Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bangkok, a city of contradiction

Spending a week in Bangkok with its social economic conflicts, was like observing a clash of extreme worlds trying to co-exist.  It has not been immune to the perils of globalization.  From glitz and glamour of skyscrapers and high rises, to broken down shanties, tangled wires and broken pavements.  Five star restaurants amid street side food stalls.  Tradition vs modernity.  Decadent hedonism alongside Buddhist meditation.  Paralyzing traffic giving way to expanding elevated sky trains.  But amidst it all, the Thai legendary smile still exists.  They are considered the friendliest city on the planet, which we so pleasantly got to experience.  Even Travel & Leisure has named it the "World's Best City" for the last four years.

We visited many wonderful sites the city had to offer.  The Royal Palaces and Temples, the Pak Klong Talet (the flower and vegetable markets, where traders from all over the country convene early in the morning to unload their fresh produce), a literary pilgrimage to the timeless elegance of the famous Mandarin Oriental Hotel, lodging for famous authors like Tennessee Williams and Somerset Maugham.  Unfortunately, we did not stay there.  I'd have to sell a kidney or two!  But we did get to enjoy an evening at their Bamboo Bar with a small, rich crowd.  And I had my first vesper - the James Bond Martini!  Yum!

Battered by natural disasters and political violence, Bangkok is definitely a city in conflict.  Current major protests between Anti-Government and Pro-Government groups is dampening central Bangkok's spirit.  But the Thai spirit, like the smile, is pervasive.  It remains resilient.

The City















The People

















The History























24 comments:

Tabor said...

Your lovely photos make me want to return after decades to this place.

simply bev said...

Gorgeous! Too difficult to choose a favorite!

PerthDailyPhoto said...

I haven't been to Bangkok for many years Reena so it was a pleasure to go on this exotic trip down memory lane (for me) with you :)

Brian Miller said...

i am glad of that resilience...what color you capture...def makes me wish to visit....

Out on the prairie said...

What a charmer, it was fun to go their with your story and photos

Florida Farm Girl said...

Oh, my!! Those markets!!!

Sylvia K said...

You do indeed capture wonderful color! Such fascinating pictures and so colorful!! I would really enjoy visiting there! Love those markets, too! Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great weekend, Reena!!

Lisa Gordon said...

What a wonderful journey, Reena.
Thank you for sharing it here.

Pat Tillett said...

It is an amazing place and your photos of it are fantastic.

The photo with the riverboat in front of the skyline and sunset is stunning!

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

What amazing, amazing photos and place that there is no doubt was inspiring to visit and photograph! Wow!!

ladyfi said...

Lovely shots - it is indeed a city of contrast.

Rose L said...

WOW! Some wonderfully dramatic photos!

Kamana said...

i spent a week there in november and was fascinated with the colours, smells and sounds.

Daryl said...

what amazing photos ... thank you for sharing your travel .. i know i will never get to experience 99% of it myself .. xo

bailey-road.com said...

Fantastic shots. Love all the colorful sights.

Country Girl said...

Oh my gosh. This is so interesting, and so different from our side of the world. Love this!

Awena Robert said...

Amazing. Indeed what a contrast ! I have never been, so thank you for showing us through your photos.

GailO said...

Have I told you how jealous I am of your travels?!! I consider myself very fortunate to be able to visit these places with you vicariously:) Thanks for sharing these amazing photos!

Rosemary Aubut said...

Beautiful post Reena! Thanks for taking us along on your journey!

Gillian Olson said...

You demonstrate the contrasts so well in your wonderful photographs.

Michael Manning said...

Breathtaking photos with such clarity! I've been following the news there lately.

Ross said...

Wow! Such beautiful pictures. What a fantastic journey! I love how you've captured the history in these photos. You've done a great job to showing the beauty this city has to offer.

Suldog said...

I visited Bangkok years ago, when I was 23 (so that makes it almost 24 years ago. Yikes.) I enjoyed it, mostly. Great place to get a haircut. I know that sounds odd, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that my haircut included trimming of eyebrows and nose/ear hair, as well as a very relaxing head/neck/shoulder rub! I see that you visited The Reclining Buddha. Awesome statue, isn't it?

Suldog said...

Make that 34 years ago. Double yikes!