Sunday, February 28, 2010

District museum Samphanthawong

The district museum of Samphanthawong district, which basically is Chinatown, was originally located within Wat Traimit, the famous golden Buddha temple. It was however removed there in 2006 in order to make space for the massive rebuilding of Wat Traimit, which now has been fully opened. Within the temple it now has a new local museum on the history of Chinatown, the Yaowarat Heritage Centre, a museum I will try to visit in my next trip to Thailand.

The original district museum was however not completely abandoned, it was moved into the Pathum Kongka temple school, only one block away from its original location. To visit it, one however really has to know where to search, as there is no sign at the school entrance nor at the school building which houses the museum. When I went there, the school entrance was blocked by a goal net, as the students played soccer in the inner courtyard, so I had to ask me way through. I was guided to the office building to the right, the upper floor now houses the museum.
The main exhibit in the museum is a row of Chinese shop houses, one with traditional Chinese medicine, a rice trader and a general store. In the larger room it mostly has posters showing reproductions of historic photos with explanation, both in English and Thai, giving an overview of the Chinese community.

Given the much bigger, more elaborate and better located new museum, and even more the total lack of promotion by the Bangkok tourist office (who told Eric from the Tour Bangkok Legacies website that the museum is still in Wat Traimit even after he noticed it being gone) as well as the total lack of signs towards to museum, I doubt it will attract any reasonable number of visitors except those who were able to find the sparse information on it. Though the Song Wat road, at which the museum is located, has far less tourists walking by than on Yaowarat road, one or two English sign would increase the visitor numbers already a lot.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vin de Ray winery

Vin de Ray vineyardVin de Ray (แวงเดอร์เรย์) is a small but high quality winery in Saraburi. If I remember right, it belongs to a Thai TV personality, but the wine is available for sale there in a small shop as well, so it is not solely for the personal fun of this personality. We bought a few bottles, and unlike a Thai wine I once bought in a supermarket and which tastes quite strange, the red wine we bought was same quality as the European ones. At least for the taste of a casual wine drinker. The only other thing we did there was photo taking, while I took only the vineyard with a few workers in behind, whereas my family did many photos posing in front of vine and grapes. Also, for me the large yellow shower tree gave a great color contrast with the blue sky.

Yellow shower treeThe drive to there is also interesting. When coming from Muak Lek, one first passes a stretch of road named mystery road, as its one of those roads where the law of gravity seems to be violated. The car apparently rolls uphill, but of course this is only an optical illusion - which somehow did not work for me. A little later is a much more fascinating one, the tree tunnel. The road goes through a forested valley, and the trees have grown over the road so one drives through a nature-built tunnel. Too bad we did not stop for a photograph there.