by Dirk Baumgartl
Thailand’s capital city is known as a cultural metropolis, scene hotspot and shopping paradise. But Bangkok offers much more: Often only a few kilometers away from the tourist streams you can find lush green nature, village idyll and forgotten temples.
Few tourists still get lost here: If you take Grasshopper Adventures on a bike tour through old Bangkok, you won’t pass the Royal Palace, Wat Pho or the Temple of the Golden Mountain. Rather, the tour leads to the other side of the Chao Phraya river that divides the city into the city district Thonburi. Only a few years, between 1772 and 1782, the capital of Siam was located here, before it was moved to the eastern shore to Bangkok. Many relics from this time can only be reached via narrow alleys and bridges that cross countless canals and are so hidden that they are hard to find without a guide. For example that temple whose existence was unknown even to the authorities until a few years ago and whose walls are partly in the gardens of private houses. Directly at the river bank there are also some of those pile dwellings in which people have lived for centuries and which defy the enormous forces of the Chao Phraya for just as long. It is hard to imagine that only a few hundred metres further on, modern high-rise buildings and hotels line the riverbank.
It is these contrasts between the modern metropolis and village life that make Bangkok so exciting. Again and again there are small districts and communities whose self-administration ensures that old structures are preserved. Nang Loeng is such an example: located in the middle of the city, not far from the popular Khaosan Road, the community tries to preserve traditions such as old Thai dances or handicrafts. The market belonging to the district is one of Bangkok’s most authentic markets with Thai specialities. With providers like Hivsters you can book individual tours, for example about cooking, dancing or culture and meet the people who live and work there.
A visit to Bang Krachao is a completely different kind of experience. The island formed by a river bend of the Chao Phraya is also called the green lung of Bangkok. Here, mangrove forests, plantations, palm groves and small villages await the visitor, which are best explored by bike – either on a guided tour or individually. The easiest way to get to the island is by ferry, which leaves from the temple Wat Bang Na Nok near the Skytrain station Bang Na. Bicycles can then be rented on the other side.
Those who like adventure should go to Mae Klong. This small town about ninety kilometres west of Bangkok is famous for its market, which is located on railway tracks. Several times a day the traders pack up their things in no time at all when the train passes through and clear them back just as quickly as the last wagon has passed their stand. Ideally, one should board the train a few stations in advance, drive through the middle of the train and watch the spectacle from the market when the train leaves the terminus station in Mae Klong. Between the market visitors and the train there are only a few centimetres of space left during the passage – surely nothing for weak nerves. This excursion can also be booked as a day trip with tour operators such as Thailand specialist Diethelm Travel.
Thai Airways operates daily non-stop flights from Frankfurt with an Airbus A380 and the modern A350 and from Munich with a Boeing 777 to Bangkok. The economy class of the Star Alliance member is characterized by particularly ample legroom, extensive in-flight entertainment and a good selection of hot meals and alcoholic beverages. www.thaiairways.com
The Millennium Hilton Bangkok is located directly on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and in the immediate vicinity of the brand new and super-luxurious Icon Siam shopping centre. The newly renovated hotel under German management offers spectacular river and city views from its rooms. The same applies to the stylish ThreeSixty bar and the ThreeSixty outdoor terrace. A free shuttle boat connects the hotel with the BTS metro station on the opposite side of the river. www.hiltonhotels.de
- Unbenannt: hiltonhotels.de
A ridiculous amount of coffee was consumed in the process of building this project. Add some fuel if you'd like to keep us going!