3 Nights in Bangkok
Uncertain if I wanted to spend any time in Bangkok on my recent visit to Thailand and Cambodia, I thought it wise to only spend a tentative 3 nights, as a last brief stop at the tail end of four weeks of travelling. An afterthought of sorts. Not enough to see or do much, but a way of dipping my toes into a city renowned for its congestion, pollution, shopping, amazing food and a rich sprinkle of culture.
Key to how I experience a place is where I stay. I spend hours and hours trailing the web in search of accommodation that is unique, comfortable and just right for what I am looking for in that specific corner of the world I am planning to visit. It was the setting for Loy La Long that caught my attention. A 30 year old, Thai wooden house built practically on the river with only a handful of rooms. Add to that a hard to find location tucked away on the grounds of a temple (Wat Pathumkongka), and I didn’t need any convincing that it was the right place for me to get a sense of the Bangkok I wanted to see.
It lived up to its reputation of being hard to find, but what a find! Creaking wood, and water sloshing against the floor boards with every passing boat created an ambience that is hard to beat. River barges, pleasure boats, water taxis, long-tail boats, speed boats, express boats, and pretty much anything else that can float use the Chao Phraya from early in the morning ’till late at night as a watery highway. River life captured my heart and held me mesmerised and enchanted. All I wanted to do was stretch out on one of the two balconies and watch life gently flow by.
I struggled to drag myself away from the bewitching charm of the river, but I did manage to make it to the flower market, albeit on invitation from one of the many interesting travellers I met during my stay. Pak Khlong Talat is a riot of colour, and hive of activity that spills onto the sidewalks and streets.
Watching women skilfully use long, sharp needles to make beautiful phuang malai garlands without as much as a glance at their hands, made me gawk in appreciation. Given as offerings or kept for good luck, these garlands can be found everywhere in Thailand. The lingering scent of an assortment of freshly cut flowers follow you everywhere and was only rivalled by the enticing aroma of a cheap meal on the sidewalk, when my stomach started growling.
Wat Arun, named after Aruna, the Indian God of Dawn, is one of the many landmarks in Bangkok that sits impressively on the banks of the Chao Phraya. Adorned with broken pieces of multi-coloured porcelain and ceramic tiles, and an elongated Khmer-style prang or tower that reaches 79 metres into the air, it is worth climbing the steep steps to have a closer look.
Wat Pho is perhaps best known for its enormous reclining Buddha, and although it is worth seeing, the temple grounds house many other treasures, and spending enough time here to soak up the beauty and energy of one of the largest and oldest temples in Bangkok will not disappoint.
Bangkok is a city with many faces. How one spends one’s time here, simply depends on which face one is interested in seeing.
Visited: February 2014
What a stunning place to stay, can understand why you had trouble motivating yourself to actually go and explore. Stunning photos- love the red roses at the flower market!
Thanks Janaline. I think I will return to Bangkok, as there is so much more to see and experience, but spending hours just watching life on the river passing by was one of the most enjoyable things I did during my trip.
Beautiful place… incredible architectures and colors 🙂
The architecture is truly inspiring. Your camera lens would love it here Sreejith.
I was thinking how many days I would spent there, definitely not less than a month 🙂
Aw, lovely photos 🙂
Thank you. 🙂
Your photos and commentary are really inspiring – a stunning blog.
Thanks so much Jeannie.
Gorgeous! You and http://dalocollis.com/ lately are making me want to travel more than ever! and your description of the places you visit is always so exquisite…
Wish you a wonderful week ahead, Luana.
Thank you Luana. There is such incredible beauty in this world. I, again, love the way you capture the simple, daily pleasures of life with your lens.
Gorgeous pics and so right – what you explore all depends on which face you are interested in seeing! I’m back in Bangkok end May after more than a year – can’t wait!
Hope Bangkok will offer you much joy Carissa! Can’t wait to read about your adventures there.
Will be a quick jaunt! Next stop Shanghai then Tokyo!
Sounds like interesting adventures await you! Happy travels.
Beautiful photos. When I think about Asia the images are usually full of colour and culture and your images really capture that essence, in an especially interesting and engaging way. Your accommodation sounded fantastic.
Thanks Hayley. I definitely recommend a stay at Loy La Long if you ever find yourself in Bangkok.
You would make a fabulous travelling companion, so inspired! I was in Bangkok thirty years ago and recognise glimpses from your photos. I thought I would never return, but seeing it through your eyes gives such a different perspective . . .
So when are we meeting up in Bangkok for a week or two of exploring, Gwendoline? 🙂
Looks as if the computer ate yesterday’s reply. Are you still in Bangkok ???? Not that I am intending to get there any time soon. . . . but we just booked flights to the UK and France for September / October . . . this time transiting via Hong Kong so we still won’t get to Abu Dhabi – are you going back there?
No, I’m back home Gwendoline. I will have to start saving for my next adventure, but I do hope to get back to Thailand at some point, as I had a lovely time there. You have some exciting travels to look forward to, and Hong Kong is a pretty cool place to transit through. We hope to live in the UAE for a long, long time, as we love it here, so just shout when you ever transit through here, and we’ll meet up.
I was about to visit Wat Arun and Wat Pho during my last trip in Thailand, but due to political crisis, protests made it unsafe for me to go there. Will take another attempt to visit those places, including Royal Palace and Chao Praya river!
I hope next time you have better luck. I was actually in Bangkok during the protests and never encountered any protesters, as the areas I went to were not anywhere near the protest areas. It did scare a lot of tourists into staying away, and as a result the tourist sites were all much quieter than usual.
Yes, the taxi drivers told us that tourists were less and less during the time. During my 5 days there, only the day I had planned to visit those places that there was a huge protest, and the guesthouse owner and taxi driver told us that the places were not safe to go. Something more concerned to my friends and I is that we are Cambodian. Probably you might know some about conflict between Cambodia and Thailand; and that’s why we worried more than other foreign tourists.
It is always better to heed the advice of the locals. A pity you couldn’t make it to the river area during your visit. Hopefully there is a ‘next time’ for you soon.
Yes, hopefully! And I am even thinking of Chiang Mai more.
marhaba !! beautiful place and pictures ! though next door to me, still have not had a chance to be there…someday soon !
thanks for stopping by my blog – shukran !
Beautiful photos. Bangkok is a beautiful city, though I stayed only for few hours there. Its a visual treat to see so many activities and so many people every time.
And I must mention here that Buddha is a way of life there. One could feel it when inside those magnificent and huge temples
So true. I would love to return to Thailand someday soon.
Nice pictures. I have been in Thailand a few times. I love the country, people, nature and the delicious food.
Thanks, Ronald. Yes, Thailand is one of those destinations that tick all the right boxes. 🙂