At first I saw this group with mixed emotions. I was a little worried because a huge park is located directly across the street from the museum. This has been a major staging ground for the protesters in the area; to the point of them camping out now for days. On the other hand I thought I was safer here because of the military presence. Turns out that they were on a tour of the museum.....furthermore, I believe they were from a military academy!
Moving on; I wandered through the grounds "touristing" it up; camera in one hand, map in the other. The grounds, like every other public area I have seen, were both immaculate and beautiful.
The first building you come to within the confines of the tall walls that confine the museum compound; of course; was a temple. It was typical, that is not to say less striking, but still a short walk around was enough to take it in.
|Got this part down...shoes, hat, shades....check! Oh yeah and "Church clothes"...which I will later regret...|
Ok...still quiet impressive....paintings that are above covered all the walls.
So I entered the exhibition hall, or halls as it were. The layout was basically an outer ring of buildings with a few in the center. The buildings on each side were connected. I originally had though; museum; nice inside day. I went with long pants and a thin; yet long sleeve dress shirt, sleeves rolled up. Oh what a mistake. Indoor...yes; air conditioned...no! It was hotter inside than out due to lack of air circulation. There were fans scattered about, but most of them were oriented towards the employees sitting in the corners of each room. Oh well, Southeast Asia; gotta sweat a bit; and this was really the first time. It has been warm, but overcast and other than a few of my more extended "walkabouts" I have remained relatively comfortable. Hopefully that is enough information for you.....Back to the museum. It housed artifacts from Thailand's history. I eventually noticed almost all of the pieces were Buddhas of parts of Buddhas. Here are some of the most interesting ones; some dating back to the early 500s! Many of these were hand carved out of stone. I looked carefully at them, and upon close inspection they were amazingly detailed and symmetrical.
There was also an interesting collection of dolls, games (some very familiar), and masks.
The two largest rooms contained royal transportation displays. The first were litters; or wo; they were hand carried as depicted in movies. There was also carts that looked like stagecoaches. All of these were ornate and certainly fit for royalty. To give you and idea of scale; the top piece is were the person sits.
The second; and final building; housed chariots used to transport royalty during their funerals; hearse if you will. This building was the size of an aircraft hanger, maybe taller. Although maybe a bit morbid; it was one of the nicest exhibits. Each of these wagons is hand built some taking months.
|The people in the foreground give you an idea of the scale of these...|
As I ended my visit I checked out a peaceful oasis hidden between the exhibits. It was silent and coy fish swan about in the water...
Later in the day I wandered over to the infamous Khao San Road. It is the back packers' and Westerners hot spot of sorts. Imagine Jersey boardwalk in downtown Philly or New York.....ewww. I followed the signs, which very oddly led up some stairs at one point; which I was hesitant to follow, but did; and through a shipping business, down some stairs through a coffee house; and back onto the street. It is the area depicted in the movie The Beach. For some reason it is on every "must see" guide to Bangkok...not sure why. So I went and saw it; walk the streets; looked at the wares. The only thing I was interested in seeing was fried scorpions and stuff like that; sadly I saw none! So I walked and just kept saying; "No I don't need a suit"...."No I don't need a tuk-tuk ride"......Not impressed....
Just kidding....tempting...but no.
At the end of Khao San Road is an entire street; and I do mean entire; of stores all selling jewelry; mostly silver. Every store looked exactly the same and all seemed shady. Maybe not. I might head back and take one more look....but probably not. Two more days in Bangkok, and I must say I am more than ready to move on. Although I would like to see much more of Thailand; Bangkok is one place I highly doubt I will return too. Just another big city....I have enjoyed the beauty and different culture; but the dirty, loud, and crowded city part....well I've had my fill.