bangkok part 2: my thai magic

hello, hello, friends! it's been a spell since i've posted and since we just got back from our most recent adventure, i figured i'd better share the rest of the photos from our adventure to asia at the end of last year. staying on top of things, as you can see! :) today's issue: thailand part two. 

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something that becomes apparent the more you're in thailand is just how different their culture is from ours and what an impact it has on everyday life. the beauty of the thai culture comes through so strongly in the jim thompson house, the museum and house that honors jim thompson, an american who brought the art of the thai silk industry to the forefront. i had read amazing things about this place and it did not disappoint. it should become an absolute must-see for anyone with bangkok on their list. 

we had been seeing these spirit houses everywhere around town and finally learned about what they were! the guide we had through the jim thompson house was this adorable woman from thailand and she told us all about how these shrines are built historically in the backyards of private homes in order to house any spirits who were disrupted during the building of the permanent home. with most of these spirit houses, offerings of fresh flowers and food are placed there each day to keep the spirits happy and content. normally things like this would freeeeak me out, but these were so meticulously and beautifully kept that it was hard to think they were anything but charming. (editor's note: i saw one of these the other day at a thai restaurant in KC and it warmed my heart. they really are a huge part of thai beliefs - and not just in thailand!)

jim thompson was well known for his love of all things thai, especially his insanely extensive art collection. it was so fascinating to walk from house to house (they are connected via pathways in the garden) and see the pieces of furniture, tapestries on the wall and every statue and relic in between. 

 this woman was taking a basket of silk and using the spool to her right to spin it into scarves, shirts and other things for the jim thompson store and foundation.

this woman was taking a basket of silk and using the spool to her right to spin it into scarves, shirts and other things for the jim thompson store and foundation.

like any big city, bangkok has countless little holes-in-the-wall restaurants to choose from for any given meal. one of the evenings for dinner (that happened to fall on my birthday, i might add!), we ventured across the river and stopped at this little gem which doubled as a shrine to buddha and restaurant all in one. amazing food - and singha beer of course!

one of the questions we get asked the most about traveling is how we get around the cities we visit. bangkok has a super efficient and easy-to-follow rail system that we used to get across town. they also have tuk tuks (or auto rickshaws) that can take you shorter distances. i'd be careful when hailing one of these though, as many of the drivers try to overcharge or take you to shops their friends own before your destination. certainly not all of them are like this, but use discretion. when all else fails, start walking and see what you can find!

 these are the lines to get onto the rail system. i love how orderly they are and how NO ONE would do this in the states. amazing!

these are the lines to get onto the rail system. i love how orderly they are and how NO ONE would do this in the states. amazing!

 bangkok has SO many large malls like this that house not only a ton of high end shopping options, but so many yummy restaurants and places to rest in the AC. 

bangkok has SO many large malls like this that house not only a ton of high end shopping options, but so many yummy restaurants and places to rest in the AC. 

one of the more interesting parts of bangkok (albeit one of the more touristy as well) is khaosan road. this area is super popular with the young backpacking crowd and is full of little bars, food stands and shops selling all kinds of clothes, shoes, souvenirs, etc. for lunch, we opted for susie wong's beers and buns and loved sitting in the alley watching people wander by. and the food was incredible too!

the last and CERTAINLY not least part of our trip was spending some quality time as this gem of a bar. i had read about this place online, but nothing could prepare me for cheap charlie's. when i say this bar is down a random alley, i mean it's down a random alley. you waltz up to the bar, order a drink off of their handwritten menu, spend 80 baht at most (approximately $2.32 USD) per drink and then take it all in. pretty magical, if you ask me!

until next time!