FAR FROM FRENZY
Across the roiling waters of the Chao Phraya River, the other bank seemed quite distant even thought it was probably a five-minute ferry ride. The churning river was made more so as boats, ferries and larger cargo vessels sputtered up and down. There is a white structure with spires, which seemed to catch the sun’s early morning rays and glistened luminously rays and glistened luminously. Not without reason was it called Wat Arun, the temple of dawn, and seemed far more compelling than Bangkok’s other popular sights.
GO FOR THE UNEXPECTED
A Buddhist temple set dramatically on the river bank, Wat Arun is lesser known than the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha. For that reason it is also less crowded and makes for a lovely visit. Going back to the 17th century, the temple had a central Khmer-style tower surrounded by smaller ones, all of which were studded with pieces of beautiful porcelain in various colours arranged in eclectic patterns. It was Known to catch the first rays of the sun and hence the name. There were also surprisingly strong references to Hindu mythology with the central structure compared to Mount Meru and allusions to Ramayana.
Fascinated and a bit amazed by the unexpectedness of the place, your will quickly realized that this glitzy city had much more to offer than the obvious. Gigantic temples, swanky malls and street shopping, vibrant and fun nightlife, and stunning food at every corner were, of course, unmissable. But tucked away in corners were some gems which gave an inkling of Bangkok’s soul. Such as Jim Thompson’s House which is a museum of sorts. It showcases not only the American businessman’s efforts in popularizing Thai silk but also his architectural interest and art collection. Set amidst a thick jungle, the premises also has six traditional Thai houses which had been trans-located to provide a sense of local art and culture.
MODERN MEETS TRADITIONAL:-
Sampram riverside, located about 35 km to the west of Bangkok on the banks of the Tha Chin River. Sampram is spread over 70 acres of lush greenery with huts, traditional Thai wooden structures as well as water bodies. A family-run eco-cultural destination going back for over five decades and handled by three generations, it offers a variety of activities .The place provides an experience of authentic Thai hospitality with traditional Thai cuisine made from organic ingredients straight from the farm. Alongside are cultural workshops on clay modeling, flower arrangement, vegetable carving, bamboo and traditional dance and more.
CUT THE NOISE
Bangkok is known for its many floating markets with boats piled high with tropical fruit and vegetables, fresh, ready-to-drink coconut juice and local food cooked from floating kitchens located right on the boat. On the way back from Soojkai, there is Taling Chan floating market located on the Khlong Chak Phra canal. It was filled with a smattering of colourful boats with equally colourful goods and merchandise.
As night fell, you can go to the more popular areas of sukhumvit, Nana, Thonglor Silom and headed instead to Ratchada Night Market in Din Daeng area. The place comes into its own around midnight. Totally atmospheric with a plethora of food stalls and al fresco pubs with rocking music, its ambience was mellow despite the noise, something far removed from the frenzy of other night spots. It seemed like the perfect place to end the trip.