So after an incredible time in the Philippines and a tearful goodbye to my sister and Aimie it was time to get on another plane on my own and head for Bangkok! I couldn’t wait to be in Asia again and most importantly meet up with my travel buddie after just over a month apart. When I landed I was welcomed by Miss Quinn with my own sign, rewind 12 moths prior and it was me holding up a sign in Bali expecting Lauren’s arrival from London to Bali. I was so happy to see my little munchkin again!!
Lauren had everything planned down to a T! She helped me with my bag, put us on a train and off we went into the heart of Bangkok into a hostel she had booked for us called Coop Hostel. It was right next to the train station, clean and cheep which is hard to find in Bangkok! So in the fashion of our friendship, Lauren had lots of things planned and exhibitions to see so after a few hours of me getting my head around how many fake Kylie Jenner Lip Kits I could fit into my backpack, we headed to do some fun things and catch up!
We visited the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre where the exhibition invited you to ‘become the art’. Each stand had pencil drawn instructions on what to do, even thought I tried to sit on the green chair and I got shouted at by secruity. It helps travelling with friends that enjoy photography as me and Lauren spent a long time here, got the perfect pictures and had a lot of fun!
I believe this to be one of the best photos of me while travelling and it doesn’t even have a cliché beach backdrop! Bravo Lauren!
Stole this picture from Lauren, it was a lot better than mine!
The one thing that continued to blow my mind about Bangkok is how the landscapes in between the skyscrapers appear as a mixture of futuristic and run down. This intersection from the high walk way above looks almost futuristic like a scene out of the films Divergent but still with the dirtiness of Thailand. Its hard to believe the capital looks like a concrete jungle and only a few hours in either direction is beautiful Jungles or Beaches. It is a very different experience to stay in Bangkok.
Jim Thompson’s House
If you are reading this and you are from my hometown in Epsom, you will know there was a beautiful Thai style pub called Jim Thompson but I didn’t realised its significance until I came to Thailand and learnt first hand how much of a big deal Mr Jim Thompson was, or even who he was!
Jim Thompson was a American architect who was sent to Asia in WW2 where he fell in love with Thailand and moved there permanently. Thailand famous but long neglected industry of hand weaving of silk, captured Jim Thompson’s attention and he devoted him self to reviving the craft. He combined six teak buildings which represented the best in traditional Thai architecture and his own western influences to create his new home. Time magazine claimed he “almost single-handedly saved Thailand’s vital silk industry from extinction. In 1967 He went out for a walk in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia when he mysterious disappeared and his body was never found. It sparked the largest land searches in South East Asian history and remains one of the most famous mysteries in the region. After his disappearance his home and antique collection has been open to the public, showing his love of Thai traditions mixed with American influences amongst headless sculptures which pirates cut off to see if they had gold in them. It is beyond beautiful and definitely better than the pub in Stoneleigh! FYI Silk worms are gross!
At the house was also an exhibition called ‘The Game’ by two twin brothers and artists called the Le Brothers. They were expressing their childhood memories through photography and videos, having grown up in Vietnam through a difficult, confusing time.
Laurens first Tuk Tuk !
The Grand Temple
It is a must see in Bangkok but be prepared, its bloody hot and a very respectful place so you have to cover up your shoulders and knees. As Olly learnt that ripped jeans are also a big No No in the Palace. We also got asked to show photo ID as we entered the grounds which we aren’t sure why. It costs 500 Baht to enter and I advise trying to get an English talking guide. We did witness a queue of Thai people which looked about 6 hours long and we learnt they are queuing to see the Kings Remains as he passed away 100 days before we arrived. The death of their king hit the country extremely hard (worse than Lady Diana) and you could be put in prison if you wasn’t seen mourning the king for up to 12 days after his death.
Hor Phra Grand Hararat– Created by King Rama IV, the Buddha image is believed to contain magical powers for invoking rain and is worshipped for agriculture purpose.
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha- (Big arse gold building). This is commonly known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram in Thai or Wat Phra Kaew, it was built 800 years ago and has the unique aspect of the royal temple such as this as it is the only temple in the grounds that doesn’t have living quarters for the Buddhist Monks.
The Demon Guardians- Six pairs of them standing at the gates of the gallery. Most of them face the chapel of the Emerald Budda, guarding it from evil spirits
I have to include some of Lauren’s amazing photos on here too of the palace.
The Grand Palace its self was established in 1782 and contains royal residence, throne halls, government officials and the Ministry of defence.
The Temple of Dawn– Wat Arum Rajwararam most elegant pagoda land mark of Thailand, which is locatd on the west bank of Chao Phraya.
We hopped in a Tuk Tuk to the Sky Bar which was in the Hangover, but unfortunately we were all wearing flip flops so we didn’t get in!
Birthday Bits in Bangkok!!
I think I ate this.. I cant quite remember..But before that happened, Olly arrived in Bangkok and surprised me by booking us into an amazing Hotel in Bangkok which looked over the whole city and had a roof top swimming pool. The night before my birthday we had drinks on the roof and Lauren turned up with some balloons and some presents! Which was amazing because there isn’t exactly a Clintons in Bangkok you can pop too, She did very well!
Us three headed to Koh Sang Road which is where everyone backpacker in Bangkok goes to to get drunk as it is a small strip filled with buckets, ping pongs, McDonalds and weird bugs they make look tasty. The road is closed off to cars but somehow a Taxi managed to drive down this road and hit a huge crow of people, which resulted in people mounting the car and dancing on the roof.
I was extremely drunk and had a very good night with my two best friends! I am very grateful I had them there to celebrate my 23rd birthday with me in Thailand, I am extremely fortunate to be able to say I have celebrated my last two birthdays in different countries, first Melbourne and now Thailand!
After a few days in Bangkok, which felt too long as I don’t particularly like Bangkok, it was time to move onto our next destination. As Olly was most excited about seeing the Elephants, we decided to head north and jump on an overnight coach to Chiang Mai, hence why I look like death in the picture below, tanned, but death.