I’ve been in Bangkok for two weeks now. This is my second time in the city within 3 months for work. Upon arrival I was surprised by the contrasts in the city. Does everyone say this when they travel to a new city? Bangkok is more modern than I would have guessed. There are tall modern buildings, designer-name stores, fancy cars, and smartly dressed people. Not that different than other cities with over 10 million people, I suppose. But, I was still surprised.
These modern buildings are in sharp contrast to the more raw realities of daily life for the majority of Thais. The infrastructure, while quite advanced, still lacks some of the organization we are accustomed to in the global North.
I was also not expecting there to be so many temples – all of which are Buddhist temples. There are different styles but similar architectural elements infuse them all.
The temples are very intricate and the interiors are beautiful with shrines, hand-painted wall murals, and stunning decorations. This photo gives an idea of how detailed the interiors are.
These monkeys were around one of the temples. They are the same characters that appear in traditional Thai story-telling. These stories come from the northern region of the country and are played out through dance and song.
To get around town, there are many options. My favorite is the water bus. It is a great way to see the city, especially at night when the lights from the buildings reflect on the river. It is really lovely. This first photo shows one of the hotels I stayed in for the first week of my stay this month. The breakfast room is riverside and gives a nice setting to start the day.
Another way many people (tourists?) get around town is by tuk-tuk. Admittedly, I am a bit hesitant to try this out after learning the fuel tank lies directly under the passenger seat. That is all fine and well if I knew the vehicle were soundly constructed, but I also heard the tales of the many iterations these vehicles experience. Am I getting too old for this?