Saturday, 27 June 2009

Birthday in Bangkok

We spent four days in Bangkok at the end of June because of my husband's work, and this trip coincided with my birthday.

I started exploring the city while he was working. First stop was Jim Thompson's house. Jim Thompson was an American former CIA operative who spent 22 years in Thailand rebuilding the silk industry, before mysteriously disappearing in the Cameron Highlands in 1967. His house has now been turned into a museum.

in the garden, Jim Thompson house

The house is beautifully and tastefully decorated.

On the night of my birthday we had dinner at the Banyan Tree hotel at their open air Vertigo restaurant on the 61st floor.

view from Vertigo

The next day my husband wasn't working, and we took the Chao Phraya express boat along the river of the same name:

Next we visited the spectacular Grand Palace. This has to be one of the most richly decorated royal palaces I've even seen.

The statues of mythological giants are known as yaksha.

The nearby Wat Pho temple houses Thailand's largest reclining Buddha :

The Giant Swing, known as Sao Ching Cha in Thai, is a religious structure originally constructed in 18th century.

Giant Swing, near Wat Suthat temple

candles on sale

Democracy monument

Lastly, to head back to our hotel we took one of the river taxis that ply the klorng (canals) of Bangkok. They go very fast and don't stop for very long, so you have to be ready to jump out or in as soon as they do stop.

In a four day visit we could only scratch the surface of Bangkok, but it gave us a good first-time view of the city, and we'd love to go back some time soon.  In any case, it was very different to our following trip, only a few days after we'd got back to Seoul : the Trans-Siberian train across Russia.

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