August 02, 2003

Jim Thompson's House

As again frustrating taxi experience. ' Jim Thompson's House please'..ok this one does not work..'Thompson ?' ...nothing... 'aaah JaymeThoomson house ?' YES !! Oops ok he seems to know the name but not the place..great..I open the map and show him...ok he obviously cannot read english so I show him the Thai for the streets nearby.. and I realize that he obviously must have some eyes problem and need some corrective lenses. Presbyopia has set in. He puts the map 80cm from his eyes to read... that's more than enough to have the Thai characters looking like a single point in the map...

This one was difficult. I managed to get him started by asking him to go to the Siam Center. As he managed to took the opposite direction the first time I was watching constantly the roads to make sure where we were going. Finally I dropped him close to the Siam center (B105) because the traffic was crazy and I was not really confident in his ability to find the right street among this chaos.

Jim Thompson is supposedly the most famous farang (foreigner) in Thailand. He was a former agent of the so-called CIA (OSS at this time) and disappeared while trekking in the Cameron Highland's in Malaysia in 1967. As the guide said, he was maybe kidnapped and killed, caught by a tiger.... or hit by a truck as suggested a funny guy in the tour.

Jim Thompson is most famous for introducing Thai silk to the world and for his collection of traditional art. His house (Thai style) was shipped to Bangkok from all over the Kingdom and the tasteful interior is decorated from various Southeast Asian and European artefacts.

Frustratingly once again it is not authorized to take pictures inside the house. I'm not sure if it is not to favour the book that you can buy at the gift shop or not.

After visiting the house (B100), I tried to deal with several tuk-tuk drivers to go around Khao San, but obviously previous tourists are used to pay over the top. They are giving me really stupid prices like B150. At this price you'd better take a taxi with air-con it will cost you less ! I don't even want to spend 5 minutes bargaining so I decide to take a walk. It's not a big amount of money but this is only for the principle of it. This is NOT the right price and this is not because I'm a tourist that I must pay 3 times the price. Period.

It looks like most tourists take the tuk-tuk because it's like a national emblem and may decide it is not much money, so no wonder they are running after you all over the city like hawkers. That's the benefit of tourism I guess...

Walking is great anyway, you discover the city like no other tourists (and indeed I saw maybe 10 of them in 2 hours). You have however to get a really good map because using all of the Tourism Office maps is a frustrating experience. Not all the streets are in it and when they exist, the orthograph does not match the one that is (sometimes) displayed in the street signs and some canals are simply omitted. So that is really great to have no idea where you are until you cross an intersection between 2 big boulevards or magically come across a 'tourist spot' (watchout though, all tourists spots are not in all the maps...).

Jim Thompson's house Jim Thompson's house Jim Thompson's house Jim Thompson's house Jim Thompson's house Jim Thompson's house Jim Thompson's house Jim Thompson's house Jim Thompson's house Jim Thompson's house Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchworamhaiharn, Buddhas around the main hall Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchworamhaiharn, statue inside the hall Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchworamhaiharn, ordination hall (ubosot) Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchworamhaiharn, ordination hall (ubosot) Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchworamhaiharn, Big Buddha inside the ordination hall

 
Posted by stephane at August 2, 2003 01:41 PM
Comments

Tu es sūr de la bonne orthographe de "Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchworamhaiharn" ? B-)

Posted by: Manu on September 11, 2003 01:16 PM