My favourite day in Bangkok by far was our 5th and last day in the city. We had now been here for long enough to work out the transport system and get a good idea of the different districts so that we could plan our day ahead pretty effectively.
As our hotel was located not too far from Siam, we decided to start the day here and went to visit the Jim Thompson House Museum. We weren’t really sure what to expect as we had heard good and bad things in equal measure, but in the end we were very pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed our visit here.
Jim Thompson – also known as the most famous ‘farang’ or foreigner of Thailand – was a businessman who in the mid-20th century revived the Thai silk market. He was also an architect and, as both Adam and I enjoy good architecture, we found the home he created, which is now a museum, pretty amazing. I told Adam to remember the layout as one day our house should look similar 😉
There is a really nice restaurant here as well next to beautifully landscaped, lush gardens and a big koi carp pond. Tourists are not allowed to wonder the house by themselves – everyone has to go around with an official tour guide. Our tour guide was lovely, speaking English in a strong, but melodic Thai accent. All the staff are beautifully dressed in traditional costumes. There are information boards around the place explaining the process of harvesting and weaving silk and the process is also demonstrated.
Even though Jim Thompson House museum has got a reputation for being overly touristic, I actually thought it was one of the best and most interesting sites we visited during our stay in Bangkok. It’s always nice to learn something new and we learnt loads about silk, about Thai architecture and living spaces and about a hugely inspirational American businessman who became a bit of a Thai national hero.
After a bit of lunch we headed to Lumpini Park to have a couple of hours of downtime, a bit of people watching, a bit of reading, and watching the setting sun illuminate the high rising buildings of Silom.
After sunset we headed back to Phaya Thai station at the end of the Skytrain line and from here we hopped in a cab that took us to Rajadamnern Stadium. This was our last night in Bangkok so we decided to go out with a bang and watch some Thai kickboxing or Muay Thai. This sport is huge in Thailand! A bit like football in England.
It is well known that tickets to see the fights are inflated for foreigners. Ringside seats go for 2000 Baht per person, which is quite a lot, and standing tickets go for 1000-1500 Baht. We didn’t pre-book tickets and this seemed to have been the right thing to do. As we rolled up to the stadium in our cab we were pretty much grabbed by ticket sellers. When they realised we were only about to by the cheaper standing tickets, we were escorted to a lady who seemed to have all the secret deals: she offered us ringside tickets for 1600 Bahts each! This seemed like a good deal so we went for it.
The fights were really good fun, but the whole atmosphere in the stadium was electric as the locals were placing bets, shouting at the fighters and at each other, and collectively shouting out each point scoring move in the ring! I would say watching the local spectators was almost as much fun as watching the fights themselves! Sorry about the quality of these pictures though; cameras weren’t allowed by the ring (even though most people took photos and even videoed whole rounds of the fights on phone cameras..)
So there we go, we had a lovely last day in this crazy city, looking forward to coming back here soon, but now we’re off to Koh Tao!