Whenever most people visit a place like Thailand (or Vietnam… or Cambodia), they usually go for the “cultural” tours like visiting ruins, temples, Buddhas, etc. I guess I was like that before. Places of historical significance will always fascinate me (like my visit to Machu Picchu), but these days, I just simply love soaking up a place for what it is… today. I’d love to experience, to a certain degree, what locals experience.
During this weekend, I decided to experience Bangkok (period). On this trip, I arrived in Bangkok on Friday night with absolutely NO plans whatsoever. I was literally on a “bahala na” mode.
First thing of the day was to start walking to our first destination… but more of that later. It was a Saturday morning and we walked through their elevated walkways. Similar to those in Makati, but way better. These are built under their train system are are quite a nice way to see the city.
I realize it’s a Saturday in the CBD, but the walkway was very sparse with people. At the same time and day in Manila, this would be full of people.
The elevated walkway was a nice way of seeing things around the city. Here is a busy little temple in front of an office building.
And yet more little shrines…
Shrine of Goddess Tubtim
Before breakfast, Kent asked me where we were going. It was then that I decided to Google someplace to go that morning. I came across a website “Bangkok.com” which seemed like an interesting place to start. I was amazed by this section called “Top 10 Most Unsual Sights in Bangkok”. And came across the number 1 listing… a Phallic Shrine. It seemed like an interesting destination. Definitely not a place for a prude.
Suffice to say the shrine is supposed to help women trying to conceive a child. If successful, the women are said to return and add another penis to the collection.
An interesting place to say the least. The shrine is actually located in a corner on the grounds of the Swissotel Nai Lert Hotel. You will need to ask the hotel people where it is, because there are no signs which lead up to this.
The place is a little disappointing when you come up to it. I would rather not explain why, but the place is certainly not up to anyone’s expectations of a shrine. So, unless you are really interested in seeing this… don’t bother.
I love tiange’s. I recently mentioned this fact when I described Greenhills. Apparently there is a huge area for this in Bangkok called Chatuchak. This required us to take the train all the way to the end. As we got off the train, I noted hoards of people.
The first thing we did was eat lunch. Immediately I made my way to street-cooked fried chicken. My favorite! While I may love a good restaurant cooked chicken, nothing can compare with the street-cooked variety…
or fried? Naturally… fried is always the best!
And thus we began our two hour walk around this huge complex
Not surprisingly, the place was filled with blondies and all sorts of foreigners.
We saw this little street performer playing some flute-like wind instrument made of bamboo.
Food everywhere. I even had a strange green fruit beverage. It tasted revolting, but I finished it nonetheless.
In one corner… they were even selling Manny Pacquiao shirts.
Keyboard slippers! Very soft.
And of course an assortment of Thai ornaments.
It was a great experience.
Soaking up local culture doesn’t always have to be about visiting ruins, temples, and palaces. It’s also about soaking in what the locals are all about.
Now on to food…