John Openshaw


Overwatted in Bangkok


FEBRUARY 15, 2013

FILED UNDER: travel, thailand

thaimarketThere is a lot to like about Bangkok: the city is full of alleyways that are a joy to get lost in but sports flights of tuk tuks and taxis that you can rely on when you get too turned around, the parks are generally both tended and watered for lounging about in the midday heat, there are thousands of small street side eateries that look both amazingly appetizing and clean, and the traffic lights are largely respected by motorists.

Add to this a good number of street markets where you can get anything your heart would desire including amulets and charms in all shapes and sizes for all purposes good and ill, dentures, combs, computer bits and parts, radios, jeweled swords, all manners of religious goods including Buddha statuary of any size, candles, incense, belts, flowers, underwear made of “antimicrobial bamboo fibers”, and more.

The center of it all are the magnificent wats — frescos, inlaid jewels, murals of all sorts of beasts and courtly going ons. And hoards tourists as well, most of them delightfully (at least for the onlooker) impersonating the statuary for photographs.

Sadly, I was only in Bangkok for about forty eight hours. While it was my original goal to see all of Bangkok’s wats in a day, the shear experience of wandering each of the locations, trying to take in a dizzying array of thousands of inlaid pieces of glass and mother of pearl, and fighting through the crowds, ended up being a bit too overwhelming. So I abandoned the plan, opting instead for the hotel pool as the oppressive heat settled in…and that is also a very nice way to spend time in Bangkok.

Speaking of hotels, I stayed in a lovingly restored Italian mansion accessible only by boat. I got a rather good deal and found the whole stay delightful. Should you be looking for a hotel in the Bangkok area, I heartily recommend this one.

I've put up a few pictures of my short trip in the gallery.