I’m back at school now after my exciting weekend in Bangkok. After Satruday’s action pakced shopping, we decided to do something a bit more relaxing on Sunday morning and visit the National Museum, which is relatively close to the Grand Palace. In an attempt to keep things cheap and not deal with Bangkok traffic (which is truly horrific), we took the Sky Train to the Chao Phraya river and then one of the local boats up to Banglampoo, a neighborhood just north of where the museum was. The museum was very large. One building comprised of a seciton on Thai history, which was pretty interesting, especially since it directly correlates to the stuff we’ve been talking about in my Thai Ways class right now. They also had a large collection of various items, such as these enormous funeral carriages for former Kings, as well as ancient civilization objects (which I didn’t really see much of). They also have a large seciton of various handicrafts, organized by material…i.e. ceramics, ivory, mother of pearl, wood, and also by category as well…like Buddhist art, weapons, etc.
The collection of handicrafts was housed in an old palace (not for the king, for the crown prince I think). Lonely Planet described the way the collection was laid out pretty well when they used the terms “attic” and “scatterbrained.” Things were laid out in no order, and many had no explanation at all. If there was something it was in very faded Thai only (as opposed to the History building that had English and Thai explanations). It was sort of nice to just wander around and look at stuff, but it really sort of looked like the items weren’t really cared for either.
A school group of hundreds of school children showed up who were a bit obnoxious showed up. They were very pushy (to the point of pushing infront of us to see a video screen) and were also at times hounding us with questions…they wouldn’t even let me walk anywhere…they kept blocking my path! Anyways we kept trying to stay away from them and didnt have much success, so we decided to go.
As we were in the area, we walked over to Banglampoo and to the infamous Khao San Rd, which is probably the most touristy street in all of Bangkok. Practcally all the backpackers I met in Laos told me I had to see it. It’s apparantly the cheapest place to stay in Bangkok (though you get a pretty crappy room) and one of the supposed cheapest places to eat as well. I can’t say I was imressed with Khao San Rd at all. It’s a good place to go if you want to speak English a lot and see all westerners. It is a barrage of signs, food stalls, cheap books, pirated goods, and tuk-tuk drivers! Anyways we ate lunch there and then took a taxi to the Victory Monument where we caught a van back to Hua Hin. It’s awfully convenient, as the van’s leave every 15 minutes or so, only cost 180 baht, and make the trip in two hours (the bus there took 4!)
Anyways it was certainly a fun weekend. Next on the agenda though is my trip to Ayutthaya this coming weekend. We got a rought itinerary today…leaving Friday morning, getting there in the afternoon (it’s like a 4 hour trip), meeting the families we’ll be staying with. An evening of dinner, traditional dancing, and something involving a lesson in Thai Desserts. Saturday we get up really early to watch the Alms Giving (feeding the monks) at 6am and then we head to the ruins at Ayutthaya for the morning, before heading back to Hua Hin mid afternoon. Ayutthaya, for those who don’t know, was the capital of the former Siam before it was ransacked by Burmese invaders and moved just across the river from where Bangkok is now.