Sunday, July 20, 2008

Discover Sukhumvit

Sukhumvit, just a long street, where you spend your time by eating, drinking (redlight-bars) and sleeping (many hotels)? No, there is more to see, if you walk into the sidestreets, called soi.

See map by

Soi 3: Home of the Middle Eastern community and African community. Read Sukhumvits other side See Photo-Guide. And read the New York Times-Stopry about Soi Arab

Soi 4: Nana Entertainment Plaza, full og go-go bars.

Soi 5:

Video walk from soi 7 to soi 5:

Soi 11: Three of the best nightspots in town: BedSupperClub with fine cuisine, a glittering nightclub. QBar, a lounge with 1960s decor, attracting good DJs (House, Hip-hop and Jazz. Twisted Republic (DJs). Nice architecture in this soi.

Soi 18: Salsa and Latin dance culture in Bangkok? Yes, there is La Rueda Latin Dance Club (monday to Saturday from 18 pm to 1 am.

Soi 21 Asok and Soi 23: Called Soi Cowboy, full of gogo-bars.

Soi 22: A short stretch with go-go bars, then a lot of street food vendors and Thai massage places. And there is Benjasiri Park, where you see asians doing Tai Chi and other exercises in the morning and the evening. Read the post of The Laughing Nomad.

Soi 33: Full of hosteess bars with painter names like Van Gogh, Degas, Manet and Gauguin.

Soi 38: Well known for it's street food in the night. Have a look at Austin Bush's photos.

Soi 55, also called Thonglor, "Bangkoks Chic Street", according to Time Magazine. Look for fashion here at the concept store Playground, which features young Thai designers as well as some European/American favourites. Go down the street and you will find a glass building: H1 — a group of buildings with: "Cappllini" Italian import furniture store, "Extase" Mediterranean food restaurant, "Hay" home-made ice cream center, "Geo" cool designed products shop, "Barsheer-Graphic Art Book" graphic book store, etc. J-Avenue is crammed with cafés, bars and emporiums. And young Thais head for nightclubs like Escudor, Gwatamou and Boos, Witch Tavern.

Discover more in Bangkok:
Your Guide to Bangkok

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Friday, March 21, 2008

“You not ride bikes, no!”

“You not ride bikes here in Bangkok, no!” Many Thais will react like this, when you are preparing your bike for a ride through the town. And they will add: „Very dangerous traffic, very bad air“. And you will think about it and probably agree, that there will be no car, bus, taxi, tuk-tuk or motorbike, that won’t cut you off and that you will be pushed from the road or find yourself under a vehicle. And you’ll ask yourself: Do I really want to shorten my life?

Okay, now you have bean warned, now you know, that you need a guide. There are many tour operators, which offer bicycling in Bangkok. They help you discover the heart of the city – not the big roads full of traffic, but the small lanes, ancient temples and canals. You can discover Bangkoks green lung, Bangkrachao (also: Bang Kra Jao) with a floating market (only on weekends), or you cycle through Chinatown, then there are tours to Thonburi and to the countryside with rice fields and green tropical landscapes, you visit schools or a womens kooperative.

And here are some tours:

Bangkok Night Bike:

Historic Bangkok:

Talad Market and visit to a school

Chinatown and Bangkrachao, the green lungs of Bangkok

These pictures are from the tour of Co van Kessel. Also see this Slideshow And here is a blog about a tour to the green lungs: Exploring the green lungs

Chinatown and Thonburi
Co van Kessel

Chinatown, Thonburi, Princess Mother Memorial Park, Tmple of the Dawn, Royal Barge Museum

Bangkrachao, the green lungs of Bangkok

Bangkok Countryside (along Klong Saen Saeb, to temple Phurt Udom Pol, Kamalulislam mosque and the market town of Nong Chok

Dinner/Biking Tour

From Rama III Road to temples and Bangkrachao, the green lung of Bangkok
Colors of Bangkok

From Rama III Road to a Buddhist temple complex, a sweatshop making sandals to an open-air Muay Thai school (kick boxing), a Burmese style (Mon) Chedi, and a local elementary school and to Bangkrachao, the green lungs of Bangkok

To the floating market in Taling Chan on Weekends:

The Saturday Night Tour:
The Bangkok Tourist Bureau has organised a guided tour every Saturday evening to landmarks around Bangkok including Sanam Luang, Wat Pho, Wat Suthat, the Giant Swing and the Democracy Monument. The cost is 290 Bahtper person including bicycle hire, a guide, snack, beverage and insurance. See a blog about this event: Contact: 1. Environment and Tourism Conservation Foundation, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), 4 Ratchadamnern Road, Pomprap, Bangkok 10110 Thailand, Tel. 282-0524 or Fax. 282-2129. 2. Tourism Promotion Center, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) Tel. 225-7612-4 or Fax. 225-7616. E-mail address:

Thonburi, every first Sunday ot the Month:
The Bangkok Tourist bureau recommends a one-day cycling tour to explore Thon Buri, located on the other side of the Chao Phraya River. Stops include Sala Dhammasop Train Station, Maha Sawat Canal and Taling Chan Floating Market. The tour runs every first Sunday of the month. At 650 Bahtper person, the fee includes bicycle hire, a guide, two meals with snacks and beverages and insurance.
For more details, call 02-255-7612-4, fax: 02-225-7616, e-mail:

If you dont’t want to go by tour but on your own, then you can also just rent a bike, for example here:
Rent a bike

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has published „A handbook featuring ten cycling routes in Bangkok“. You can obtain it from from Tourism Division, Culture Sports and Tourism Department, phone 0-2225-7612. Blogger Moffle has started describing these routes here:

Rattanakosin Island Route:

The Old Town Route:
Old Town

Ian shows us his routes from Khao San Road and from Taling Chan Floating Market combined with boat rides on his Google Map. And he has more routes around Bangkok Noi on another Google Map.

Unseen Dusit Route:
Old Town

Cycle routes in East Bangkok:
The Khlong Cyclist has Google Maps showing routes on Khlong paths and quiet sois.

And here you find Bike-Shops in Bangkok
Red Baron
Saengthong Bicycles Prachakaj Rd, Nonthaburi 525-1789, 526-4664
Viwat Bike Phahon Yothin Rd 552-8583, 972-3934
World Bike Ram Inthra Rd 946-4117-9, 510-1041
Sahapatt Bicycle 447-0169, 879-4259
Lan Luang Bikeshop Worachak / Chinatown 221-3775, 221-8545

And of course you need the Survival Kit of this blogger.

You can even find a bike path in Bangkok, at Narathiwat Road. But see, what happened to this
Bicycle Path
And meanwhile there is a large bicycling rescoure: Bicycle Thailand with indexes of bike shops, bike tours, ride maps and Thailand cycling blogs.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Bangkok Girl - a moving documentary

Pla is 19, working as a bar girl in Bangkok since she has been 13, and tells Joanathan Clark, a Canadian documentary filmmaker about her life. It's a glimpse into the sex tourism industry, a look at the human cost of the sex trade trough the eyes of Pla, who died a week, after Clark had left Thailand.

Bangkok Girl Part 1

Bangkok Girl Part 2

Bangkok Girl Part 3

Bangkok Girl Part 4

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bangkoks Slum: Klong Toey

Klong Toei (also Klong Toey, คลองเตย) is a district in central Bangkok, bordered by the Chao Phraya River. The westbound of Sukhumvit belongs to it, but also a slum, where poor workers live, many working at the port. So Klong Toei has luxury shopping centers like Emporium as well as a cheap food market. The Duang Prateep Foundation and the Human Development Foundation of Father Joe are working for a better life in the slums.

Human Development Foundation
Mercy Centre

Duang Prateep Foundation

Read more about life in Klong Toei:

Water Warriors fight for saving Klong Hua Lamphong: Read Blog Asia Waterwire

The Squatters of Bangkok - an article in New Internationalist

A volonteer writes about her work as teacher in the Mercy Centre in Klong Toey: GivingLearningDancing

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bangkok Legacies

A great historical travel site is Bangkok Legacies: Discover more about famous homes, traditional thai houses, communities, monuments, temples, shrines, old churches, little museums located in obscure corners of the city, roads, old hotels and the areas these hotels are in.

If you are looking for old Thai houses and want to know the differences between buildings from the different regions of Thailand, "Bangkok Legaces" gives you the informations to find them in Bangkok. For example you find a model settlement with life-sized replicas at Siam Niramit , a theatre in Din Daeng ดินแดง, where the visit to the village is included in the tickets for the show .

Houses in the design of the central region you find also here Home of M R Kukrit Pramoj, a former Prime Minister and writer, in Sathon สาทร.

Then you discover architecture from the central region at Jim Thompson House in Suan Luang สวนหลวง, discribed here too: Bangkok Legacies.

The five pictures show Jim Thompson House.

Another house from central region stands at Suan Pakkad Palace Museum in Ratcha Thewi ราชเทวี. Here the Homepage

A Lanna House (Northern Thailand) is Kamthieng House in Watthana วัฒนา. The 160 years old teakwood house built on wooden stilts is a museum run by the Siam Society, which edites the wellknown Journal of the Siam Society. Artifacts help you understand the the rural way of life in traditional agricultural communities in the North. Read background by

The Kamthieng House

Then on Bangkok Legacies you learn, that an Italian, the sculptor Corrado Feroci, created many famous monuments in Bangkok as the Democracy Monument in Phra Nakhon พระนคร.

Not to forget: There ist a great overview of Bangkok Museums Here you find also not so well known institutions as the Folk Museum in Bangrak, a preserved family home, which shows the lifestyle in Bangkok in the early 20th century.

Last, but not least: if you are interested in traditional handicraft, Bangkok Legacies knows the directions. For example: The Pracha Narumid community of wood craftsmen in Soi Pracha Rat 24 in Bang Sue บางซื่อ is noted for wood carvings and carpentry. The Thai bronzeware makers in Baan Bu in Bangkok Noi you find near Bangkok Noi Museum.

Discover more in Bangkok:
Your Guide to Bangkok

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bangkok Art and Culture

Galleries, Museums and attractive culture places as temples and buildings in Bangkok you find easily thanks to this Art and Culture Map

And the newspaper The Nation presents in its section "Entertainment" whats on also in art. Another Event-Guide:

Many spots are concentratet around Rattanakosin and Silom.

This work is from Chatchawan Rodklontan,

About Studio/Café: Art space with a variety of activities including exhibitions, performances, installations, etc.

H Gallery: Established in 2002 by American H. Ernest Lee with the primary purpose of representing a selected group of emerging contemporary Asian artists. It is is located in a late 19c colonial building.

Thavibu Gallery: Specializes in contemporary quality art from Thailand, Vietnam and Burma. Many articles on asian arts on their homepage. One of their artists is Santi Tongsuk, this ist his picture "Flow of Buddhism":

Another artist selling pictures here is Kritsana Chaikitwattana. His exhibition entitled Venuses of Bangkok focuses on the strength of Thai women and their expanding roles. The artist says: ”In the past, Thai women were expected to fulfill their roles at home and to be sweet and gentle. They were told to follow, not to lead. Nowadays, the roles of Thai women are expanding and they take on new tasks and often support their families financially by work outside the home.”

"Venus in a desolate world" is the title of Kritsana Chaikitwattana

Museums, Galleries and attractive places like temples in Bangkok are easy to find thanks to this
Map of Culture and Art. Here you find a listing with links to the homepages. If you stay on Rattanakosin Island or around Silom you are in the middler of a high density of places to see.

Thavibu Gallery is specialized in the contemporary art from Thailand, Vietnam and Burma. It is constantly surveying the artistic, social, and political conditions of these three Southeast Asian countries.

H GALLERY was established in 2002 by American, H. Ernest Lee and is located in a late 19c colonial building. The up-and-coming generation of Thai contemporary art.

Discover more in Bangkok:
Your Guide to Bangkok

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ko Kret - the Mun island in Chao Phraya

Picture marhas1
Pottery at Ko Kret

Seven small and sleepy villages, palm trees, bananas, temples and pottery: Ko Kret, a tropical looking island in Chao Phraya River, just 15 kilometres north from Bangkok, is a pretty place for a boat and walking trip, its quiet during the week and quite busy on weekends (Marke on Sundays). One way up by boat takes one hour. You take the Chaophraya River Express to Nonthaburi and get there out at the last stop and walk to the street. Get into a Minibus to Wat Sanam Neua. Walk through the temple to the river pier. From here you can croyy by ferry to Ko Kret.
The island is more than two hundred years old. It was created, when 1722 a canal was built to shorten the Kings sailing trips upwards Chao Phraya River to the capital Ayutthaya. Mon people who came down from Burma are living here for generations, and they are famous for pottery in kwan arman style and sweet Thai desserts. First they took the earth from Ko Kret to create pots. This led to erosion on the island. So by the years the base of the around two hundred years old Chedi of Wat Poramaiyikawat วัดปรมัยยิกาวาส was washed away, so today the Chedi is leaning towards the river.

Picture marhas1
The Chedi of Wat Poramaiyikawat, leaning towards Chao Phraya River

Picture G4Glenno
Wat Poramaiyikawat. See more pictures

At the temple in Mon style is also a small pottery-museum. The pots are known for their red-black glazed surface and design. If you are hungry: thera are many food vendors. The island is wellknown for "Khao Cher": rice with chilled fragrant water and small side dishes. or you enjoy "Tod mun pla nor gala", spicy fish cake with ginger. Or: Mon tempura: deep-fried vegetables, fish, shrimp in a banana-leaf. of course you find also restaurants.

If you take a bout tour around Ko Kret you see traditional thai houses. A walk around the island takes 2 to 3 hours. There are also motor cycle taxis. And you can even rent bikes.

Don't forget to be back at the ferry pier by sunset: then the last ferry is leaving. There is no hotel or guesthouse for staying during the night, but a resort: Baan Dvara Prateep is offering yoga and meditation courses with accommodation.

If you don't want to travel by yourself, then there is a tour every sunday operated by Chao Phraya Express Boat for 300 Baht.

Discover more in Bangkok:
Your Guide to Bangkok

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Skytrain, Metro, Buses and Railways

Picture UweBKK
Skytrain. leaving Chit Lom for Siam Central

Bangkoks Skytrain, Airport Link, Metro Lines, the Bus Lines and the Railway Lines and where to change:

Google Map - also with piers of Chao Phraya Boats

Big Map with Sky Train, Metro, Railways

Airport Rail Link

Smaller Map with Sky Train, Metro, Railways

Homepage of Sky Train

And here Bangkoks Bus-System with a search (you can search Bus-Routes by names of temples, streets, and so on) and you find maps for every bus route, when you go for "travel guide": Bus-Routes

The timetable of State Railway of Thailand: Timetable

And the Wongwian Yai-Mahachai-Maeklong Line: Read and find the timetable.

Discover more in Bangkok:
Your Guide to Bangkok

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Slowlife in Bangkok

Picture marhas 1

Bangkok - a place to calm down? Yes, I found that very quiet hide away in this hectic town. It's surrounded by the daily life of old Bangkok, called Banglampoo. It has a courtyard filled with tropical plants inside. And the ladies, that run this small hotel, have a green heart. They serve organic vegetarian food. So follow me, if you want to know more...

Behind these doors...

... you find a peaceful gem. Phranakorn Nornlen is different from the traditional lodging, you know from the tourist hotels, it's not a luxury boutique hotel. It's authentic Thai. The employees have personality and are very charming and helpful. They do a lot to feel you like a guest and not just a paying customer. You will not have TV in the room but wireless internet also in the garden.

Appease the spirits

Behind the entrance you meet the Spirit House of Phranakorn Nornlen. Most houses have a spirit house. Offering are left here to appease the spirits and protect the house from problems.

Green oasis

The courtyard, oasis in the polluted, busy, humid and hot Bangkok.

Where breakfast will surprise you

Vegetarian - if you are afraid or fond of this word: you will be delighted by the organic breakfest served ad Phranakorn Nornlen. And this is the place to enjoy it. Breakfast changes every morning, there is no menue card, you enjoy the daily surprise. Thai rice soup with fresh herbs, pancakes, omelettes, bread, delicious freshmade fruit juices and more. I have not seen this quality on many hotel breakfast buffets. And if you want to enjoy more authentic thai food, you go out to the small soi, that leads to the hotel, and find the food vendors, where the local people get their evening meals. Of course also Phranakorn Nornlen serves you some food during the day as fine sandwiches, fruits, etc.

Walls with butterflies

Picture Phranakorn Nornlen

Don’t expect a five star hotel, don’t expect that all the rooms look as big as the one you see. But expect character, clean rooms, unique handpainted walls with flowers and butterflies. There’s no TV, but a CD player. The rooms on the upper floor have balconies. The beds are firm as Thais are used to. I slept very well, even if the air condition is a bit noisy.

The wall

Nice decor

Lie down for a Thai Massage

Just beneath the courtyard you find a pavillon with a sitting area (some PCs with free internet, books) and some mattresses where you can lie down for a Thai massage. And you will definitively feel in paradise.

They are great

It's time to show the team that runs Phranakorn Nornlen. And time to show your their homepage They write about themselves:
"What filled this home with liveliness is a 'heart' in each staff at our home. We are a team of 9 people, believing in opening opportunities to working youths who are seeking for experiences, rarer to find nowadays in this competitive world. A few communication problems might show up… but knowing not that you can play a part in being their language teachers. We might not be able to provide you with every services available in other hotels but we guarantee with our passion in everything we do. When you are away from your home, there is nothing better than knowing someone that you can rely on. We want to be your friends! If you would like to know more about our people in PN, please check us out & get connected at My space!"

Of course you shold also see what guests write. So go to

See more details in this video

How to find them

See download for Google Map and Google Earth

In Bangkok you cannot expect that taxi- und tuktuk-drivers easily find the Phranakorn Nornlen hotel. Thats why they offer this map which contains also Thai writing. The Hotel is on Soi Thewet 1. The Soi leaves from Krung Kasem Road - beneath the Seven 11-Shop. You see on the map, that it is not far from Thewet Pier on Chao Phraya River. This Pier should be known also by Taxi Drivers. Or south of it is Rama VIII Bridge, that should be known too. Another idea how to get home: Ask the taxi driver for the Wisutkasat Road and the Best Western Swana Hotel. There you cross the road to the other side and take the little side road in front of you, It's Soi Thewet 1 and leads you to Phranakorn hotel.

From Phranakorn Nornlen you can walk in seven minutes to the Thewet Pier and get boats to Bangkoks main sights as The Grand Palace, The Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Si Rattanasasadaram) and Chinatown.

Discover more in Bangkok:
Your Guide to Bangkok

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