over to the US and back over the past week.
Today, we decided to see Bangkok as opposed to buying! Lined up in the afternoon was the Grand Palace tour. YOu can walk in on your own but I didd that and never understood what was what.
Till then, we had the morning to kill so we decided to pop into the Jim Thompson House off Siam Square
Jim Thompson was an architect who ended up working in the US military intelligence during the war. He was posted in Thailand and fell in love with the place. On retirement, he returned in the ealy '50's and single mindedly developed the Thai silk market from a cottage industry. He also built this house, rather bought 6 houses in the countryside, dismantled them and rebuilt them whilst fusing them together. The house was and is still the talk of the town.
Some years later, Jim Thompson went on a trip to the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia and went for a walk and never came back. Fortunately, his legacy continued in terms of everything went into a trust. Again, the benevovalent royal influence ensured this happened
This is my second visit, the area arouund has been cleaned up. A ramshackle property nextdoor is the trust's office.
Entrance is 100 baht each. We pay and walk in and told to await the guide (english, german and frensh speaking). We explore the garden.
The guide then appears and begins with some history about Jim Thompson etc. We then tour the outer area, taking in some of the artifacts and some awesome antique buddhas although some were destroyed during the Khmer invasions.
We then had to deposit our cameras and go inside. It is really quaint and traditional although Jim would not eat on the floor in Thai tradition so used an old Mahjong table for dining on. Similarly, he would not go to the garden or use as in her workds a "pee pee" pot s he had modern WC facilities installed
Some pics of around the house
Front entrance of the house from the canal side
Last edited by ajmat : 22nd October 2009 at 21:58.
|22nd October 2009, 22:22||#18|
onto the Grand Palace
We then take a taxi to the hotel, freshen up and leave for the tour. I had bought some "dunkin donuts" earlier in the morning so we wolfed these down,
WTS pick us up and drive us to their head office in China town. We are then asked to sit in a holding area and are stickered. Buses from other hotels arrive and toursits are sorted into their tours. We are led to our bus and drive through China town while the tour guide provides a running commentary.
He warns us about the vendors around the place. We get off the bus and it is exactly like outside an indian palace, people huslting overpriced handicrafts etc.
We enter the complex
The Upper Terrace complex
Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha
The guide picks up the tickets and then screams hurry as the temple is to close to the public at 2. There is to be a special prayer for the King who is in hospital
We approach the entrance
We are hurried thourgh and take our footwear off and go inside. No pictures are allowed inside but god bless my zoom
Interesting ly, the Buddha has different outfitsaccording to season. This is his rain garb!
After that, we admired the building materials used
|22nd October 2009, 22:33||#19|
The Upper Terrace
Consists of the Mondop - where scriptures are housed (originally planned for th emerald Buddha but a larger space was required)
There is also a minature version of the Angkor Vat. Imagine what the real thing looks like!
|22nd October 2009, 22:37||#20|
Some Mythical Beings Present
Peppared amongst the complex are various statues ranging from a buddha's from Indonesia, some demons to guard some complexes, naga's and some mythical beings from "sub" heaven
Last edited by ajmat : 22nd October 2009 at 22:41.
|22nd October 2009, 22:47||#21|
We then visit the galleries which depicts the Thai version of the Ramayana, then the Phra Maha Monthian area where the King uses the hall for traditional ceremonies.
Below is the bell tower used by the monasry within
The Chakri Maha Prasat built in 1882. Western Edwardian. French influence topped by Thai tradition. Used for receiving Heads of State and other dignatories
We then return to the bus and compelte the tour by seeing the remnants of the city wall, the parlament house and the periphery of the current palace (a 168 acre self sufficient complex).
We then land at a gem factory. It is huge and visitor handling is mechanised. You are greeted and a soft drink is haded to you. Pushed into a room to watch some movie (I snoozed). Then escorted around the workshop and a huge display hall. My wife fancied nothing - too touristy factrory to sit and look at stuff). We go to the logisitics centre who put us in a bus to go home.If you buy anything substantial, you go home in a Rolls!
We are pooped, tired, thirsty, go to the hotel then MBK's for dinner
Last edited by ajmat : 22nd October 2009 at 22:54.
|23rd October 2009, 11:16||#22|
Join Date: Aug 2009
Thanked: 2 Times
Ajmat, nice narrations and good pictures, i felt as though i was there. Enjoyed every moment of reading the thread. Do Continue with the posts looking out for more!
|24th October 2009, 09:03||#23|
The Penultimate Day
Today is a very early start since we are going for a canal tour + Wat Arun. Ideally, we should have gone for the Floating Market tour but that is the entire day.
Picked up at 7 and we wait at the jetty of the Chao Praya River. It's big..and murky
The boat arrives and we ride upstream. We sight some really cool condo's and a few high end schools and turn off into the klongs.
This was a major disappointment, nothing much different from what one would see in Cochin/ Allepy or similar. All we saw were garbage boats. Stopped at a temple where one feeds the catfish for good luck. Bread provided at 20bht for the purpose.
We move on seeing more of the same. Houses, monastries etc. The ladies are pissed off and tour guide keeps yacking. The pressure valves are at the limit.
We turn the corner and join the Chao Praya River and we see Wat Arun
|24th October 2009, 09:18||#24|
It is a Khmer design so less smooth and rounded. Covered in porcelain and seashells, the impact is more when you see it in real. It is supposed to be spectacular at dawn.
Ladies tempers are diffused. One can take a steep climb to see the view.
They defer and I get climbing and enjoy the view of the river and the Grand Palace complex across the river
After an hour, it is back in the boat to visit the Royal Barges Museum. The barges are spectacular - no pics as you need to pay a prohibitive fee.
At 10.30. We land at the jetty and return to the hotel. Folks, you must see Wat Arun but take no tour, just get a cab!
Get to the hotel, have lunch and then it is off to Platinum Mall. This mall focusses on clothes only. A 70bht taxi ride later, we are there. The ladies go wild. 7 floors! By the 6 floor, it is system overload. We take a tuk tuk back. He asks for 100 and I get him down to 60. Basicalllyy, tuk tuks do the short trips and taxi's go for the longer routes.
A tuktuk ride is a must. The roar of the engine and the raw sights and sounds are a must!
We deposit the booty at the hotel and the women decide on a nap. I decide to go to MBK for a few things
|24th October 2009, 11:31||#26|
Join Date: Aug 2009
Thanked: 2 Times
Hello Ajmat, nice pictures of the temple, those steep climb of the temple reminds me of the some of the temples in South India
|24th October 2009, 11:52||#27|
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|24th October 2009, 12:45||#28|
Motoring in Bangkok
Toyotas- Altis- found only in magenta and used as taxi's so very few used a private cars. Plenty of Camry's, Yaris's etc. Innova's only as taxi's - never saw any private ones. The Toyota of choice is the Fortuner - they are like Innovas over here - everyone has one
Honda's - Ditto India but City's not so popular like here. Jazz's, Civics rule the roost
Plenty of Nissans
What I liked are plenty of 90's cars well kept. Plenty of old Saabs and Volvos and mercs. Not too many old BMW's E34 5's excepted
Mercs - so many w140's and w126's immaculately kept
And so, I was staying Siam Square. In the evening are plenty of fancy cars. I did not take the camera when shopping. Was returning from MBK and saw this
An Austin 1800 - used by fuddy duddy brits - totally blinged. A rare car in UK now and even rarer in Jap Car land Thailand.
I then walked on and then I saw this - could not believe it. Parked casually on a street
I was mesmerised. The car was original except for Yokohama tyres. I spent 10 min gawking at it and admiring it. the owner then comes up and invites me to look inside. He was in a hurry. Inside was clean and marked. Car was imported over 20 years ago. Owner was a kid in his early 20's not sure if it is his fathers
All I can say was Wow. He started it up and waited for it to warm up. The sound is an understatement. A boring roar unlike the hiss and bark from Italian cars of that era
Saw this Matt TT. Looked cool. It uses a laminate on top of the body
Also like the fact that a lot of small workshops work on good cars. Looks at this Rolls!
Last edited by ajmat : 24th October 2009 at 13:06.
|24th October 2009, 13:15||#29|
The Last Day
Today is the last day - been there done that!!!! We need only leave around 5 to the airport.
We rise late and pig out in the breakfast room. Wife wants to chill out. Daughter wants to go to the pool. I take her down. I later pop over to Jim Thompsons to buy some silk cushion covers (expensive). We then finish up and check out around 12.00. I call the desk to send someone for the bags. Housekeeping come and check whether everything is there. Bit odd, most hotels that I stay in are more discrete and check while you are making your way down.
Check out and we are given a card saying check out is clear to give to the bell desk. Bit morbid. Our luggage is stored in the locker.
We take a taxi to Suan Pakkard Palace - 3 km away. This is owned by one of the Royal Family members and houses a lot of artifacts and preserved houses. Of note is the Laqueur pavilion. NO pics allowed inside but it is nicely laid out.
It has about six buildings linked with overhead passageways
After this, we grab a cab and go to Siam Paragon for a late lunch and then browse the department store. Wife picks out some more spectacular deals. Return to hotel, reclaim the bags, shove the loot in and take a taxi to the airport.
Check is seamless. I remember buying a water ottle but could not find it. Go through security and I am thirsty. A long walk, really long walk later, I find a food court and buy water at 40 baht (7 baht in town!). I open my hand baggage to find the bottle I bought in town. So much for security!
Dinner is at Burgerking at the airport and it is time to head home
Thanks for stopping by and reading. Hope it helps in planning your trip to Thailand
|24th October 2009, 15:06||#30|
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