Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of adventure, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Bangkok”.
Please share it with your friends, customers and associates. You can also access this information on our blog plus lots of other helpful travel tips at: thewelgereport.com/blog/index.php
Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends visiting Bangkok. Here you will see: Red-headed Trogon, Bar-backed Partridge, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Black-and-buff Woodpecker, Red-billed Scimitar-babbler, Collared Babbler, Mountain Hawk Eagle and Red-billed Blue Magpie.
Nick Upton offers a comprehensive guide on what and where at (thaibirding.com).
David Gandy writes on (http://bangkokcitybirding.blogspot.com/) and tells us about birding from your airline seat at Mae Sot.
Duncan Wright provides more pics and pointers for a birding experience on your airline layover at (http://10000birds.com/24-hours-in-bangkok-bang-pra.htm)
Transportation: Getting around Bangkok is a breeze. Check out this site for BTS, SKYTRAIN, TAXIS AND TUK TUKS (bangkok.com/information-travel-around/)
Shopping: Shopping in Bangkok is world-class. Check out this site (bangkok.com/shopping.htm)
Business Information: Here is help in regard to your business: (bangkok.com/business.htm)
U.S. Embassy (http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/) U.S. Embassy, Calling from inside Thailand: 02-205-4000, Calling from U.S.: 011-66-2-205-4000, Ask for the Duty Officer
Exchange Rates (http://www.x-rates.com/)
Beverages: When ordering tea your expectations will no doubt be exceeded. Local beers are quite good also.
Day One: Our Cousin suggests a visit to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) – Daily: 8:30-5:30, 158 Wang Doem Road | Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, 66 2 891 2978
This Wat or Buddhist temple is an architectural representation of Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology.
In the mythology of Tibetan Buddhism, Mount Meru is a place that simultaneously represents the center of the universe and the single-pointedness of mind sought by adepts.
Thousands of miles in height, Meru is located somewhere beyond the physical plane of reality, in a realm of perfection and transcendence. The four-corner prang of Wat Arun, which houses images of the guardian gods of the four directions, reinforces this mystical symbolism.
The 79 meter high tower is decorated with ceramic tiles and fragments of multi colored porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China .
The porcelain mosaic fills every conceivable nook, cranny, and wall, creating a brilliantly imaginative and visually stunning monument.
The statuary is also replete with mosaic adornment. The outer four corners are Prangs which hold statues of Phra Phai, the God of Wind.
The entrance to the temple building is guarded by a pair of impressive mythical giants, similar to the 12 giants in the Wat Phra Kaew or Grand Palace.
Next we suggest seeing the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) – Daily: 8-4, located on the grounds of the Grand Palace, Na Phralan Road Phra Borommaharatchawang Sub-District Phra NakhonDistrict Bangkok 10200, 662-222-8181
The Emerald Buddha is housed in a magnificent bot (the central shrine in a Buddhist temple), which is used by monks for important religious rituals.
The interior walls are decorated with late Ayutthaya-style murals depicting the life of the Buddha, steps to enlightenment, and the Buddhist cosmology of the Worlds of Desire, Being, and Illusion.
The cycle begins with the birth of the Buddha, which can be seen in the middle of the left wall as you enter the sanctuary, and the story continues counterclockwise.
Also note the exquisite inlaid mother-of-pearl work on the door panels.
Lunch is at Supanniga Eating Room – L & D: Daily, 160/11 soi Sukhumvit 55, 02 714 7508
Start with the ground pork, peanuts and cane sugar on pineapple or the crab roe and meat with vegetables. Then the crispy Thai mackerels with fish sauce or their famous house specialty: fried Chinese cabbage in fish sauce from Trad.
They also have a stir fried prawn dish with wild sato beans, shrimp paste and chiles (shown above).
For a beverage they have a full bar. Your wine choice is house red or white.
The Jim Thompson House – Daily: 9-5, 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road, 662-216-7368 is a must see.
The Jim Thompson House is the home of James H.W. Thompson, a self-made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the world renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company.
Thompson’s achievements during his 25 year stay in the Kingdom of Thailand have won him much fame as the “Legendary American of Thailand”.
Since his disappearance in 1967 little has changed in the home that was the “talk of the town”, and the “city’s most celebrated social center”.
Even today, the charming Thai style house continues to be a key stop for visitors to Bangkok.
The James H. W. Thompson Foundation is dedicated to the conservation and dissemination of Thailand’s rich cultural heritage.
Through its support of research, seminars, conferences, exhibitions and publications, the Foundation has endeavored to create a better understanding and appreciation of such traditional Thai art forms as sculpture, painting, literature, dance, song, puppetry and textiles.
Chinatown in Bangkok is not to be missed, nor is Double Dogs Tea Room – L & D: Tu-Su, 406 Yaowarat Road, 086-329 3075
Single cups of house teas are offered for 65 baht, but it’s worth going for the “pot”, each “pot” is good for at least three rounds of steeping.
We suggest the Chinese Yin Zhen, a mild, unprocessed green tea with leaves that resemble tiny needles. All of the teas are loose-leaf and can also be purchased by the ounce.
Although tea is the specialty, beer and wine are also available. Dining choices abound, but the egg noodles with roast pork and the large shrimp wontons are favorites.
Day Two: Let’s start our day with breakfast at the Floating Market – The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is located in the district of Damnoen Saduak in the province of Ratchaburi.
The central town of the district, where the market is located, is known as Damnoen Saduak.
Like many districts in the area it is well populated with canals or khlong. It’s best accessed by package tour, which any local tour operator can organize.
Here the river is packed with wooden boats overflowing with fruit and vegetables and your breakfast. The scene is colorful and loud. If you are taking a tour we recommend the half day choice.
Our cousin really likes Seven Spoons – L & D: M-Sa, 22-24 Chakkrapatipong Road | Near the intersection of Jor Por Ror (JPR) and Chakkrapatipong Road, 66-02.6299214
Try the lentil fritters with olive cheese, dates and mint or the mushrooms fritti with a spicy mayo dip. The seared asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon with dill cheese is a favorite.
For the main we like the Moroccan-style meatballs and spaghetti or the chorizo with black olives, linguine and macadamia nuts. They have a creative barman and a nice wine list.
Let’s take a Buddha break and check out the Erawan Museum – Daily: 8-5, Sukhumvit Road, Samut Prakan, 0 2380 0305
A huge, three-headed elephant statue standing upon an equally gargantuan pedestal is the first, and last, thing you see when visiting Samut Prakan’s Erawan Museum. Each of its three levels symbolizes a part of the Thai cosmos.
Begin in the basement where you’ll find the cosmological underworld with antiques and artifacts of Benjarong ceramics, Chinese porcelain, Chakri dynasty tea sets, jade ornaments, Chinese furniture and Vietnamese vases.
The domed upper level representing Mount Meru includes hand-beaten copper work, Benjarong inlays, intricate stucco by Petchaburi craftsmen, tin embossed tableaus, and mural paintings.
At the top is Tavatimsa Heaven where sacred beings, including the elephant deity Airavata congregate. The fusing of ideas, art-forms and religions which run throughout the Erawan depict the solemn serenity of a temple meeting up with the surrealism of a Dali painting, albeit a three-dimensional one.
The Erawan offers lush tropical gardens where visitors can wander stone paths, cross streams and admire the plants and palm trees with exotic titles like West Indian jasmine, Ixora bush and African oil palm.
Dinner is at Zuma – L & D: Daily, G/F. 159 Ratchadamri Road, St. Regis, 66 2252 4707
Let’s see. Should our starter be the seaweed salad with the apple miso dressing or the seared yellowfin tuna with marinated red onions and chilis?
Our main must be those beautiful pork belly skewers with yuzu and miso mustard or the lamb cutlets with hot pepper spices and sesame cucumber.
They have a full bar and a nice wine selection.
Day Three: Let’s do breakfast at Siam Paragon – Daily: 10-10, 991/1 Rama 1 Rd, 0 2690 1000
Head for the food court where Siam Paragon has several restaurants and food outlets that include Mickey D’s, KFC, Orvin, LeNotre and the Saint Etoile Bakery.
This will prepare you for serious shopping. This place is huge, and it’s filled with every luxury brand you can imagine.
Perhaps you want to shop for a car. A few makes available are Lamborghini, Lotus, Aston Martin, Bentley, Porsche, Maserati and more.
Other options here include: a 15 screen Cineplex, a fitness center, the Siam Ocean World Aquarium, an art gallery, a bowling alley and a gourmet market with foods from around the world.
Lunch is at the Issaya Siamese Club – L & D: Daily, 4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chue Ploeng | Thung Mahamek, 0 2 672 9040-1
The Issaya Siamese Club offers a spectacular setting with farm to table dining to match. A good start is the banana flower salad with a sweet dipping sauce or the sour and spicy seafood soup.
Next we suggest the beef short ribs that can easily be shared. The soft shell crab with salty egg sauce is another good choice.
And, be sure to have their cleverly designed desserts such as the coconut panacotta and the final touch hidden in the wooden box.
It’s time to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Bangkok – Tu-Su: 10-6, 499 Moo 3 Vibhavadi Rangsit Rd., Ladyao, Chatuchak, 66 2 953 1005
The Museum of Contemporary Art (Moca Bangkok) was built by Boonchai Bencharongkul to celebrate and appreciate the great favor of King Rama 9, and to honor the “Father of Thai Contemporary Arts” (Professor Silpa Bhirasri.)
The building is imposing and modern in design – it’s filled with large airy spaces, high ceilings, white walls, and interesting architectural details. The first floor is dedicated to temporary exhibitions, and consists of three gallery suites, one of which is dedicated to the photographs of C.S. Wong.
There is a mix of Surrealist and Buddhist art. The collection heavily features works by Sayan Santrat, Sompung Adusarabhan and Prateep Kotchaba.
The strongest room is one filled with Thawan Duchanee’s paintings. Another stand-out is a wall of prints on the fifth floor featuring grid installations by Prapha Srisouta.
Dinner is at Smith – D: Nightly, Br: Sa, Su, 1/8 Sukhumvit Soi 49, Sukhumvit Road, Wattana, 66 2 261 0515
The root vegetable salad with feta, crème fraiche and a vegetable juice dressing is a fun start or the Mexican spiced calf’s tongue with cabbage and shallots.
Mains include sea bass with parmesan, cauliflower and cockles or the verjus glazed pork belly with lentils, mint and coriander pickled fruit.
How about a banana split with honey ice cream for dessert?
Smith has an interesting shop on the 2nd floor where they have a chef’s table for private dining and a blacksmith shop that offers professional Japanese knives.
Until next time, best wishes and safe travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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