Ancient Siam was a couple of hours drive outside of Bangkok. To get there Leo and I rode in the back of a friends truck which was an experience in itself - the set up consisted of me sitting in a plastic garden chair in the back of the truck. I probably looked a strange sight to the other drivers on the road.
To sum up Ancient Siam - it’s a park you can drive around that contains a lot of replicas of Thailand’s famous landmarks etc. in one place and is ultimately like seeing the whole of Thailand in one day.
We had lunch in Ancient Siam at the floating market which consisted of a wooden boardwalk and houses that stretched across water.
One option for getting around Ancient Siam was to drive however you could also cycle. Around the park were sheds filled with bicycles which you could pick out and ride around. So after lunch, Leo, Justin (Leo’s brother) and I cycled around the park.
I wish now that I had looked more closely at the different landmarks. I think at the time I was just enjoying being out of the city for a day and cycling on roads that weren’t filled with cars. However, one that I did spend time looking around was the Botanical Garden (last two photos) which was absolutely beautiful.
We stayed until it got dark, Leo and I managed to get lost on our way to find the truck. Once we found our way back we drove home to Bangkok, stopping for a good Italian meal on the way.
The Jim Thompson House, Bangkok, Thailand
The Jim Thompson House, Bangkok, Thailand.
One of the things that was on my Bangkok bucket list was to see Wat Pho and the giant reclining Buddha. To get there we had to get the BTS to Sathorn and then a ferry from there to Tha Tien.
The boat was a guided tour but the guide seemed to spend more time asking people if they were going to come up and sing than anything else. The trip took us up the river and we passed various temples and other buildings on the way.
We arrived at Wat Pho and began to look around. The temple grounds were nice to walk around as there were lots of doorways and passages to wander through with statues and images of Buddha all around. Eventually we found our way to the reclining Buddha. Trying to get a picture of the whole of the Buddha was pretty difficult as it is 46m long and 15m high!
Wat Pho was beautiful and I would definitely like to go there again as we didn’t manage to see everything that afternoon.
After we left we got a late lunch before catching the ferry across the river to Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of the Dawn. The temple had the most amazing decoration on the outside which I took a lot of pictures of. You can climb up the temple but the steps are incredibly steep and it was pretty scary but I’m pleased to say we made it to the top which was worth it for the view of the river and Bangkok.
We spent an afternoon at Siam Ocean World. Highlights included the octopus, otters, penguins and large walk through underwater tunnel. Here’s a few of my favourite photos from that trip.
After a rather intense first day we slowed down the pace for the next few days. We visited the Siam area which has so many shopping centres I lose track of them. Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery, Siam Center… You get the idea. I had more street food in Siam, this time pork balls with noodles in a broth along with an ice cold cup of water.
A back street in Siam
View from a book shop in Siam Paragon
We also went to Lumphini Park in the evening which is the biggest park in Bangkok. The park was swarming with runners which made me feel tired just looking at them. There was also a big group of people doing aerobics in the middle of the park which I discovered is an every day occurrence in other parks as well. I think next time I will pluck up the courage and join in with them!
Unfortunately early on in my trip I was unwell. I ate green curry for the first time and something in it did not agree with my stomach (which is a shame because I thought it was delicious when I was eating it). I was unwell for a few days and could barely eat anything. This was probably the worst illness I have ever experienced and it was particularly torturous not being able to eat anything.
It’s nice to have a snuggles with Buddy when you’re not feeling so great.
After what felt like forever I began to feel better and on the 12th I managed to eat two full meals. I know it’s the 12th because I took a picture of the full English breakfast I ate that day!
That day we headed to Khao San Road. Khao San Road is possibly one of the busiest roads in Bangkok (well it felt like it at any rate). There are tourists everywhere, and where there are tourists there are people trying to sell you things. There were lots of clothing stalls and people selling general tourist trinkets but then there were the slightly odder things like fake IDs, frog guiros and cooked scorpions.
Enjoying fresh orange juice from a street stall on Khao San Road
The next day we went to Chatuchak Weekend Market. This was easily the busiest market I have ever visited, packed with stalls selling clothes, flowers, art, food, soap, lights, candles and much more. There were even a couple of stalls selling puppies and tiny baby rabbits. Even if you don’t feel like buying anything Chatuchak is interesting just to look around and see what people are selling. A lot of the market is under cover and is like a maze with small lanes running through it and different stalls in every direction. If you’re visiting Bangkok then I would highly recommend visiting Chatuchak.
I’ve been home from Thailand for two weeks now. I’ve recovered from jet lag, caught a cold and had a bit of time to process my thoughts. Now, finally I feel like I’m ready to write things down. I told myself at the beginning of my trip that I would write down what we did every day but this failed after the second day. In a way I’m glad I didn’t write it all down - given my tendency to ramble it would have likely ended up taking more time than I’d have liked. I have the memories of my experiences and a fair amount of photos and now I’m ready to share them. So let’s start at the beginning.
I had an over night flight to Thailand that left Heathrow at 21.35 and arrived in Bangkok at 14.30 (their time). Over night flights are okay when you’re coming home but when you’re on your way to your destination it’s hard to sleep when you’re so excited. Anyway, the highlights of my flight were:
I’m the worst with flights, forever checking the mini map to see how far away we are, counting down the hours till I’m at my destination. After what felt like forever we landed and I got to stand on solid ground once again.
Whenever I get met at an airport it doesn’t seem to go quite to plan. I always want to walk out of arrivals and see whoever is meeting me stood waiting for me but this has yet to happen. Leo was waiting at the gate that the signs said I was coming out of whilst I’d gone with the closest option: he was at C and I was at B. After a phone call we managed to find one another. It had only been about two weeks since we’d last seen each other and I still cried like an idiot. He’d made a sign with my name on and bought me flowers: how was I not supposed to cry?
We got a taxi into Bangkok and sat in traffic for 40 minutes but eventually we made it to Leo’s house. I feel like I should mention that taxis in Bangkok are so cheap. A 40 minute taxi ride from the airport into the centre of Bangkok cost about £5!
Leo’s house is unique to say the least. There are five floors with balconies that look out onto the city. Leo’s room is on the top floor and it pretty much killed me having to walk up all the stairs in the heat. The balcony on the top floor was one of my favourite places to sit out on, especially at night, sitting and talking with him while he smoked.
Leo has three dogs: Buddy, Coco and Smokey. Buddy is a house dog and quickly became my new best friend. After I collapsed into Leo’s bed when I first arrived Buddy jumped onto the bed and lay down next to me for a cuddle.
We went for a walk through the park then to the nearest shopping mall, Emporium, for dinner. We opted for Mos Burger which was basically Japanese fast food. I had a very neat looking hot dog and fries which tasted like the best thing in the world after two plane meals. By then it was getting a bit late and by midnight I was passed out in Leo’s bed.
I slept for a solid 12 hours that night and woke up ready to explore. We got the BTS also known as the sky train to a couple of galleries. As the name suggests the sky train runs above the ground so you get a good view of the city from it.
We went to Hoff Art Space, Goja and Kathmandu Photo Gallery. Kathmandu was probably my favourite as it was in an old house and the exhibition was in a small room upstairs.
For dinner we headed to Soi 38 for my first street food experience. To get there we caught a tuk tuk which was both exciting and terrifying. Soi 38 is lined with street food vendors offering various dishes.
We played it safe and opted for boiled and fried chicken with rice and a small bowl of broth. This ended up being one of my favourite street food dishes. After dinner I got a giant mango smoothie which was basically two mangos blended with ice. It was so big it even came with a plastic bag to carry it in.
We caught another tuk tuk back to Soi 22 (Leo’s road), bought a cheap phone from 7/11 then headed back to the house.
A few phone pictures from Bangkok so far. I’ll try and do an update soon.
I was looking around my room and found an FD to EF lens converter, so I put my 50mm 1.4 onto my 5D and took a few photos of my favourite film cameras.
The T70 was my first film SLR that I got for my first year of college. The Pentax was given to me by Phillip. The Olympus Pen EE is my favourite at the moment, I think it’s just because it’s so small and I can fit it in my bag and carry it anywhere. Also it’s a half frame which is fun! The EOS 3 I got a couple of days ago but I haven’t shot anything with it yet, I’m probably going to save it for Thailand. It’s second hand but whoever owned it previously took good care of it or just never used it because it looks brand new!
I have a small stack of film which I’m going to use in Thailand. I can’t wait to be over there, 5 days to go!
A few phone snaps from my trip to London with Mum. We successfully got my tourist visa for Thailand so I’m all ready to go!