The four days we spent in Bangkok had two main purposes: get a new visa for Myanmar and have a long weekend break from our “9-5 job” in Yangon

The visa part was easy: we went straight from the airport to the Myanmar embassy to get there before noon closing time. The process of applying/waiting only took us 30 min and we were to come back two days later to collect our passports. Compared to getting your visa in Kuala Lumpur it’s cheaper and you don’t have to show any flights and hotel bookings. The hotel we booked (Isanook) was not far a way so we walked from the embassy. This weekend was supposed to be a comfortable one with several treats and as hotels are relatively cheap in Bangkok we went slightly fancier than usual.

Our favourite part of Bangkok was the public ferry that goes up and down the Chao Phraya river. Cruising on a city-river always seems to be fun and we were able to see some of Bangkok’s sights like the famous Wat Arun and Grand Palace. In the end we didn’t visit these, but just left it to a few pics from the boat.

DSC_0818Mark has already been to Bangkok before – exactly ten years earlier to be precise – as part of a 10-week trip with his friend Maarten after graduation. As you can probably imagine, Mark didn’t remember much anymore (for whatever reason :-)) and even a walk through (in)famous Kho San Road couldn’t refresh his memory. He did however come across the diving school where he got his Open Water PADI and that was at the start of all his diving adventures.

As a tourist, you haven’t been properly to Amsterdam without riding a bicycle, in Bangkok it’s the same but then with a tuk-tuk. For any other reasons, we wouldn’t recommend it. Not that the ride was rough or dangerous, but DSC_0811waiting at the traffic light breathing in exhaust fumes from the truck next to you doesn’t seem necessary if you can take a taxi for a better price (if he runs on meter). We walked along a wide 5-lane road and were on our way to the Wat Saket (Golden Mount). This is where we fell for the 20 Baht scam. A friendly well-English-speaking man in a uniform approached us with the story that the government had kindly announced that for tuk-tuks carrying tourists petrol would be free. So he would take us around to see 3-4 sights for only 20 Baht (40 eurocents) and only had to make a stop at one place to pick up a voucher. It had just started raining so we were tempted. We said we only wanted to go to 2 sights, but would still pay the full fare. “Yes yes, no problem”. After getting into the tuk-tuk and having confirmed one more time it was only 20 Baht we set off. At the first crossing the driver wanted to turn right instead of left towards our first sight… Upon our enquiries we were told that first we are going to visit a handicrafts factory. We didn’t feel like arguing so we gave him the money and got off and walked back to Wat Saket. Later we found many examples online of the 20 Baht scam. Generally harmless as they will take you to a shop where you’ll get a hard-sell on some ‘authentic’ products, but after you will still be shown the sights. It just takes a lot of time and probably frustration. But if you only want to spend 20 Baht, that’s what you get.

The views from the Wat Saket are pretty good. So good that there was a whole class sketching and drawing the landscape outside, with their teacher walking around giving advice.

But the most interesting experience was still to come: the Congdon’s Anatomical Museum. The museum is spread across two main rooms with old wooden floors and a dusty feel to it. It’s located on the third floor of a building that is part of the Siriraj hospital complex. As we walked up the stairs and reached the hallway leading DSC_0836to the entrance we got a first impression of what the name of the museum already reveals: Three big glass pots (not the ones on the picture here) with each a real preserved Siamese baby twin inside, one of them with an incision across it’s full chest… quite an introduction…  The museum is focussed on the human anatomy and it  displays  a multitude of real human bodies, skeletons, bones, organs and other body-parts. An entire nervous system, blood-vains taken out of a body and more babies with in front of their pots toys that visitors left are only a small selection of what we saw. Probably the most impressive part was a lady who was sliced into 2cm thick vertical slices from top to toe and displayed in glass cabinets. She had donated her body to science and a picture of her smiling was hung above the cabinets. It can become a bit scary if you realise you’re looking at the remains of real people, but as long as you focus on the scientific part, this place is really amazing. If you are interested to see what is on display, have a look here. However, these pics are quite graphic, so consider yourself warned)

The rest of our days we spent with more ‘common’ activities like: eating, visiting the MBK shopping mall, watching an odd film (Magic Magic) in the cinema and getting a Thai massage and pedicure. In the end we didn’t do lots of sight-seeing, which is also why the pictures this time might not be so exciting. However, it was a good break and we enjoyed the relatively clean streets and more advanced facilities as long as it lasted.

Some more pics of Bangkok here 


V Bangkoku sme stravili styri dni a mali sme dva hlavne ciele: poziadat o nove viza do Myanmaru a urobit si vikendovu prestavku od nasho noveho „pracovneho“ tempa v Yangone.

Ta vizova cast bola rychla: z letiska sme isli rovno na myanmarsku ambasadu, aby sme o viza stihli poziadat pred zatvorenim. Ziadost sme mali podanu za polhodinku a pre pasy sme sa vratili o dva dni. V porovnani s vizovym procesom na myanmarskej ambasade (v ich agenture) v Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok je lacnejsi a pri ziadosti sa nevyzaduje predkladat spiatocnu letenku ci rezervaciu ubytovania. V Bangkoku sme si zarezervovali hotel (iSanook), ktory bol od ambasady vzdialeny len stvrdhodinku peso. Vikend sme si planovali uzit a kedze hotely v Bangkoku su vseobecne lacnejsie, dovolili sme si trochu luxusu.

Nasou najoblubenejsiou aktivitou v Bangkoku bolo vozit sa mestom na lodickach, ktore tu sluzia ako MHD a plavia sa hore a dole riekou Chao Phraya. Nielen ze plavba samotna je fajn zazitok, z lodiek sme navyse mali aj moznost vidiet niektore z vyznamnych bangkokskych pamatihodnosti ako napriklad Wat Arun alebo Grand Palace, ktore sme nemali moznost navstivit.

Pre Marka toto nebola prva navsteva tejto azijskej metropole. V Bangkoku sa zastavil uz presne pred 10 rokmi, ked s kamaratom Maartenom hned po skonceni skoly cestovali 10 tyzdnov po Azii. Z roznych dovodov si uz toho vela z mesta nepamatal a dokonca i prechadzka po znamej turistickej Kho San Road mu neosviezila pamat. Nasli sme tam ale potapacsku skolu, v ktorej si urobil svoj prvy certifikat  a kde sa jeho vasen pre podvodny svet zacala.

Turista si neuzije Amsterdam poriadne bez toho, aby sa po nom nepresiel, tak ako domaci, na bicykli. V Bangkoku je to podobne, ale ide o tuk-tuk. Odskrtnut si ho na zozname je ale jediny dovod, preco si ho na ulici zastavit a zviezt sa. Vdychovat vyfukove plyny na krizovatkach nestoji tak uplne za to. Navyse cena normalneho taxika je pomaly nizsia (ak taxikar zapne taxameter). My sme navyse takmer naleteli na klasicky tuk-tukovy podvod. Pocas prechadzky po pamiatkach sme sa ocitli na kraji 5 prudovej cesty, kde nas zastavil priatelsky pan v uniforme s takmer perfektnou anglictinou. Po par zdvorilostnych otazkach nam s radostou vysvetlil, ze v dnesny den dostanu tuk-tuky, ktore vozia turistov benzin zdarma. Takze jeho kamarat, pristaveny pri ceste, nas moze vziat okolo az 4-5 pamiatok len za 20 Bahtov (asi 40 eurocentov), no musi sa s nami niekde zastavit pre kupon na benzin. Prave zacalo prsat a i ked sme chceli ist len do 2 chramov, boli sme radi za vyhodnu cenu. „Yes, yes, no problem!“ znelo po nasich instrukciach. Na prvej krizovatke vsak vodic namiesto dolava odbocil doprava. Dovodom bola vraj navsteva fabriky s rucnymi vyrobkami. Nechcelo sa nam sa o nicom s vodicom dohadovat, a tak sme zaplatili, vystupili a isli k chramu Wat Saket peso. Na izbe vecer sme na nete nasli niekolko zmieniek o tomto 20 Bahtovom neskodnom podvode. Pod slubom navstevy niekolkych pamatihodnosti za nizku cenu vas vodic vezme obklukou cez fabriky a obchody, kde sa budete citit trapne ak si nieco nekupite. Pamiatky vam ale aj tak ukazu. Takze ak vas strata casu a tvrde predajne techniky netrapia, je to lacny sposob ako vidiet mesto.

Vyhlad z Wat Saket je krasny zo vsetkych stran. Dokonca den nasej navstevy tam prebiehali hodiny kreslenia a studenti prenasali panoramata Bangkoku na svoje papiere pod dohladom ucitela.

Najzaujimavejsiou atrakciou, ktoru sme v Bangoku navstivili bolo netradicne Congdonove Anatomicke Muzeum. Muzeum na najvyssom poschodi jednej z budov fakultnej nemocnice Siriraj sa rozklada v dvoch velkych miestnostiach s drevenou podlahou a starodavnou atmosferou. Hned ako sme vyslapali niekolko poschodi po schodoch a vkrocili do chodby smerujucej k muzeu, mali sme moznost vidiet „ochutnavku“ toho, co nas v muzeu caka. V chodbe stali vystavene 3 sklenene nadoby so siamskymi dvojickami vo formaldehyde. Uvod ako sa patri dava navstevnikovi moznost si rozmysliet, ci je naozaj pripraveny na to, co ho vo vnutri caka. Muzeum je plne exponatov asi vsetkych casti ludskeho tela v roznych podobach a s roznymi anomaliami. Okrem jednotlivych organov, kosti a kostier je tu napriklad vystaveny cely nervovy alebo krvny system (vybraty z tela a „zaveseny“ tak ako existuje skutocne v tele). Siamskych dvojiciek a deticiek bolo vo vnutri este vela.Pred mnohymi nadobami lezali hracky pravdepodobne darovane navstevnikmi muzea. Asi nazaujimavejsim exponatom bolo telo pani, rozrezane na 2-centimetrove vertikalne „krajce“ od hlavy po paty. Vsetky kusky vystavene v sklenenych nadobach. Pani, ktora darovala svoje telo vede, sa na vas navyse usmieva z obrazu na stene. Uvedomovat si, ze sa pozerame na skutocne casti tiel, bola trochu zvlastna, no z pohladu vedy tato vystava je velmi zaujimava. Ak by ste chceli vidiet par obrazkov z tohto muzea, kliknite sem. Varujeme ale, ze obrazky su velmi graficke.

Ostatne dni sme stravili takymi normalnymi aktivitami, navstevou shopping mallov, pochutnavanim si na dobrom thajskom jedle, masazou, pedikurou a zasli sme si aj na film (Magic Magic – trochu divny no zaujimavy). Na fotkach toho tentokrat moc neuvidite, kedze turistickych aktivit sme si uzili len par, no predlzeny vikend s „vymozenostami“ teplej vody a dobreho jedla sme si velmi uzili.

Tych par fotiek najdete tu.


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