Monday, September 1, 2014


January 30, 2014

     Woke up feeling much better but still plan to take things easy today.  Breakfast buffet pretty good with usual variety we've found at our other hotels-egg station, breads for toast or sandwiches, salad fixings, cereal choices, juice, fruits, etc.  I'm very boring as I have my breakfast of 1 egg, toast, juice, coffee, fruit.  Decided to call Tong of Tour with Tong and surprise-I got Tong herself on the phone.  Made arrangements for a guided tour to Ayutthaya for tomorrow.   Much better results when you contact by phone as sending e-mails didn't elicit a response.  Very happy that we will be able to do this at such short notice.

Getting ready to make up an omelet

Hot foods like potatoes, rice, noodles, sausage, or bacon

Cereals and fruit

Salad fixings

Juice, sweets, and breads

Egg, pancake, waffle station
     Instead of doing the things I had originally planned for this day we will just visit one place.  We decide to go to the ERAWAN MUSEUM.  In order to get there we will take the BTS so we walk to the station that is close to our hotel-SAPHAN TASKIN.  Along the way we get our first experience of the sights, sounds, and smells of morning Bangkok.  Some of the smells are already overpowering in this heat!  We pass several ATMs, a McDonald's , Robinson's, lots of sidewalk vendors, the Bangkrak Market.  We arrive and walk up the stairs to the BTS station.  I see people putting coins in machines for their tickets.  There is a map of the stops.  Knowing we have to go to Bearing I see that the cost is 52 baht one way.  I head to the info window, tell the man where we want to end up and that there are 2 of us.  I hand over paper baht and receive back coins for the ticket machine and change.  The ticket machine has buttons for you to choose with different number prices.  I press the button for 52, keep putting in the coins until the ticket is spit out along with any change.  The BTS system is very easy to navigate.  We locate where we need to board.  We get off at the Siam interchange because we have to switch from the Silom line to Sukhumvit line.  The Sukhumvit line goes from Mo Chit to Bearing and vice versa.  The Silom line goes from Bang Wa to National Stadium and vice versa.  The BTS, both lines, were very crowded so we end up standing-hanging on to a strap or a pole for the majority of the journey.  We arrive at BEARING so now it's time to find a taxi to take us the rest of the way as it's too far to walk.

Saphan Taskin BTS station

BTS to Bearing, Sukhumvit line

Once we are at BEARING we take the left side exit and find a taxi to take us right to the museum.  Taxi cost 54 baht rounded up to 60.

ERAWAN MUSEUM  Tourist Pass 400 baht per person.        Founded by Lek Viriyaphant and his son Phakphian in 1967.  Displays of art, religion, and culture.  The elephant symbolizes  the greatness of Suvarnabhumi and the Kingdom of Siam.  The 3 levels refer to the Thai cosmos.  The first level is the dim basement representing the underworld where you view the artifacts and antiquities which belonged to Lek.  Here are displayed Benjarong ceramics, Chinese porcelain, Chakri dynasty tea sets, jade ornaments/figures, Chinese furniture, Vietnamese vases all with explanatory notes.  The next level has a statue of Bodhisatva Guan Yin at the entrance.  This level is supposed to represent Mount Meru with all the opulent craftmanship.  The 4 pillars represent the 4 main religious groups.  Brahma/Hindu, Theravada, Christian, and Mahayana.  They appear to prop up the roof or earth.  The stained glass ceiling is the roof of the world.  The last level in the belly of the elephant is Tavatimsa Heaven, solar system.
     As you go through the entrance area and look you see this huge 3 headed elephant on top of the circular base part of the museum.  This place is beyond amazing.  The beauty is everywhere you look.  It's spiritual.  The bottom level is the museum but no pictures are allowed.  Then there are more levels.  You need to go all the way to as far up as you can go.  Once there you will see a small window and the views are pretty nice.  Thanks to the Fodorites and TA posters who recommended this place!

View as you're walking to the museum entrance

Entrance to 2nd level

Bodhisatva Guan Yin

Here you see 3 of the 4 pillars/religions propping up the stained glass ceiling/roof of the world or earth


View from the belly of the elephant

Tavatimsa Heaven and solar system room

     In addition to the museum the surrounding gardens are very peaceful and there are places where you can just sit and do nothing.  I buy a postcard of the museum for 15 baht.  I try to buy postcards of places we visit since when I get home I will make a scrapbook of each country.  That's why I keep all my admission tickets, info pamphlets...  We have spent several hours here.

Can purchase flowers to float in the water moat that circles the museum

     As we leave I look for a taxi to take us back to the BTS BEARING station but all the taxis are waiting for the fares they have brought to the museum.  I never thought to ask the taxi to wait.  One taxi said he would take us for 200 baht!!   You got to be kidding.  I let him know that since I paid 60 there was no way I'd pay 200.  My husband talked to a guy at the entrance and he said we could just take the PUBLIC BUS.  We hailed one down. We wave to the taxi guy as we board the bus.   Fare 15 baht each.  This bus had really comfortable seats, A/C, and there were only a few other passengers.  In no time at all we're at our stop.  We walk up, get our coins, get our tickets 52 baht each or 104 to get back to SAPHAN TASKIN.   We arrive back with no trouble and walk back to our hotel.  We decide to relax for the rest of the afternoon.

Public bus

I'm smiling beause it's costing us a total of only 30 baht to get back to the Bearing BTS station
Public bus

Sukhumvit line-Mo Chit is the last stop going back from Bearing

     We aren't hungry but grateful for the complimentary bottles of water.  We decide to cool off in the hotel pool.  There is no one else there.  My husband loves swimming up and down the length of this long, narrow pool.  I just enjoy splashing around in the shallow end.  Soon another lady joins us for a swim also.  We start talking about our families, our trips, etc.  She is American also.  Her daughter is teaching in Kuwait.  Our daughter is teaching in China.  She asks for info on the school where my daughter teaches.  I also am able to check my e-mails and other stuff on my I Pad as the wifi is working fine.

     Time to think about dinner.  Since yesterday was our anniversary and we didn't celebrate with a nice dinner we decide to walk to the Shangri-la.  This much more expensive hotel is almost next door to ours-just a few minutes walk down the same street.  We are directed to NEXT 2 as ANGELINA'S under renovation but we can still order from that menu.  We decide not to do the all you can eat buffet but order from ANGELINA'S alacarte menu.   To begin, we are given cold towels.  Nice.  Pinot grigio for me, Heineken for my husband.  Mixed green salad, individual bread loaves.   Penne classic bolognese and grilled salmon with roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables of asparagus and bok choy.  The food is very good.  My husband says the salmon is grilled perfectly.  Dessert-chocolate and mocha ice cream.  We are given free shot size glasses of mango with sticky rice.  Credit card 3166.13 baht which included 10% service charge.  We walk outside the restaurant to take in the lovely river views from this hotel.  We're back at our hotel by 9:30 pm.  It's been a wonderful day.

Inside the Next 2

Looking into Next 2 from outside

Mixed green salad to start

Penne classic bolognese

Grilled salmon

Night views from Shangri-La

Shangri-La Hotel at night

Pool at Shangri-La

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