Day 4: Bring it on, Bangkok!
10:00 — Fuelled with breakfast
Claire: Determined not to be defeated by Bangkok we left the hotel with a solid route plan today. The canal boats seemed a logic way to travel East > West with a hop on / hop off style ticket.
First stop was Jim Thompson’s House, now a museum it houses the art collection of the American architect who once lived there. Covering half an acre, with its beautiful tropical grounds and wooden houses it really was a bit of escapism.
The house is a great example of Thai craftsmanship — he purchased several 19th Century houses from across the country, dismantled them and rebuilt in Bangkok. Our friendly tour guide told us everything about the great community work Jim did, such as founding the Thai Silk Company to revive the nations silk industry. He mysteriously disappeared in 1967 and years later his house was opened to the public as a museum in his legacy.
The temples here are incredible, so epic in scale and beauty! We visited Golden Mount for a panoramic view over the city then onto Golden Palace (in the rain!) and was simply in awe by their detail. So much gold too. Thai’s love the bling!
19:10 — Got rained on. A lot.
Heading towards the river, it wasn’t quite as I’d expected! I had imagined promenades or at least sections of the bank to be brimming with tourists and hives of activity. Turns out unless you’re staying in one of the swanky 5* riverside resorts, you can’t really stroll much of the river which is a shame. I guess in Western countries I’m so used to the rivers being the heart of the cities… London / Paris / Rome.
That said, we were recommended Asiatique — a large open-air riverside project occupying the former docks which was pretty cool. A mix of bars, restaurants, markets and a Ferris wheel thrown in. It felt very western with burgers joints and Italian eateries but we got fed and watered and that’s all that matters.
Oh and today we also learnt about ‘saving face’ in Thai culture. Which in short means, nobody wants to lose face (be embarrassed or look like a fool!). This means even when asking for directions, they’ll point you in a direction even if they don’t know the answer! Thanks guys.
Gav's day takeaway:
- Found a canal boat for tourists that was way more expensive than the local boat which was much faster and more fun.
- BUT did go to Jim’s House as a result of tourist boat which was really cool and ate nice food with the big fishes in the nice pond. I like ponds.
- Nice view up Golden Mount. Hot though.
- Tour boat closed early – thanks for letting us know lads. So we got the local boat twice only to end up back where we started 25 mins later and got a tuk tuk to Golden Palace instead. The blighter tried to tell us it was closed so he could take us to some suit shop most likely, but we were having none of it. "We don't care if it's raining and closed" I said, "I'm from Blackpool".
- Final score: Bangkok 4, Gav 1