Bangkok

House of Lucie

The House of Lucie is an art gallery that I have wanted to visit for a while and last year I went to see “Unseen Lithuania” by Marius Jovaisa, a world famous photographer known for his aerial photography.

The House of Lucie aims to honor master photographers like Steve McCurry, Sebastiao Salgado, David Bailey and Lord Snowdon. It also aims to discover and cultivate emerging talent and to promote the appreciation of photography worldwide.

Here are some of my favourite photographs by these masters photographers

And some familiar faces from across the world

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Audrey Hepburn by Douglas Kirkland

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Cassius Clay by Marvin E Newman

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Micheal Jackson by Gene Trindl

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Bob Dylan by David Bailey

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Bob Marley by David Burnett

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Muhammad Ali by Howard Bingham

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Ornette Coleman by William Claxton

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Salvador Dali by Arnold Newman

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Pablo Picasso by Arnold Newman

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
Grace Jones by Jean-Paul Goude

 

Art Galleries in Bangkok
David Bowie by Antonin Kratochvil

I loved looking at these photographs. I recognised most of the celebs but not others. Now, most of these people are no longer with us, so it’s lovely that these photographs remain to serve as a kind of memorial.

For more art galleries in Bangkok, check out one of my previous posts.

 

French Ambassador’s Residence, Bangkok

The French Embassy is located in the Bang Rak district of Bangkok, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and in the grounds of the embassy is the residence of the French ambassador, Gérard Araud. Usually, I only get a glimpse of this charming colonial-style building from the river as the boat surges on by but once a year, in September, the ambassador open his doors to the public as part of the European Heritage Days initiative. This initiative was started in 1984 so everyone could enjoy free visits to various sites in order to appreciate and learn about cultural heritage. It also raises awareness of citizens to the richness and cultural diversity of Europe, in particular.

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The ambassador’s home from the outside

The house was built around 1830, and in 1856 it was rented by the customs department to the French trading mission, before being awarded to France by King Rama V in 1875.

Art and Culture in Bangkok
Photograph of the original house

There are guided tours available in different languages but the number of people is limited. However, you are free to wander through the house and grounds between 10.00am and 4.00pm. The tour includes lunch which you can enjoy in a seating area on the ground floor of the house.

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The spacious back garden

On the day I visited, I just missed a tour and I didn’t want to hang around waiting for the next one, although the lady told me I could go back and join the next one, but I was happy just to mooch around on my own.

So, let’s see what’s inside.

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The seating area on the veranda

Art and Culture in Bangkok

The reception room

The living room with a few of the ambassador’s collectibles

The dining room

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The dining table ready for dinner
Art and Culture in Bangkok
The menu from 1913

Another dining room

The book collection

Art and Culture in Bangkok

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The Bangkok Times

My favourite, some old photos and newspaper clippings of meetings between two nations

For relaxing

Art and Culture in Bangkok
The swimming pool
Art and Culture in Bangkok
Some more snapshots and knick knacks
Art and Culture in Bangkok
Chill out zone at the back of the house

This garden is amazing and I can just imagine sitting by the river with a glass of wine. I wonder if the ambassador does that? 😉

Fantastic river views

Places like this in Bangkok just amaze me. I hope you enjoyed the tour 🙂

Guided tours:

French: 10.30am, 11.30am, 2.00pm, 3.00pm
Thai: 10.40am, 11.40am, 2.10pm, 3.10pm
English: 10.50am, 11.50am, 2.20pm, 3.20pm

Address:

M.R Kukrit’s Heritage Home

Bangkok is full of wonderful surprises and, if you know where to look, you can find them all over the city. Take Sathorn for instance, some say the centre of the city, with it’s high rise office blocks, glitzy hotels and European style bars and restaurants, but it’s also home to M.R Kukrit’s Heritage Home. If you’re interested in history, this beautiful teak house won’t disappoint.

M.R. Kukrit's House, Bangkok

Mom Rajawongse Kukrit was born in 1911, educated in England, and was Thailand’s 13th prime minister between 1974-1975. He was a very talented artist and writer and he has over 40 novels to his name. His home represents the man he was, and it’s been left just the way it was when he lived there. There are many of his personal souvenirs and you can really see the passion he had for traditional art and literature through paintings and books that are displayed.

The house is of traditional Thai design and it took over 20 years to be completed. There are 5 beautiful teak buildings, all of which came from different parts of Thailand; the owner had them transported and reassembled. As well as the buildings, there is walled garden, a lily pond, a bird pavilion, and a European style garden with a lawn surrounded by colourful flowers, trees and shrubs.

M.R Kukrit’s home was registered by the Department of Fine Arts as “the home of an important person” and they point out that it’s not for exhibition purposes like your usual museum, rather it’s the home of a person who lived there, which, in my opinion, makes it more interesting. The other thing I liked about it was its location; tucked down a leafy lane, smack bang in the middle of one of Bangkok’s most affluent districts, but a world away from all the noise of the busy road, just one street away. 🙂

 

Bangkok Folk Museum

The Bangkok Folk Museum is tucked down Charoenkrung Road, Soi 43, and it’s a great place to spend an hour or so. It was built in 1937 and was the home of the Suravadee family during World War II. There are three buildings to explore; the first one is where the family lived and you can see the living area, the dining room, library and bedrooms. The beauty is that they have been kept just as they were when the family lived there all those years ago. There is a dressing table and a washing bowl, old photographs and dining sets, all of which give a fabulous understanding of how they lived their lives.

Outside is a gorgeous little garden full of leafy green trees and plants, and a pond with a fountain in the middle.

The second building is just as beautiful. It was intended to be the clinic and living quarters of a Dr Francis Christian, who was the stepfather of the owner, but he died before moving in. His medical equipment is displayed in cabinets and his four poster bed is upstairs.

The third building is full of old artefacts; old brushes, sewing kits, cigar boxes, cooking utensils, magazines, and money. It’s a real treasure trove.

Finally, a fabulous collection of photographs of Bangkok, and some of the notable people who have lived in the city.

For more photographs of Bangkok Folk Museum go to morrisophotography 🙂

 

Charoenkrung Street Food Guide

Street Food on Charoenkrung Road, Bangkok
Street Food on Charoenkrung Road, Bangkok

Bangkok has some of the most delicious food on the planet and there are many places across the city that serve it up. Sarah Marshall at Centre Point dishes up the best places to eat on Charoenkrung Road. 

Best Places to Eat on Charoenkrung Road

The bright capital city of Bangkok is known for many popular attractions, one of them being street food. Whenever a friend tells me he’s planning to travel to Bangkok soon, I always mention how they can’t leave the city without trying a local dish prepared from a food cart. It’s the only way to truly enjoy the tastes and smells of spicy curry or tasty Pad Thai.

One of the most noteworthy street food areas in the massive city is Charoenkrung. The long street not only has delicious eats, but it also has great views of the Chao Phraya River, the river that cuts through Bangkok. We’ve created a guide to help you choose which food stalls you should eat at and what’s the best dish to order. Hopefully you’re not too hungry after reading this post!

Prachak Roasted Duck

With over 200 outstanding reviews on Google, it’s no wonder why Prachak Roasted Duck has been around for over 100 years! This fourth-generation owned eatery has stuck to the same recipe and practices of his great grandfather. You can taste the pride and joy in each tender bite of the duck roast. If you’re really hungry, we recommend ordering the “kao chepo” plate. This dish comes with all the famous meats of Prachak: roasted duck, stuffed pig tail, pork, and pork belly for a good price.

Location: 1415 Charoenkrung Rd.

Jao Long Luk Chin Pla

If you haven’t tried fish ball noodles, this is the place to grab a steaming bowl. Jao Long Luk Chin Pla serves awesome seafood noodle dishes. We recommend ordering the egg noodles with fish balls or the yen ta fo with fish balls. Yen ta fo is a common dish influenced by Chinese cuisine that you’ll find all over Bangkok.

Location: 1456 Charoenkrung Rd.

Jok Prince

What’s congee? It’s the comforting rice porridge that every local in Thailand eats for breakfast. The Thai word for congee is ‘jok,’ which is the main meal Jok Prince serves every morning. What makes Jok Prince’s porridge stand out amongst the rest is the flavorful ingredients and spices they add to it. When your piping hot bowl arrives, you’ll find seasoned pork balls and other yummy surprises. Don’t be alarmed if you have to wait 10 minutes to get a bowl though!

Location: 1391 Charoenkrung Rd., across from Robinson Bangrak

Thip Hoy Tod Pukao Fai

You can’t leave Bangkok without trying the popular fried oyster omelette, known as “hoy tod” in Thai. Thip Hoy Tod Pukao Fai is one of the famous food stalls that serves hoy tod and the stall’s name literally means “vulcanic fried oysters.” It received its name when it was originally a food cart and the owner used diesel fuel to prepare the omelettes, which would create huge fiery flames. It would attract many customers and tourists and now they have their own permanent stall on Charoenkrung. Don’t leave Bangkok without grabbing a greasy plate of this delicious concoction.

Location: 3 Charoenkrung Soi 50

Sor Boonprakob Panich

Are you ready for dessert? Don’t miss out on one of the oldest sweet shops in Bangkok! Sor Boonprakob Panich has been open for over 80 years, and after seeing their collection of sweet and sticky edibles, you’ll know why people keep coming back. You must try popular Thai desserts such as “kaotom pad” (banana and sticky rice) and any mung bean dessert or rice pudding. You can’t go wrong by ordering “khao neaw moon,” which is the classic sweet sticky rice. No matter what you order here, you can’t go wrong with your choice since it’s all soo good!

Location: 1474 Charoenkrung Rd.

Are you interested in discovering what else you should see while you’re visiting Bangkok? You should watch some local videos on the best things to see and do while you’re touring through Thailand’s capital. If you’re in need of a place to stay that’s close to Charoenkrung Road and other amazing attractions, I would recommend staying at one of our 5 Centre Point locations. You’ll be staying in a luxury hotel at an affordable rate while being close to the best amenities. Check out our rooms and rates and how we can make your trip the best in Bangkok!

A Walk Around Thonburi

From the 14th century to the mid-18th century, Thonburi was an important garrison town due to its location on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. It only became part of Bangkok in the 1970s, but has kept its name; Thon means wealth and buri means fort. Its full name is City of Treasures Gracing the Ocean. Indeed, there are many treasures there today and I set out in search of some of them. Plus it gave me a chance of getting there by boat on the Chao Phraya River, which is one of my favourite ways to travel in Bangkok.

I took the boat from Saphan Taksin and got off at Yodpiman Pier. The ferry from there across the river to Thonburi costs around 5 baht and it takes no more than five minutes. The first place I wanted to see was the Kuan An Keng Shrine, a wonderfully rustic looking building, said to be one of the oldest shrines in Bangkok.

Next was Santa Cruz Church, which I have visited before, but it always pleases me when I see the cream and brown colours of this Italian designed building against the blue sky.

Santa Cruz Church, Thonburi

I walked up Arun Amirin Road, and turned down one of the many narrow lanes that run alongside the canals, which are very much still in use in this part of Bangkok. I was looking for Bang Luang Mosque, but it was quite hard to find, so I asked a kindly gent and he told me where to go. This mosque is the only one in Thailand which doesn’t have a dome.

Back to the main road, the next place that I came across was Tonson Mosque. Dating from the 17th century, this mosque was the first in Bangkok. Outside, there is a cemetery where high ranking individuals from the Ayutthaya period are interred.

Over the road from Tonson mosque is Wat Kalayanamit which was established in 1825 and donated to King Rama III. There is a poem on the side of the temple which says “True friend temple was built by a close friend of the King, as glorious, beautiful, and prominent as the city of heaven, it is respected and worshiped by all people, because it is cherished by the Chakri Dynasty King.”

I continued my walk up Arun Amarin Road and found Wat Arun, also known as Temple of the Dawn. Its name comes from the Hindu god Aruna, who was embodied as rays of the morning sun. The central tower has been in the process of being renovated for the last few months, and is covered in scaffolding, but the seashells and pieces of porcelain, which were previously used as ship’s ballast, can still be seen.

I doubled back on myself and went to Wat Prayoon which was built in the 19th century by King Rama III. As I was wandering around, a friendly monk said hello and he told me that when the large white chedi was reconstructed, many amulets and Buddha statues were discovered. They are now on display at the museum there.

In the grounds, there is a large mound which is covered with shrines and spirit houses. Surrounding the mound, is a pool which is home to turtles which like to sun themselves in the quiet surroundings.

There were two places where I wanted to go. Baan Kudichin Museum, where you can learn about the history of the Thai-Portuguese who still live in the area. The second was Thanusingha Bakery House, which has some nice coffee and cakes on offer. But, could I find them? I had google maps and I knew I wasn’t very far away, but there are so many little lanes that twist and turn I just couldn’t fathom how to get there. So, I gave up. They can wait for another day’s exploring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Confuse a Bangkok Taxi Driver

One thing I have learned about living in Bangkok is never present your taxi driver with a map; it seems to throw them into a state of complete confusion.

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/confused

Call me old school, but I like to have a printed copy of a map, especially if I don’t know where I am going. I enjoy planning my route and following it to reach my destination. I have now progressed to google maps but, still, I always have a printed copy with me.

Sometimes, my destination has been too far to walk, so I have had to hail a taxi. Before jumping into the back seat I have shown the driver the map, which has the route marked out. Easy, right? Apparently, not so easy and the reaction I get is quite funny. They look at it, I point to the destination, they look again, turn the map upside down and back again. Sometimes, they bluntly say “no” they can’t take me, at which point I retreat from the vehicle, or sometimes they ask me if I know how to get there. Who’s the taxi driver? It’s not like the map is in English, all the place names are in Thai, so I really don’t know what the problem is. A few taxis have sat-nav, and they can follow that, but present them with a printed map and they go to pieces.

So, my advice is never, ever give your driver a map. Just get into the car and state your destination. That always works!

A Motorcycle Taxi Trip

Motorcycle Taxi, Bangkok

One of the most popular modes of transport in Bangkok is the motorcycle taxi. Although slightly more dangerous than normal taxis, they are quicker and cheaper.

I normally only get one from my home to the skytrain, about a ten minute journey. And, normally, I pick one up right outside where I live. However, this one particular day, the guys outside were not there, so I hailed one which was passing by.

I told him where I was going and agreed the price and off we went. About half-way up the main road, he shouted “police” and stopped so I could put the helmet on. If the passenger is not wearing a helmet, the taxi guy and possibly the passenger will be fined. Thankfully, every motorcycle I have been on has never been stopped by the police, so I have never found out what would actually happen.

But instead of giving me the helmet, he proceeded to take a black jacket out of the basket in front. OK, I thought, he’s finding the helmet, but no, he took the jacket and put it on and put the helmet back in the basket.

“Give me the helmet,” I said gesturing to it. He shook his head. “Give me the helmet,” I repeated and he, reluctantly, gave me the helmet. Weirdo! I sat there thinking why on earth doesn’t he want me to put the helmet on.

We continued up the road only to find it wasn’t the police and instead of letting me wear the helmet for the rest of the journey, he put his hand in the air and asked for it back. Maybe he thought I was going to steal it! I know I really should wear a helmet on the back of motorcycles and I know I am risking my own neck but it’s not something that occurs here, unless, of course the driver gets wind of a police checkpoint on the road.

Once at the skytrain, he took his jacket off, I paid him and he was on his merry way.

Most of the taxi guys are licensed and wear coloured vests but I’m sure he wasn’t one of them. He did have a vest on but he probably wasn’t licensed which is why he hid it with his jacket.

It’s all rather strange living in a city that’s different from your own and one where the rules and regulations are either non existent, or they change on a daily basis. You never know what’s going on 🙂

Going it Alone

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/alone

Recently, I mentioned to a male friend of mine that I was going to see a movie and he asked, “Is it a date?”

I replied “Yes, a date with myself.”

His reply, “Oh, man. You’re going alone?”

His reply made me chuckle to myself. I don’t know whether he found it hard to understand that I would even contemplate going out by myself or that he felt sorry for me.

I started doing things alone when I first went travelling 12 years ago. If you choose to travel solo you don’t have much choice. Yes, I met people and it was fantastic, I have some wonderful memories of those people and times. But, equally when you are alone you don’t have anyone to worry about. You can go where you want, when you want and do whatever you please.

The very first time I dined alone was in Kuala Lumpur in one of the hotel’s restaurants. I recall feeling a little self conscious and was thinking that everyone was looking at me because I was alone. They weren’t. I was made even more self-conscious when a group of musicians came over and sang to me. Maybe they felt sorry for me too. But I ended up not caring and left with a huge smile on my face.

Then, when I was travelling around Thailand, I met a woman called Sophia in Bangkok. She was travelling alone and I started chatting to her because my family and friends had just left me and I was feeling a little out of sorts. She really cheered me up and I will always remember what she told me. She said that doing things alone is very empowering.

Now, my home is in Bangkok and I go out everywhere alone. I have friends here but my working schedule means that it is not always possible to meet them. I take to the streets and wander around taking photographs, go to the movies, have lunch or dinner in my favourite bars, go to art galleries, or I just stay home and write, paint or cook, whatever takes my fancy. I have learned to love my own company. What Sophia told me was true; being alone and actually loving it is a surefire way to boost your confidence.

Start small. Next time you agree to meet your mate at a bar. Don’t wait outside. Instead, go and ensconce yourself at the bar and order yourself a large drink. It’s a great feeling!

www.talkingthailand.co.uk/alone
Pegasus Reef Hotel, Sri Lanka