Whenever my parents invite me to go back to Bangkok I feel like I always have that certain scent of my childhood–of my first flight and of the time that I was innocent about everything in life. You see, my very first international trip was in Bangkok when I was about 5-6 years of age, honestly, this is not the best place to take a kid or at least it wasn't for me, because I did not understand everything that surrounded me that time. Despite those thoughts of mine, the city has always been close to my heart, it is a place on where I know I won't go alone because my mum is truly in love with this city.
Last January, my parents then treated me again to Bangkok and I believe it's been at least eight years since the last time that I have been there and I can't quite remember if we just shopped, but all I know was that I've been to Pattaya, Thailand that time. And since I was still young every time we go back here, I realised that we (or at least I) should go back to the basics and explore the city once more.
Our first day was simple because we simply roamed around the Pratunam area and enjoyed a great Thai food! Yes, my family also has an obsession with Thai food and its spices, but fortunately and unfortunately, I still did not have the guts to try their exotic street food. Living in Southeast Asia my whole life, our exotic street food never really had a great appeal to me.
In our short stay there this 2018, we've only visited the Wat Pho temple, where the giant reclining Buddha lies and the other first for me was going to Wat Arun temple.
Going back, Wat Pho is never a stranger to me since I have been there for say twice in my life already, but only the Buddha remains in my memory. Besides its size and beauty, the reason why this representation of Buddha is significant for me is that they make this "higher power" figure more relatable, I am not a religious person, but at this point it shows me zen and indeed, a good serenity. However, I did not want that vision to be destroyed by a sea of tourists, so I decided not to enter that area this year.
Right after I left the area, I ran into a group of students from Wat Intharam School who nicely asked to interview me for their school project. Like what Bart said in one of our Instagram posts, I myself did not expect that I will agree to this, but then they're kids and I could imagine the pain of being rejected because I for one had that same experience too. But the main lesson that we got from this encounter was that each of us shape someone else's confidence and it only takes a few seconds of the day to leave a nice portion of ourselves to a stranger. Well at least that's for us, not saying you have to say yes to everything!
Another temple that we've visited was the Wat Arun temple on where we met some amazing (is that even a proper term for them?) monks of the area. I for one have always been curious with their lives, how can one be contented with what they have in this lifetime? They may have had a response to me with that question, but I formulated new questions in my life that made me realise that my quest for a simple life is still far from my desires now.
A family friend of ours told us to at least try to visit this area of Bangkok, but a lot of travel blogs discouraged us to go here. You see this area is filled with tourists, backpackers, and incredibly expensive goodies that will rip your wallet off. I do not know my stand in Khao San, but maybe it was just a nice sight to fill our trip, after all there are still nice finds that you could see in this place, for example, the Sara Barn Book that I believe you should visit!
The Grand Palace
I'm not entirely sure if I have been here already, but we did enter the place during our last visit. I have always been curious with the lives of the monarchs around the world, their customs and traditions have always remained magical to me, but do they really want to be in this position? I know there are always the shows, movies, and all the other possibilities that we could think of, and The Crown being on Netflix might be a partial answer to that question, but what do they really feel? How does their everyday life goes?
I know those are just some basic answers, but just look at it this way, how would you feel to simply live in a place full of life's grandiose?
The Contemporary Present
If you've read some of my letters from the past, you know that I am obsessed with museums and mysteries, which is why we decided to go to Jim Thompson House and Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.
Jim Thompson's life has always been a puzzle piece for a lot of people, especially that his disappearance is one of the greatest unsolved cases in this lifetime, which is why having a piece of him through his home is truly something special. If you ask who he is, well he became famous by beautifully using Thai silk in making some of the luxurious goods in the country, plus the patterns that the brand now produces are definitely pieces that one would definitely love!
Despite all these facts, what made me so excited in getting to know more about him was his home that truly stood the test of time. It is simply like a dream house that you're so sad to see because you never know what stories it endured or the future that it will never hold. Now, it is simply a majestic piece of art that contains stories of the travellers who long for Thompson's life.
Bangkok Art and Culture Centre became our next stop that day and I may say that it simply opened my mind for a different side of the world's artistic life. It showed everyone that even though the city or even the whole country is surrounded by different beliefs and culture, the contemporary arts will still thrive and grow.
Like what I have said earlier, this city holds a special place in my heart, as it always gives me lessons along the way and it never fails to overwhelm me with everything that is and isn't there.
I believe, I'll see you soon, probably during the time that my mum longs for a good shopping life once more!