Museum Of Siam – Discover The Thai Identity

The Museum of SiamThai history in the Museum of Siam

While in charge of the canon, I am attacked by a large group of warriors, who approach me from the front. I aim the cannon, load, and I blast away. Three soldiers on the right flank of the group fly through the air. Then the ground starts to rumble. A large war elephant comes charging in from the left flank of the group. I quickly reload and aim my canon at the approaching giant.

There is a big bang and a lot of dust. The elephant and its accompanying warriors disappear in the fire of the explosion. Then I am suddenly surprised by a very angry looking warrior who jumps out of the dust. He is right in front of me and it is to late to react. He swings his battle sword and the last words I see are: GAME OVER.

Museum of Siam

This Museum of Siam provides an inside into the rich and turbulent history of the Thai people and their country. You learn about their culture and heritage via a very interactive exhibition. Videos, sound recordings, photos and a war game will certainly entertain young children and also their accompanying parents.

Location

The Museum of Siam is located at Sanam Chai Rd in the old part of Bangkok. Other nearby sights are Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. You can easily recognize the museum because it is located in a neoclassical building, which has been formerly used by the Thai Ministry of Commerce.

Getting there

Take the Chao Phraya river boat to Tha Tien pier. Get off the boat and walk from the pier to the main road. Then walk to the right, in the direction of Wat Pho. Keep following the main road (Th Maharat). After Wat Pho you will see a school and university.

Keep walking till you see the museum walls on your left hand. Enter Soi Setthakan and follow the walls. Halfway down the street there is a passage. Go inside and walk to the main entrance of the building. The walk from the pier takes about 5 minutes. Be careful at the surrounding streets. There is a lot of traffic.

What to see

The main exhibition consists of 17 rooms. Each of these rooms have a theme, which is related to Thai history and culture. The rooms have topics like the founding of Ayutthaya, Buddhism, village life and Thailand today. There is also a war room where you can play an interactive war game. This game will take you right into a battle, where you are in charge a 19th century canon.

You can visit this sight from Tuesday till Sunday. The opening times are 10:00 AM till 18:00 PM, and the admission is 300 baht (about 9 dollars) for foreigners and 100 bath for Thai people. At the time of my visit there where also temporary exhibitions, which were on display around the main building. There was a butterfly garden and an exhibition about silk.Neoclassical architecture in the Museum of Siam

Tips

Come late to avoid large masses of children and the high entrance price. You can enter for free after 16:00 PM. I came at 16:15 PM and had the building practically for myself. Which is nice because it is a very interactive exhibition. You don’t want to have to fall in line to push buttons, shoot cannons, watch videos and listen to sound recordings.

Useful links

  • Museumsiam.com: The official Museum of Siam website. Check it before you go to this sight, so that you are up to date about the current opening times, prices and expositions.
  • ndmi.or.th: The website of the National Museum Institute, which might be more interesting for researchers. Visit this site to network with the institute or check news updates and current events.

100 Tonson Gallery – Showcasing Thai Contemporary Art

 

100 Tonson Gallery in Bangkok100 Tonson Gallery – A force for contemporary art

I feel uneasy when I enter the building for the first time. My knowledge of contemporary art is very small. Therefore I am a bit embarrassed when I see a small privately owned collection, which is on display in just two rooms. I expect to be in and out in only a few minutes.

However, the small exhibition room creates the opportunity for a more personal approach. The gallery’s friendly assistant, Harmiss starts a conversation with me. He takes the time to tell me everything about the gallery and its exhibitions. I am surprised to hear from him that this small art house has a big international reputation.

100 Tonson Gallery

The gallery opened in 2003 and just celebrated its 10th year anniversary in January 2014. Despite of its small size, this art house is pretty famous and important in Southeast Asia. For example, it is Thailand’s first and Southeast Asia’s only gallery that has been showing its works at Art Basel. This is one of the most important international fairs for contemporary and modern art.

This art house gained its important position because of its many international connections and its presence at important international fairs like Art Dubai and Art Stage Singapore. 100 Tonson Gallery supports (emerging) artists by showcasing their works, and supporting the development and distribution of (contemporary) art.

Location

The address of the gallery is at 100 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Rd in Bangkok. Soi Tonson is a quiet and green street with lots of trees and upper class houses. The artworks are being displayed in one of those houses. It is named after the street in which it is located.

Getting there

Take the BTS SkyTrain (Sukhumvit Line towards Bearing) to station Chit Lom. From there take exit 4 and walk in the opposite direction of the traffic. After about 100 meters you will see a street sign that says Soi Tonson. Turn right and walk about 300 meters into the street. You will find the building on the opposite site of the Royal Dutch Embassy.

Soi Tonson

What to see

On display are the private collections of founder Ek-Anong “Aey” Phanachet. The exhibition room itself is designed by Christian Liaigre. The exhibitions consist of contemporary works from Thai and international artists. The collections change every two months. Famous artists who have displayed works in the past are for example Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama and Pinaree Sanpitak. You can enter the exhibition room for free.

Tip

Do you like to visit galleries in Bangkok? Then make sure you obtain a free copy of the Bangkok Art Map (BAM). This useful monthly brochure provides you with updates about the latest exhibitions and where you can find them. You find the Bangkok Art Map at information counters of museums and galleries.
What is your favorite gallery in Bangkok and what makes you like it so much?
Useful links

  • 100tonsongallery.com: The official website of this gallery. Visit their site to learn more about current exhibitions and activities. You can also read more information about the artists which showcased their work in the exhibition room. The site also provides many pictures of the displayed artworks.
  • sea.blouinartinfo.com: Click this link to read a BLOUINARTINFO interview with Aey Phanachet.  In this interview, which she gave back in March 2013, She talks about the 10th year anniversary shows and the importance of introducing (Thai) contemporary art to the world.
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Art And Culture In Bangkok

Bangkok Art and Culture CentreArt and Culture – Sophistication in a rough city 

An elderly woman who combs the grey hairs of her husband, colorful protesters who raise the Thai flag in front of colorless policeman, the Baiyoke Sky Tower surrounded by the calm dark blanket of the evening. Aspects of the daily life in Thailand, captured by artists and admired by me in Bangkok’s Art and Culture Centre.

Location

The Bangkok Art and culture Centre (BACC) has a very convenient location. It is situated at 939 Rama I Road in the middle of the city centre. The building stands next to the MBK shopping mall and the National Stadium BTS SkyTrain station. Other nearby buildings are Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon.

Getting there

Take the BTS SkyTrain to the National Stadium station. From there it is only a short walk to the Art and Culture Centre. You can reach the building via the skywalk that is connected to the BTS station. You can also get of at Siam station and take a 5 minute walk. You reach the BACC by walking in the direction of Siam Discovery. Opening times are 10:00 AM till 21:00 PM (closed on Mondays)

BACC next to the MBK Mall

What to to see

At the lower floors of the building you find a variety of shops, which sell artistic products. For example t-shirts with creative prints, colorful post cards, shining jewelries and large paintings. The building also houses an art library and some restaurants and cafes. There are exhibitions at the higher (7th, 8th, 9th) floors of the building. These exhibitions show the works of various (Thai) artists.

The art

The displayed artworks impressed me, especially the paintings. It was nice to discover that many Thai painters really manage to capture the beauty of every day live. It made me realize how beautiful every day life can be. The artworks also have interesting names, which make you think about what you see, like the paintings they capture the imagination.

Why you should visit the BACC

This art gallery in Bangkok is a very convenient sight to visit during daytime. The place offers a calm, cool and sophisticated escape from a hot and rough city. The gallery is not crowded with tourists and you will enjoy the cool air conditioning instead of the boiling sun. Another good point is that you can enter the building for free.

Tip

At the ground floor you find a little restaurant/cafe which is called Art Cafe. It is a nice place to sit down after you walked around in the building. The friendly staff serves good food and drinks. Sit down and listen to some relaxing music, or start working on some of your own art if you got inspired by the creative atmosphere.

Art Cafe in BACC

Do you visit art galleries and museums on your trip? What is your favorite museum in Bangkok?
Useful Links

  • www.bacc.or.th: The official website of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. Learn more about BACC and its current exhibitions.
  • BACC on TripAdvisor: Do you want to know if it is a good idea to visit he Bangkok Art and Culture Centre? Read information and reviews about this sight on TripAdvisor and make an informed decision.
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Moments When I Cried For My Mommy – The Jump

Making the jump and crying for my mommyThe jump from 9000 feet

We reached the required height and it was time to face the consequences of my decision. A decision I had made 9000 feet below on the safe ground. I cursed my stupidity as I crawled to the door opening. Don’t worry my jump assistant said to me. You don’t have to do anything, swing your legs out of the plane and let me do the rest.

I looked at him in despair. My face started to match with the color of the passing clouds. He stared back with a grin. I bet it was the biggest joy of his job. Seeing his customers weep at their pending doom. I sat down at the door opening and watched at my destination. For a moment I was happy that I did not have to make the decision to jump.

Is that you God?

We jumped. Or actually my flight assistant jumped and I came along for the ride. My body quickly reached the speed of 200 kph. My skin and clothes stretched and flapped around me. The noise was overwhelming, every rational thought got blown out of my mind. Only pure fear and an intense pain in my ears remained.

Then the parachute opened and everything became dead silent. Suddenly, a voice spoke to me from behind. The voice spoke calmly: “Isn’t it a nice day”? I shrieked. For a second, I thought that it was God who talked to me. I had completely forgotten the man on my back. My tandem buddy continued talking and asked me if I was wearing contact lenses. Apparently they were sticking on his face.

Holy ground

We peacefully whirled to the ground. I cherished that ground with my dad, who also survived his jump. During our sky dive we where accompanied by a photographer/cameraman. Before we jumped, I had convinced myself that I would look cool in the camera during the drop. However, the video material showed the bitter truth. I had totally forgotten the camera, which clearly showed that I was crying for my mommy.

A strong handhold

It was one of many moments during my travels when I cried for my mommy. I am convinced there will be many more of those moments. But hey, life is full of thrilling adventures and having a mommy to cry for gives some handhold when you are about to lose it.

On which occasions did you cry for your mommy? Was it also during a skydive? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
Useful Links

  • Skydiving in New Zealand: At this page you find an overview of skydiving articles. They are provided by skydiving businesses and travelers. The page also provides information about other adventurous activities.
  • NZONE Skydive: I skydived with NZONE in New Zealand. The staff consists of friendly guys who deliver you safely to the ground. They also make awesome videos and photos, which you can bring home to show off at your friends. Or you can hide them forever in a hidden box if you had had a similar experience like me.

 

200 Days Abroad, 50 Lessons Learned

 

200 days Abroad. Saying goodbye at Schiphol Airport What I have learned during my 200 days abroad

200 days ago, I left my home for an indefinite trip around the world. During my days abroad, I learned many valuable lessons. Some lessons are cliches, some are unique insights, some are live changing thoughts, some are obvious, some are minor thoughts and some are huge insights. But all of these lessons became part of my ever expanding travel encyclopedia. These are 50 lessons I have learned during my ongoing travels.

Bangkok and Thailand 

 1. Bangkok is quickly changing into a commercialized jungle. Huge screens with advertisements are popping up everywhere
 2. The food quality in Thailand is often very bad and unhealthy

 3. The food in Thailand often tastes great, which probably explains why it is so unhealthy..

 4. The Central Plaza Ladprao Shopping Mall in Bangkok has an awesome supermarket with many healthy and organic foods

 5. Vegetarian food is sometimes hard to find in Bangkok

6. Vegetarians should visit Bangkok during the Vegetarian Festival around September and October

 7. Vegetarian Indian food is widely available in Bangkok. It is delicious and often more healthy than Thai food

 8. Bangkok is very expensive compared to the countryside of Thailand

 9. House rental prices in the countryside of Thailand are extremely cheap. Villas are easily affordable

11. Big cities like Bangkok are very unhealthy places to live in

12. Wearing a mouth cap is recommendable in Bangkok because of the pollution problems in this city

13. The best time to visit Bangkok/Thailand is during the short winter period in January/February

14. The Flower Market (Pak Khlong Talat) is the best place to buy Dutch tulips in Bangkok

 

me wearing a mouth cap.

Laos

15. When in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, visit the banks of the Mekong river

16. Vientiane did not change much since my last visit 3 years ago

17. Beerlao is the best beer in the region

18. People in Lao speak the same language/dialect as Thai people who are living in the Eastern part of Thailand

Malaysia 

19.  Many people in Malaysia speak really good English

20. KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) in Malaysia is a very suitable airport to spend the night

21. The Reggae Mansion Hostel in Kuala Lumpur is an excellent and clean hostel

22. Penang is a great travel destination if you like nature and food

Turtle beach in Penang.

General travel lessons 

23. Hot climates make you lazy

24. Twitter is an excellent social media platform to connect with other travelers

25. A healthy traveler is a wealthy traveler

26. Travelling is all about leaving your comfort zone

27. When traveling, have the courage to open doors. Every opened door can provide a life changing opportunity

28. Travel light

29.  Travel slow

30. The service of Singapore Airlines is great

31. The service of Lufthansa is sometimes questionable

32. Frequent flyer cards are very useful when it comes to saving money

33. You have to visit a place before you can form a good opinion about it

32. The news reports often do not give proper views about some places

33. Motivation is fueled by excitement

34. There is no perfect destination. Every place has its flaws

35. The grass is always greener on the other side

36. There is no place like home

37. The life of a permanent traveler is an ongoing adventure, every day

38. Unexpected must see travel recommendations like Columbia, Iran and Georgia

39. Professional travel writers have to defend themselves against distractions but also conquer motivation and inspiration

40. What is crazy on one side of the world is normal on the other side and vice-versa. Normal does not exist

41. People should never detach themselves from nature. Always include nature sights in your travel plans

Mountain view

42. Friendships and encounters are short for long term travelers. Treasure your long term friends and family members back home

43.  A few bad people do not represent a complete country

44. Traveling teaches you to be patient

45. Travelling teaches you to be humble

46. Traveling teaches you to be open minded

47. Learning the local language is extremely important if you stay at a place for a long time

48. Problems are no more than positive challenges which help you improve your life

49. There will always be bad people and problems on your route

50. There will always be good people and positive experiences on your route

200 days abroad. It seems like ages for me already, but really, my quest just started. There are many more places that need to be visited and many more lessons that need to be learned. I hope to continue learning and I will continue sharing my knowledge for another 200 days.

What are the most valuable lessons that you learned during your trip?
Useful Links