Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and other temples: A Photo Diary

We took a whole day to visit some temples in Thailand. Now, there are a lot of temples in Thailand but we managed to pack in only two — The Grand Palace (which has a lot of temples and museums in one complex) and the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun. It was fun taking the ferry to and from the two sides of the river. Thailand is truly a marriage of the old and the new, fusing modernity with tradition and religiosity.

P.S. I have notes here how to get to these temples from Silom/Sukhumvit without taking a cab

Thailand Creative and Design Center

So on our first night in Thailand, we decided we want to see a museum. Yeah, I know it’s kind of a foolish idea to even think to go to the museum beyond 6pm, unless they have a special event or a gala. But not in Thailand I guess, as the TCDC is open until 9pm and is inside a mall. How cool is that!

The Emporium is an upscale mall/department store along Sukhumvit

The exhibit when we visited was all about the history of design around the world! It was lovely walking through collections of some of the design world’s greatest inventions.

Tamagotchi is the forefather of Nintendogs and other pet-based game. Japan, you rock! And oh, I heard the app is coming to iOS soon?

The TCDC in Thailand has a library of design archives. I guess students in the creative field, or maybe hobbyists will benefit from this. 

The icing on the cake is the The Shop @ TCDC! Seriously, this museum shop has got to be the awesomest that I’ve ever seen! It’s full of quirky stuff (that you prolly won’t need, but will make you buy!) from Thai designers to others from around the world! I had fun just looking at the various collections, I don’t know maybe spent 1-2 hours just looking. at. everything. So pretty aka this space trumps any other high end shops for me!

I wish there are more museums like this.

Photos taken using an iPhone 5

Thailand Creative and Design Center
6/F Emporium 622 Sukhumvit Rd
Take BTS Skytrain to Phrom Phong
+662 664 8448
Tu-Su 10:30-21:00h

First few hours in Thailand

Wow! Has it really been just six months since I was on a trip? It feels like forever though. Not that I don’t like my job now (which admittedly was one of the reasons why I went on this trip. When I do most times, I need to clear my head.) Now I just wanna go… especially I get to use my leaves now! *brings out a map, closes eyes, drops a pen* Wanderlust is real, once you pop you just can’t stop!

We arrived in Bangkok via Poipet border before dusk coming from a temple-tramping beer-swiggin’ adventure in Siem Reap. It was a painful six-hour (was it, or eight?) overland trip. While I made it clear to drop us at Silom, where we stayed in Bangkok, the minivan driver decided to drop us at Khao San Road instead. I didn’t know what to do already, and we really didn’t want to take the cab. So with huge backpacks, and tired selves determined to take a shower and stretch our legs and feet, we walked to the Chao Phraya pier and took the Skytrain to the hotel. I know what it feels to be tired, but it’s different when you’re in transit for almost half a day already.

But I was so ready for the night! Even I surprise myself when I’m traveling. All we needed was to freshen up in the hotel, stretch a little, then we were headed out again.

I was so determined to see the Thailand Creative and Design Center, which is just a train ride away. But that’s for another post just because I was so thrilled to see a museum inside a mall. After visiting the museum though, we took a short train ride to Thong Lo to see if we can grab something to eat. By then, I can imagine how famished we were for some Thai food!

It’ll help a lot if you get a reloadable rabbit card for your stay in Bangkok!

Just a few walks away from the station was this strip of street food vendors and some hole-in-the-wall eateries. In the middle of the busy buildings and roaring roads was this street which I forgot where the food was without frills and null of any pretension. I was so thrilled to see it not that crowded too like what we see in travel shows. I guess this is not the main thoroughfare for street food, but idc really. Food was good, and the people were friendly – a couple expats here and there, and locals as well!

We settled in this eatery and ordered phad thai, and spring rolls. Then a couple struts would bring you to a satay stand and just beside it was a drink stand (Thai milk tea for me of course!)

We tried to find Ella’s favorite banana-milo crepe but to no avail. Plus we were full anyway! That mean phad thai can really get you filled to the brim. Wash it with Thai milk tea and it’s the perfect end to a meal. I wish I can find that good of a plate of phad thai here in Manila!

A walk around the Thong Lo neighborhood was a sight in itself, too. It’s not urban escape for nothing. Design is strong in this country, and I hope it continues to grow. I like the minimalist touches, and the subtle merge between traditional and contemporary. It’s weird but I do get giddy when I see design this good. Plus, here in Thong Lo, you can notice that there’s a lot of izakayas, ramen-ya’s, and teppanyaki places, among others serving authentic Japanese fare. It’s because it’s the Little Tokyo around here. (A clue where I’m planning to go next *crosses fingers*)

We did stroll at the mall near our hotel, and found these pretty restaurants

I was tempted to buy one of each at a local specialty bookstore!

It wasn’t a fast nor a slow night. We just wanted to take it easy and stroll around the neighborhood, as the following day we were headed to the Grand Palace to see some temples.

Few more tips when in Bangkok!

  • We were mostly in Sukhumvit and Silom, and that left us no time for Khao San Road — where there is relatively cheap food and booze plus backpackers (ergo, cheap accommodation as well!). I’d love to go back there and have the full Khao San experience!
  • What Sukhumvit and Silom lost in grittiness and temple-tramping, they make up for with museums and cafes around. I love that there’s even a museum inside the mall! It’s a fast-paced neighborhood, but it’s you who really choose the pace anyway.
  • Oh, and malls abound the city center, too! Take the train to Siam station for the more famous malls like Siam Paragon and MBK Center.
  • Speaking of coping, you’d never need to worry about your mobile phone bill with Globe Telecom’s fixed roaming rates on mobile surfing! Enjoy unlimited mobile surfing while in Bangkok for just PhP 599. You don’t even need to register, that easy! Learn more here.
  • There is no direct train to Rattanakosin, where the Grand Palace and other temples are.  So you may need to take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to get there without taking a cab.
  • From Sukhumvit or Silom line, take the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin, then find the pier just near the station. Get off at Tha Chang pier for the Grand Palace, at Tha Tien for Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha).
  • Take the ferry shuttle in Tha Tien to take you across the river in Thonburi for Wat Arun.
  • The Wat Arun is majestic at night!
  • Also, take the boat if you want a scenic way to see both sides of the river (Old and New Bangkok). Mingle with locals and expats alike, and get to know their everyday life by way of the river.
  • If I had more time in this place, I’d probably gone to see the local third wave coffee scene. But that’s for another visit, I suppose.

Photos taken using an iPhone 5

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