Siam- Bangkok (September 30- October 5, 2015)

Returning back to Bangkok, after about 20 years, we noticed some things have changed, mostly for the better.  Having traveled here solely for business about 20 years ago, we returned to explore the city as a tourist, and Bangkok is a good destination from which to go to Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

The new airport and highway (from the airport to downtown) is nicely done.  The airport was well-organized, and there was little traffic driving into downtown from the airport.  Taxis are inexpensive ( USD$6 for a 1 hour taxi ride in city center).  A hotel on the Chao Praya is the way to go- away from the concrete, Americanized jungle of Sukhumvit Road.  Bangkok, Thailand (Siam in earlier years) is an interesting place.  Look past the “Backpacker District” on Khao San Road, bars and other things for which Bangkok is infamous, and one can find some gems.  Here are some interesting spots:

1. MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art- MOCA)MOCA 2_20151002 has a collection of modern art in a cool building.  Although an hour Uber ride from our hotel, the building was gorgeous and housed some fascinating pieces of art.  Definitely one of the highlights during this visit.

2. Wat Pho  is royal temple dating back to about 1650 time period housing a huge reclining Buddha.Wat Pho_Reclining Buddha_20151002

3. Museum Siam is an interactive museum on the history and culture of Thailand.  Not the best museum but a great way to pick up some addition history on Thailand.  Great for kids.  From 4-6 pm, the museum offers free admission to all.

4. Lumphini ParkLumpini Park is a gorgeous park in central Bangkok.  We visited on a Saturday night around 6 pm, and there were a plethora of runners and folks out enjoying the park.  While we were in the park, all of sudden, as the Thai national anthem started playing, everyone in the park stopped moving (everyone), and the feral dogs started howling.

A couple other interesting items of note:

  1. Uber is in Bangkok.  We used Uber a few times, but compared with the traditional taxi services, Uber was not great, just yet.  Drivers seem much less experienced and there are not many (although there is likely a small population looking for them). In a city challenged with traffic, driving skills are key and our taxi drivers clearly out maneuvered their Uber counterparts.
  2. The subway system (MRT and BTS and 10-20 years old respectively) is clean and efficient.  Great way to get around the city and avoid traffic. We were also impressed by the organized queuing system that the Thais seem to obey to get on and off the MRT.

We also need to give a shout out to Riva Surya hotel (Riva Surya ).  It was off the beaten path on the Chao Praya river with rooms overlooking the water.  The restaurant and pool also overlook the river.  Overall, the hotel is a nice respite from the rest of the Bangkok scene, especially places like Sukhumvit Road with a lot of the shopping and standard American hotels. In addition, the hotel is in close proximity to the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Temple of Dawn and many other destination points.

6 thoughts on “Siam- Bangkok (September 30- October 5, 2015)

  1. I too enjoy your commentary. I you stay on the right track as to what works and what doesn’t work all over the world. Your or Chris could come back and run for office
    .and do much better than any of the morons that are in office or running now.

    Like

  2. Stacey

    Love living vicariously through you both!!! Happy to hear and feel a part of your travels… the narrative and pictures are wonderful… really enjoying seeing you guys experience the world! What a wonderful way to not only keep in touch with loved ones- but perfect for documenting your trip so that you can remember and relive and retell your stories for years to each other and others! Thank you for sharing! Sending prayers for safe travels and lots more fun in your adventures ahead, xoxo Stacey 🙂

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  3. thanks for the update… have really enjoyed your commentary on fb and pictures ….. your start 21 day of biking on the 5th..??… hope the wind is
    at your back……. the next segment …. Have the rains stopped……..

    Like

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