The King and I

At The Grand Palace, Bangkok

At The Grand Palace, Bangkok

In Thailand the King (and the Queen) are very revered by the people, and their images appear on billboards everywhere across the city. Thailand has been a monarchy since long before it was called Thailand. This site lists them all for you, going back to the Kingdom of Sukhothai in the 13th century, and then on through the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, the Kingdom of Thonburi and up to the Kingdom of Rattanakosin, or Siam, when the present Dynasty of the Chakri commenced in 1782. Continue reading

Jim Thompson’s House

Jim Thompson House, sitting room (image by David Lansing - source)

Jim Thompson House, sitting room (image by David Lansing – source)

I had no idea about Jim Thompson. He was an expat American living in Bangkok in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. He has several claims to fame, including single-handedly taking the Thai silk industry from a dying cottage industry to an international powerhouse, to collecting one of the first and most valuable private collections of East Asian art, to disappearing in mysterious circumstances in the Malaysian highlands in 1967. But perhaps the most astonishing thing he accomplished was his Thai house. Continue reading

Thai Boxing

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Thai Boxing

In a big city, you can hire a guide to take you just about anywhere. I asked the concierge at my Bangkok hotel about hiring a guide to take me to a Thai boxing session on a Saturday night. He was a bit sceptical. He said they could just book a ticket for me, much cheaper. I explained that I wasn’t going to go to a boxing match on my own on a Saturday night in Bangkok. He laughed and booked up the guide, though he did say that if he hadn’t been working on Saturday, he’d would have come with me to the boxing himself. Continue reading

Bangkok Flower Market

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Orchid sellers at work.

In a tangle of streets near Chinatown in Bangkok, is an area called Pak Klong Talad (the Flower Market) – the biggest wholesale and retail fresh flower market in the city. The market consists of shops spilling out onto the sidewalks, and extra stalls crowded in too. It has all kinds of popular flowers including marigolds, roses, orchids, lilies and more. Continue reading

Buddha in Bangkok

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P1140949“Buddha is for respecting, Not Furniture, Not Tattoo”. This was the message on a sun-umbrella in the tourist-crowded grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country, and ‘respecting’ the Buddha is made easy with some pretty stunning incarnations of him around town. Continue reading

Thai Roofs

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At The Grand Palace, Bangkok

I’ve only been in Bangkok for a day, but already I’m agog at the traditional Thai (or Siamese) architecture, especially the roofs. Their colours, their curlicues, the ornamentation, the flourishes of decorative bits and pieces, the sheer exuberance of them… Continue reading

A Last Look At Ubud

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Rice paddy in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

I was only in Ubud  briefly, hardly enough time to form an opinion about Bali, or Indonesia, that giant nation of about a quarter of a billion people that’s around 75% sea…but I thought I’d like to erase the memories of the hideous traffic and the broken sidewalks with some pics of the beautiful things I saw in Ubud. Continue reading