Bangkok: Wat Pho

Thursday Travels is a new weekly column featuring sights and sounds from my wanderlust adventures. Come, fly with me, and we’ll explore strange cultures, exotic eats and everything in-between.

Late last year, we visited Wat Pho in Bangkok, wistfully thinking that we can head over to Grand Palace thereafter. Boy, we were so wrong. Wat Pho itself was so huge that by the time we were done, Grand Palace was about done for the day too.

As I’m not a believer myself, I was more fascinated by the ornate architecture, intricate carvings and the general sense of reverence within the temple.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Wat Pho is beyond huge. So wear a good pair of walking shoes and fill up your water bottle. Next time round, I’m gonna conquer Grand Palace and Wat Arun.

Advertisements

Ruen-Nuad Massage Studio.

Can you believe it? I still have photos unsorted from last year’s Thailand trip. 0.o

This is Ruen-Nuad, a massage studio stashed away on an unseeming street. We were drawn to its rustic appeal and hushed surroundings.

As featured on Wallpaper*.

Lockers for your belongings (above) and a cosy bar for after-massage drinks (below).

We were pretty satisfied with their level of skill, which did hit the right spots mostly. And a 90-min duration was just right for me. But of course, massage can be quite a subjective matter.

Male and female masseuses are available on request and it’s advisable to call for an appointment.

Ruen-Nuad Massage Studio
42 Convent Rd, Silom, Bangkok
Open daily from 10am-late
Call for appointment: 66-0-2-632-2662

Bangkok: Amphawa Floating Market.

A 45-min tuktuk ride from Maeklong Railway Market took us to the Amphawa Floating Market. There are bus services available as well but they aren’t as frequent as we hoped.

As compared to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, the one at Amphawa is comparatively less commercialized and touristy, so my guide book says. But, well, I haven’t been to the other to compare.

Fried quail eggs that scream “Cholesterol!”

Look, I found some of my childhood playmates, whee.

The floating market is at its liveliest around 3pm and gradually quietens as evening approaches. That’s when the evening sun casts a lovely, glistening glow on the slow, mellow town.

We arrived late afternoon, after our Maeklong adventure, and though we did not capture the most excitable facet of the market, the amiable locals and their relaxed pace of life stole our hearts.

Bangkok: Maeklong Railway Market.

Just steps away from Maeklong Train Station lies the iconic Maeklong Railway Market, which is probably the main reason why tourists would visit this laid-back town in Bangkok.

We arrived here via a private bus service from Victory Monument bus interchange, which is a walkable distance from Victory Monument BTS. The bus journey took about an hour.

Don’t be fooled, this boy is very serious about his job, with his stern face, and eyes fixed upon the incoming train.

The train would sit in the station for about an hour, and then depart promptly at 0620, 0900, 1130 and 1530hr. It is advisable to reach Maeklong around 1430hr and then leave for Amphawa Floating Market, if interested, right after the train departs. A day trip is sufficient to cover both places.

The locals are quite friendly, and perhaps accustomed to street photography. The market is a glimpse into their daily life — real and uncommercialised.

How ironic, to have a cat safeguard a fish stall, and hey, I didn’t realize there was someone peeping from behind!

It’s amazing how resourceful and adaptable people can be. And often, I do envy their carefree, unhurried way of life.

Minutes before the scheduled time of departure, vendors would start retracting tents and goods, just barely enough to avoid the oncoming train.

It was indeed a unique sight to behold, and just as we were amused by the experience, the locals were equally amused by our exclamations. That was when I felt something clicked. A shared moment and an exchange of smiles overcame any language barriers that may have been.

Bangkok: Vanilla Garden.

Vanilla Garden is the newest and probably the biggest establishment under the Vanilla Industry, comprising of three independent buildings — Sauce, Vanilla Café and Royal Vanilla.

We spent a lovely afternoon idling away at Vanilla Café, which serves Japanese and Italian food, reading and eating ourselves silly. It’s in cafés like these that lets you forget, albeit for a few hours, that you’re in busy, noisy, dusty Bangkok.

These mini potato croquettes were such delectable and comforting pops, they made me all warm and fuzzy inside. Their fried items were generally pretty well done, without any greasiness.

I absolutely adored my cold japanese ramen, with generous slices of fresh salmon and tako. Very refreshing on a sunny afternoon.

We certainly ate too much for any desserts after, but I’ve secretly vowed to visit their Siam Square branch on my next trip. Cooking lessons are available there too!

Cookbooks and various kinds of artistic literature are available at Sauce, a spacious two-storey bookshop.

Sandbags were stacked everywhere while we were there as a flood precaution. It is rather inaccessible so hiring a taxi is advised. Check out their other branches for more centralized locations.

Vanilla Garden
Ekamai 12, Sukhumvit 63, Vaddhana, Bangkok 10110
Open 11am-11pm daily.