China: Bangkok, Thailand, Part 9
by Bill Tobin 2/16/13
Bangkok is not China, but the place to tour if you are in the neighborhood.
Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, has a population of over eight million and has grown rapidly during the past 50 years. It is an international hub for transport and health care, and is emerging as a regional centre for the arts, fashion and entertainment. The city's vibrant street life and cultural landmarks, have given it an exotic appeal. Bangkok is among the world's top tourist destinations after Paris and London.
King Rama's Grand Palace has a massive gilded complex and was the setting for the musical The King and I. The King and I was not allowed to be shown in Thailand because the movie inferred that Anna and the King were romantically involved, but that was not true. However the story is real.
The changing of the guards at the palace.
Elaborate guards protect the Buddhas in the Wats (temples).
The reclining Buddha is 151 feet long and 50 feet high and is made of brick, plaster and gold leaf. The face has a very serene expression and the feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
Notice the glittering jewels at the base of the Buddhas.
Monks walking the streets are a common sight.
This is a bird-woman, a mythical creature that adorns the palace and the temple.
Temple visitors cannot wear shorts and sleeveless tops, and must remove shoes.
Fearsome looking creatures act as temple guardians.
Outside the temple these young students are more interested in the tourists than their guide.
Bangkok's rapid growth amidst little urban planning and regulation has resulted in a haphazard cityscape and inadequate infrastructure systems. Limited roads, together with substantial private car usage, have resulted in chronic and crippling traffic congestion. Sometimes drivers will just sit for a long time because it seems like the traffic is going nowhere. The three-wheeled open sided vehicles on the right are called tuk-tuks and serve as taxis.
Motorcycles -- Motorcycles -- share the road with cars, very closely.
This typical taxi is less expensive than a sedan taxi and more popular, though prices must be negotiated beforehand.
Pollution is a big problem and many wear protective masks.
Night markets offer just about everything, and shoppers are expected to bargain.
River tours are offered on a variety of vessels.
These river homes are still occupied, but are becoming a thing of the past.
Riverside dining is still available if you want it.
Babies enjoy riverside bathing.
Dad has a bath in the river too.
Students in uniform in Bangkok enjoyed greeting tourists.
Entertainers mingle with diners in this restaurant, a unique treat.
DD is now in Bangkok. This is the only Dunkin I saw in China or Thailand.
History note:Thailand was officially known as Siam until 1939 and again between 1945 and 1949.
... END of CHINA SERIES ...