I didn’t have a huge agenda for what to do in Bangkok. I’ve seen the main sites before, but I do like hanging out in the old town and using the boats to get around.
Nearby the hotel is a little Blues bar that was recommended by Mike Hamilton. It was absolutely mobbed on Xmas day with the pavement outside being filled. I wandered back the next day when it was a touch quieter. It does seem to be the hub for a counter-culture group of Thais and Koreans.
I had never previously visited the National Museum, despite it only being a 20-minute walk away from where I stay. So I decided to give it a go one morning, getting breakfast on the way. Luck smiled on me. Firstly there was no charge that day for some reason. Secondly there are English-speaking tours given by volunteers at 9:30 am on Wednesdays and Thursdays. And I turned up just in time. Our guide was Christopher, an American married to a British diplomat who had spent the last 15 years Asia. His background was in History of Art and he clearly loved the places he’d been, so had sought to understand them. His hour and a half long tour gave a fantastic grounding on the pre-history and then history of Siam, plus the basics of Hinduism and Buddhism that are needed to understand it. In 20 years of coming to this region I’ve never had it explained so well.
My thanks to Christopher for being an amazing guide and I heartily recommend getting a guided tour of the museum as early in a trip to Thailand as you can. It provides a great framework of understanding to give context to things you will see elsewhere on your trip.
On my final full day I took a Thai cooking class at the Green Garden Cooking School, just up the road from where I was staying. The course covered a lot of dishes including the preparation of two curry pastes. #
- Green curry paste
- Tom yam curry paste
- Tom Yam soup
- Tom Kai soup
- Pad thai
- Green curry
- Massaman curry
- Som tam salad
- Fried spring rolls
- Mango & black sticky rice
Note : add pictures
Because the school specialised in vegetarian and vegan Thai cookery they also used substitutes for the fish sauce common to Thai food : a mix of light & dark soy sauce, a mid-brown coloured mushroom sauce and a tan coloured, thick soybean sauce. The latter two I’ll need to see if I can find in the UK, along with the Chinese/finger ginger from Cambodian cookery. Given the number of dishes the course is a little rushed and despite not having breakfast only managed a small amount of the later dishes. I left stuffed. It’s interesting to cover dishes I’ve been taught elsewhere; everyone’s version is different.
And today the journey home. Breakfast, pack, a Grab taxi to the near end of the overhead railway to the airport, a train and then the plane. I write this from the departure area of the airport.