In Bangkok alone, there are over 20 or so locations which are labeled ‘non-touristy’ locations. These places include: Medical museums, historical temples, grand palaces, age old roads and so forth. Ultimately, there’s a lot to explore if one was willing to step out of their comfort zone. Bangkok is mostly known for its shopping malls and colorful attractions but what about the small local attractions even the locals are unaware of? Shouldn’t they be recognized as well?
During the course of my summer break, I took the time to explore and discover the city’s lesser known attractions. The discovery was mind blowing to say the least!
Jim Thompson Silk House
I didn’t know about this one until I came across it recently. James H.W. Thompson was the self-made American entrepreneur who revived the Thai silk industry within Thailand. This passion for flare and color became recognized after the trauma of World War II. With the revival of Thai silk, many sought to get their hands on the exotic silk, woven by skilled weavers.
Visiting his house and the lands that encompass it, the location was breath taking. Jim Thompson’s house was a wooden Thai house which had changed little since his disappearance in 1967. His house consists of six traditional complex styled houses, designed and developed by carpenters hired from the Bangkok’s neighboring city, Ayutthaya.
Situated not far from National Stadium BTS, the house is remarkably quiet and serene. I truly admire Jim Thompson and his fascination for reviving this delicate craft which he made Thai silk well-known around the world! I truly recommend anybody to come here; it’s filled with historical memories and Jim Thompson’s work, laid out for all to see.
Sririraj Medical Museum
This is a museum not for the faint of heart. Sririraj museum contains a wide range of medical samples, including live samples of human bodies and organs on display. This is a museum where it teaches you the workings of the human body or showcasing diseases in various stages of decay.
As a health science student, this museum was extremely interesting to me; not only was I able to understand more about the human condition, I was able to witness what it means to work in this field. Subjects in human pathology, osteology and parasitology are covered here in great detail. Just to keep in mind, no photography is allowed due to the sensitive nature of the museum and its displays.
Could it be considered a travel hotspot? Maybe not. Of course, if such materials appeal to those curious in learning more about the human condition, it’s a great place to go to.
This temple is famously known for the education of traditional Thai medicine and developing yoga positions which are translated into age old massaging techniques, used until today. As a fun fact, this temple was considered the first public university in Thailand, educating students in religion, science and literature through murals and sculptures.
This place is an amazing place to go; the temple grounds are huge and contain rich information inscribed in some of the walls. Although the words are barely legible, you can identify practitioners practicing Thai massage techniques on others. It’s quite fascinating.
One of the main highlights of Wat Pho is the statue of the reclining Buddha spanning 43 meters in length and 15 meters in height. Along the inside of the temple that housed this Buddha, there are hand painted panels depicting a story of Buddha and the objects which are associated with him. Walking around the Buddha, visitors will discover 108 bronze bowls lined by the wall.
It is believed that people who drop coins into all 108 bowls, the individual will be blessed with good fortune. That’s what people believe but in actuality, the money is used to maintain the temple.
These were my top 3 locations that interested me during summer break; it breathed a new perspective into understanding what Bangkok was about. Hiding behind tall skyscrapers and always on-going construction projects, Bangkok still retains its delicate history and culture, locked into these locations.
License: Creative Commons
License: Creative Commons image source
My name is Jennifer Chung and I’m a student from Ruamrudee International School (RIS). This is my fourth year staying in Thailand, after my parents moved here. Originally I am from Singapore, growing up in a multi-cultural community and speaking four different languages. My main passion is health sciences and I took up traveling as a hobby. As of the moment, I’m traveling with my brother, staying in affordable Bangkok hotels around the city before we depart to Myanmar.