May 6, 2011

Thailand - Bangkok

The train between Chiang Mai and Bangkok goes across a great part of Thailand. During 750 kilometres, the landscapes unfold: rice fields, small villages, rivers, rainforest, etc.


We spent a few days in Bangkok and we have been surprised to discover a very modern and functional capital. Crossed by street and sky train bridges and big avenues, the city is  quite Manhattanized with its high buildings and skyscrapers. The public transportation network is really neat. The navigable canals and Chao Phraya River are charming and a funny way to move around.

Thailand is the country of smile. People are actually polite and helpful even when they do not speak English. Girls are very classy and affected in the metro. It seems also that many Westerners live and work here .

View from the Sky Train


Ironically the best way to know more about traditional Thai craft industry and houses is to visit the property of an American who made a fortune with the renewal of Thai silk manufacturing and export after the Second World War.

Jim Thompson was an architect before the war. He designed his own residence and gardens. He bought six houses in different parts of Thailand, made them dismantle and brought to his property in Bangkok. Three of them are joint and form the main house. The three others are spread in a luxuriant garden full of tropical plants and flowers.

During his years in Thailand Jim Thompson collected many authentic antiques which are exhibited in the museum. Very impressive and beautiful! And he showed his collection to the public way before his mysterious disparation.

The drawing room in Jim Thompson house

The main attractions of Bangkok are the Grand Palace and the adjacent Wat Phra Kaew. However we did not fully agree with that and found the ticket fee overpriced for what it is. Maybe it is to finance the amazing upkeep of the whole sight. The throne hall is quite magnificient but photos are forbidden inside.

Grand Palace

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew

In the royal island we also admired the fourty-six metres long golden reclining Buddha in Wat Pho:


Thai cuisine can be surprising, a matter of finding the right balance between the four fundamentals: sour, sweet, salty and spicy. We tried some dishes and did not know exactly what we were eating but it was delicious!

Fried noodles with chicken, chinese broccoli, and a sweet and sour sauce

 Fried rice noodles in a special sauce with beans sprout, peanuts, green onions and eggs

Dried fish shops

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