One Afternoon at the Art Museum | MOCA, Bangkok

Driving to north for about an hour from the center of Bangkok, MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Arts, is right beside the busy road full of constructions. You will see the big white building in modern style standing among others. Inside the building, you can see it was built very recently, looking modern and calm. You don’t hear the sound of busy road right outside. Having excitements and wonder what it’s gonna be like to see the contemporary arts painted by Thai people, we started the tour.

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The building was 6 stories high. We started from the 1st floor, looking each work closely, and went to the next floor. Every one of the pieces was different and interesting. Some of them are strongly influenced by Thai culture featuring Buddha and other religious images, and others describe the people’s normal lives in Thailand. Sometimes sarcasms were included in the picture: we enjoyed perceiving what the painters were trying to express in each work. By the time we reached to the top floor, 3 hours had passed. We had no idea we had spent such a long time: we completely lost track of time.

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Being satisfied with the entire museum tour, we left the place. It was a nice little afternoon having a glimpse of a cultural aspect of Thailand. Now I get the reason why many of my friends who also went to MOCA were saying that it’s a nice place to visit. The museum still has the capacity to store more paintings, so I’m looking forward to appreciating more of the artistic work!

 

Place: MOCA Bangkok (Google Maps)

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Lantern Festival | Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Every year around the end of the October and the beginning of the November, Lanna festival, also known as Yi Peng, is held in Maejo University, Chiang Mai. Hundreds and thousands of people gather in the field, and launch lanterns into the sky, showing the respect to Buddha. Numerous lanterns float into the sky: the scene is spectacular and unforgettable.

The launch of lanterns takes place twice during the season: one is for locals, and the other is for foreigners, which will be held a week after the local one, and there well be English announcements. When we were looking for information about the festival, many websites said that you have to buy $100 ticket for entrance if you go to the foreigner one, however the local one is for free. By the time we knew that Thailand loves to make foreigners pay more than locals, so we thought this one is also one of them. Because we didn’t wanna pay the entrance fee, we decided to go to the one for locals. (Why not? 🙂 )

In order to get to the Maejo University, where the festival is held, you have to take tuktuk in Chiang Mai. The place is remote from the city so it will take about 40 minutes. After you arrive the place, you get off the tuktuk, and walk along the river to the entrance. You will see many venders selling lanterns on the street, but you can’t take them inside. Some part of them are made from coils, which is dangerous if they touch the electronic line. You have to buy one inside, which is partly made from combustible rope. After walking for a while, we reached to the gate, and people didn’t seem to care if we’re locals or not. But unfortunately we didn’t know we can’t take lanterns from outside which we already bought, we had to throw them away.

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The field of the university was full of people. Although we arrived early, we could hardly find the spot. We almost ended up standing outside the field where many photographers were waiting, but we managed to find some space and sit tightly among the people. The ceremony has started, and monks coming in. They went up on the stage in the middle, and started reading Buddhist scriptures. Even though this event was for locals, there were English announcements in every part. After the praying session, it’s time to light up the lanterns. Every one of the people have their lanterns, waiting for lanterns to have enough power to float, and everyone released at the same time.

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At the moment we release the lanterns, they all went up high to the air, illuminating the field so brightly. Each light was getting smaller and smaller, and disappeared into the dark sky at the end. Every one looks up, picturing the scene and taking their breath away. Time went by so slowly the whole time.

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Even though the time has passed since I saw the beautiful sky on that night, I still remember how it was, how I felt and all. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life. When you visit Thailand around the time of the Lanna festival, you should definitely go check it out. It’s worth putting it to your bucket list!

 

Place: Maejo University (Google Maps)

Bangkok’s Abandoned Building | Ghost Tower, Bangkok

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Being affected by the Asian economic crisis in 1997, the Sathorn Unique Tower, which is now called ‘Ghost Tower’, was left undone. It was supposed to be one of the most luxury condos in Bangkok. Now it is completely empty, except for concrete platforms, pillars and debris on the floor. Only wind and people’s footsteps break the silence. Some people believe the existence of the ghosts. Eventually, homeless people and street dogs started to live in. Now this haunted tower is famous among the locals and tourists. It became one of the top tourist attractions in Bangkok, because of the view from the top.

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This 49 stories building, standing beside the Chaophrayah River, offers a great overview of Bangkok’s skyline. There are not many tall buildings around so you can enjoy 360 degrees of panorama. Everyday, many tourists come here and spend time on the top, drinking beer and admiring the view. Some photographers climb up to catch the moments of sunrises and sunsets.

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In order to get inside the building, you have to bribe local people who have the key, so you can go inside and they won’t call the police. It is normally around 100-200B. After you reached to the beginning of the stars, you just climb up, all the way up to the 49th floor. The staircase is dark and narrow, so you have to be careful not to fall. As the stairs are filled with debris, you will need to use a flashlight.

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After climbing all the way up to the top, there’s an open space. You can walk around and enjoy the view from every angle. However, that’s not the end. There is a ‘very top’ of this building, where you have to climb the dangerous ladder hanging on the edge of concrete. You can see far away down the ground on your side. You might possibly fall. As fighting with those unwelcome thoughts, I eventually made to the very top.

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There are just a concrete platform and a wall on one side, filled with spray arts. Chaophrayah River is in front of your eyes, and sunset up the sky. People, cars, and boats… everything is small and moving slowly in distance. You don’t even hear the noise of this busy city that you’re in; it just feels so good.

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This abandoned building is a great place to experience something unusual, if you get bored with the city life in Bangkok. It offers the great view, and it makes you forget about your struggles and worries of the day. It’s a place you can refresh, and start a new day tomorrow.

Place: Sathorn Unique Tower (Google Maps)

 


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This week’s new post:

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Jazz and Blues Night: Saxophone Pub, Bangkok

5 Reasons Why I Love Thailand

Living in Thailand for 11 months, I couldn’t help falling in love with this beautiful country. It has so many things to explore, and never failed to attract me. Here are the 5 reasons why I love Thailand.

1. Beaches

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From Bangkok, you can just hop on the bus and after about a few hours later, the closest beach to the city is in front of your eyes! I love how it’s easy to get there; it’s a perfect gateway for weekends. You can take a break from busy life in Bangkok, and spend quiet time just lying on the sand and reading a book. You don’t need to think about anything, time passes slowly on islands. If you decide to take longer vacation, you can also go to the southern islands of Thailand such as Koh Phi Phi and Phuket, which are the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. You can party on the beach if you want, there are plenty of options for it. I have to say, beach life here is awesome!

2. Nature

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There are a lot of places that make you forget about the bustle of big city; so many national parks, local villages and so forth. From Kanchanabuti to Khao Sok national park, you can explore different types of nature that Thailand offers, and you will know a lot more about the country. You can hike, visit the waterfalls and caves; endless ways to explore the graceful nature. You have so many options if you stay long in Thailand.

3. People

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People in Thailand are so kind, friendly, and easy to get along. Although they have limited English ability to communicate, they are willing to help people. They are always smiling, and sometimes joking. I get power to work on everyday just by talking with them. You may have a difficulty communicating with them, but if you know some words in Thai, you can have a nice little conversation!

4. Transportation

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I’ve been to some other Southeast Asian countries, but I think Thailand is the most convenient country in terms of transportation. There is BTS running inside the city, taxi is available 24/7 in Bangkok, a number of buses to go anywhere inside the country, sleeper trains to just beside the border of the neighbor countries, and many other options from AirAsia flights. You can go anywhere with these provided options.

5. Price

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This is the privilege of being in developing countries. Everything you do is cheap. Buying a bottle of beer for 35B ($1), staying at hostel for 150B per night ($4), going to visit Ankor Wat by bus for 700 ($20), and even staying at 5 star hotel for 2500B ($70)! You can have so much more experience than when you are in expensive countries, with such a small budget.


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