Off Beat Things To Do In Bangkok City


Royal Grand Palace
Royal Grand Palace

They say that when in Rome do as the Romans do, likewise when in Bangkok , do as the Bangkokians do! It is not all about the sight seeing in Bangkok that attracts the visitors to the Big Mango. There are loads of other fun activities that one can indulge in without the need to visit historical sites and museums. Bangkok is a melting pot of culture, traditions and excitement from morning to night. The next time you visit after all the sightseeing and tour activities in Bangkok, try some of these activities.

Take a tuk-tuk ride to Yaowarat Road which is the Chinatown of Bangkok . During the day you can explore the Chinese markets and take a walk down the street where you will find many interesting vendors selling anything from Chinese hanging mobiles to dim sum dishes. Yaowarat Road is not normally on a tour destination in Bangkok itinerary but a place most often frequented by the locals of Bangkok for the many wholesale shops, Chinese restaurants, Chinese medicinal and herbal shops as well as the wet market where you can find typical Chinese street food in Bangkok.

Ganesh Temple at Sirom Road
Ganesh Temple at Sirom Road

Next, make a trip to Silom Road which is the central business district of Bangkok. Tucked in a little quiet corner is the Indian temple dedicated to Ganesh the Elephant God. You will find many vendors outside selling offerings for the God Ganesh in the form of sugar cane, large combs of green bananas, flower garlands and lotus buds. This area is a great photographer’s delight where the colourful vendors ply their trade and the temple itself is lavishly decorated with sculptures of Hindu deities in a blaze of colourful designs. You will be surprised that it is not just Indians who worship here but also Thai as Ganesh is a popular God for the Thai people as well. This part of Silom is also known as the Little India of Bangkok. You can make offerings at the temple if you so wish just for luck. You can also pay a small fee for an Indian cultural dance within the temple ground which is rather enjoyable. If you are feeling peckish after all that, there are many Indian restaurants located along Silom street that sell vegetarian or Northern Indian food and candies which is a change from the local Thai fare.

Patpong Nightlife
Patpong Nightlife

If you happen to be in Bangkok City on a weekend night do not miss the opportunity to make your way to one of the night markets in Bangkok city. As these are open-air markets, it is best to go only when it does not rain or you would find yourself stuck out in the rain with no stalls in sight! The most convenient night market on a Saturday night is located at Lad Phrao MRT station . As you exit it is just at the back of the building and on a rainless Saturday night the first thing to greet you as you walk out the subway building is the loud blaring music from the night market. Just follow your ears to get there. This is a great place to get bargains as the vendors pack he open air space selling their goods out of cars, trucks and make shift stalls. You can find anything from second hand clothes, shoes, toys, refurbished teak furniture to BB Guns and souvenirs. Oh, and don’t miss out that food is always available where Thai people gather! Keep a watch out for your wallet as the place can be packed like sardines . The vendors start selling their goods from around 5pm until midnight and these night markets are only open on Saturday nights.

Batcat Musuem
Batcat Musuem

If you are into toy collectibles or even superhero collections, make your way to the new BatCat Museum! This is a child and the “Kid in the grown up” place to be. Occupying the space of an old warehouse and located a short distance away from the Bangkapi Shopping Mall , you can spend several hours ogling at the huge collection of toys on display. It is the only museum of its kind in Bangkok dedicated to action hero toys and all manner of toy collectibles including vintage tin toys! There are two floors for you to admire all the collections and hopefully you would have brought along someone sane enough to drag you out at the end of the day! Be warned to bring your kids and the grown up kid at your own risks!

Chatujak weekend market
Chatujak weekend market

Bangkokians enjoy their weekends out by visiting the Chatuchak Market . You can sometimes find this on the shopping tours of Bangkok offerings but mostly for weekend packages. If you do not, then it is very easy to make your way there either by taxi or the MRT to Mochit Station and it is just a short walk away. If you plan to make your way to Chatuchak Market, it is advisable to wear comfy walking shoes and dress comfortable as it can get quite steamy and packed walking in the enclosed areas not to mention walking the size of the whole market which is several football fields in size. The Chatuchak market is open only on Saturdays and Sundays until 5pm. People in Bangkok love to hang out here because you can get practically anything including exotic wildlife and pets. If you are looking for souvenirs but don’t know where to look, then this is the best place to be. You can get beautiful handcrafted items, small boutique design items, antiques and even whole sale food and snacks all ready packed for your convenience. If you get carried away and end up buying huge amounts of items, no worries, there are even packing and freight forwarding agents on hand there to help you pack and ship the things back to your homeland and this includes anything from items to pets! One can never get bored in Bangkok City and this is just the tip of the buzz in the Big Mango!

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A Visual Article on The Excitement of Khaosan Road


khaosanTake a peek and spend a whole day in one of the most exciting places in Bangkok! One of the entrances into Khaosan Road, here you will by pass a few good diners, motels that are fairly cheap and comfortable not to mention convenient and just a little ways down, a quick haircut in one of the barber shops or a wet shave to start your day.

khaosanAn invigorating foot massage after a hard day of walking Khaosan Road. A great way to rub out all those kinks and aches from too much walking and all this while you watch others walking by!

khaosanArtists displaying their talents for sale at Khaosan Road. You can purchase their artwork directly from the artist themselves, who knows it might one day be a masterpiece. If not, it is a good memorabilia of your visit to Thailand!

khaosanSidewalk tables laid out by street vendors along tree-shaded walkways. Diners can enjoy a variety of made-to-order Thai dishes here for an absolutely reasonable price and get to enjoy typical Thai food. No worries, the menu has pictures so you do know what you are ordering!

khaosanOne of the interesting outdoor seating at a cafe on Khaosan Road

khaosanA view of a sidewalk cafe in Khaosan Road. This is a more westernized cafe, there are others that are more Lanai or Thai styled, which give a variety of flavors to Khaosan. It is an eclectic mix of western and Thai styles that makes Khaosan such an interesting place to be.

khaosanA tourist enjoying meal at an outdoor diner as a respite from the sun. All along Khaosan Road, there are a variety of cafes and diners you can choose to take a rest and have a drink.

khaosanAl Fresco” street dining! Khaosan Road offers a variety of dining options and one of the most interesting is this nicely laid out street-dining by a vendor who cooks up an interesting collection of Thai dishes for your enjoyment. Sit down, get comfy, watch the crowd passing by and have an interesting dinner while you are at it. All this and more when you make a trip down to Khaosan!

khaosanOne of the 24 hour dining and entertainment outlets on Khaosan Road with the promise that they are never closed!

khaosanVisitors can enjoy a variety of restaurants and dining places on Khaosan Road, one good selection are outlets with a sidewalk seating so you can watch people passing by as you dine.

 

khaosanComfortable seating in one of the cafes while you enjoy your dining

khaosanWalking Khaosan Road for shopping, dining and entertainment galore

khaosanPad Thai, one of the local Thai street vendor dishes. Consisting of noodles fried with dried shrimp, egg, fish sauce, peanuts and bean sprout it is a favorite among tourist who eat on the go. Several of these vendors can be seen around Khaosan Road.

khaosanYou can buy anything on Khaosan Road! From T-shirts to tattoos you name it …except for other things! All-in-all it is a great place for anyone who would like to have a good bargain, see the colorful activities and enjoy some good food and entertainment.

khaosanA cozy ambiance in an Italian family restaurant on Khaosan Road.

khaosanThis is one place you should if even just take a peek! The restaurant serves barbecue seafood and grilled fare but the effigy inside the courtyard is absolutely amusing!

khaosanSome old refurbished bikes on display as an outdoor decor at a restaurant in Khaosan Road. They are reconditioned to pristine state and actually quite fascinating to know that Thailand still has a number of these old bikes on the road.

khaosanTired of walking and shopping? Hop in for a relaxing foot massage or spa. There are loads of outlets offering a variety of spa treatments, just take your pick but be sure to confirm the price before you commit to a treatment!

khaosanFood, clothes, dining, shopping and entertainment galore on Khaosan Road. Come experience the colorful lifestyle, you might even plan to stay on in Khaosan!

khaosanA small alley way called “Susie Walking Street” along Khaosan Road. Here you can find loads of T-shirts, scarves, street hair dressers, pubs and vendors selling other interesting items as well as Spa treatment shops.

khaosanFancy a tattoo? You can get one quite easily here on Khaosan Road, just pick which one you like, choose a design or get the tattoo master to draw you up one. A word of caution when it comes to needles, make sure it is a new one. Most of the tattoo parlors do use new sterilized needles but there is nothing more reassuring than when you see them change one! In an hour or so, you will be the proud owner of a great tattoo done in Thailand! By the way, tattoos are a popular item not just for tourist but also the local Thais and you can sometimes see really great ones on display on a well-toned body!

khaosanHahahaha….a McDonald welcome in Khaosan Road for those who just can’t get enough of McD. So you just can’t say that there is nothing edible in Khaosan when a burger and French fries with a Coke is the last resort!

khaosanJAWS! In Khaosan Road….no worries, it is just a photo display! A sidewalk attraction to a shopping center but it makes a great photo taking place and give the impression of being in the infamous shark’s grasp….great photo shot for the kids too!

khaosanPizza on the go in Khaosan! A mere THB50 for a piece loaded with toppings and hot off the oven. Something to fill your tummy while busy shopping and sightseeing.

khaosanTake your pick of toppings for your Thai fast food! All fresh and cooked on the spot for your taste buds!

khaosanOne of the many pubs and entertainment places on Khaosan Road, you can get a bucket of beer for a very reasonably cheap price here or try their LaoBan which is a house mix.

khaosanA hair cut and a close shave the ole fashioned way in Khaosan Road, just THB100 for a hair cut plus aneck massage while you are at it! Now, where else can you get it that cheap?!

khaosanOne of the interesting new vendors on Khaosan Road. A fresh fruit and vegetable juice store. You can get them to juice and blend any pick of the fresh fruits or vegetables available on display! A great pick-me-up drink!

khaosan

Try this out! Currywurst! A type of flavored sausage served on a hot steaming bun or eaten as is with condiments. Yet another fast food option from the vendors on Khaosan Road!

khaosanNight scene on Khaosan Road. A glittering scene of neon lights blaring out the shops and entertainment places. nothing is more lively than a night out at Khaosan.

khaosanQuiet dining for a romantic evening or even a family outing on Khaosan Road. For those with children, there will be vendors trying to sell you toys at every corner and wherever you may be seated! Just a polite “No” will suffice! That being said…it is still a wonderful evening out dining in the many places here.

khaosanThis is an unusual sight here in Khaosan. This street performer plays the most haunting music on the Isaan guitar, and his stoned-face expression gives it the perfect effect for something mysterious. You really must catch his performance while you are there! He plays for a contribution if you feel generous enough but it is recommended you watch him perform!

khaosanThis street performer is just one of many on Khaosan Road. There are also kids doing a really neat dance routine called “Street Dancing” but the best part about Khaosan is the wonderful sights and sounds of different vendors selling the services and trades. You get to see some of them in Traditional hill tribe costumes announcing their presence with a wooden frog that makes a unique sound when rubbed with a stick on its back, street hairdressers applying braids to the tourist who want Rastaman braids and so much more. So make it a point to visit Khao San Road when you arrange for a tour of Bangkok city. This is really one of the most colorful districts in Thailand!

 

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Street Foods

The Amazing Street Food Of Thailand – Be Adventurous And Try Some!


Street Foods | Photo By flatsharp

Thailand is one of the most exotic destinations in the world, the blend of Thai culture and tradition, synergy with the neighbouring countries and influences from the West have helped to shape the country as it is today. One thing is for sure in Thailand, there is never a shortage for a variety of food, and in fact you can say that it is an open fiesta where food is concerned.

In Thai eating patterns the starters are not a fundamental part of the eating culture, however the main course, especially desserts and snacks are the norm. A walk down the rows of food stalls with vendors in small push carts plying their goods, you will find a cacophony of main courses such as noodles, rice, fried fresh food, loads of desserts and off course a huge variety of snacks on the go. Unlike the western eating habits where you have starters or appetizers followed by the main meal and then desserts it is just the opposite in Thailand. Indulging in the desserts first is a norm!

Street Foods | Photo by bahighlife

So where would you go to sample the local street food of Thailand aside from hitting some street and giving your taste buds a go with the side walk vendors? Most visitors to the country will take a tour of Thailand sightseeing and in some of these tours there is the opportunity to visit the floating markets of Thailand. This is where you can get an introduction to your first taste of Thai street food. A floating market in Thailand tour is the best place to try out first hand what authentic Thai street vendor food is all about and there is a great variety you can choose from plus the thrill of purchasing your food right off the long-tail boats is an experience in itself.  How is the Thai street food different from what you find in fancy restaurants or food courts? Most of these places cater mostly to the crowd that are either tourists or produce a fancy version of the originals. Most are not able to carry the actual variety that is available by the vendors. Also most of the street food outside is family run vendors who are small time businesses that have been at their trade for probably generations and the servings they give are not diluted for Western taste but more for the Thai palette.

Street Foods | Photo by bahighlife

Some of the sampling of street food you can get off the boat vendors are freshly barbecued seafood, you can select your pick of fresh water or sea prawns, large squids, sea and estuary crabs or salt encrusted barramundi all cooked to perfection when you order and served with a piquant dipping sauce. Other types of recommended dishes are the kiew tieau khai tun or braised chicken noodles, pad see eiew (fried flat rice noodles with bean sprouts and either chicken, pork or seafood), Kao nieow moo ping (grilled spiced pork skewers served with sticky rice), ban mee kieow nam moo deang (egg noodle soup with wanton and minced pork eaten with vinegar green chilli),  yen ta foh (noodles served with a red soup accompanied by seafood and minced meat), yam pla dok foo ( a deep fried cat fish salad made of young papaya, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar). Desserts have two varieties, sweet or savoury. A nice dessert to try aside from the usual mango and sticky rice is the fukthong (pumpkin custard), kah nom krog (a small pan cooked batter made from flour and coconut milk with corn or minced meat on the inside served hot), patong koa and nam tau hu ( deep fried flour pastry served with hot soy bean drink), kuey tod (fried battered banana served with crusty fried coconut shavings) and for snacks you can try the salted deep fried bay crabs and shrimps, ka nom huey lor (sesame seeded deep fried balls with bean paste), khao niew ping choop kai (sticky rice dipped in egg and grilled), Koo chai ka thiam (chives leafs stuffed in rice pastry served steamed or fried), and Nam prik sod sai (minced meat in flour coating steamed and served with loads of fried garlic and a dipping sauce).

kiew tieau khai tun Photo from foursquare

Exploring the Thai eating culture is both fascinating and a culinary experience. Not only is it cheaper than eating in a hotel or restaurant but the variety is much larger than even a good buffet in a fancy restaurant. They also do taste much better! So when you do come to visit Thailand, make it a point and try one of the sightseeing tours of Bangkok or river and canal cruise in Bangkok that will bring you to one of the floating markets where you can indulge in local Thai cuisine till your heart is content. The only thing is if you do not want something to be spicy just remember these words “mai sai prik” which means no chilli or “Mai phed” which is with chili but not spicy!

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Discover Thailand’s Underwater Kingdom Right In the Heart Of Bangkok At Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World In Bangkok City


Sea Life Bangkok Ocean WorldVisiting Thailand but no time to head out to the beautiful islands for an island holiday? Well, you can still get a glimpse of the great underwater kingdom of Thailand through the Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World in Siam Paragon in Bangkok City. This place boast an area of 3 Olympic sized swimming pools with 30,000 exhibits of more than just fishes with the one and only 4D Theater (Yes, 4D) in Thailand. It is also the largest underwater exhibit in the world. Located two floors below the Siam Paragon building which is also a major shopping complex, you will get the chance to experience an underwater world from not only local waters but also different regions around the world in seven zones which are Sea Jellies, Open Ocean, Rocky Shore, Rain Forest, Living Ocean, Deep Reef and Weird and Wonderful.

A visit to Zone 1 in Weird and Wonderful will bring you to exhibits that are bizarre such as huge Spider Crabs, Leafy Sea Dragons and stripped frog fish among the many exhibits, so if you have never seen any of these fine specimens alive for real before, this is your chance to do so! Heading out to the Zone 2 Deep Reef section which is an 8 meter long underwater tunnel, you can get a great view of the local marine life from wonderful corals to large sharks, manta rays and other fishes swimming by oblivious to you walking in the tunnel. You should see some of the size of these marine creatures which are quite awesome thriving comfortably in the huge tank. You can also communicate with the divers who go in to feed the fishes at certain times of the day, which should be a thrill for young and old alike.

Sea Life Bangkok Ocean WorldNext head out to the zone 3 Living Ocean where you can observe and learn how one marine creature relates to the next in the sensitive ecological balance of the seas. You get to see the clown fish or most of us will also know it as Nemo from the Disney cartoon, living among the sea anemone that is their protective home and poisonous to other who touch it except for this fish that uses it as a form of protection. There are many other things here that you would not be aware of until you visit and you can tour this section with a glass bottom boat, giving you a clear view of an underwater ecology system! You can even do a mini jungle trek in the Zone 4 Rain Forest section and see what other creatures thrive in the water kingdom aside from the sea and oceans such as huge water rats, otters and the African lung-fish. As you go deeper into the exhibits in the other zones where you can get a chance to watch the feeding of the sharks and large Eagle rays and for kids, you could go back stage and play with some of these creatures  such as the starfish petting zoo and otter feeding activities which would be a once in a life time experience.  The most spectacular zone is also the last zone which is the Sea jellies. Here you get to watch a the jellies through a LED lighted tank and see the grace and symphony of the sea jellies as the float by gracefully in the tank with their translucent bodies. You will only get to see this in Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World! Those who just can’t resist the temptation to dive in and be with the fishes will also get a chance to do this in Ocean World where you can put on a wetsuit and jump right in there where all the action is. If this does not quench your thirst for a diving experience, then the next place you should go is a diving tour of the Islands in Thailand!

Sea Life Bangkok Ocean WorldThe fun does not end here, head on to the only 4D cinema in Thailand for a Sony 4D Xventure Adventure in the specially designed seats and state-of-the-art film technology that will bring everything to life right before your very eyes in a 25 minute showcase of a virtual underwater world. You will throw away the 3D experience once you have tried this! So, especially if you have kids traveling with you or you want to experience a great underwater adventure right in the city of Bangkok, make sure you book the Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World tickets in advance and include it as part of your tour in Bangkok City.
This is all part of the Bangkok tour and sightseeing itinerary for most of those who are spending some time in the city and you can also do a great round of shopping while at Siam Paragon with all the glitzy and fashionable boutiques and while you are at it, get some insight into local Thai food at the food court or many other food outlets in the building. So you can consider it as a one stop place to be for at least a whole day while you are in Bangkok!

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Nichkhun

Your Chance To Rub Shoulders With The Celebrities At Madame Tussauds In Bangkok City!


jaychau

Like to have a picture of you standing next to Lady Gaga or Jackie Chan or even Robert Pattinson that gorgeously drop-dead sexy actor from Twilight? Well, here is your chance. It is not a case of “seen one Madame Tussauds seen it all” with Madame Tussauds in Bangkok! Did you know that each Madame Tussauds around the world has different displays unique to the region, bet you did not! This famous wax museum has finally opened its doors in Thailand and where else but in Bangkok City. Strategically located in Siam Discovery World in downtown Bangkok, you can also spend the rest of your day shopping after a visit to the museum!

NichkhunFans of Jay Chou and Nichkhun will be thrilled to know that they can stand next to him for a great photo shot, the wax figure that is!  The figures are extremely lifelike as is the standard and quality of each Madame Tussauds creation. Not left out is also Justin Bieber, yes it is so hard to have a photo taken with him but not here! So snap away all you like and be the talk when you get back home.

Did you know that in order to make each wax figure the personality had in most cases to sit in for a figure, size, and footage and off course reference photos had to be taken in order to produce the lifelike sculptures? In many of the celebrity cases, there is a signed endorsement of the famed Madame Tussauds Signature Book that off course reads like a who is who in the celebrity circuit. Even the famed Michael Jackson along with many other stars and celebrities of old have been immortalized at Madame Tussauds.

 

Justin BieberA visit to Madame Tussauds is more than just a wax museum. For 200 years these museums around the world have been telling stories of their own through the creation of wax effigies about personalities and events that has helped to shape the world around us. What started out as a 3 dimensional news gossip display of events in the early century circa 1770 has now become an A-List of famous people and icons that have been the world’s talked about persons. The career of Madame Tussauds started out  as a death mask creator for executed aristocrats during the French Revolution. She perfected her art over the years and her figurines became more and more lifelike. Her works became a traveling news source and where people who came to her exhibits could see up close and personal the people they only hear about in the news.  Her first place of establishment was on Baker Street in London where the infamous Chamber of horrors and the figures of notorious criminals and villains are on display. The exhibits in Bangkok are no less historical but has a more Asian Theme as well as Western so it does cater to a wide spectrum of age groups when they visit this museum.

Micheal JacksonYou can book tickets to Madame Tussauds in Bangkok through a travel agent or tour company. It should be included as part of your tour itinerary for Thailand when you visit Bangkok. Every few months, Madame Tussauds in Bangkok reveals a new figure so you can keep posted for which new figure will be released in the near future. Learn a little about history, know your favorite personalities and get rally up close with them at the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum! This is the chance to see some of the personalities that you do not see at other Madame Tussauds around the world and be thrilled by your visit there!

 

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Royal Grand Palace

A Traveller’s Guide To Visiting Thailand – Useful Information Not Often Thought About


Suvarnabhumi international airport Your adventure begins in Thailand the moment you arrive through the country’s gateway, be it at the Suvarhnabhumi International Airport or via the railway or road from a different destination. So welcome to The Kingdom of Thailand. Before you make a tour of Thailand, it would be prudent to know certain facts for travellers into the country. Some of you may travel alone, with children, with the elderly or as a couple. Each would require certain needs while you are in the country in order to make it a pleasurable visit.     Visa StampFirst thing is your visa, entry into Thailand requires a visa and depending on the length of your stay a 30 day tour visa is automatically extended when you arrive at the airport immigration. If you plan to stay longer than 30 days, do apply for a 90 day visitor visa from a Thai Embassy in your own country.  Of course travelling in Thailand requires that you use the local currency which is called Thai Baht. THB 100 is roughly equivalent to USD3.10 or Euro2.30 depending on the exchange rate. The best place to get a better exchange rate in Thailand is actually in your own country or to find a non-bank money changer in Thailand of which you can do so in Bangkok city along Sukhumvit Road. Changing at the bank foreign exchange bureaus in Thailand will give you a much lesser fair trade and if you use your foreign ATM visa credit card debit cardcard in the local ATM machines that accepts the usual Visa and MasterCard credit and Debit cards, you not only get a lesser exchange but also will be charged a service fee. This is only if you need to use cash urgently and there are many ATMs located in shopping malls, 7-11s and along the streets. The machines do have English language options.   TravelIf you are planning a trip to Thailand, you might also like to look into booking sightseeing and tours in Thailand while you are here. You can actually book travel and tour tickets to Thailand online before you travel for better discount rates and to avoid disappointment as some places are heavily booked during holiday seasons. Most travel agents in Thailand do provide an advance booking service and best to look for ones that do understand the English language. Read about the places to sightseeing in Thailand before you make your trip. Booking with a tour company in Thailand, if you have children travelling with you, it is best to check the price per child and do stipulate the age as some tours are free for children below the age of five and others charge a half rate or slightly below.  Travelling with handicapped persons in Thailand is also convenient as wheelchairs are easily available at most major chopping outlet and some sightseeing places. You can request for a wheelchair facility before your travels.     Boots Pharmacy Should you run out of prescribed medication in Thailand, do remember to bring along your prescription. There are in most cases available from pharmacies in major shopping complexes or along major roads. One way to recognize a pharmacy is from the green cross sign located outside the premises; however some may mistake this to also be a clinic that uses the same colored signage. There are big pharmacies such as Boots and Watsons available for prescribed medication.     Coral Island Pattaya Thailand is a large country offering many varieties of activities for children, couples, the adventurous, and the extreme sport fanatics and off course plain old sight seeing. Whatever your pleasures when visiting this amazing country prepare your itinerary well in advance and explore as much as possible. A short 4 or 5 day visit will let you get as far as the beautiful islands on its own or a tour of Bangkok city and maybe one day in Pattaya or Kanchanaburi. Within Bangkok city alone there is so much for a sight see and tour of Bangkok from the Royal Grand Palace to temples and museums of interest. A tour of Bangkok city will reveal the splendour of old and new Bangkok or affectionately known as the ‘Big Mango’. Each province in Thailand has different attractions and most cannot be really covered in a day. Which is why tourists keep coming back year after year. There is great scuba diving in Phi Phi Don Islands, rock climbing, jungle treks in Khao Sok National Park, temple tours in Bangkok and unusual places to sight see, island hopping in Phang Nga, lazing out by the beach on Koh Samui or Phuket, great food, entertainment and not to mention shopping! So if you are planning a visit to Thailand, do look up our blog sites for the many places of interest that you can check out before you make your trip and then come see them for yourself!

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Erawan Museum

The First Series Of Three New World Wonders In Thailand – The Erawan Museum


The Erawan Museum

A fairly big proclamation one would think, but reserve some comments till you read the rest of the articles! You would not believe it that all three monuments have been visioned, financed and under the patronage of one individual that some may deem him to be either an eccentric billionaire or Thailand’s greatest benefactor. This is actually his second project in a series of three. The name Erawan Museum may not ring many bells as yet but a visit to this place will remain in your mind hopefully forever. This is also the reason why it is a “Must See” place when you visit Thailand and take a tour of Thailand.

There is no mistaking the sight of a behemoth 3-headed elephant sitting atop a roof as you approach from the road. You can actually see it from miles around. At first glance, one might think it is a temple of sorts, honoring the great Elephant God, Ganesh or locally known as “Papikanea”. It was not intended to be so but as the elephant is a symbol of a much revered animal, it comes as no surprise that eventually people do flock to this place to worship this huge effigy.  Located just 30 minutes from Bangkok city in the district of Samut Prakan, it is an easy drive. Plus the fact that you can’t really get lost when all you have to look for is this huge pachyderm figure once you get into Samut Prakan.

erawan1At the entrance of Erawan Museum not only are you greeted by a walled and gated property but also a sight of the elephant figure standing atop a domed roof under an elaborate crafted pastel pink building with a pavilion and intricately carved doorways. According to the history behind the creation of Erawan Museum, it was to be a place where the national treasures of Thailand such as old antiques and other collectibles were to be housed and appreciated with the main intention to prevent it from being sold away to the outside world and to symbolize the heart of the land where the national treasures and ancient heritage are the wealth and culture of the country.

 

 

Garden of The Gods Ancient City

Tickets to Erawan Museum can be purchased at the doorway entrance of you can book your tickets to Erawan Museum through a travel agent who will provide all the required transportation to make it easy for you. The museum (yes, a museum and not a temple) is located in 6 rai of land, so that means it is not only the museum but also a great sculpted garden, dining patio and loads of places for you to sit and enjoy the place. Entering the museum grounds opens a whole new world to the visitor. An understanding of the importance of the elephant to Thai culture and society where the pachyderm is revered is evident from the number of visitors who just come to venerate the holy elephant in the small shrine placed at the entrance and the front interior of the grounds. Here you can see a vendor selling joss sticks, flowers and lotus flowers for the worshippers to place at the alter which has a miniature version of the actual God Papikanea. It is believed that this Deity bestows good luck, wisdom, prosperity and benevolence hence the worshipping and most often than not, the asking of a fortune through the fortune sticks at the shrine. It is interesting to observe the rituals and some say that the results of one’s destiny holds true when asked in reverence and sincerity. Anyone can pay their respects at the alter but most of the visitors who do this are the local Thais. You can buy a lotus flower at the vendor stall to place into the moat around the museum later to ward off bad luck and bring in the new.

Sanctuary of TruthWalking towards the main building, you can place small gold leaf stickers on another statue of Papikanea at the pavilion which is the entrance to the second floor, the gold leaf is complimentary and available from the little box on the left of the pavilion, and this is so that you will have good fortune and prosperity.  A guide will direct you to the first level, which is a small stairway leading to the “basement” of the building known as the Suvarhnabhumi level or Underworld level. This was only recently opened on the 29th April 2012 and houses the precious collections of porcelain and antiques in Thailand dating  as old as the 1st reign of Thailand’s monarchy. This is the only collection available for viewing and salvaged by the owner himself Lek VirayaphantKhun Lek“, the creator of the museum. Here, you can see the various influences of artwork in the pottery through the ages of Thai culture and the most precious collection to date in Thailand. The next level is the 2nd floor also known as the Earth level, where you see beautiful and opulent sculptures of the human-world and a magnificent stained-glass dome. Each figure and mural has been meticulously hand-crafted revealing the different age of man in Eastern and Western influences, and the lessons of creation in relation to man’s existence. You can make your way up all the way into the

elephant body where inside is housed ancient relics of Buddhism and numerous images of Buddhas salvaged through a lifetime of collection. It is believed that this is where the Gods reside and symbolizes Heaven.  Everything in the building has taken a painstaking 10 years to complete. The figure of Erawan, the Elephant of the Universe stands 43 meters tall, crafted entirely out of bronze and weights 250 tons, lifted and anchored to the top of the dome by four pillars that form the foundation of the building. A truly amazing feat in itself. The elephant represents the idea of Airavata the Hindu holy elephant that was believed to be the trusty chariot bearer of the God Indra, of which the sculptures in the building are somewhat themed to this concept as well.

Outside the building, you can float your lotus flower in the moat and maybe offer a little prayer in your own words for luck and to wash away all bad karma. Take a walk along the garden grounds, there are many wonderful stone sculptures strategically located that makes great photo shots. Quench your hunger and thirst at the outdoor café that sits amidst shaded trees and a waterfall. The food is great and really cheap for a tourist designated area. Next to the café is a little museum dedicated to the owner which showcases his life. Some might find him a very interesting and yet simple person. If you were to see him on the streets before, he might just seem to be another ordinary Thai old gentleman but behind it all is a person with a benevolent vision and unfortunately did not live long enough to see the completion of his creations.

So make it a point to take a tour of Erawan Museum, there is a story to tell behind each sculpture and item on the grounds the moment you enter the gateway. Have an open mind and relish the fact that this is the legacy left behind by a simple man to educate and tell to the world the importance of preserving a country’s national treasures in the hope that it will instill lost traditions and culture back to the Thai new generation.

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Calypso Cabaret

A Touch of Broadway Cabaret at Asiatique – The Calypso Cabaret Show


Calypso Cabaret

Thailand is rather well known for the Cabaret performances held in a few other places as well as Bangkok but in Bangkok city, there is only one outstanding cabaret performance. The Calypso Cabaret is the longest held cabaret performance in the city and now has a new location in Asiatique the Riverfront.  The nightly performances promise to thrill, excite and entertain patrons of all ages. Yes, this means you can bring the kids!

 

 

 

Asiatique the riverfrontLocated in the Town Square Districtof Asiatique, you just can’t miss the big sign that reads “Calypso” with the bright neon lights on the old water tower now turned prominent signage. This is a pure Broadway musical rendition with all the glamour of a red curtain stage, flouncy feathers, glittering costumes but…the performers are Ladyboys” or transvestites and transsexuals.  You will be surprised at how beautiful they actually are which would put some women in the back seat. With curvy and voluptuous figures one can’t be blamed for mistaking them to be the female species! They belt-out a good collection of stage musicals, impersonations and comedy. It promises to be a fun entertainment for the whole family and definitely a great way to spend an evening in Bangkok city.

 

Dinner Cruise

Getting there is easy enough. You can take a free 10 minute ferry ride, courtesy of Asiatique from Sathorn pier which is just a 5 minute walk from Thaksin BTS. Enjoy the brief river cruise on the Chao Phraya while enroute to the Asiatique pier. You can see part of the city skyline with the brightly colored lights and possibly some ridiculously luxurious private cruisers docked in private properties and you might even catch a glimpse of the famous Chao Phraya Dinner cruise ships that ply the route often in the late evenings with the dinner guests onboard.

Booking tickets for the Calypso Cabaret show is easy if you go through a travel agent but if it is on an ad-hoc basis, you can always get the tickets at the entrance of the show. However be warned that sometimes tickets are fully booked. So please be advised to book the Calypso Cabaret tickets in advance to avoid any disappointment.  The show is highly recommended when you visit Thailand, especially if you are spending time in Bangkok city. Aside from the English songs that are part of the show, one can also expect other languages in their repertoire of songs that include, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin and off course Thai. The choreography is meticulous from the many hours of constant practice and there are some really funny moments in the show that are sure to delight the audience. After the performance, you can pose for pictures with some of the performers which will give you much talked about memories of your visit to Thailand!

calypso-thaitourismguideSo while you are in Bangkok, do make your way to Asiatique the Riverfront. Do a bit of shopping in the many outlets and boutiques, go for a cabaret show at Calypso Cabaret, enjoy a late dinner and after dinner drinks all right there by the banks of the mighty Chao Phraya River. Who knows, it just might also be the setting for a romantic night out with the river breeze providing a gentle caress in the tropics of Thailand’s famous city!

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Joe Louis The Puppet

The Rare Traditional Art Of Thai Puppets – Joe Louis Puppet Theatre at Asiatique the Riverfront


Joe Louis The PuppetThese puppets are not your traditional Punch and Judy variety of puppet performances but rather a more intricate art form dating back to early Thai history where puppet performances were used to entertain the Royal families and at big ceremonies in the Kingdom of Thailand. Each puppet is about
2/3rd the size of a normal person and some are life-sized. It takes great skill to learn the movements of these multiple-jointed puppets in order to bring them to life in a performance.

The Joe Louis Puppet Theatre in Asiatique the Riverfront is one of the last vestiges where such performances are held. This puppet troupe has been awarded the prestigious “Best Traditional Performance Award 2006” in Prague and you can catch their performances nightly right here at Asiatique. There is also a gallery displaying a large collection of traditional Thai puppets in the show location.

Aistique the riverfront

Each puppet has been individually hand-crafted to represent different characters in a variety of plays such as the Ramayana, Rahu and the Lunar Eclipse as well as modern characters such as Michael Jackson. The ornamental dressing and headgear worn by the puppets are not only intricate but is a scaled down variety of the types worn by Thai people of old in all their fineries.
This puppet theatre is actually the last of its kind in the Kingdom of Thailand. The same troupe won the “Best Performance Award” a second award in the year 2008 attesting to the quality of the performance and the uniqueness of the puppets. You will be amazed by how life-like the puppets are on stage and it takes 3 puppet performers to control just one puppet! This is one of Thailand’s true cultural heritages that are now becoming a lost art amidst the influences of rock concerts and other modernized stage shows and plays. The Joe Louis Puppet troupe is known to be the only puppet troupe in Thailand to perform the Hun Lakhon Lek Thai and they are holding fast to being the sole guardians of this ancient art form.

The Joe Louis Puppet Theater is under the patronage of HRH Princess Joe LouisGalyani Vadhana and the originator of this this art form Khun Sakorn Yang-keawsot was given the title of National Artist by the Commission for National Culture before his death in 2007. This puppet show is one of the most highly recommended traditional Thai cultural shows that is a must see when you are in Bangkok city.  A tour of Asiatique the Riverfront will bring you to the stage location where the performances are held. Tickets for the Joe Louis Puppet Theater are available for booking online before a performance or in advance from the tour companies. So why not make it an exhilarating experience and delve into the culture and history of Thailand!

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Asiatique the riverfront

Warehouse Entertainment and Shopping Asiatique Style!


Asiatique the riverfront

Welcome to the “Big Mango’s” latest riverfront entertainment and shopping galore – The Asiatique Riverfront. Bangkok city has a new and pulsating nightlife district just next to the Chao Phraya River and it promises to be one of the premier entertainment areas in the heart of the city.

There are a number of ways to get there but the most interesting and surprisingly free method is to take a 10 minute ferry boat ride from the Sathorn pier, just a short walking distance away from Thaksin BTS. At the pier, go in the left direction to the end of the pier and board the ferry, it is absolutely free but if you take a cab ride to Asiatique from the BTS it will cost you about THB70. The ferry ride is interesting as you get a glimpse of the city from the ferry and it will give you an insight into what a river cruise along the Chao Phraya will be like.

Asiatique the riverfrontThe concept of Asiatique the Riverfront has been based around old warehouses that are refurbished and renovated to accommodate a variety of outlets, entertainment and dining places. Which is why you will notice a big sign on each building stating “Warehouse 1” or “Warehouse 2” and so forth!

 

 

calypso show

 

The large area also has the capacity to host concerts and events throughout the year. The large expanse of Asiatique is divided into 4 areas called districts which are Charoenkrung District, Town Square District, Factory District and Waterfront District. Boasting a total of 1,500 shopping and entertainment outlets, it is practically shop and eat till you drop!

Asiatique the riverfrontAsiatique the Riverfront is yet Bangkok city’s largest shopping and entertainment place. Visitors to this place will have a good choice of entertainment from the likes of The Calypso Cabaret and the renowned Joe Louis Puppet Theater. Party animals looking for a place to hang-out that is hip and trendy will not be disappointed. Mass shopping in Bangkok has a new alternative to the crowded and steamy narrow-laned Chatuchak Market. Here similar items are sold albeit in a much better laid-out condition. In the Town Square District, fussy diners will find a gastronomical delight of fusion, local and Western choices which practically suits any budget. Making a choice on what to eat would be a difficult affair here when everything looks just as good! The rest of the districts are focused more on shopping and entertainment. It might interest you to know that the warehouse building in the Factory District was a previous sawmill and is as old as 100 years!

manohracruiseAs you cruise down the Chao Phraya River especially in the late evening just after dark, in one of the Asiatique the Riverfront complimentary river ferries, you can get a good view of the lights of Bangkok city along the shores, anchored sea-going cruisers at river front properties, Bangkok dinner cruise ships sailing by and off course the bright neon lights of Asiatique the Riverfront as you approach. The docking pier for the ferry is the Waterfront District. This is the prime entertainment and dining site for those who would like a view of the river whilst having their meals. The gentle river breeze makes it all the more exciting and somewhat romantic as you walk along the 300 meter
frontage that offers a panoramic view of not only the river but also part of Bangkok city skyline. This place also happens to be the longest river pathway in the Big Mango.

There are constant events in Bangkok at Asiatique the Riverfront that will interest some of you of which details will be made available as soon as they are published. The best time to visit this place is in the late evenings so make your way there for an interesting night out by the river front. Wine and dine your way as well as be entertained or do a tour of shopping. There is something for everyone at Asiatique the Riverfront!

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