8 Nov 2017 – The King’s Memorial

We have just returned from a couple of days in Bangkok and were incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to visit the memorial site for the late king’s cremation ceremony in the Grand palace precinct. What a magnificent credit to Thailand for the artistry and workmanship that went into building this structure and surrounding pavilions as a tribute to their much loved king. The structure is being dismantled this month so our timing was a once in a lifetime. For once I won’t add much in the way of words because the photos really says it all.

Very European in feel. These are government offices.

Ministry of Defence

They had geared up for huge crowds. We were lucky to go on a Sunday afternoon and didn’t have to wait long to get inside. Very organised. Water, a small packet of food and brochures given to everyone as they waited.

Officials were letting people into the site in batches. As people left more were cleared to entry.

Gaun in front of one of the pavilions. A photo for family back home.

Some of the pavilions built around the main structure housing various displays.

Funnily I was one of the very few farang there (I saw two others). I had expected busloads but it was very much a Thai occasion, which is as it should be.

Inside one of the pavilions with displays of various aspects of the king’s life.

10 Nov 2017 – Siam Ancient City – Bangkok

In our recent visit to Bangkok we spent an afternoon at the Ancient City (Muang Boran), about 40km outside the city centre and what a worthwhile visit it was. A beautifully presented and maintained venue spreading over 200 acres this is a must do for anyone with some extra time to spend in Bangkok. Here’s a link to their website, which has an English version HERE.

It is a photographers heaven so here are a few of the many photos I took to give you a taste of what’s on offer.

Free bikes, take your pick, trams or hire a golf cart.

Enjoying the day.

Cycling through the Old Market Town with friends from Australia.

A massive investment by a private Thai citizen, donated to the country.

Spot Gaun.

A beautiful jumble of rooflines and colours.

Super neat and great presentation. Very unusual outside of the royal palace gardens.

Original buildings transported to the site and rebuilt.

A traditional Buddhist library/document building.

Demonstrating the Chinese influence.

No people supervising. You just wander through.

Chinese again.

Striking.

Taken at our lunch spot.

A floating village completely rebuilt.

A Chinese style pagoda.

It just goes on and on.

Almost completed.

We only got around half the site. It is well worth a return visit to cover the things we missed out on.

Free headphones available with good quality explanations in English for all the buildings and decent written summaries at each site too like this one.

I do highly recommend you visit this attraction. It is really easy to get to. Take the green BTS (Skytrain) the the last stop, which when we went was Samrong but they were extending it closer to the Ancient City so check the latest route.

Visit this BTS site to see a clearer image HERE

From there pick up a taxi who will get you the rest of the way for 100 baht (?) – not much anyway. Do the reverse to get home although expect to pay slightly more for the taxi at Ancient City as it is off the main road and they have a captive customer base 🙂

11 Nov 2017 – Jim Thompson House – Bangkok

Our final trifecta (an Aussie expression I think) for our Bangkok visit was Jim Thompson House, a highly rated tourist attraction and for good reason. A beautiful group of Thai traditional houses transported to Bangkok and renovated by Jim Thompson, an American who is credited with revitalising the Thai silk trade in the 1950’s and 60’s.

My sort of tropical house design – timber, open rooms and everything flowing into beautiful lush gardens. The attraction was literally around the corner from our hotel [email protected] Design Hotel (recommended) so we were able to get there soon after opening, which meant we were the first group to be taken through the house.

I am not a great fan of big cities and generally Bangkok is best avoided but we had a terrific trip this time sharing some very interesting sights with Phil and Julie, long term friends from Canberra. Home was wonderful though 

 

The very funky (is that still a word?) [email protected] Design Hotel opposite the National Stadium on Rama 1.

We didn’t get to enjoy the rooftop bar as both of us weren’t feeling well and it was both cold (by Thai standards) and raining slightly this night.

A reading/bar area upstairs from the main dining room.

A decent breakfast buffet – mostly farang food – yay!

The entrance to Jim Thompson House. You are free to wander the gardens and some of the outbuildings but the main part of the house is only available as part of a (free) tour. It takes about 30 minutes. 150 baht entry.

They have won Gaun and me over already.

Bring your Gold Card! Magnificent items but wow. These retirement days my eyes water at anything over 200 baht 🙂

I love this mix of classical farang in the white and black tiles and then the warm timber and antiques. Flowing beautifully into the tropical gardens filled with more antiques.

Six buildings were transported to this site by Jim – some joined together to form the main house and others placed in the gardens.

Full height underneath. A cool sanctuary from Bangkok heat in season. Very classy.

I have my eye on some land next to our house and if we get it I (Gaun) will be creating this type of paths using tropical ferns etc in contrast to the more formal hedging plants we have in the main garden.

UPDATE Feb 2018: We did in fact buy the land next door and you can read about our start at creating a Jim Thompson garden HERE and HERE.

Love this concept.

Orchids in full bloom this time of year.

The house was stacked with collectables Jim had found in his travels in the area.

The main house.

My dear Gaun has limited interest in houses and antiques but really enjoyed the gardens. Here she is studying a fern.

Several of the small separate houses had displays, which you could visit and photograph.

Gaun still garden exploring.

The silk at various stages – what it is all about.

The klong (canal) at the back of the Jim Thompson house. 

This was how his buildings were shipped in. Originally this area was the home for many silk weavers, which is why Jim located his house here. The operation has since moved to Korat in Isaan, which is the home town of my brother-in-law Lud.

Thanks for reading and please take the time to leave a comment. I always enjoy the chance to hear from you and know there’s someone on the other end of these words!

Tony