Saturday, May 14, 2011

Treasures along the Khlong: Baan Silapin -
the artist's house in Khlong Bang Luang

See the locations on Khlong Bangkok Yai Google Map


Picture Muk-apa
Outlook from Artist's House Baan Silapin

Escape the fast-paced metropolis Bangkok and find the quiet life along its khlongs? Khlong Bang Luang คลองบางหลวง could be your destination. "A lovely patch of peace beyond the bustle", writes Khetsirin Pholdhampalit in The Nation on Sunday. The famous Thai writer Kukrit Pramoj chose it as the setting for Mae Ploy's birth in his novel "Four Reigns". Between Phetkasem Soi 20 and Soi 28 the wooden shophouses and Ayutthaya-era temples give you a feeling of how Thonburi looked in the 17th century, when it was Siam's capital and the King lived at Wang Derm Palace. Then this was the residential area for influential families and high-ranking government officials. From there comes the name Bang Luang: Bang means "area", Luang refers to the monarchy. Today the official name of the canal is Khlong Bangkok Yai. See impressions on youtube

One outstanding wooden house on Khlong Bang Luang is Baan Silapin, the artist's house ริมคลองบางหลวง. Admiral Yodchai Raksamruad took possession of it a few years ago after it had belonged to his family of goldsmiths for generations. It was in bad condition. He invited artist Chumpol Akkapantanon to help. He had seen, what Chumpol did for the Phranakorn Nornlen Boutique Hotel. Chumpol and three friends decided to buy, renovate it and turn it into an art gallery. The two-storey L-shaped house is built around an Yor Mum Sipsong-style pagoda in its garden, it has a gently sloping roof and gables, which are decorated with wooden carvings.

Picture Muk-apa
Pagoda in the garden


Now there is a Coffee shop on the first floor and a studio where visitors can learn to draw and make woodcuts and jewellery. Upstairs you find the gallery. Baan Silapin was opened to the public in September 2009. Baan Silapin opens daily from 9 am until 6 pm and admission is free. See wunderful gallery about Artist's House and Khlong Bang Luang on Facebook and also on bloggang.com

Picture moonbamboo


Picture moonbamboo


Picture moonbamboo


The new owners encouraged their neighbours to create terraces in front of their houses, where vistitors now can walk along the canal. Artist Supasit Wongrom-ngern, who helped Chumpol, has moved to the community. He has rented a shophouse, where he gives lessons in painting and making woodcuts.

Picture asnee
Walkway with shops along Khlong Bang Luang


More is to see nearby: Stucco and murals at Wat Kampaeng. Several local shops offer hairdressing services, portrait painting or fresh fruits and vegetables. Nataya Peng-suay runs the D Lerd coffeeshop - the name means "excellent" - which is decorated with her tin wall-advertisements for soft drinks and radios (see pictures on yummiebangkok.wordpress.com and on kaJarp fooMem. Next door you discover her friends Ming and Elle, who run the River of Alphabets bookshop สายธารแห่งอักษร, where you get icecream too (open on saturdays and sundays from 10am to 5pm, Soi Phetkasem ซอยเพชรเกษม 28 ).

Picture ohoska


Across the bridge you will find a noodle shop with a charcoal stove or a grocery shop or Lung Sia, a shop selling traditional coffee. Read more on The Nation . Bang Luang Gallery offers beauty products under OTOP (see picture by kajarp
Not all the residents like the stream of tourists coming to Baan Silapin now, as Bangkok Post reported. So be respectful!


See more impressions of Khlong Bang Luang:
klongbangluang.com
peeka001 on the way to Artit's House
mahosot.com
Thaipuppeteer
annop1
thaiweekender.com
pateawthai.com
panoramio.com


How you arrive: Drive to Soi 3 on Charansanitwong Road. At its end a small bridge for pedestrians and motorcycles only crosses the canal, after the bridge turn left and follow a small path along the canal for about 100 meters. Another possibility to reach Baan Silapin: Drive to soi 20 or 28 on Petchakasem Road, then park your car at Wat Kampang or Wat Khuhasawan and walk. Or you rent a longtailboat and have your guide stop at Baan Silapin.



Discover more in Bangkok:
Your Guide to Bangkok

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

From Bangkok back to the glorious
days of old Siam

Picture Napatsron
Wat Chai Wattanaram วัดไชยวัฒนาราม in Ayutthaya

Can you imagine, that there was a town in Siam with more than one million inhabitants, that was admired by Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Japanese and Persian visitors as well as by Portuguese, Dutch, English, Dane and French guests? This was Ayutthaya, the first capital. Did you know, that The Grand Palace, Wat Arun and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok are copies of the old Grand Palace, Wat Chaiwattanaram and Wat Phra Si Sanphet in Ayutthaya? Today this town is still worth a trip from Bangkok. Read more about its temples and ruins and read reviews of guests, who have been to hotels, guesthouses and restaurants: Treasures of Ayutthaya. On the way you may also stop at Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, where European, Chinese and Thai architecture have melted together.

Picture marhas
Sages Lookout at Bang Pa-In Royal Palace



Discover more in Bangkok:
Your Guide to Bangkok

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