There were a few things in Bangkok I still wanted to see, so after my little excursion to Pattaya I headed back to the capital. After leaving Siem Reap, Renegade Wife and I have been traveling separately but it so happened that we were both in Bangkok for Christmas, so we could spend Christmas eve and part of Christmas day together (she had to go to the airport in the evening). It’s been a long time since I had a proper Christmas celebration with the family and I’m fine with treating it as just a normal day but it’s still very nice to spend some time together with someone you love.
Anyhow, on to the sightseeing. Though I’m pretty templed out I felt I had to visit the last famous temple in the city, Wat Arun or the temple of dawn. What I hadn’t counted on is that the main stupa is being renovated so it’s shrouded in scaffolding. You can see it’s very beautiful underneath all the metal but it kind of ruins the view.
Gallery of Buddha statues
Statue being refurbished using spray paint
I was surprised to see some very Chinese looking statues in the courtyard
The inside of the chapel. The chapel of the emerald Buddha looks a bit like this only bigger and more impressive.
The main stupa, covered in scaffolding
Gate and stairs up to the main stupa
One of the smaller stupas
Yini had already seen the temples in Bangkok so she didn’t join for that part, but in the afternoon we went to the Jim Thompson house together. Thompson was an American who ended up in Bangkok after world war 2, exporting Thai silk to the western world. His house was put together using parts of old Thai houses from different parts of the country. It houses a number of art prices that Thompson collected over the years. You have to visit the house by a tour so I didn’t get that many photos but it’s interesting.
Jim Thompsons living room
After that, Yini wanted to take care of a few things before her flight so we said goodbye and I headed to the next place, Lumpini park. This is a large park in central Bangkok, nothing super special about it, just nice with a park among all those skyscrapers.
There was some kind of aerobics class going on in the park
For dinner I went to a restaurant near Khaosan road, then went for a stroll in the nearby area. I found a bar with a pretty decent live band and decided to grab a beer and listen to them play. As I was sitting there, a random girl asked me if she could join, I didn’t mind having some company so I said yes. Dima turned out to be really nice and we had a fun night together, stopping for drinksat a couple different bars.
Dima and I at one of the bars
The next day I wanted to take a canal tour which I heard was supposed to be good. I had mentioned it to Dima the night before and she seemed interested so I invited her to join. We met up for lunch then walked down to Tha Tien pier, where you take the ferry to Wat Arun. Right next to the ferry ticket booth there’s a small sign saying “canal tour”, pointing to the right. A lady there sold us the tickets and set us up with a boat and driver. The canals are in the old part of Bangkok, on the west side of the river. When you’re there you feel like you’ve left the city, all you see is small wooden stilt houses, porches overflowing with plants, not a single skyscraper in sight. It kind of reminds me of the floating villages I’ve seen but perhaps a bit more developed since it’s in the city.
Views of the canals
Dima enjoying the tour
They even have street lights in the canal
More canal views
The canals are really like water roads, they even have street signs
Beautiful canal side temple
Since I was taking a bus later in the evening, I had to get back to my hostel to take care of my luggage so I had to say goodbye to Dima, but it was very nice meeting her. Before getting on the bus I had time for a quick meal. One of Bangkok’s best restaurants, Krua Apsorn is just around the corner from my hostel. It’s not a fancy place, just a simple eatery with decent prices but the food is great. I just wish I had a few friends with me so we could order more stuff.
Tom yam gong at Krua Apsorn