A Travellerspoint blog

Thailand

Travels in Thailand.

Floating market, Bridge on the River Kwai, Ayutthaya, Pattaya, Nong Khai, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai, Golden Triangle, Mai Sai, Hill Tribe Village.

sunny

Us in our favourite restaurant in Bangkok.

Us in our favourite restaurant in Bangkok.

I have already made blogs about Bangkok and Sukhothai but I have been to many more places in Thailand and I've decided to also add a blog for these.

I'll start with the floating market. We went here on a day tour to the Bridge on the River Kwai. It was a very poor choice of tour for us. We stopped at this market for a very long period of time. Personally I just wanted to take a few photos and leave, I've seldom been so bored. The market is so touristy. No-one seems to buy anything. They all just take photos so it ends up being tourists taking photos of tourists taking photos.

There are several floating markets. The one we went to was Damnoen Saduak. It was used as a setting in the 1974 James Bond movie 'The Man with the Golden Gun'. That's why so many tourists want to go there. It is about 100 km away from Bangkok and is open daily from 7am to 5pm.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

The Floating Market.

After the market our tour took us to a war cemetery. We were very interested in this, but before we could enter some very sweet Thai children came and asked really nicely if they could interview us for a school project so we did not have the heart to say no and ended up with only about 5 minutes left to see the cemetery. When we got back after racing round part of it, our guide screamed at us for being about 2 minutes late.

The war cemetery.

The war cemetery.

The war cemetery.

The war cemetery.

After the cemetery we went to a museum about the prisoners of war who built the Bridge on the River Kwai. Now we were really interested in learning about this but we were given a ridiculously short period of time here - about ten minutes. Our guide came in looking for us after about 5 minutes and screamed that we'd held everyone up at the cemetery and we were to come out and get on the bus straight away. We were really angry about this. We ended up getting back on the bus without seeing anything as we'd spent our alloted time at the museum fighting with the guide. No photos to share here. I didn't have time to take my camera out.

Then we got to the Bridge on the River Kwai and an included set lunch. The lunch was ok and we got enough time to see the bridge and railway but it still did not make up for our earlier disappointments.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

The Bridge on the River Kwai.

A second day trip we did from Bangkok was to Ayutthaya. This was a much better trip than the above one. We were taken to Ayutthaya and given a few hours to look at it by ourselves before coming back on a boat with a buffet. Ayutthaya really deserved more time than we had to do it full justice and I've often said we should go back and stay overnight, but even so we saw a lot. The journey back by boat was long, maybe too long, but it was still worth doing.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya.

On this trip we also visited Bang Pa Inn - a palace built by King Prasat Thong of Ayutthaya in the seventeenth century. It was very beautiful and had beautiful flower filled grounds.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Bang Pa In.

Another place we visited twice in Thailand was Pattaya. Now Pattaya has a reputation for being sleazy and in many respects that is true, but it does not have to be sleazy. It's got a beautiful long stretch of beach. It's got temples. It's got lots of resorts. When you are out looking for somewhere to eat you'll find normal restaurants next to strip clubs etc and that's where Pattaya may not be a good choice as a family resort, but it's not a horrible place. We had a perfectly peaceful and relaxing time here.

I don't remember the names of either of our hotels, but I know one was off the main stretch of beach to the south and the other was off the main stretch to the north. Both hotels were very pleasant.

Pattaya has a long beach, an interesting temple called Wat Phra Yai Temple and some viewpoints. While in Pattaya we also attended a show featuring the famous ladyboys. The ladyboys are men who live and dress as women. All of them are stunning enough to be Miss World. The show they do, in my opinion, was only interesting because the performers are men who look like beautiful women and not because of their performances. Once you get over the fact they are men, it was all a bit dreary really. We also did a day trip from Pattaya to Nong Nooch Gardens which are wonderfully landscaped gardens but which sadly have drugged out of their head wild animals you can take a photo with. We didn't. Tranquilized tigers are not my thing. There was also an elephant show here but it also seemed rather cruel. Minus the animal abuse these gardens would be nice.

Accommodation One.

Accommodation One.

Accommodation One.

Accommodation One.

Accommodation One

Accommodation One

Accommodation One.

Accommodation One.

Accommodation One.

Accommodation One.

Accommodation One.

Accommodation One.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Accommodation Two.

Temple Pattaya.

Temple Pattaya.

Temple Pattaya.

Temple Pattaya.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

At the Temple.

At the Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Me at the temple.

Me at the temple.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Eating Out.

Eating Out.

Eating Out.

Eating Out.

Lady boys.

Lady boys.

Lady boys.

Lady boys.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

Nong Nooch Gardens.

At one point we decided we would like to go to Laos. It did not, at that time, seem all that easy to fly to Vientiane, so we decided to take a tour from Bangkok to Nong Khai in Northern Thailand and do a day trip across to Vientiane from there. Not the best idea we've ever had as Nong Khai was a very long way from Bangkok. On route we stopped briefly at a reservoir and in Kon Kaen. We also stopped at some stalls on the side of the road. For example there was one selling honey from a honey comb.

Our hotel in Nong Khai was very nice. It had a very nice though chilly swimming pool. While in Nong Khai we visited a temple, the market and did a boat trip along the Mekong at night. The most noticeable thing about the boat trip was the Thai side of the River was fairly brightly lit and the Laotian side was absolutely pitch black.

Reservoir.

Reservoir.

Reservoir.

Reservoir.

Reservoir.

Reservoir.

Reservoir.

Reservoir.

Honey comb seller.

Honey comb seller.

Kon Kaen.

Kon Kaen.

Kon Kaen.

Kon Kaen.

Our Hotel in Nong Khai.

Our Hotel in Nong Khai.

Our Room.

Our Room.

Our Pool.

Our Pool.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Mekong.

Mekong.

Mekong.

Mekong.

Mekong Cruise.

Mekong Cruise.

Dinner on Mekong Cruise.

Dinner on Mekong Cruise.

Night Market.

Night Market.

Night Market.

Night Market.

Nong Khai.

Nong Khai.

A resort we really enjoy visiting in Thailand is Hua Hin. This is a seaside resort, but it's much quieter and more peaceful than Pattaya. It has a long sandy beach, a monkey mountain, lots of Buddhist shrines, a night market, an interesting old railway station and lots of places to eat and drink. We also enjoyed wandering around the gardens of the Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Sofitel.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

One of Hua Hin's best known sights is its beautiful, brightly-coloured old wooden railway station. This was built during the reign of King Rama VI.

Railway Station.

Railway Station.

Railway Station.

Railway Station.

Another sight is Khao Takiab Mountain, also known as Chopstick Mountain or Monkey Mountain. It is located next to the sea. There are several Buddhist shrines here and of course many, many wild monkeys. The views from the top of the mountain are lovely.

View from Monkey Mountain.

View from Monkey Mountain.

Monkeys on Monkey Mountain.

Monkeys on Monkey Mountain.

Flowers and Monkey Mountain.

Flowers and Monkey Mountain.

While out exploring we also came to another hill covered with Buddhist shrines and brightly coloured flowers. I think this is called Wat Khao Krailas.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Shrine.

Buddah images half hidden in flowers.

Buddah images half hidden in flowers.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Near Hua Hin there's a place called Cha-Am. This is home to a royal summer palace - the Maruekathaiyawan Palace. This palace was constructed in the early 1920s during the reign of King Rama VI. The palace is made of teak and is located close to the sea. It consists of three inter- connected one-storey pavilions supported by more than one thousand pillars to avoid flood damage.

Summer Palace.

Summer Palace.

Summer Palace.

Summer Palace.

Summer Palace.

Summer Palace.

Summer Palace.

Summer Palace.

Summer Palace.

Summer Palace.

We've been to Hua Hin twice. Once we stayed in the Grand Hyatt Hotel which had the best swimming pool ever due to the lazy river which joins on it. It took me a thousand strokes to go round the pool and river once. I nearly did not bother to look at Hua Hin I loved this pool so much. On the other stay we stayed in the Blue Wave Hotel which was also lovely.

Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Hotel.

Hotel.

Drinks in the hotel.

Drinks in the hotel.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

Dinner out.

One last trip we did to Thailand was our trip to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is Thailand's second biggest city. It was founded in 1296. The old part of town is surrounded by walls and a moat. Throughout its history. Chiang Mai often fought with Burma and Laos. It was captured by the Burmese in 1556 and rejoined Thailand (then known as Siam) in1775.

During our stay here we explored the old city, visited several temples, went to a traditional Thai dinner dance evening, saw some traditional Thai crafts and visited the night market. We also did a day trip which I'll put at the end.

Our Hotel.

Our Hotel.

Our Hotel.

Our Hotel.

Our Hotel.

Our Hotel.

Old City Moat.

Old City Moat.

Old City Moat.

Old City Moat.

One of the temples in the old city we visited was Wat Chedi Luang - the temple of the big stupa. This temple was started in the fourteenth century by King Saen Muang Ma. He wanted to bury his father's ashes here. In 1468, the famous Emerald Buddha was housed here. In 1545 an earthquake caused the top part of the temple's stupa to collapse.

Wat Cheri Luang.

Wat Cheri Luang.

Wat Chedi Luang.

Wat Chedi Luang.

Wat Chedi Luang.

Wat Chedi Luang.

Another lovely temple was the Wat Chiang Man. This is the oldest temple in Chiang Mai and dates from 1296. It was built by King Mengrai who founded Chiang Mai. The oldest part of this temple is the Chang Lom Chedi or Elephant Chedi. This sits on a square base surrounded by 15 elephants.

Wat Chiang Man.

Wat Chiang Man.

Wat Chiang Man.

Wat Chiang Man.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Wat.

Shrine.

Shrine.

We had a khantoke dinner one evening. This is traditional Northern Thai meal served on a round wooden table. The restaurant also stages traditional Thai music and dancing.

Khantoke Palace.

Khantoke Palace.

We saw some traditional Thai crafts such as umbrella making and lacquerware.

Umbrellas.

Umbrellas.

Lacquer ware.

Lacquer ware.

Dinner.

Dinner.

Dinner.

Dinner.

Dinner.

Dinner.

Finally, we did a day trip which took us to The Golden Triangle. This is an area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers. It has been one of the world's largest opium-producing areas since the 1950s, though that's not why we went - honest.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

The Golden Triangle.

Our trip also took us to Mai Sai where it is possible to cross the border into Myanmar. There was a lot of Burmese craft on sale at the border. I bought two beautifully embroidered neck purses.

Mai Sai.

Mai Sai.

Mai Sai.

Mai Sai.

Mai Sai.

Mai Sai.

Mai Sai.

Mai Sai.

We also visited a hill tribe village and saw inside some tribal homes as well as watching traditional dance performances.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

Hill Tribe Village.

We also stopped at one point to watch workers tending their rice crops in their paddy fields.

Tending their crops.

Tending their crops.

Tending their crops.

Tending their crops.

Tending their crops.

Tending their crops.

Posted by irenevt 06:49 Archived in Thailand Comments (8)

The Dawn of Happiness.

Sukhothai - January 2012

sunny

large_6080840-Flowers.jpg
Lilies at the airport.

We have wanted to go to Sukhothai for a long time. The old town of Sukhothai was the first capital city of Siam and contains the remains of several palaces and temples.

Getting to Sukhothai:

We flew to Sukhothai from Bangkok on Bangkok Airways. The journey takes about one hour. Bangkok Airways are a friendly and efficient airline. I liked their policy of offering free drinks and snacks to all passengers in their domestic lounge at both Bangkok and Sukhothai. They also provide food and soft drinks on every flight no matter how short. The plane was a holiday plane brightly coloured and covered with pictures of tropical fish and beach huts. Each of their planes has a different name and picture.

Sukhothai Airport is an excellent introduction to Sukhothai. It is the most beautiful airport I have ever seen. It is small. The runways are lined with flowers and ponds. The airport buildings are in typical Thai style. The grounds of the airport have deer, wallabies, horses, paddy fields with oxen. There is a shrine, a ceramics museum which was closed on our visit. We deliberately took an early transfer back to the airport so we could look around. The friendly staff offered us free bikes to do so.

large_6081000-The_Most_Beautiful_Airport_On_Earth.jpg
The most beautiful airport I have ever seen.

large_6080998-The_Most_Beautiful_Airport_On_Earth.jpg
The most beautiful airport I have ever seen.

large_6080997-The_Most_Beautiful_Airport_On_Earth.jpg
The most beautiful airport I have ever seen.

large_6080996-The_Most_Beautiful_Airport_On_Earth.jpg
The most beautiful airport I have ever seen.

large_6080999-The_Most_Beautiful_Airport_On_Earth.jpg
The most beautiful airport I have ever seen.

Sukhothai

We stayed in the Ruen Thai Guesthouse in Sukhothai New Town. The best things about this guesthouse were its lovely pool and the random assortment of oddities dotted around the hotel as decoration such as Thai masks, wonky clocks all at the wrong time, drafts board with bottle top pieces and many many more. On our first full day we travelled in to Sukhothai Old City. You can get there by songthaew ­ a kind of open backed truck with two long benches for 30 baht (I suspect it is only 20 if you are Thai).

We spent our first day mainly exploring the temples of the Old City ­ entry 100 baht. We did it on foot, though many people preferred to use a bicycle. If you are only doing the Old City, it is easy on foot. Sukhothai means dawn of happiness. It was the first capital of Siam and was dominant at a time of great prosperity and progress for the Siamese people. The temples that remain nowadays are beautiful and peaceful and a real pleasure to visit.

On our second full day, we explored the temples in the north part of Sukhothai as well as wandering around the moat and having a look at the potters' kilns. Again we did this on foot, though many people may prefer bike or you can hire transport to take you around if you prefer. The people in our guesthouse strongly recommended a visit to some of the western temples located in the hills around Sukhothai, but we did not do this. The temples of the north - ­Wat Sri Chum and Wat Phra Pai Luang ­ were well worth seeing.

More information about our hotel:

We recently stayed in the Ruean Thai Hotel for three nights. We arranged pick up from Sukhothai Airport to the hotel for 600 baht per car one way. The driver was there waiting for us when we arrived. We took the same service back. The Ruean Thai Hotel is housed in a large, old wooden Thai house. Check in was friendly and pleasant. The receptionist gave us a small map of the hotel surroundings and information about how to get to Old Sukhothai and what to see there. Our room, the ill­-named Room 101, was right next to the pool. The pool was for me the best feature of this hotel. It was set in a lovely central courtyard surrounded by rooms and all around it was an assortment of interesting curios and bric a brac the family who own the place have built up over the years. This included masks, several clocks (all at the wrong time), an assortment of dog ornaments ­same style different sizes, Hilda Ogden style flying geese, among other things. At night the scent of jasmine wafted through the air as you swam. Heavenly. Our room was decorated with the same dark, heavy, old fashioned furniture found throughout the hotel. It was in keeping with the hotel style.The bed was comfy and clean and had a mosquito net all round it, as the little blighters were pretty ferocious all over Sukhothai. There was a reasonable amount of storage space if you were travelling fairly light. There was a good selection of TV channels. Towels were provided, as was soap and shampoo. The shower always had hot water. It was the kind of shower that drains across the bathroom floor though. We brought our own swimming towels with us from home. I believe there was a charge of 40 baht for a swimming towel from reception. A bit mean, I think. There was no tea/coffee making facility in the room. Two bottles of water were provided daily. A safety deposit box for valuables was available at reception. Breakfast was OK. You are provided with instant coffee, tea bags etc and make your own. This was good for me as I like a couple of cups of coffee in the morning. There was plenty of bread and a toaster. Jam was available but not butter!! There were fried eggs, omelette, spring rolls, pork wonton, sausage, meat (sort of ham) and fried rice. All rather cold it has to be said. Fresh fruit and fruit juice was also available. We ate evening meals at the hotel twice. The food was much better than breakfast. I especially liked the chicken curry and the pork wonton. Prices were a little dearer than in the restaurants near the bus station, but still reasonable. The hotel is a bit away from the centre of New Sukhothai, about 20 minutes on foot to the songtheaws to Old Sukhothai. The hotel offers free transport to the songtheaw or transport all the way to Old Sukhothai for 270 baht. If you go by Songtheaw, it is 30 baht per person. The hotel sells bottles of beer from its fridge ­ 79 baht for a big bottle of Chang, 89 baht for a big bottle of Singha. There is a 7 eleven about 10 minutes walk from the hotel. Exit the front of the hotel, go left. When you reach the main road go right until you reach it. The hotel was nice and quiet when we tried to go to sleep but on two of our three nights there was loud music from somewhere nearby the hotel. The owner said this was to do with a food festival so not sure if this happens all the time. I must admit I cannot stand loud noise. On one night it stopped around 10pm on the other around 11pm. The hotel certainly has lots of character, the pool was great and staff were pleasant. Address: 181/20 Soi Pracharoumit, Jarodwithithong Road, Sukhothai, 64000, Thailand

large_6080864-The_Ruen_Thai_Guesthouse_Sukhothai.jpg
The Ruean Thai Hotel.

One of the first places we visited was the Royal Palace and Wat Mai. To enter the temples in the Old City you should buy a ticket from the ticket office to the left of the main gate. Tickets cost 100 baht. We explored on foot, but there was a bike shop,­ K Shop, ­ just across the road from the entrance. Wat Mai was the first temple we saw just off to the right as you enter. It was small compared to the other temples but was still worth a look and took a good photo.

large_6080874-The_moat_north_Sukhothai_Sukhothai.jpg
The Moat.

large_6080885-Sukhothai_Old_City_Wat_Mai.jpg
Wat Mai.

Next we came across the King Ramkhamhaeng Monument. King Ramkhamhaeng is said to have reigned from 1275 to 1317. He was responsible for greatly expanding the old city of Sukhothai. There is a statue of him near the Wat Mai. We watched locals make offerings here.

large_83040176080889-Sukhothai_Ol..g_Monument.jpg
King Ramkhamhaeng Monument.

In my opinion Wat Mahathat was the most beautiful wat in Sukhothai. This was once the religious and political centre of the Kingdom of Sukhothai. It is a wonderful place to wander with its large standing Buddha, seated Buddhas and stucco frieze of walking monks. The area around this wat is full of waterlily strewn ponds and beautiful colourful flowers. A lovely peaceful place.

large_867717576080901-The_Old_City..yal_Palace.jpg
Wat Mahathat.

large_571960026080900-The_Old_City..yal_Palace.jpg
Wat Mahathat.

large_984066896080897-The_Old_City..yal_Palace.jpg
Wat Mahathat.

large_948834166080898-The_Old_City..yal_Palace.jpg
Wat Mahathat.

large_413837226080896-The_Old_City..yal_Palace.jpg
Wat Mahathat.

Wat Sri Sawai is located to the south west of Wat Mahathat. It is surrounded by several walls. This wat has three prangs or towers. The tallest of these is 20m high. This wat is situated on a very attractive pond.

large_6080905-The_Old_City_Wat_Sri_Sawai.jpg
Wat Sri Sawai.

large_6080902-The_Old_City_Wat_Sri_Sawai.jpg
Wat Sri Sawai.

­ Wat Trapang Ngoen means wat silver pond and it lies to the west of Wat Mahathat. It contains a lotus bud chedi and a seated Buddha image. It is a pleasant place to wander around and is also very photogenic.

large_6080911-The_Old_City_Wat_Trapang_Thong.jpg
Wat Trapang Ngoen.

large_6080910-The_Old_City_Wat_Wat_Trapang_Ngoen.jpg
Wat Trapang Ngoen.

­Wat Trapang Thong lies on an island to the east of Wat Mahathat. You get to it by crossing a rickety, old wooden bridge. There are good views towards Wat Mahathat and towards Wat Trapang Ngoen from here across the lily-ponds.

­Wat Sra Sri is a lovely, peaceful wat located on an island. It has a large seated Buddha image and a Ceylonese style chedi. You get here by crossing the wooden bridge. A second small bridge will take you to a smaller island. A good place to find a shady spot and rest your tired feet for a while.

large_6080950-The_Old_City_Wat_Sra_Sri.jpg
­Wat Sra Sri.

large_6080931-The_Old_City_Wat_Sra_Sri.jpg
­Wat Sra Sri.

Wat Sorasak is a shrine outside the old city area near the San Luang or northern gate. There is no entry fee to visit this wat. The wat consists of a chedi with lots of elephant carvings and although it is small it is photogenic and a bit different, so worth seeing. It is also near other shrines.

large_6080960-Wat_Sorasak.jpg
Wat Sorasak .

large_6080959-Wat_Sorasak.jpg
Wat Sorasak .

Wat Son Khao is also located close to the northern gate. While we were here, I enjoyed watching a herd of cattle being driven past. Not sure why the top part is at such an odd angle to the rest of the wat.

large_6080967-Wat_Son_Khao.jpg
Wat Son Khao.

large_6080961-Wat_Son_Khao.jpg
Wat Son Khao.

After Wat Mahathat I thought Wat Phra Phai Luang was the most beautiful and most interesting of Sukhothai's wats. This wat is one of Sukhothai's oldest. It was originally built by the Khmers as a Hindhu temple. You can still see some beautiful Hindu carvings here. The whole wat had been badly burnt and all the rocks and Buddhas were blackened. I could find no explanation for this in my guidebook. The wat is surrounded by a lovely lily filled moat. Entry is 100 baht and the ticket is also valid for Wat Sri Chum. If you enter from near the northern gate, there is no ticket office, but we were asked to pay on our way out as we headed for Wat Si Chum. We used the same ticket to re-­enter Wat Phra Phai luang so I guess it is valid all day.

large_6080970-North_Sukhothai_Wat_Phra_Phai_Luang.jpg
Wat Phra Phai Luang.

large_6080972-North_Sukhothai_Wat_Phra_Phai_Luang.jpg
Wat Phra Phai Luang.

large_6080973-North_Sukhothai_Wat_Phra_Phai_Luang.jpg
Wat Phra Phai Luang.

large_6080971-North_Sukhothai_Wat_Phra_Phai_Luang.jpg
Wat Phra Phai Luang.

­Wat Si Chum costs 100 baht to enter. The ticket also covers entry to Wat Phra Phai Luang. This wat consists of a square building known as a mondop. Inside the mondop is a huge 15m Buddha image. The image peeks at you through the mondop opening as you approach. There were some stalls located just outside and a smaller seated Buddha image off to the right of the mondop.

large_6080975-North_Sukhothai_Wat_Si_Chum.jpg
­Wat Si Chum.

large_6080976-North_Sukhothai_Wat_Si_Chum.jpg
­Wat Si Chum.

large_6080974-North_Sukhothai_Wat_Si_Chum.jpg
­Wat Si Chum.

Next we took a walk along the picturesque moat to have a look at the potter's kilns. Not hugely exciting but I guess it makes a change from wats and the walk was pleasant enough. You can still see the remains of several kilns. They date from around 1300 AD and produced a special green glazed pottery.

large_6080978-Potters_Kilns.jpg
Potters' Kiln.

large_6080977-Potters_Kilns.jpg
Potters' Kiln.

I was quite interested in watching the locals fishing in the ponds dotted around Sukhothai. They stood on the banks, threw a wide heavy net into the water then waded in to see what they had caught. Worth a look.

There were lots of good places to eat in Sukhothai. Here are some we tried:

One night we ate in a restaurant with the unfortunate name of Poo Restaurant. We tried this restaurant because we had seen other reviews of it and because it was right next to the songthaew stop where you get off when returning from the Old City. The restaurant is owned by a Belgian man and his Thai wife. The Thai woman who served us (not sure if it was the wife) was very pleasant. The restaurant does lots of Belgian beers as well as Thai beers. We stuck to the excellent draught beer Chang, but if you fancy a change this may be the place for you. The tastiest dish we had was Sukhothai noodles with chicken. We also had a green curry which was good but very mild and a bit sweet. All in all good food, good service, very reasonable price and convenient location. Who could ask for more?

There was a whole row of little cafes, restaurants along the main road that lead to the entrance to the old city. We tried two of them for drinks and snacks and found them very pleasant. We were under the impression there was nowhere to eat in Old Sukhothai. This certainly was not the case during the day. Not sure how late they stayed open. Plenty of choice here.

The Ruen Thai Guest House. We ate in our hotel restaurant twice. The food was tasty and good. I especially liked the pork wonton, but the chicken curry was very good, too. We washed it all down with some excellent bottles of beer Chang.

large_6080991-Travel_Between_Old_And_New_Sukhothai.jpg
Travelling between old and new Sukhothai.

Posted by irenevt 23:33 Archived in Thailand Tagged sukhothai Comments (2)

Bangkok

The City of Angels.

sunny

large_5065026-Wat_Arun_Temple_of_the_Dawn_Bangkok.jpg
Wat Arun, Temple of the Dawn.

We first travelled to Bangkok for Christmas in 1997. When we told people we were going there, they assured us we would hate it. Why? Too much traffic, air pollution, scams, sleaze. On that trip we somehow managed to get ripped off before we even left the airport, so it did not start well, but to our surprise we really loved Bangkok. We then proceeded to spend every Christmas there for several years in a row. Often combining a couple of days in Bangkok with a few days in other areas of Thailand (Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Nhong Kai). Then we moved on to new places and forgot all about Thailand for a good many years, so our most recent visit was probably in January 2012.

There are many wonderful things about Bangkok. The food is fantastic and very cheap. I love taking the public boat up and down the Chao Phraya River. There are some spectacular sights: ­the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Po, Wat Arun, the Marble Temple, the Golden Mount. Nowadays we do not do huge amounts of sightseeing, only one or two sights a day as we spend a lot of time relaxing and swimming. Some of the posh hotels in Bangkok are like being in a resort a million miles away from a big city and are fantastic for a relaxing break.

One of my favourite things to do is a boat trip on the river. I love going for a trip on the Chao Phraya Express Boat. For one thing it is a real boat used by locals to get around and to and from work and while lots of tourists use it, it does not exist just as a tourist attraction the way some sights do. (If you have ever been to the horrific floating market and taken photos of the tourists, taking photos of the tourists you will know what I mean.) For another thing there are no traffic jams when you travel by boat. Also it is a great way to cool down and you pass some wonderful sights. You can use this service to get to the Grand palace and Wat Pho (Tha Tien pier), the sky train(Sathorn Taksin pier), the Oriental Hotel, China Town and River City. There are different boats depending on the colour of flag the boat is flying. The different boats have slightly different end points and stop and start at different times. They also have slightly different prices, though all are pretty cheap. We normally paid around 14 baht a trip. One point to note is that the boats stop running around 7pm, some routes even earlier so don't try to use them too late on. At some piers you have to buy your boat ticket in advance; at others you pay on the boat. If you buy it in advance, the ticket seller will want to check it and tear it so it cannot be used again. If you get on a very crowded boat, move down inside rather than standing at the back. People get on and off at almost every stop, so if you move inside, you will generally end up getting a seat.

large_5065034-A_Chao_Phraya_Express_boat_Bangkok.jpg
Chao Phraya Express Boat.

large_32481385065028-The_Chao_Phr..ok_Bangkok.jpg
Chao Phraya River.

large_5065035-Passing_a_wat_Bangkok.jpg
Passing a wat.

large_5065036-more_river_scenery_Bangkok.jpg
Chao Phraya River.

On some evenings you may experience a beautiful sunset over the river. Some of the hotel we have stayed in in Bangkok have been on the river and provide a free boat service. Travelling up and down the river at sunset is a very pleasant way to pass some time.

large_6759458-Sunsets_over_the_Chao_Phraya_River.jpg
Sunset over Chao Phraya River.

large_6765775-Sunsets_over_the_Chao_Phraya_River.jpg
Sunset over Chao Phraya River.

Another of our favourite places is Lumphini Park. This is right in the centre of Bangkok. We got there by taking the skytrain to Sala Daeng Station which was fine, but you have to cross a couple of busy roads to get there. On our last visit I noticed the metro station exits straight into the park, no roads to cross. Lumphini Park is a huge, peaceful green expanse with several lakes. You can hire boats, stroll, jog, watch people do tai chi, have a picnic (minus alcohol, according to park signs), look at the sculptures and best of all look at the huge monitor lizards that call the park home. There are lots of these. We saw about six or seven and we were only there about an hour. I knew nothing about these lizards before I got to the park, so the first one was a bit of a shock. Once you realize they are not going to eat you, they are great. Really beautiful. They wander around on land, but are also great swimmers, so you'll see them going in and out of the lakes.

large_5065044-Gorgeous_monitor_lizard_Bangkok.jpg
Monitor Lizard.

large_570008485065043-People_enjoy..rk_Bangkok.jpg
Lumphini Park.

large_480384125065042-View_across_..rk_Bangkok.jpg
Lumphini Park.

large_5065046-sculpture_Bangkok.jpg
Sculpture in the park.

The Grand Palace is Bangkok's most famous sight. This building is a must see for visitors to Bangkok. Dress respectfully, cover your knees and shoulders or you'll have to borrow clothing before you go in. Don't listen to the touts outside who tell you the building is closed and try and get you into their tuk­tuk; just ignore them. The palace grounds contain the wonderful Temple of the Emerald Buddah, a much revered Buddah image dating from the 14th century. The Siamese took this from Vientienne, Laos. We saw its original home when we visited there. The temple complex is large and ornate, the Buddah is quite small. It is normally surrounded by worshippers. The Grand Palace was built in 1782 and was home to the Thai kings for 150 years. There are some lovely paintings on the palace walls. Address: Maharaj Pier, Chao Phraya, Bangkok.

large_6765778-Temple_of_Emerald_Buddah_Bangkok.jpg
Temple of the Emerald Buddah.

large_6765780-Temple_of_Emerald_Buddah_Bangkok.jpg
Temple of the Emerald Buddah.

large_6765789-Royal_Palace_Bangkok.jpg
Royal Palace.

large_6759408-Painting_on_wall_of_palace_Bangkok.jpg
Painting on wall of palace.

large_6759410-Temple_of_Emerald_Buddah_Bangkok.jpg
Temple of the Emerald Buddah.

large_6759407-Royal_Palace_Bangkok.jpg
Royal Palace.

large_199944546759404-The_Temple_o..ah_Bangkok.jpg
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

We enjoyed exploring the area behind the Grand Palace, between the palace and the Temple of the Giant Swing. This area was filled with shops selling golden Buddahs of every shape and size. It is well worth having a stroll around here.

large_6759454-The_area_behind_the_Grand_Palace.jpg
The area behind the Grand Palace.

large_6759453-The_area_behind_the_Grand_Palace.jpg
The area behind the Grand Palace.

A second very famous sight in Bangkok is Wat Pho. We have visited here three times and our last visit was as lovely and interesting as ever. In fact we were not intending to visit it, we were heading for the City Pillar Shrine then the Giant Swing, but it was so hot we went for the closest sight to the boat landing instead! To get here take the boat to Tha Tien. Entry is only 50 baht. Some parts of the site are currently undergoing reconstruction but it is still beautiful and the reconstruction does not spoil it. Near the entrance just past the ticket office is the huge reclining Buddha statue. It has a wonderfully serene face and beautiful mother of pearl inlaid feet. The statue is 46m long and15m high. The grounds of the temple are wonderful and very extensive. They are covered in ornate pointed chedis, contain many statues,­ lots of which were Chinese originally and were once used as ballasts in Chinese ships. The grounds have around 1000 Buddha statues most taken from the ruins of Ayuthaya and Sukhothai. There is a second part of the temple across the street but we did not visit that part. The temple also contains a massage school. Address: Tha Tien Pier, Chao Phraya River, Bangkok. Directions: The entrance to Wat Pho is on Chetuphon road. Entrance is 20B. It's open every day, opening hours are from 08.00am to 5.00pm, with a break from 12.00pm to 1.00pm.

large_5065093-The_reclining_Buddha_Bangkok.jpg
The Reclining Buddah.

large_5065097-Chedi_detail_Bangkok.jpg
Chedi.

large_5065095-Chinese_ballast_statue_Bangkok.jpg
Chinese Ballast Statue.

large_5065096-My_husband_among_the_chedis_Bangkok.jpg
My husband among the chedis.

The City Pillar is located not far from the Royal Palace. The City Pillar is another place in Bangkok where people go and pray and if their prayer is answered they pay the dancers here to dance for them as a way of thanking the gods. The city pillar shrine was the first building of the capital city. It dates from 1782 and was built by order of King Rama I. It is made of laburnum wood. The city's birth certificate is stored here. Address: Thanon Sanam Chai Directions: Near the Grand Palace.

large_6759402-City_Pillar_dancers_Bangkok.jpg
City Pillar Dancers.

large_6759401-City_Pillar_dancers_Bangkok.jpg
City Pillar Dancers.

We went to Vimanmek Palace because it is included on the Grand Palace ticket. Vimanmek Palace dates from the 19th century. Vimanmek Mansion, the main building in the palace compound, was built for King Rama V. It was completed in 1901 and King Rama V lived here until 1906. The mansion has 81 rooms, halls and ante­chambers. From 1906 to 1925 Vimanmek Palace was empty and unoccupied. From 1925 King Rama VI's wife, HRH Indharasaksaji lived here. She stayed there until his death. In 1982 HRH Queen Sirikit re­opened the palace as a museum to commemorate King Rama V. Traditional Thai dancing performances are carried out here. Location: Ratchawithi Road, Dusit District, Bangkok. How to get there : taking the bus Routes no. 12, 18, 28,56,70, 108, 515 and get off on Ratchawithi Road. or Ratchasima Road Opening Hours : Open everyday from 9.30 am. to 3.30 pm. ( close on Public Hoildays) Admission Fee : Baht 100. *If you have visited The Grand Palace you will have also received an entrance ticket to Vimanmek Palace which is valid. Address: Rajavithi Road, Dusit Directions: Behind Bangkok's National Assembly.

large_6759415-Vimanmek_Palace_Bangkok.jpg
Vimanmek Palace.

large_6759416-Dancing_at_Vimanmek_Palace_Bangkok.jpg
Dancing at Vimanmek Palace.

Another famous temple is the Wat Benchamabophit. Wat Benchamabophit is also known as the marble temple. King Rama V ordered construction of the marble temple in 1899. The temple is made of carrara marble imported from Italy. The entrance consists of four lovely marble pillars, and the temple's large courtyard is made of shiny white marble. On either side of the entrance is a large stone lion, guarding the temple. Inside the temple's ordination hall you will find the main Buddha image of the marble temple, the Phra Buddha Chinnarat. Under this bronze Buddha statue, lie the ashes of King Rama V. In the galleries surrounding the ordination hall you will find a display of 52 Buddha images dating from several periods and in various styles. How to get to the Wat Benchamabophit: Wat Benchamabophit is located on the intersection of Thanon Rama V and Thanon Si Ayutthaya. Since there is no BTS Skytrain or MRT Subway station nearby, the best way be combined with with the Vimanmek Mansion and the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, since they are just a few hundred meters apart. Opening hours. The temple is open daily from 8 am until 5:30 pm. Admission is 20 Thai Baht. As in any temple please dress appropriately, especially since this is one of the temples of highest importance in the country. Address: Si Ayutthaya Road, Bangkok. Directions: Near Chitralada Palace.

large_6765784-Wat_Benchamabophit_Bangkok.jpg
Wat Benchamabophit .

large_6765783-Wat_Benchamabophit_Bangkok.jpg
Wat Benchamabophit.

large_6759423-Wat_Benchamabophit_Bangkok.jpg
Wat Benchamabophit.

large_487900835065094-My_husband_w..st_Bangkok.jpg
Hubbie with Buddahs.

Another popular temple is Wat Traimit ­- The Temple of the Gold Buddah. The Temple of the Golden Buddha or Wat Traimit is located on Yaowarat Road, in Chinatown. This temple is well known for its 3­metre tall, 5.5 tons solid gold Buddha image. This image is believed to have been made over 700 years ago during the Sukhothai period. Originally the gold image was covered with plaster to conceal it from potential invaders. However, around 40 years ago when the image was being moved, it dropped down and the plaster broke to reveal the gold Buddah hidden inside. Address: Thanon Yaowarat. Directions: Near Hualamphong Station.

large_6759452-The_Temple_of_the_Gold_Buddah_Bangkok.jpg
The Temple of the Golden Buddha.

We got to Bangkok's China Town by taking the public Chao Phraya River boat to Rachawongsee Peir. China town was beautifully decorated with red lanterns. I am not sure if this is normal or if it was just in place for Chinese New Year. The streets were busy with stalls selling goods, food stalls and restaurants. There was an interesting temple, too. Worth a look around for the crowds, the colour, the shopping, the food. Address: Ratchawongsi Pier, Chao Phraya River Tour, Bangkok Directions: To view typical China Town scenes go straight ahead to Ratchawongsi Road until the intersection of Yaowarat Road.

large_6079848-Busy_China_town_temple_Bangkok.jpg
Chinatown Temple.

large_6079846-Chinatown_food_stall_Bangkok.jpg
Chinatown Food Stall.

large_6079845-Colourful_Chinatown_Street_Bangkok.jpg
Colourful Chinatown Street.

Another sight worth going to is Jim Thomson's House. This sight is a very easy walk from the National Stadium sky train station­ around 5 minutes. Ignore any idiots who tell you it is closed, or offer to take you on a 20 baht tuk tuk ride. It is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Entry is 100 baht and you have to go around on a guided tour. The house belonged to Jim Thomson an American businessman and designer who settled in Bangkok just after World War 11 and helped revitalise the Thai silk industry. The village where his workers made the silk was just on the other side of the canal from his home. Thompson brought the houses that made up his home from different parts of Thailand. All the houses are traditional Thai wooden houses. They are built without nails, the pieces of the houses slot together. As well as being famous for revitalising the Thai silk industry Thompson is famous for suddenly and mysteriously disappearing while taking a stroll in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. There are many theories about his disappearance: was he deliberately killed? Did he stage his own disappearance. No-­one knows. There is a lovely cool cafe at the sight. There was also a free exhibition above the Jim Thompson shop which displayed many silk dresses, showed a film about Thompson's life and disappearance and had many interesting news clippings from the dates he lived in Thailand. These included stories about the disputed temples Thailand and Cambodia are currently fighting over, but from when the dispute arose around 50, 60 years ago; a horrible story about a Chinese man who killed and ate Thai children and became a kind of Thai bogeyman with mother's threatening their children that he would come and eat them if they did not go to bed right now and reports about con men ripping off tourists and the need to do something about it from the 1950s. This is worth a look. Address: Rama I Road, Pathumwan District. Directions: National Stadium or Siam Skytrain station.

large_716184565065056-One_of_the_t..es_Bangkok.jpg
Cafe at Jim Thomson's House.

large_156088415065058-canal_boat_t..se_Bangkok.jpg
Canal at Jim Thomson's House.

large_99329015065057-silk_dresses..on_Bangkok.jpg
Silk Dresses at Jim Thomson's House.

We also like to visit the Erawan Shrine. The Erawan Shrine sits at a busy intersection near the Grand Hyat Erawan Hotel. You can get here by taking the sky train to Chit Lom Station. As you approach the shrine you will see lots of stalls selling garlands. In the centre of the shrine is a four faced statue of Brahma. People come here to ask for his help. If the help is given, they return and give thanks by paying the temple dancers to dance in his honour. The shrine was originally built when the Erawan Hotel was being built. The construction of the hotel was facing lots of problems; an astrologer stated this was due to construction starting on a non-­auspicious day, so the shrine was built to cancel out the bad luck. In 2006 a mentally ill man attacked the Brahma statue with a hammer; he was killed by outraged bystanders. It is interesting to sit at the shrine and watch people lay offerings and pray. It is also interesting to watch the temple dancers perform. You can see similar dances at the city pillar shrine. Sadly, twenty people were killed here in a terrorist bomb attack on August 17th, 2015 . Address: Chitlom Station, Bangkok. Directions: Near the Sogo Dept. Store.

large_861799695065088-Giving_thank..ue_Bangkok.jpg
Erawan Shrine.

large_443397585065087-laying_offer..ma_Bangkok.jpg
Erawan Shrine.

large_5065086-Temple_dancers_Bangkok.jpg
Dancers.

You can't visit Bangkok without taking a look at its most famous hotel - The Oriental Hotel. It is quite interesting to pay a visit to the author's wing of the Oriental Hotel. This was the first hotel in Bangkok to cater to foreign visitors to the city. It is located on the Chao Phraya River you can get there by express boat. The hotel is famous because many illustrious visitors have stayed there ­ many of them authors, for example Somerset Maughm, Graham Greene, Noel Coward, Joseph Conrad. You can look at the old colonial style author's lounge which is famous for its afternoon tea and you can visit the author suites. The Oriental Hotel is now part of the modern Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

large_5065114-Authorslounge_Bangkok.jpg
Authors' Lounge.

large_666479335065115-modern_Manda..ce_Bangkok.jpg
Oriental Hotel.

On one of our trips we visited the Suan Pakkad Palace Museum. The Suan Pakkad Palace Museum is located 5 minutes walk away from the Phaya Thai sky train station. Entry is 100 baht. You cannot take bags inside, but ­lockers are provided. You cannot take photos within the palace, only in the gardens. You need to take your shoes off to enter the wooden palace buildings. The name of this palace means Cabbage Garden. This Cabbage Garden was bought by Prince Chumbhot Paribatra and his wife Pantip Paribatra and used by them as the site for their palace. Chumbhot Paribatra was the grandson of Rama V. The palace is made up of traditional wooden Thai houses which were dismantled and brought from other parts of Thailand to this site where they were reassembled. Each house holds a collection of the Prince and Princess's artifacts. Their collections include musical instruments, masks, pottery, semiprecious stones, shells. One of the houses,­ the lacquer pavillion, ­has wonderful lacquerware pictures covering its walls. The palace is open daily from 9am to 4pm. Address: 352­354 Sri Ayudhya Road ,Phyathai , Bangkok. Directions: From Phyathai BTS station turn right and walk along the road about 3 minutes, you'll see a group of Thai traditional houses. That's the museum.

large_5065107-the_lacquerware_pavillion_Bangkok.jpg
The lacquerware pavillion.

large_5065111-palace_buildings_and_garden_Bangkok.jpg
The Suan Pakkad Palace Museum.

large_25967865065110-My_husband_o..gs_Bangkok.jpg
Traditional Wooden building.

large_310782395065109-Traditional_..ng_Bangkok.jpg
Traditional Wooden building.

large_5065108-royal_barge_Bangkok.jpg
Royal Barge.

On one of our visits we went to Benjasiri Park. You probably would not travel across Bangkok just to see this, but if you are in the Sukhumvit Road area, it is a pleasant place to escape the traffic fumes. To get here take the sky train to Sukhumvit Station. The park was built in honour of the Thai queen. It has lakes, ponds, lots of great sculptures and a really nice atmosphere. It was filled with kids playing, joggers, skateboarders, basketball players. It was really a pleasant place to wind down and relax as the evening begins to cool a little.

large_6530263-Sculpture_Benjasiri_Park_Bangkok.jpg
Benjasiri Park.

large_6530264-Sculpture_Benjasiri_Park_Bangkok.jpg
Benjasiri Park.

large_6530267-Pond_Benjasiri_Park_Bangkok.jpg
Benjasiri Park.

large_6530266-Sculpture_Benjasiri_Park_Bangkok.jpg
Benjasiri Park.

Benjakitti Park is also in the Sukhumvit area. To get here take the sky train to Asok Station. The park is really a large lake on land that formerly belonged to the tobacco industry. The park has several sculptures and some lovely flowers. It is possible to hire boats and sail on the lake. It is possible to hire bicycles and cycle round the lake. There were also many people jogging round the lake.

large_6530270-Hubbie_in_Benjakitti_Park_Bangkok.jpg
Benjakitti Park.

large_6530271-Benjakitti_Park_Bangkok.jpg
Benjakitti Park.

large_6530272-Benjakitti_Park_Bangkok.jpg
Benjakitti Park.

large_6530274-Benjakitti_Park_Bangkok.jpg
Benjakitti Park.

The Flower Market can be reached by the Chao Phraya Riverboat. It's near Memorial Bridge Pier. It's best to go early. It's very colourful and pretty. Address: Th Chakkaphet & Th Atsadang. Directions: Near Memorial Bridge.

large_6765788-The_Flower_Market_Bangkok.jpg
The Flower Market.

large_6759413-The_Flower_Market_Bangkok.jpg
The Flower Market.

On one visit we visited a Fertility Shrine. This shrine is located just behind the Swiss Hotel in Nai Lert Park. It seems to be a popular place to come and pray in the hope of having children.

large_6079758-Phallic_symbols_Bangkok.jpg
Fertility Shrine.

large_6079759-And_more_phallic_symbols_Bangkok.jpg
Fertility Shrine.

We have been to Bangkok many times and have done most of the touristy sights, so I was pleased to find a suggested walking tour of the Old Thonburi District in a guide book I borrowed from the library. The first sight on this walking tour was Wat Prayoonwong or Turtle Temple. We got here by taking the public Chao Praya river boat, getting off at Memorial Bridge, walking across the bridge, walking a short distance to the right from the bridge, then turning left and following the road until we reached two turtle statues sitting outside the temple garden. It is quite well signposted from the bridge. The temple garden has a large pond filled with lots of turtles. There are lots of little houses on the rocks around the pond. We also visited the temple itself with its lovely mother of pearl inlaid doors and a large seated image of Buddha. On the same complex there is a large white stupa. Interesting and a bit different.

large_6079667-Turtles_at_the_temple_Bangkok.jpg
Turtles at the temple.

large_6079856-Monitor_lizard_swims_khlong_Bangkok.jpg
Monitor lizards swimming in khlang.

large_580508696079669-My_husband_n..nd_Bangkok.jpg
Hubbie with the little houses.

large_830257506079668-Mother_of_pe..rs_Bangkok.jpg
Mother of Pearl doors.

Next we walked to Santa Cruz Church is in the Old Thonburi area of Bangkok. The church is well signposted from the bridge. This church is located in the old Portuguese area of Bangkok. The original church which occupied this site was built more than 200 years ago by the Portuguese, but this church was demolished in 1913 and replaced with the current building. The church is made of wood, surrounded by colourful flowers and located in a quiet, peaceful area near the river. The church was locked when we visited so we could not go inside.

large_6079676-Santa_Cruz_Church_Bangkok.jpg
Santa Cruz Church.

The area around Santa Cruz Church was mainly inhabited by westerners or farangs at the start of the 20th century. This is a peaceful area with narrow streets and some lovely wooden houses. It is close to the river.

large_478670036079681-Wooden_house..ch_Bangkok.jpg
Wooden House near Church.

large_720507426079685-Old_Farang_Q..ri_Bangkok.jpg
Old Farang Quarter.

Apparently quite a few Chinese people live in the Old Thonburi District. We passed this busy Chinese Temple (it was Chinese New Year time) on our way to Wat Kalayanamit. The temple can be accessed from the river walk which passes by the Santa Cruz Church.

large_6079705-Chinese_Temple_Bangkok.jpg
Chinese Temple.

I have passed Wat Kalayanamit on the Chao Phraya river boat many, many times, but this is the first time I have ever been to it. We spent a lot of time here as the skies opened and lashed down torrential rain as soon as we arrived. This temple is supposed to be older than Bangkok itself. It contains a very large seated Buddha image. It also has the largest bronze bell in Thailand. This temple is popular with the Chinese. It was a hive of activity at Chinese New Year with stalls outside and lots of people making offerings or ringing the bells for luck inside. Worth visiting.

large_6079717-The_large_seated_Buddha_image_Bangkok.jpg
Large Seated Buddah image.

large_220884726079716-Child_ringin..ck_Bangkok.jpg
Child ringing bell for good luck.

We walked along Khlong Bangkok Yai, a pretty canal, from near Wat Kalayanamit, then found a bridge across so we could walk to Wat Arun. This canal is not really a canal. It was part of the original Chao Phraya River till a false section of the river was dug in order to avoid this loop. It is one of the prettier stretches of canal/river. You can travel along it by local boat I believe. There were certainly many long tailed boats around in this area.

large_515875876079751-Looking_towa..it_Bangkok.jpg
Khlong Bangkok Yai.

I loved cats we and had to include them. Everywhere I go cats always attract my attention as they are my favourite animal.

large_313949176732798-And_another_..a_hard_day.jpg
Cats.

large_6732797-Gorgeous_Bangkok_cat.jpg
Cats.

One of our favourite temples in Bangkok is The Wat Arun. The beautiful Wat Arun or Temple of the Dawn is situated on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. You can get here by boat from Tha Tien near Wat Po for 3 baht. We did that on our first visit. This time we walked here from Wat Kalayanamit on the other side of the Khlong Bangkok Yai. This temple is steep and as you climb up you will be rewarded with wonderful views over the river and over Thonburi. The temple is decoarated with many statues and with brightly coloured crockery. Well worth visiting for the views alone. We came during Chinese New Year and were able to watch lion dancing here, too. Address: Tha Tien Pier, Chao Phraya River Directions: From Tha Tien pier take a cross river ferry to Wat Arun.

large_6079814-Statues_Wat_Arun_Bangkok.jpg
Statues Wat Arun.

large_6079818-Statues_Wat_arun_Bangkok.jpg
Statues Wat Arun.

large_490762086079804-View_over_Ch..un_Bangkok.jpg
View from Wat Arun.

large_6079810-View_from_Wat_Arun_Bangkok.jpg
View from Wat Arun.

large_6079857-Chao_Phraya_from_Wat_Arun_Bangkok.jpg
View from Wat Arun.

We have stayed in lots of hotels in Bangkok. These are some of them.

Astera Sathorn: We stayed in the Astera Sathorn Hotel for four nights. We got to the hotel by taking the airport link train from the airport to Thai Station, then transferring to the skytrain, travelling two stops to Siam Station, then walking straight across the platform and changing line and travelling five stops to Saphin Taksin Station, then exiting through exit 3, crossing the main road, walking ahead for 3 or 4 minutes, then arriving at the hotel on our right. The airport link cost 45 baht per person, the sky train to Saphin Taksin cost 35 baht per person. On hotels.com we had been told check in was at 12. We arrived at 12 and were told check in was at 2. I was hot and tired and argumentative. Anyway we were allowed to go to the pool. They stored our luggage and we had to stay there till the room was available. No hardship, except I don't really like to start a stay with an argument. Our room was clean and comfortable. We had a large double bed, a wardrobe, drawer space, an in-­room safe, kettle, 2 teas, 2 coffees, sugar, creamer, fridge, 2 free waters, complimentary coke, sprite, crisps, nuts, replaced daily. The latter were a nice touch, I thought. In the bathroom, the bath was a little on the worn side. Toothbrushes, tiny toothpaste, soap, combs and showercaps were provided. By the bath there were big refillable bottles of liquid soap and shampoo. The water was generally lukewarm rather than hot. The room was nice and quiet; we slept well. The air conditioning worked well. Breakfast was included in our package. To get to breakfast go back to the ground floor and go up to floor two in a separate part of the building. Breakfast was buffet style. It included tea, coffee, orange juice, bread for making toast, congee, 3 differing cooked Thai dishes, sausages, ham, salad, either pancakes, or potato cakes. There was also an egg station where you could get freshly made omelette, fried eggs or scrambled eggs. I thought breakfast was fairly good. You need to bring your breakfast coupon and hand it in. The hotel pool was a kidney shaped pool. It was not huge but, as it never seemed to be too crowded, that was not a problem. We spend many a happy hour by the pool. There was also a gym which I did not use. There were saunas and steam rooms too but I never saw them on. Last place I wanted to be as it was so hot already. The hotel was extremely handy for the sky train and also for the river boats. It was 5 minutes walk away from a river pier. If you exited the hotel walked back to the sky train then continued along the main road you came to Robinson's Department Store. There was a supermarket ­- Tops Supermarket in the basement. The supermarket also had a bakery. There was also a food court on the fourth floor. On the ground floor there was a McDonalds, a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Restaurant. On the fourth floor there was a great hot pot restaurant. We had a lovely meal there. Buffet at 219 baht per person. You get your steam boat to which you can add wonton, pork, chicken, beef, vegetables, fish etc, There was also dim sum, sushi and a choice of 3 already cooked meals and rice, a salad bar and desserts including a selection of ice-cream. 20% off on Wednesdays. Serves beer, very good. Closes around 9pm. The staff largely left you alone. They were helpful when asked things, said hello and good bye etc. internet was available free ­ just go to reception and ask for a user name and password. On the whole comfortable, pleasant enough and a good location. Oh, one more thing the road to the hotel from the skytrain to the hotel was full of hairdressers. I got my hair cut for 100 baht ­ - very cheap, but don't do it if you have curly hair like mine. It is a bit of an alien concept. I may be applying the hair gel to stop bits sticking out all over the place for a while. Address: 481 South Sathorn Road, Yannawa, Sathorn, Bangkok, 10120, Thailand.

Ibis Riverside: We stayed in the Ibis Riverside for 2 nights. To get here take the sky train to Kron Thong Buri Station. Exit via exit 4, walk straight ahead, keep on same road till a road crosses it. Cross this road over the bridge, you will see the hotel sign on the left as you come down the stairs. Reception, check in was efficient. Our room was a typical Ibis room, basic but comfortable and with all you could need. We had an in­-room safe, tea/coffee making facilities. The bed was comfortable. The hotel was quiet at night. We slept well. The best thing about the hotel was its pool. It was a big rectangular pool and we were often lucky enough to have it to ourselves. I loved the pool. The other good thing was the hotel was located on the river with lovely river views. There was a little play park for children, too. Breakfast was served by the river. Breakfast was fairly good with a selection of local and western dishes. No bacon, though. We ate dinner by the river one night, too. Food was good. There was a buffet going on which looked great, but we were not hungry enough to have it, so opted for a la carte. Restaurant service was just OK. They do draft chang beer.There are buffets most nights with seafood buffet once a week. I think on Thursdays. The hotel provides a free tuk tuk to the sky train. We did not use it. Easy to get around from here by skytrain. Or if you prefer boat, exit the hotel to the main road and go right then down through the park under the sky train and you can catch a boat to Saphin Taksin to connect to the local express boat. There were two seven elevens and some restaurants near the hotel. We would be happy to stay here again.

large_6588556-Great_pool_Bangkok.jpg
Great Pool at the Ibis.

Windsor Suites Hotel: To get to this hotel take the sky train to Asok Station. Walk to Sukhumvit Soi 20 and then go right. It's only around 5­10 minutes walk from the station. The hotel has two buildings, we were in the taller of the two towers. Our room was clean and comfortable with a separate living room, big bedroom, big bathroom. We live in Hong Kong and are used to small, the whole place was around the same size as our flat if not slightly bigger. We had a TV in the living room and in the bedroom. There was a fridge/minibar, a room safe, tea/coffee making facilities. Shampoo, shower gel, body lotion were provided in the bathroom. The hotel had a nice-­looking gym which we did not use and a lovely swimming pool which we used all the time. The pool was a reasonable size and was an irregular shape with bits to swim round, Some bits were a bit shallow. There was also a jacuzzi and a kids pool. There was a bar/restaurant by the pool. Breakfast had lots of western options, Japanese options and vegetarian options. Although it was quite extensive, I found the food a little bland at least until I found the chilli sauce. I was surprised at the lack of Thai food except vegetarian. There was a Chinese restaurant in the hotel which we did not try. Directly across from the hotel was a German restaurant called Bei Otto. We had a good meal there. We also had a good meal in a Thai restaurant a bit further up the road ­ green something, maybe green garden. The Bei Otto restaurant also had a delicatessen where we bought lovely bread and wine and snacks. There was a Family Mart and a 7-­eleven nearby. The Asok area has lots of bars and restaurants. Lots of girlie bars, too, which may put some families off, though they are far enough from the hotel to be avoided. The hotel was quiet at night and we slept very well. The bed was lovely and comfy. We did not do much sightseeing this time, but you can get around easily by sky train and use the skytrain to go to the river at Saphan Taksin and take a boat to the royal palace, Wat Po etc. We were very happy in this hotel and will certainly stay here again. Address: 8 Sukhumvit Soi 18­20, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand.

large_6588550-View_from_our_room_Bangkok.jpg
View from our room.

Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel: Back in the old days we used to do package trips from Hong Kong to other parts of Asia. These invariably put you up in posh hotels. Due to that we stayed here twice when it was the Marriot Riverside and we loved it. This time we stayed one night as a special treat. We don't normally fork out for expensive hotels now, we book flights and hotels separately. However, now and again it is worth it. We got to the hotel from the airport by taking the airport link train to Phraya Thai, switching to the sky train ­ 2 stops to Siam Station, walk across platform to change line. 5 stops to Saphin Taksin. Go to pier and follow sign for hotel shuttles, wait for hotel's free boat. It runs every half hour up till midnight, leaving Saphin Taksin for the hotel at approx quarter to and quarter past the hour. Leaving the hotel for Saphin Taksin on the hour and half past the hour. If you plan to explore Bangkok from the hotel, from Saphin Taksin you can board the sky train or take the Chao Phraya River boat to the historical sights. We paid around £100 for a double room with kingsized bed, balcony, river view, late check out till 3pm next day, 25% off meals and inclusive breakfast buffet. Our room (room 413) was beautiful. Only minor complaint was the bath was incredibly slippy. Put one foot in and you slide right across the bath before you can even put your other one in. Quite dangerous. I have bruises to prove it. The bathroom came with an assortment of lovely toiletries: ginger soap and cardamon soap and beautiful smelling shampoo, hair conditioner and shower gel. Everything was very clean. The bed was very big and very comfy. There was a TV and DVD player. The balcony was good you could see the river, but it would be truer to say it faced the pool. Tea and coffee making facilities were available in the room with a huge selection of different teas. Perfect for me as I love herbal teas. There was an in-room safe. Lots of storage space. The swimming pool at the Anantara is wonderful. It is big and deep. You can even sit at the bar in the pool if you want to. There is also a lovely jacuzzi. The grounds of the hotel are beautiful. In fact the whole hotel is quite stunning. The standard of service is excellent, too. The receptionists, the boat shuttle workers, the bell boys, the towel attendant, the breakfast staff all friendly and polite. Of course food and drink are expensive here, compared to real life Bangkok. The hotel is much more like a retreat than even being in Bangkok. We ate at the pool and drank there during happy hour 4 to 6pm. There was an evening buffet with classical Thai dancing. We had a look at the dancing but did not eat at the buffet. Breakfast buffet in the morning was fantastic. I thought I would never want to eat again by the end of it and finally a hotel that can keep food hot!! Coffee is served at the table. I had to ask for more. I prefer to just take my own as I like coffee. The freshly squeezed orange juice was heavenly. There's a good selection of bread. Thai food and western food available. For our evening meal on the first night we went to one of the restaurants just outside the hotel on the non-­river side. There are many restaurants here where you can eat much cheaper than the hotel, though the one we went to charged 17% extra on the bill just like the hotel does. This is a bit cheeky as this is not common practice in local restaurants just in the hotel, but they rely on you not knowing this or not wanting to make a scene about this. This arcade also had some shops and a Boots chemist. Nowhere to buy beer though. We took the free shuttle to Taksin Saphin and went to 7 eleven to stock up on that. I would certainly stay here again, but use it as a spa retreat rather than a base to explore Bangkok. While you can easily explore Bangkok from it, the hotel is so lovely, you won't want to leave it.

large_6079778-Thai_dancing_Bangkok.jpg
Entertainment at the hotel.

large_6079780-Thai_dancing_Bangkok.jpg
Entertainment at the hotel.

Bangkok has a sizeable Chinese population so has many Chinese temples. We visited one a short distance from the Anantara Hotel and found a practice Chinese Opera session taking place.

large_6759455-Chinese_Opera_Bangkok.jpg
Chinese Opera.

large_6759456-Chinese_temple_Bangkok.jpg
Chinese Temple.

Bangkok has great food. We have eaten in many places. Here are some:

Hot Pot Restaurant: Robinson Department Store Bangrak. This hot pot restaurant is located on the fourth floor of Robinson Department Store a few minutes walk from Saphin Taksin Sky Train Station. A buffet meal here cost 219 Baht per person. There are some prepared food dishes, plus sushi and dim sum, but the highlight is the steam boat which will be placed in the middle of your table. To this you can add add whatever you wish from a selection of chicken, pork, beef, fish, fish balls, tofu and vegetables. It is fun trying to get the seasoning just right to your taste. There is also a salad bar, couple of choices of dessert and a freezer filled with lots of different flavours of ice-cream. During our visit they were offering 20% discount on Wednesdays. Serves beer. Closes at 9pm. Tasty and good fun. Directions: Located on 4th floor of Robinson's Department Store near Saphin Taksin Sky Train Station. There is a food court on the same floor.

In Town Residence: This restaurant belongs to the In Town Residence hotel. It is located on Charoen Krung Road, not far from River City. The restaurant serves Thai food and has a menu in English. It sells draft beer. You can get a liter jug of beer Chang for 125 Thai Baht. The service is pleasant and the food is tasty and very reasonably priced. Not a fancy place, but a good local eatery.

large_912400995065059-my_husband_e..fe_Bangkok.jpg
In Town Residence.

Sukhamvit Road: On our trip to Bangkok February 2013 we did not do much sightseeing, but managed a lot of eating and drinking. We stayed on Sukhumvit Road first near Nana sky train station, then near Asok sky train station. This is girlie bar area, but it is also wall to wall restaurants and bars. There were local Thai restaurants, British pubs, German restaurants, Austrian restaurants, Indian restaurants. We were spoilt for choice. I'd certainly return here to eat again.

large_126073806530257-Hubbie_and_I..nt_Bangkok.jpg
Eating out in Bangkok.

Posted by irenevt 00:45 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]