Tag Archives: Bangkok

Some Highlights of Thailand

A few favorites from Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pai; see PHOTOS for more.

We head out of Laos today… stayed tuned for many more photos and videos to come!

From Wat Arun over the Chao Praya River

Opening Performance, International Muay Thai Festival

Evening prayers, Wat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

Chinese Village near China border, Pai

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Visit to the Bangkok Flower Market

One of my favorite things to do while in Bangkok is to check out the Flower Market at Delaat Pak Klong.  It is open 24 hours a day but the night time is the best time to visit as that is when the deliveries of lotuses, roses, orchids, chrysanthemums, and many bright varieties arrive freshly cut from the flower farms  outside the city.    It is surprisingly off the tourist map and every time I have been there, I have only seen a handful of other farang (foreigners) there.   For photographers it is a feast of colors and is very interesting watching the people bartering.  Most of the flowers are destined as offerings at the many Wats (Buddhist temples) in the city, and garlands for wrapping around the hands and heads of Buddhas are handmade by women in almost every stall.

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Bangkok Medicine for the Weary Traveler

20120316-141340.jpgOkay, so we’ve only been on the road for two weeks, but that doesn’t mean that the affordable comforts that Bangkok has to offer is not much needed and appreciated. The best meal I’d had up until arriving in Thailand was on our ANA flight, if that says something! It feels good to indulge a little on this Bangkok layover before we head north. Even with the currency rate lower than usual, we foreigners cannot complain about $1 streetside meals, budget aircon rooms on par with Western standards, and nightly Thai massages.

But back to the food. It is my belief that most Thai street food snacks were originated in a 5 year old’s imagination who knows that the best treats consist of coconut, sweetened condensed milk, nuts, merengue, custard, some mango perhaps. I have no idea how some of these creations were invented, but I am in agreement with them! We’ve basically been eating our way through the city. First lunch, second lunch, first dinner, etc. And usually tropical cut fresh fruit or fruit shakes in steady intervals throughout the day. I’m making up for my “Philippine Vegetarian Diet”, which basically meant I was hungry for the 10 days we were there!

Thailand is known and respected for it’s street food, and truly this is an eating culture. I imagine street food here became popularized as folks seem to be always on-the-go, and thus they eat on-the-go. And they are constantly eating! Day, night- in restaurants, malls, stores, streets, indoors, outdoors- Thai folks seem to fiercely enjoy their food.

And so do we.

-Shana

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Leaving the Phillipines, Next Stop Thailand

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After 10 full days in the Phillipines, Shana and I are both very anxious and excited for this plane to leave Clark airport outside Manila and take us to the land of smiles, Siam sunsets, and coconut curries. I really enjoyed scuba diving the Japanese WWII wrecks and exploring the lagoons and lakes on Coron Islands but I think we could have done Basuanga Island in less time. Shana has had a hard time eating vegetarian here as Filipinos love their chicken, fish, and pork so we are both looking forward to the veggie friendly Thai cuisine.

Yesterday we left Basuanga Island and took a flight to Manila. From there we had to make our way to Angeles City about 90 minutes north of Manila where our flight to Bangkok left today. Angeles city is home to Clark Air Force base, a huge sprawling airport that once housed the US Air Force during the Vietnam war. During the late 60’s, Angeles City developed a nightlife scene to cater to the needs of the many Americans and Australians stationed there. From what I’ve heard, very little has changed and during our short time there it felt like were in the middle of a giant brothel. The hotel we stayed at was full of Australian, British, and American ex-pats and their young Philippina lady friends. Looking through a weekly tourist guide, it seemed like the small city had developed a decent sized community of permanent and seasonal expats. Ads offering houses for sale and rent, visas, cheap medical services, and the latest girly bars filled the pages and made me feel a bit gross and sad for these men. What were they escaping from back home? Were they lonely widowers who hadn’t found a wife or partner in their country of origin? Were they stationed here in the Vietnam War and never could acclimate returning home? Was there a shameful legal past they were running from? All of these questions raced through our mind as we watched solitary sad looking men between the ages of 50-80 years old sipping drinks at bars and paired up with girls half their age. It was easy to be judgmental of these men and I wished that I could hear their life stories and learn what had brought them here. There was a fine line going on between prostitution and what may have been actual loving relationships. The entire place was a documentary film waiting to happen, although I can’t say that I could stay there long enough to film it. Needless to say, Shana and I stuck out there like sore thumbs. To be fair, very similar places exist all over Asia and in Thailand like Pattaya and the Patpong district in Bangkok. However, this place really struck me due to the ex-army backgrounds of most of the men.
When we arrive in Bangkok, we will be starting preparation for some videos we are producing while there and lining up interviews. It is a great city to act as a hub for our travels, due to it’s proximity to most South East Asian countries, modern amenities, availability of most everything we may need from clothes to film supplies, and access to internet connections. I have spent more time in Bangkok than any other city I have not permanently lived in, and am so excited to visit my favorite restaurants, food stalls, and stores. We look forward to sharing our stories, photos and videos of this amazing country in the coming weeks.

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