(from our hotel window on the 20th floor, looking east… and west…)
The river is a major artery and one of the best ways to get anywhere (given the traffic and hassles inland) – if you happen to be going somewhere near the river. It’s also a good place to see the city and the countryside.
I wish I had taken dozens more photographs of shops, markets, and shop windows.
Oh, the wonderful holy places! These include mostly “Wats” – Thai Buddhist temple compounds. Even the modest ones are extraordinary. And the extraordinary ones are… <words fail…>
This is the king’s own Wat – the most magnificent in Bangkok – and conveniently located right next to the Grand Palace.
Strong guys of various sizes…
The king doesn’t live here any more. But he used to. There are actually many, many more buildings than I’ve taken pictures of.
This monastic Wat is where Thai massage was invented. You can still get a massage here, but we didn’t.
(the most beautiful from the river…)
Not one of the Top Ten, perhaps, this Wat had a more intimate feeling than the others. Lots of plants. And cats, including the only Siamese cat I saw in Siam.
Thai religion has an animistic side. When a building is constructed, the spirits of the place could be disturbed. So houses are built for them so that they will not need to haunt the new building. Some of these places are quite holy and are popular places for offerings.
A canal in Banglumpha and a holy banyan tree.
Surely you are asking yourself by now – “What about historic ruins?” After a day or so, any tourist hassled by con-artists, aggressive taxi and tuk-tuk drivers, traffic congestion, crowds, and pollution, would seek the relative calm and safety of a guided tour somewhere other than Bangkok. I went to the old, historic capital of Ayutthaya. When Ayutthaya was conquered and destroyed by this Buddhist country’s Buddhist enemies a couple of centuries ago, the king moved the capital to Bangkok.
The (mostly former) summer palace in Ayutthaya. This is still occasionally in use to entertain visiting dignitaries. Like Versailles, Bang Pa-in is more memorable for its gardens than for its buildings, impressive as the buildings may be.