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Bangkok City Trip - Siam

A river runs through it
A river runs through it

BANGKOK DAY 2: Siam and Ratchaprasong

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The Jim Thompson House is home to one of Bangkok's most intriguing stories. Built in 1959 by the former silk merchant and spy, the jungle-clad home is the product of six traditional wooden buildings fashioned into a whole. Although most of the weavers in the 200-year-old village of Baan Krua (across the canal) moved on after Thompson mysteriously disappeared in 1967, a few remain, selling high quality work. One of them, Niphon Manuthas, is across the footbridge and to the left along the khlong.

Get some more shopping done at the steel and glass Siam and Ratchaprasong districts. Here, linked by an elevated walkway hanging beneath the Skytrain track, several (mercifully air-conditioned) offer the latest in Thai fashion: Siam Center for up-and-coming Thai fashions, Siam Paragon and Central World for boutique brands, and Gaysorn for high-end fashion, including the hottest Thai labels Flynow and Senada Theory. If you enjoy haggling and aren't concerned with intellectual property rights, head for chaotic Mahboonkrong (MBK) for knock-offs of just about everything.

Local handicrafts make for great souvenirs
Local handicrafts make for great souvenirs

If you prefer your Thai men as...uh...women, then the sequins and feather boas of Bangkok's two kathoey (ladyboy) cabarets might be a better bet. Both the Calypso Cabaret and Mambo Cabaret are family friendly with an emphasis on sanuk (fun), and are easily accessible from the Skytrain.

After another round of street food for dinner, or perhaps upscale international fare in restaurants like Oskar Bistro or Gaggan, Bangkok offers a justly famed and diverse nightlife for your outgoing interests. If you prefer watching muscled Thai men and a lot of testosterone, catch a night of muay thai (kickboxing) at one of the city's two main stadiums. Lumpinee Stadium (Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays) is most convenient and lively, while Ratchadamnoen Stadium (Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) can be hard to reach in peak-hour traffic.

If you prefer your Thai men as ... uh ... women, then the sequins and feather boas of Bangkok's two kathoey (transvestite or transsexual) cabarets might be a better bet. Both the Calypso Cabaret and Mambo Cabaret are family friendly with an emphasis on sanuk (fun), and both are easily accessed from the Skytrain.

Continue to Day 3



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* The following images are courtesy of the Tourism Authority of Thailand: River, handicrafts, small golden Buddha

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(Updated: 03/19/13 CT)

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