Sitting alongside Silom Road right in the heart of Bangkok lies the Bangkok Seashell Museum. Always a fan of unique and offbeat museums, I decided to stop on in the other day with a friend who was visiting town.
The small but modern Bangkok Seashell Museum is three stories and is packed full of thousands and thousands of seashells from hundreds of different species all painstakingly arranged by size and color into elaborate displays. Most have information on where/when they were found. Was quite surprised to see that the shells here come from countries around the world, not just Thailand and other Southeat Asian nations.
Signs in Thai and English scattered on the walls of each floor provided detailed information on the types of species we were looking at and where these specimen were found. The museum is definitely interesting, even if you do not know the slightest thing about seashells except that they tend to be found on beaches more than mountains. Tend to.
Entrance was 150 baht per person (around $4 USD) and despite being three stories, you only need 30-45 minutes to thoroughly examine and chat about everything. If nothing else, it is a great way to escape that horrendous Bangkok heat for a bit.
Tridacna gigas, otherwise known as the aptly named Giant Clam, live in offshore reefs 2-20 metres deep (6-65 feet) and can weigh up to 300kg. This giant clam only weighs 150kg (330lbs), despite one side of its shell being more than a metre across. (That's almost four feet. No one is stealing it anytime soon.)
So cool it even won an award for being a "very good" recreational activity. That's certainly no "outstanding" and not quite an "honorable mention" but hey at least you're getting closer. Keep up the good work.
Throughout the museum there are giant signs on the walls in both Thai and English further explaining about the seashells on display, the differences between species, even when and where they were found.
Neon lights. Captivating culture. Delicious food. Overwhelming nightlife. Bangkok is the Las Vegas of the Far East and a popular tourist destination. The city is the gateway of the Land of Smiles and visited by millions annually. While the city can be done on a budget, to truly experience all that Bangkok has to offer — both good and bad — visitors need an exceptional hotel with a great location.
With a large gold dome adorning the roof of the Tower Club at Lebua, this magnificent hotel is impossible to overlook in the Bangkok skyline. That domed rooftop is also the home of the Sky Bar, sometimes referred to as "The Hangover Bar" since appearing in The Hangover Part II. While the bar has become a popular tourist stop for a sunset view or evening nightcap, the hotel itself is often overlooked. Escaping the hustle and bustle of the city in elegance is what the Tower Club at Lebua is all about.
Located in central Bangkok, the Okura Prestige is an exceptional choice for anyone wanting to explore the city. Not only are there countless attractions and shopping destinations nearby, but the hotel is also located in the middle of Bangkok's Metropolitan Rapid Transit system (MRT), perfect for visitors that want to explore further. The hard part, however, will be leaving this immaculate hotel and its gorgeous rooftop infinity pool. Guests here are spoiled by the plush rooms, delectable food, all the modern conveniences including fast (and free) wifi, and of course helpful staff that cater to their every whim.
Picturesquely placed on Bangkok's riverside, Riva Surya is the ideal choice for those who want a view of the city that stands apart from all others. Its two restaurants in particular offer amazing views of the river and city life, and are a treat for both the eyes and the taste buds. River Surya is located near the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha, two of Bangkok's most iconic and visited attractions. The hotel only has 68 rooms, making it considerably smaller than the others on this list, so be sure to book in advance.
The name Hyatt is synonymous with hotels and their Bangkok Erawan property is one of my favorites. Plush, spacious rooms that are magnificently decorated. Marble baths. Spectacular views. Indoor swimming pool. A grand ballroom that holds 1,500 people. A 7,000 square foot spa and fitness center. Nearly a dozen different restaurants, bars, and lounges located within the hotel. Yes, the Grand Hyatt Erawan truly has it all.
Last but certainly not least is the exemplary Siam Kempinski Hotel, right in the heart of Bangkok. One of the most luxurious hotels in the entire metropolis, Siam Kempinski is ideal for the refined traveler that wants to experience nothing but the best. From ornate decorations to a spectacular spa, jaw-dropping rooms with spacious bathrooms and extraordinary views, and all the other modern conveniences that the discerning traveler has come to expect, there is no all around better hotel in Bangkok than the Kempinski.
flickr // chleong
Visiting Bangkok at any time of year is a great choice. Visitors from around the world will enjoy the fascinating culture, incredible attractions and friendly residents regardless. However, planning a trip to Bangkok during the annual Songkran Festival is one of the best possible decisions you could make. Songkran Festival is the traditional New Year celebration in Thailand, and being in Bangkok during this time is a way to get an inside look at the incredible culture and traditions in this country. Whether you are interested in the spiritual and religious aspects of the holiday or you just can't wait for the exciting nightlife that accompanies the festival, you won't be disappointed.
Songkran Festival is an annual celebration that takes place during the beginning of April. It signifies the beginning of the Thai New Year, and it is usually at the hottest time of year. Since the festival is during the dry season and warm weather is typical, water is used as a way to cool off. For this reason, Songkran Festival is often called the festival of water. Water is traditionally blessed by being poured over statues of Buddha, and then the blessed water is used to pay respect to older family members. Songkran Festival is usually only officially a two or three day event, but locals typically have the entire week off from work and school. It has transformed in recent years into a time of celebration, family gatherings and fun.
If you are most interested in the spiritual and historical roots of this incredible festival, be sure to visit Sanam Luang. This large field is located just next to the Grand Palace, and it serves as a gathering place during the day for locals who want to celebrate the festival in a traditional way. It is here that the impressive Phra Phuttha Sihing image is put on display, and there are long lines for people to bathe the image in water and then collect the now holy water for themselves. Many of the temples in Bangkok, such as Wat Arun and Wat Pho, are also busy during the Songkran Festival.
Along with the more spiritual sides of the Songkran Festival are plenty of fun ways to celebrate this exciting time. Saranrom Park is typically busy with revelers of all ages, but don't expect to stay dry. Locals delight in getting tourists wet, and they carry around water balloons, buckets of fragrant water and even water pistols to shock friends and strangers alike. In Wisut Kasat, there is a big pageant each year in order to pick the woman who will be Miss Songkran for the year. Travelers and expatriates are often found along Khao San Road, where plenty of alcohol and a fun atmosphere leads to water fights right in the middle of the street.
Songkran Festival can be an exciting time in Bangkok, but there are a few things you should be aware of. Remember that for many people, this is a religious event. Enjoy the fun, but keep in mind that not all residents will appreciate being blasted by a hose. Of course, prepare to get wet yourself. Store your money or important items in a plastic zippered bag to stay dry. Don't take a taxi during this festival, as traffic will be terrible and rates are often much higher than normal.