Monthly Archives - March 2012

The Queen’s Gallery

The Queen’s Gallery features a stunning collection of contemporary Thailand-themed paintings and sculptures on Rajadamnoen Road, just a ten minute walk from Khao San Road.

I recently spent several hours there on a Friday afternoon and was delighted with the collection.  I was also very pleasantly surprised to find no more than a dozen other visitors spread across the gallery’s four beautiful stories of exhibition space.

I shall return.

 

101 ???????????????? ???????????? ????????? ???????? 10200
??? 02-281-5360-1 FAX  02-281-5359 E–mail:  info@queengallery.org
101 Ratchadamnoen Klang Road, Borwonniwet, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

 

rajadamnoen
[looking across Rajadamnoen Road, view from The Queen’s Gallery]

 

Google Street View Hits Thailand

Google Street View Khao San Road Bangkok Thailand
Google Street View Khao San Road Bangkok Thailand
Google Street View Khao San Road Bangkok Thailand

Google Street View launched in Thailand recently, the culmination of a six-month project that covers 95 per cent of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. The service provides “panoramic views” of the capital’s major arteries – Sukhumvit Road, Silom Road, many of the Bangkok’s surrounding areas, and of course it features Thailand’s leading backpacker and budget tourist destination – Khao San Road. Thailand is the second Southeast Asian country to be featured on Google Street View, after Singapore which launched at the end of 2009. According to Pornthip Kongchun, Head of Marketing for Google Thailand, Google Street View was launched with promoting Thailand’s tourism industry in mind.

“In Thailand, the next cities for Street View will be Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Nakhon Phanom, Hat Yai and Nakhon Si Thammarat, and also Thailand’s World Heritage cities,” Khun Pornthip was reported as saying. Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) added “The first priority is Thailand’s World Heritage. We plan to allow Google Thailand’s Street View team to collect images of the World Heritage sites started in Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, as well as Sri Satchanalai”. 

As far as Khao San Road is concerned, it’s pretty decent coverage which includes surrounding areas like Rambuttri Road and Tani Road. Unfortunately, there aren’t any nighttime pictures (or if there are we missed them) and for many, they might only recognize Khao San Road at night! That’s not really the point of the service though.

The problem they are going to face on Khao San Road is the very “fluid” situation on the strip. New businesses open and close regularly, and it’s already clear that the current pictures were taken a couple of months ago.

Apparently you can request an update from Google if you find that pictures are over three years old, but if they post pictures that old you might find Khao San isn’t recognizable from Google Street View! That said, it’s all interesting stuff and great KSR is covered so well. Images can be accessed through the Thai version http://maps.google.co.th/maps and through the English version http://maps.google.com/maps. Check it out!

Songkran Approaches

The Songkran Festival celebrating the Thai New Year is nearly upon us.  The Thai New Year falls across April 13, 14 and 15th every year and will include the following Monday, April 16 in 2012.  If you’re visiting Thailand during the FOUR DAY WEEKEND of festivities you’ll almost certainly encounter merrymaking regardless of where you are in the country, but in the cities in particular.  Foreigners are almost universally welcome – if not actively encouraged or even coerced – to participate.

While there are quiet traditions associated with the holiday in temples and and private homes, Songkran is a boisterous, public celebration wherein the streets are filled with people intent on dumping water on one another and covering their soaked bodies with brightly colored talcum powder.  Alcohol flows freely and snacks are shared.

Dry people caught observing from the sidelines are almost always dragged into the fracas and mercilessly soaked.  I once watched a mob surround a police car, drag the police out and return them to the car covered from head to toe in wet, fuchsia talcum powder.  Resistance was futile.

Where will you be for Songkran?

Share your favorite Songkran memories in Comments.


Songkran water attack motorcycle
[Three men on a motorcycle wearing flip-flops take Songkran in the face. Photo CC licensed by Flickr user Wyndham]

Songkran Superman
[Gotham resident Clark Kent poses for a photo during Thai New Year celebrations in Pattaya. Photo CC licensed by Flickr user Pittaya]

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