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Published: December 26th 2017
The view fromo Our room in Peninsula hotel
Looking across to Mandarin Oriental. You can see the old Italian designed customs house, now derelict on left
Just so that we could standout from most of our fellow Peninsula hotel residents, who seemed to spend all day on the hotel campus, eating, swimming in the pool, and attending entertainment laid on by the hotel, We got out and about (a little). There is a great water taxi service across the river to the Skytrain station, all for free. We took the train to Central station and walked a short distance to Jim Thompson’s house, now a museum. Jim was an American architect who was sent to Bangkok when he was in the army. He loved the country so much that he stayed and reinvented the Thai silk trade. His big break came when the film ‘The King and I’ was made. His silk clothing was used in the film. His house is interesting because as an architect he combined western ideas (interior stairs), with traditional Thai house designs. He entertained president Kennedy, Somerset Maugham and many US film stars. In 1967 aged 61, we was holidaying in the Cameron Highland in Malaysia, staying with friends, went out for his evening constitutional and was never heard of again, nothing has ever been found.
We almost got the runaround
Jim Thompson’s house
Jim reinvented the Siam silk manufacturing skills, which had become a forgotten about cottage industry
from a rogue tuk tuk driver, but survived!
On our second day, we had a guide, supplied by Trailfinders, who sensibly did not try to blind us with science. We also travelled everywhere by public transport, water taxis, tuk tuk and long tail, which added to the education. We made three visits: 1) Royal Palace 2) The Recling Buddha at Wat Pho (Wat is Thai word for temple, and there are hundreds of them) 3) Flower market. Our guide also suggested a trip on a long tail boat down the canals, which we did. You will have seen long tail boats in the 007 film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. These are long gondola type boats that are propelled at up to 20 knots by truck engines. Ours was an Isuzu. The prop shaft has a propeller on the end. They call Bangkok the Venice of the East and the west side of town is a maze of canals, from where you can get a taste of opulence and extreme poverty. Huge monitor lizards stalk the shores.
Our last visit today was to the snake farm. We got the timings wrong so missed the venom extraction show
The Royal Palace
This place is huge, so you need a guide or need to know what you want to look at. We got there at 8.30. When we left at 10.30 you could not move
and the hands on bits, but still interesting.
Off to Krabi tomorrow lunchtime, which is about 500 miles south west on the west coast. (Phuket sits out on a promitory around the other side huge bay) So all done here, except I have to go out and retrieve our washing from laundry around the corner!! (Frin over the moon with quality of service!!) Phew.
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