On Friday, I decided to concentrate my sightseeing activities around the Siam district so that I could see a few things without an excessive amount of travelling between them.
I started out on the BTS Skytrain and rode a couple of stops up the line to Chit Lom Station. From there, I walked along the covered Skywalk, towards the Siam station, until I was above the Erawan Shrine. The Erawan Shrine is not actually a Buddhist shrine, but rather a shrine to the four-faced Brahma god ThanTao Mahaprom. It achieved worldwide attention in 2015 when a bomb was detonated there. It’s only a small place but it attracts a regular stream of visitors.
Video clip showing part of one of the dances:
From the Erawan Shrine, I walked a short distance along the Skywalk until I came to the Siam BTS station and the adjacent Siam Paragon Mall. Siam Ocean World is located at the basement level of the mall and was the next attraction on my list. The admission price was 950 baht (about $30), so not a cheap attraction to visit. I declined the offer to upgrade my admission to include a behind-the scenes visit, a ride in the feeding boat and a visit to the 4D theatre (for which the price would have been 1,250 baht). A discount is also available if you purchase a dual admission for both Ocean World and the adjacent Madame Tussaud’s waxworks (which I also declined).
It is a well laid out facility, as you just follow a single route from the point of entry to the point of exit, passing through all of the exhibits along the way, over different levels. The exhibits were attractive, of a high standard and had informative signs in both Thai and English. They ranged from small to huge aquariums, including a large shark and ray tank with a walk-through tunnel. It was an enjoyable visit.
Video clip of the two-level marine tank
Another marine tank video below:
Video clip of Lake Malawi cichlid tank:
Video clip of a freshwater Asian tank featuring Barbs:
Video clip of freshwater stingrays:
Video of an underwater penguin exhibit:
The next place on my list was the Scala Cinema. Not really a tourist attraction, but it is only a short walk from Siam Paragon and I thought it would be worth a visit. It can be found on Soi 1, close to Siam Square. The Scala Cinema was built in the 1960’s and has retained its art-deco style. Very attractive! Photos are not permitted, so I had to sneak a few without using flash.
Next on my list was the Jim Thompson House & Museum. This meant jumping back on the BTS Skytrain, from Siam station to National Stadium station. The museum is located on Soi Kaseman 2, only a short walk from the station.
Jim Thompson was an American who set up home in Thailand after the Second World War. He revived the silk industry in Thailand. Initially an architect by trade, Thompson combined six traditional teak houses (each over 200 years old), that he sourced from around Thailand, and combined them to create his home – now the Jim Thompson House & Museum.
Admission to the facility is 150 baht. The main house can only be accessed as part of a guided tour, so I had to spend almost 30 minutes waiting for my allotted tour to commence. The tour itself lasts 40-45 minutes but is a rather slow-paced affair as it ambles from room to room.
Photos are not permitted within the main house, but can be taken in the garden and outer buildings.
The last place on my list for the day was the Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre, which is a short walk from the National Stadium. But after the Jim Thompson House visit, I decided that I was done for the day. Besides, my camera battery was dying and I needed to get it charged before an evening visit to the Lumpinee Stadium to watch Thai kickboxing. So, I walked the short distance to the Hua Chang Pier and caught a canal boat to the Nana Chart Pier for only 10 baht (30 cents). That put me within a short walk of my condo, for the end of a day of sightseeing.