Thailand and Laos 2017

Thailand and Laos – day two (Bangkok)

I really did wake up ridiculously early yesterday. Fortunately my body seems to have done a rapid time clock change and after a fabulous night of sleep last night I feel in tune with local time! We started our day with breakfast at the hotel, then headed out on foot up the street to walk to the train ticket agent.

Thailand Laos Day Two

Stella had only just turned 7 years old last time we visited, and she really doesn’t remember anything much about it at all, whereas Clare has some quite good memories and even recognised one of the cafes we went to on a food tour. She was 11 last visit. We all enjoyed the walk, taking in the change in shops and buildings from jewellery stores and tailors to tile shops and providers of building materials. Stella was rather fascinated by the multiplicity of wires and cables stringing the streets. I reflected on how quickly you start not to notice those sorts of things as much when you’ve visited the country before.

Thailand Laos Day Two

As always, I am constantly fascinated by the juxtaposition of building types along the streets and the canals. Differences in height and construction types, differences in maintenance levels, differences in usage. The canal we walked along was pretty smelly, yet had bushes sculpted into animal shapes lining it.

Thailand Laos Day Two

We are of course struck by the impact of the death of the highly respected  and much loved King Bhumibol late last year. There are pictures honouring him everywhere, and the Thai people are clearly still in mourning. Yet at the same time life is also continuing on here as usual. One street vendor we spoke to last night said that for high season, it is considerably quieter than usual. She was concerned that people had cancelled their visits to Thailand since the King’s death as they considered the potential impact of the mourning period on their holidays. It always makes me aware of how vital tourism is for countries like this, and the effect that it has when it drops off.

Thailand Laos Day Two

After collecting our train tickets for the next day, we took a tuk tuk (much to Stella’s great delight) to the Snake Farm at the Queen Saovhaba Memorial Institute. The institute houses The Red Cross Thailand, and the Snake Farm breeds snakes for the production of antivenom and other therapeutic purposes. We arrived just in time to watch a demonstration of snake milking.

Thailand Laos Day Two

It was rather fascinating watching the handlers with these highly venomous snakes. I was surprised at how much venom was collected. We were then able to inspect a number of other snakes.

Thailand Laos Day Two

There is also an excellent museum with all sorts of information about snakes and their life cycle, their biology and their history. I was slightly embarassed to realise that despite having once been a secondary science/biology teacher, I was incredibly ignorant about snakes! They’re rather fascinating – so much housed inside those long smooth bodies.

Thailand Laos Day Two

Stella spent ages watching to see if this snake was going to eat its lunch or not….

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

One of the displays detailed King Bhumibol’s theory for sufficiency economy. Makes complete sense, I think!

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

One of the things that I always enjoy in new places is the detail.  Yes, looking at the big picture is always fascinating, but so is zooming in to look at details.  Even the packaging of food and drink; the graphics on the containers and the swirls of foreign (to me) scripts.

2017-01-07_07-39-10 Thailand Laos Day Two

Our next stop was the Jim Thompson House. Jim Thompson was an American architect who fell in love with Thailand and moved here after WWII. He was clearly enamoured with the country and its history and lifestyle, and built a beautiful traditionally styled residence in Bangkok and filled it with antiques.

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

We were treated to a highly informative tour of the house and gardens. I’m out of time to type more in this blog post at the moment, but there is more on the website here and I’ll leave you with more photos. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to update this later!

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

Jim Thompson was responsible for introducing Thai Silk to the western world, and there were demonstrations and displays related to this.  I’ll update with more information later!

Thailand Laos Day Two

2017-01-07_07-58-45

Thailand Laos Day Two

Thailand Laos Day Two

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5 thoughts on “Thailand and Laos – day two (Bangkok)

  1. Thank you for sharing you lovely holiday – so envious, especially as it is cold and snowing here! Your children are certainly beautiful and photogenic, its fun to share their enjoyment.

    ceci

  2. How lovely to see Thailand, especially mad but marvellous Bangkok, I think Jim Thompson either started or rescued the silk trade in SE Asia, he is revered in Malaysia too. So looking forward to following your holiday.

  3. Thank you for allowing us to stowaway on your holiday! You have such a nice way of sharing your observations on the bits of life that communicate cultural nuance and texture.

  4. looks like fun – gorgeous photos of those lotus flowers (I stuck with reading the whole post despite the snake pics -eek!) And thank you for your kind comments on my IG feed about my sewing and blog -much appreciated. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  5. I always enjoy seeing your sewing projects, but I really love your travel blogs. The photos are always great and you do a wonderful job of sharing your appreciation for the country and its people. I look forward to seeing more–and the fabric shopping, of course!

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