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Voices of Bangkok, Thailand
The Thai capital is an exciting mix of ancient and modern, where glistening skyscrapers and marble-fronted mega-malls sit alongside centuries-old Buddhist temples and royal palaces.
By Alex Robinson | 7 May 2013
A sacred space
This booming Asian tiger-city is an exciting mix of ancient and modern, where glistening skyscrapers and marble-fronted mega-malls sit alongside centuries-old Buddhist temples and royal palaces.
“I remember the first time I saw Wat Phra Kaew,” said Ao Thanongan, a makeup artist from northern Thailand. “I was completely overwhelmed – by the array of magnificent buildings, the superb Ramakien murals and above all by the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred and venerated object in Thailand. For us Thais, it is emblematic of the power, spirit and independence of our nation.” [(Alex Robinson)](www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk)
“I’ve visited many of Bangkok’s great museums but the Erawan is the most beautiful, from the huge three headed elephant – so big that it houses the galleries themselves – to the very detailed and magnificent decoration inside the museum and the lush green gardens outside with their fountains and beautiful flowers,” said Kritchanapong Thanonghan, a freelance photographer. “I am very proud of this museum because it’s a living example of my Thai cultural heritage.” [(Alex Robinson)](www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk)
“People often tell me I have the best job in the world, hosting travel and lifestyle TV shows in exotic locations,” said Raine Grady, a TV presenter for Destination Thailand. “I don’t disagree but those same people don’t realize how exhausting it is living out of a suitcase, meeting tough deadlines and trying to look glamorous when all you want to do is sleep.”
“The one thing that makes me feel like a million dollars is a massage or a day at the Grand Hyatt’s i.sawan spa. It’s so relaxing that you forget where you are. In my case, I also forget my weariness, my workload and my worries!” [(Alex Robinson)](www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk)
Typical Thai life
“Khlong Saen Saeb, an inner city canal, is very Bangkok, and it’s a real remnant of the old city, which was once known as the Venice of Asia,” said Eric Hallin, the general manager of the Rembrandt Hotel. “Very very few tourists make it here, yet you’ll see traditional life that is invisible from the road. The canal cuts through so many culturally diverse bits of the city, from rural areas to slums and modern housing estates, from simple hotels to hi-tech shopping centres. And there’s a real cross-section of people: suits with iPads whizzing by, neatly dressed school kids, office ladies in their finest and farmers and vendors selling all manner of produce – even live chickens!” [(Alex Robinson)](www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk)
Bargain buys and sumptuous snacks
“Shop in one of the markets – either Sumpang or Chatuchak. In the Chatuchak Weekend Market, the home décor, linens and casual clothes are a real bargain, while also being stylish and contemporary,” said Jirawan Suwanlert, a fashion buyer. “Come early morning to avoid the heat and crowds, or mid-morning for a shop and then lunch in the food market. I always have kewteaw tom yam – noodles with pork balls in a spicy broth. Delicious.” [(Alex Robinson)](www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk)
A waterfront playground
“I love Asiatique, the new leisure centre on the Chao Phraya river,” said Jazmine Saengthian, a vendor at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. “It’s a living museum, a festive market area, a shopping mall and a superb spot to see the sunset. And it lies in the heart of the old city. It’s so romantic and there are like 40 restaurants with many varieties of food, including Japanese, Italian, Thai, American, seafood, steak, spicy food and bakeries. The big sky wheel – the 50m-tall Asiatique Sky – just opened here too, offering great views of skyscrapers, the river, the boats and temples.” [(Alex Robinson)](www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk)
Sasikan Zeempoui, a local model, frequents My Bar at the Dusit Hotel. “I love the food – try the ba mee phad gung phrik thai dum (stir fried yellow noodles with lobster and black pepper) – the exclusive relaxing atmosphere, the live piano music and the superb service,” she said. “Come for the good deals on ‘Wild Wednesday’ when many of the drinks sell for just 200 baht.” [(Alex Robinson)](www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk)
Drinking in the view
“The Banyan Tree hotel has a rooftop restaurant, Vertigo, with an amazing view,” said Dan Hardy, a local model. “Centrally located, it overlooks the whole of this beautiful city. The best time to go is just as the sun is setting; the colour of the sky is almost unreal. The blue and orange combined gives you the warm, calm and peaceful feeling that’s needed in such a lively city.” [(Alex Robinson)](www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk)
Interesting article by Alex Robinson www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk