First Encounter with Bangkok

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand

15th December 2010. Written by Xin Li.
Bangkok, Thailand
We bade farewell to the chilly temperatures of autumn season Japan and say hello to the burning hot weather of tropical and dusty Bangkok. Visually, the city of Bangkok is an urban planner’s nightmare. Skyscrappers and huge concrete blocks jut out of nowhere with not central focus in this city. The city looked very chaotic but everything seems to run smoothly in Bangkok itself.

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand

For many of us foreigners flying into the capital of Thailand, we would be greeted with a huge contemporary airport that resembles the petals of a lotus. Designed by Murphy/Jahn Architects, the airport’s modern design was accompanied by many traditional elements such as literal traditional Thai art pieces around the airport as well as the choice of a lotus petal motif that can be seen from the exterior of the airport.

Bangkok, Thailand

From the airport, central Bangkok was made much accessible thanks to the Airport Link. It cost about 25-45 THB and takes about half an hour to reach Phaya Thai Station which is connected to the city’s BTS system (all this can be done without getting stuck in the notorious traffic jams around Bangkok).

Bangkok, Thailand

The capital of Thailand has come a long way. Similar to Tokyo, it is not Thailand’s first capital, it has predecessors such as Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, only rising to prominence under King Rama who shifted the capital from the tattered Ayutthaya to Bangkok where he tried to model the capital after Ayutthaya (which was in turn influenced by China).

Bangkok, Thailand

Furthermore, the city bore the full force of the Westernization efforts by the monarchy during the 19-20th century, resulting in an interesting mix of Thai, Chinese and European architecture which you can easily find in the Grand Palace today as well as remnants of its Western style architecture found around Bangkok such as the Hua Lumphong Railway Station as well as the shophouses around Asadang and Bhuthorn located near the Grand Palace.

Bangkok, Thailand

Next we will visit two well-known sites of Bangkok which is never missing from the itineraries of a tour to Bangkok.

Bangkok, Thailand


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