My guide helps you to discover the hidden treasures of Bangkok. I collect tipps by insiders and offer you links to Google Maps as well as reviews of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants by other guests.
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.
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 siamese-dream.com
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.
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: www.thavibu.com/index.html 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Phranakorn-nornlen.com 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!"
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.
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