May, 2015

 

The Truth About Taxis in Bangkok

Taxis are everywhere in Bangkok and can be a cheap and comfortable way to get around town.  However, everyone struggles to find a taxi willing to do the right thing and get them from point A to point B, using the meter.  Tourists often think this is a practice that is targeted solely at them, but actually, everyone in Bangkok has difficulties when trying to catch a taxi. Some Information About Taxis There are approximately 140,000 official licensed taxis in Bangkok.  These licensed taxis tend to be brightly coloured sedansRead More


Bangkok’s Victory Monument

In the midst of Bangkok’s steamy traffic stands a tall needle-pointed concrete obelisk of European design that raises more questions than get answered.  Thailand’s Victory Monument, or Anu Saowari Chai Samoraphum (or just Anu Saowari for short) is situated in one of the busiest and most important traffic circles in Bangkok.  However, very few people actually know what victory the monument is actually dedicated to. History The Victory Monument was designed by Italian sculptor Corrado Feroci and erected under his direction in 1941.  Corrado has a very interesting and long history with Thailand, andRead More


Tips That You Didn’t Know for Getting the Most Out of Bangkok – Part Five

There’s been a little gap between my tips recently as I focused more on the usual travel guide type material.  In this issue of my Bangkok Tips I look at where to find cheap Western food. As most of you who spend any time in Bangkok know, the Western luxuries in Bangkok can cost more than they would back in the West.  This is because of a combination of high import taxes and also the “luxury image” factor.  For Thai people, showing off that they lead a regular Western “luxury”Read More


Suan Pakkard (Cabbage Patch) Palace – A Hidden Slice of Paradise

Most of the palaces and major temples of Bangkok are located within Ratanakosin Island or nearby Dusit district in the old part of town.  However, there is a real gem of a palace hidden away in the urban sprawl of Bangkok that is not far off the beaten track but still off the radar for most tourists. Suan Pakkard Palace (Suan Pakkard means a cabbage field or cabbage patch), sometimes also spelled Suan Pakkad (without the R), is a royal residence on Sri Ayuthaya Road in the heart of Bangkok.Read More


Lumphini Park – The Lungs of Bangkok

Covered in chalky concrete, oil-polluted streets and glistening steel and glass towers, Thailand’s capital is not renowned for having many green spaces within its CBD.  However, as with many other great cities around the world, Bangkok does have its own central park and, as with some of those other cities, Bangkok’s park offers a very welcome escape from the everyday toil of big city life. Lumphini Park (sometimes also spelled “Lumpini”) is 58 hectares of green space located in what has today become the very centre of Bangkok.  It effectively sitsRead More


Pantip Plaza… Thailand’s Home of Movie and Software Piracy

Bangkok is renowned for its luxury shopping malls, with grand marble interiors, high end brands, sparkling diamonds, slick Lamborghinis, big screen tvs, awesome restaurants and enough activities to compete with an amusement park.  However, luxury shopping mall is not an accurate description of Pantip Plaza.  Instead, this five storey shopping centre is quite run-down and reminds customers of what shopping was like in Bangkok in the 1980s. Notwithstanding its dire need for a refurb, Pantip has been forgiven for its run-down state because of one big reason.  It has becomeRead More


The World’s Largest Golden Teak Structure – Vimanmek Teak Palace

Like something out of colonial times, although Thailand was never colonized, Vimanmek reminds me of an over-sized governor’s mansion, sitting resplendent in a tropical oasis.  However, Vimanmek was not designed for any governor.  Instead, it was originally built on the not-very-well known island of Ko Sichang, as a retreat for King Chulalongkorn (aka King Rama V).  It was subsequently dismantled and rebuilt in the Dusit Royal Gardens in Bangkok in 1901. As I suggested in the opening sentence, the design is very European, and it highlights the influence that KingRead More


Thailand’s Most Famous Tourist Attraction – Wat Phra Kaew and the Emerald Buddha

Paris has the Eiffel Tower, London has Big Ben, San Francisco has the Golden Gate bridge, and Bangkok has Wat Phra Kaew and the adjoining Grand Palace. These gorgeous architectural delights are clad with blinding gold exteriors, ruby red and emerald roofs, and sparkling mosaic walls. For a complex that was built in 1782, Wat Phra Kaew truly showcases the splendour and might of the Siamese Kingdom of old. Wat Phra Kaew Wat Phra Kaew means the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the main building (located in the centreRead More