A lil' Backyard Exploring

Trip Start Jul 18, 2009
1
14
52
Trip End Jun 08, 2011


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hello!

I need to first apologize for it taking me so long to write this. This blog actually has to do with last weekend and not this one, but I have had grades due this past week so I have been insanely busy. We did a bunch this weekend too and will have pictures posted and a blog about that very soon too. Now, if you havent noticed by the past number of blogs, Lauren and I have spent the last few weekends running around all different areas outside of Bangkok. This weekend we thought that it was time to stay in our own "backyard" and explore downtown Bangkok and all that it has to offer. It was quite a weekend! We did and saw more than we even imagined and took some amazing pictures. But let me preface this blog by saying that the weekend made me realize that I am not as young as I used to be. Cant roll with the big dogs anymore. We were in pretty rough shape when the weekend was finally over. Yikes.

On Friday night after we both got big and buff at the gym, we headed down the BTS skytrain to a waterin’ hole that we had read about and heard many good things about. It is a very small British-style Pub called the “Black Swan” (insert Billy Madison quote here). It was a great place and had a very comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. There was a lot of Brits and Aussies there, so it was good to talk “football” with them and shoot the breeze. The coolest part of the Pub is that they have this very nice spiral staircase in the middle. Beautiful to look at but a death trap after one-too-many pints. Thankfully Lauren and I didn’t get to that point so no worries. We worked up quite an appetite at the Black Swan and decided to check out a near-by Taco joint that is all the rave among Westerners in Bangkok. It is called Sunrise Tacos and was started by an American about 15 years ago in Bangkok. Needless to say it was quite successful and now there are 5 of them total throughout downtown BKK. The food was delicious, no comparison to the FINE meals that I have had at the El Patio, but certainly worth a second trip. Lauren and I actually went back there for dinner on Sunday. After tacos, we were both pretty beat that we decided to call it a night and get ready for a pretty busy Saturday (Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, Etc. If we have enough time).

Saturday we woke up bright and early and headed to a very popular museum in BKK known as the Jim Thompson house. Lauren is looking to get involved volunteering for a museum or gallery, so we thought that this would be a good place to start. HISTORY LESSON (Yeah!): In the late 1700s and 1800s, Thailand produced silk that was very similar in quality to Chinas. But since China had been trading it for centuries, they essentially had a monopoly on the market, and Thai silk was just used among the Thais as it was a very cheap local alternative. Jim Thompson was an American that moved to Thailand in the late 1930s and was a conesuer of sorts and discovered Thai silk. Convinced that it could rival Chinese silk, he began to redevelop the Thai silk industry and put a great deal of marketing behind it. Thai silk was used in the very famous “The King and I” movie, and after that, gained world wide attention and popularity. Jim Thompson started his own silk company and provided jobs and revenue to thousands in Bangkok. He built a really sweet house in downtown Bangkok, but then vanished 6 years later when exploring in the Cambodian jungle. They have never discovered what happened to him, and his house was made into a museum. Hooray for history! Anyways it was a really sweet house but we weren’t allowed to take pictures in it, so I only have the outside. It had a really cool garden too so I took a bunch of pictures of that

We worked up quite an appetite from the museum so we decided to grab some street-side noodle soup, but not just any noodle soup, the best that we have had since moving to BKK. The best stand that we have found of the millions in the city (that really isn’t an exaggeration) is located on the backside of Lumphini Park. I have blogged about Lumphini Park before. It is a huge park right in downtown Bangkok. Very similar to Central Park in NY or Northside Park. So Lauren and I decided to take a nice stroll through it on the way to our favorite noodle soup stand. The park is really cool and it has all kinds of Monitor Lizards in the ponds. No gators though to my disappointment. While eating at our noodle stand we realized, by looking at our ghetto make-shift map, that we were really close to the National History Museum. When we were finished eating we started walking down the road towards the museum but unfortunately the map showed that the road continued to the museum, but in actuality there was a big huge hospital blocking our way. We decided to walk to the right around the hospital and continue through that way. We came to a “street” that had a gaurd at the entrance of it. We thought nothing of it and walked on through. As we continued walking, we noticed that it smelled bad. Like really bad. Like horse poo. We walked a little bit more down this “street” and came upon all of these horse trailers. We started to realize that maybe we weren’t on an actual street, but we knew that if we kept going, there would have to be an exit sometime. As we kept walking we started to pass by a bunch of Thai men, who appeared to be the horse handlers, giving us the weirdest look in the world. We looked to our right and realized that we were in the horse holding area of the Royal Bangkok Sports Complex which is a huge horse track. We came to the end of the holding area and there was nothing but a big huge gate. No exit door, no nothing. So, we decided to go walk into the track area and try and find an entrance. Now keep in mind we are near the track with a horse race going on, and thousands of people in the stands. And we are trying to climb up the stands and just find someway out of the place! We were stopped by a guard who gave us the “stupid Farang” look and I attempted to tell him our dilemma as we clearly were NOT supposed to be there. He told us to “wait” (never a good sign in Thailand) and then disappeared talking on his radio. Lauren and I saw that as our exit, and booked it back to the “street” we came in on, and got back to the main road where we started. Now realize that it is about 100 degrees while all this is going on. So after getting to the main road, we gave up on our museum pursuit and headed to the nearest pub we could find for a refreshing pint.

After settling in at a nearby pub, we took our map out to get our bearings. We realized that we were only a street away from the various infamous Patpong section of Bangkok. Now for good reason, I have always wanted to see this area of town, and for good reason Lauren has never allowed me to see this area of town. But it was about 3pm and the “businesses” on Patpong really don’t get started until around 8pm, so we knew that it would be relatively low-key. When walking down this road, it was hard to imagine that a place like this exists in Bangkok. It is really quite tucked away from all of the main roads and one could easily reside in Bangkok for years and never come in contact with any of these areas or “industries.” After walking through a number of Patpong Sois (streets), Lauren realized that we were right next to one of her favorite restaurants she always gets to deliver to our place. It is a Lebanese place and we decided to pop on in and grab a meal.

When we left the restaurant, the sun was beginning to set, and all of the festivities at Patpong were begin to get into full swing. One of the Sois had a market in it, so we did some shopping and Lauren bought some shirts on our way to the other end. Of course, with it still being 90 degrees out at night, we decided to grab a drink and decide the rest of the evening. Lauren had told me about this place called Khao San road and how it was just a really cool Soi with anything and everything that you could imagine. Of course I was sold from the beginning, so we hopped in a cab and headed for Khao San.

Ok to best describe Khao San, it is like Celebrity Square at Broadway in Myrtle Beach, crossed with Bourbon Street (but minus all the beads and b—bs). It is a pretty wild place with a tremendous amount of Farangs there so it doesn’t really see too Thailandish to us but it was still a really good time. There are vendors selling everything you can imagine, there is every type of restaurant that you can imagine, any type of clothes that you can imagine (I got a SWEET T-shirt) any type of souvenir that you can imagine, etc. Lauren even was able to get one of the pieces that she had been looking to do for a while at a nearby tattoo parlor so she did well there too. We walked around a bunch and stopped off at a few vendors and restaurants really just taking it all in. After a while though we were exhausted so we decided to head back home.

Now you would think that the next day we would just kind of lay low, but nope, not this pair. We are gluttons for punishment I guess because on Sunday we decided to check out Chinatown on the eastern side of Bangkok. We took the BTS to Taskin bridge pier, and then hopped a boat taxi to the Chinatown pier. Chinatown essentially consists of one main road, with tons and tons of side streets coming off that main road. Each side street has a specialization of sorts with the entire street focusing on that theme. For example, one side street has to do with seafood, and is filled with food carts, stores, sidewalk vendors, etc, all selling fresh seafood, seafood cookers, seafood garnishes, etc. Lauren and I decided to pop down one of these roads just to explore and see where it would take us. While walking down the road, and almost by accident, we came upon this really cool colorful Buddhist temple. Now Chinese Buddhists are different than Thai Buddhists. There are 2 types of Buddhism, Therevada and Mahayana, that have many similar core beliefs but also many differences. Think Protestants and Catholics, or Sunni and Shiites. Anyways the Chinese Buddhist also weave a lot of Confucian and Taoism into their Buddhist beliefs which results in some amazingly colorful and ornate temples. And Ok, let me go on the record and say that I am sorry for the 123 pictures in every blog of temples. I really like temples and their architecture. After walking around the temples and heading down a few more alluring side streets, we met up with the main road and decided to take it back to the pier. The sidewalks on the main road are filled with people selling the widest array of assortments that you can imagine. These people are fairly low class and basically just lay out a sheet on the sidewalk and throw all of their goods on it. But it is not a specific thing that they sell but literally everything but the kitchen sink (and we seriously saw some of those too). So this was pretty interesting and the greatest thing is that they are really eager to sell stuff so they will take a really low price. Lauren got a hand-made 7 piece tea set for $3 USD. Pretty sweet. After strolling through the rest of Chinatown we made it back to the pier and headed back for home.

It was quite a weekend. Came back with a lot of cool pictures, treasures, and an abundance of blisters on our feet; but it was a very excellent weekend. We were once again impressed by what this amazing city has to offer and continue to thank God everyday for the opportunity to live here. We miss all of our family and friends like crazy and we love ali of you. Thanks again for reading!

Lauren & Jason :-D :-D

 
Slideshow Report as Spam

Post your own travel photos for friends and family More Pictures & Videos

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: