As I quote in the introductory post to the trip report, Bangkok is described as a “town of juxtapositions.” The sprawling metropolis, also affectionately referred to as “The Big Mango,” is well deserving of its characterization. It sits at the crossroads of the jungle and the sea, and between ancient traditions rooted in Buddhism and recent efforts to globalize. These four key influences all blend together in the city, and both visitors and residents alike are all in for a dynamic treat. Some might find it all to be a bit too stimulating and overwhelming, and don’t get me wrong, being on your feet in Bangkok can soon become exhausting, but it truly is a spectacle in a nearly otherworldly way.
Many of the photos that I’ve chosen to feature focus largely on the antique; there’s a lot from the Grand Palace.
Nearby the Grand Palace is another impressive temple.
The complex pictured above, known as Wat Pho, houses the famous “Reclining Buddha.”
The entirety of the two complexes (The Grand Palace and Wat Pho) is amazing; even though there are four primary attractions, it seems that there is a stupa everywhere you look.
Contrasting these massive works of art are much smaller, yet intricately designed figures.
Even some of the “medium sized” figures are pretty imposing…
There even were some more, uh, traditional animals represented here too.
But of course, most of the statues were of Buddha. There were hundreds, if not thousands of icons located at the Grand Palace alone.
Even outside of the Grand Palace and Wat Pho, Buddha’s image appeared everywhere all over the city, as did shrines and other small offerings to him. Another popular tourist spot, the Golden Mount, is a few miles away and has its fair share of religious statues.
The real attraction of the Golden Mount is that it sits up high and offers vast panoramas of the Bangkok Cityscape. I tried to take a panorama, but a storm was coming in…
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I like to explore new places aimlessly and take pictures of what I find. It seems like the most interesting subjects in Bangkok were the ones that simultaneously incorporated various elements of the rich Thai culture, the tropical environment, and rapid economical and technological advancements. For example, you have wide, airy boulevards accentuated by ornate Siamese structures.
Right by the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, there’s a pedestrian bridge over looking what appears to be a combination of a jungle and a prosperous urban environment.
And even quaint side streets looked clean and economically vibrant… although not a lot of people were out all the time.
Bangkok is, by all accounts, a coastal town, and it has a number of canals running throughout the city. Correspondingly, water taxis, as old fashioned as they may seem, are popular means of transportation.
Conventional land taxis are popular too. They’re accessible, and can get you through Bangkok’s notoriously congested streets. At night time, you can cruise through hip neighborhoods that never seem to stop buzzing.
Despite the gleaming buildings, you will inevitably be reminded that you’re in the developing world, trying to navigate both an oppressive jungle climate and an overpolluted city.
The city has been built up around the humble waterways, and they look like they might soon be forgotten amidst the hyper-development.
I found the street signs throughout Bangkok to be rather interesting, and also indicative of the Thai culture and its values. For example, it’s clear that monks are treated with a special kind of reverence that priests in the West don’t typically receive. For example, on the SkyTrain…
And in various spots throughout the metropolis…
While the monks get preferential treatment, tourists are (rightfully) segregated, especially in holy places.
The signage also suggests that tourists sometimes get a little bit touchy in otherwise religious spots…
And lastly, Thais are famously superstitious. Consecutive numbers are considered to be good luck, especially if it consists of multiple 7s, 8s, and/or 9s. Phone numbers are traded as commodities, and numbers with lots of 7s and 8s and 9s sell for a lot more than “random” ones.
Those were some of my favorite pictures from Bangkok. Stay tuned for some more from Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, coming later in this trip report. Check out my social media accounts for more content too!
If you want advice on which sights to see in Bangkok, feel free to contact me. I’m happy to provide tips based on my experiences.
“Southeast Asian Summer Vacation” Trip Report
- Introduction: Southeast Asian Summer Vacation
- United Club, Tokyo Narita (NRT), Japan
- Okura Prestige, Bangkok, Thailand
- Photo Series: Bangkok
- Air Asia Hot Seats (Economy Plus), Airbus A320, DMK-REP // REP-DMK
- The Aviary Hotel, Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Photo Series: Angkor Wat
- Plaza Premium Lounge, Siem Reap (REP), Cambodia
- Thai First Class Lounge, Bangkok (BKK), Thailand
- Thai Airways Royal Silk (Business Class), Boeing 777-300ER, BKK-PEK
- United Airlines Polaris First (First Class), Boeing 777-200, PEK-IAD