Bangkok was never in my "To Visit" list. Suddenly I had to come to Bangkok for some work. First surprise was the name of the Bangkok airport - "Suvarnbhumi" (Golden Land). My first impression of the city on that Thursday night was good. Wide roads, no traffic jam, and shining skyscrapers. The receptionist at the hotel welcomed me by folding both the hands. It was only next day that I realized that this hand-folded welcome is the traditional Thai greetings.
My plan was simple. Work on Friday, leave Bangkok on Saturday morning. However, the work remained unfinished on Saturday and I had two full unplanned days in this world famous tourist destination. It was very humid with no sign of rain. So, I decided to go slow, visit only couple of places. On Saturday morning when I left the hotel, I saw that the roads within the city were narrow.
I had finalized two spots on Saturday, for which Sky Train was more convenient. I was staying in Sukhumvit area and the nearest Sky Train Station was 'Asok'.
In the station there was a counter where we can exchange notes for coins and use the coins to get a ticket from the vending machines. There were maps in the station and the exact amount needed for each station was displayed, so there was no problem in purchasing the right ticket.
There were regular announcements in the station and in the train. I smiled when I heard a station name "Nana". The Sky Train was crowded but the crowds were disciplined. I have traveled for considerable time by Delhi Metro and I noted certain differences in Delhi Metro and Bangkok Sky Train.
Delhi Metro has a reserved coach for women, which Bangkok Sky Train does not have. Second: Bangkok Sky Train has sliding glass doors on platform also - which Delhi Metro does not have.
In Delhi Metro, each passenger has to go through personal security. Here in Bangkok one has to enter through metal dictator, there is a security official, but they not necessarily check every passenger again. The instructions show how Buddhist Monks are respected.
The 'Sky Train' map was also printed on the ticket, so I had no difficulty in reaching Siam station. After coming out of the station I was confused about the direction I needed to take. I spotted a 'Tourist Information Center' just outside the station and the staff there, guided me to reach at 'Bangkok Art and Culture Center'. There is no entrance fee.
I had assumed this place to be a museum and I was partially right. This nine-storey building has paintings, sculpture, handicrafts, woodcraft, ceramic art,music and design displays. There are couple of book stores and an Art Library. There are coffee shops where one can have lengthy discussions over a cup of coffee. When it comes to art, I am almost illiterate. However, I was in this center for more than three hours and enjoyed the visit. Here are some of the snapshots from the Center.
It was good to see that the information of the artists was also displayed.
There was some experience/experiment related to sound waves. This was something new for me. There were number of photographs on the walls. Each photograph was given a unique number. Every person entering the exhibition hall was handed over a small cellphone-like handset.
One was expected to type the photograph number on this machine, press the green button and hold the machine near the ear. For different photographs, I could hear different sound waves (if I am using the right term!), but I could not understand what it was all about. For people more interested in this, the following photograph might be of some help.
I was surprised to see this huge wall poster of the Hindi film in the Art section. Is this film already released in India?
I was feeling tired as I was walking for more than three hours. When I asked for the directions of my next destinations, I realized that it was nearby. So, I continued walking with enthusiasm.
To be continued ...