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About Life

Boat trip to explore historical areas for foreigners in Bangkok

Today I’m on a boat trip organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Thai media to explore historical neighborhoods along the river in Bangkok where foreigners used to live. The trip is called “ย่านฝรั่งในบางกอก” (Foreign Quarter in Bangkok). This project is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ cultural diplomacy. Its purpose is to create historical awareness, which is an important foundation for learning about the nation’s cultural heritage and important past events and create a correct understanding of the history and culture of the country.

[STOP 01] Wat Rachathiwat in Dusit district was originally established pre-Ayutthaya. It was given its present name by King Mongkut who once resided here. Of interest is the Khmer style ordination hall with murals in a fresco style by an Italian artist.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/QVaM7WAjp…

In 1674, King Narai granted land in Bangkok to the Portuguese community to build the Church of Immaculate Conception. Later, Vietnamese Christians settled here. The present church building dates back to 1847.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/YwiRTFsnJ…

[STOP 02] After establishing Thonburi as the capital, King Taksin granted the Portuguese a piece of land in an area now called Kudichin on which they built the Church of Santa Cruz in 1769. Back then, the church was wooden. It was later renovated in 1834, 1916 and 1996.

The present day Church of Santa Cruz dates back to 1916. The Thai name is Wat Kanlaya. The church is not often open to the public, but if you get a chance, it’s worth looking inside as it is really beautiful.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/P1Be7kyDw…

[STOP 03] The Kudichin community is one of the few Western communities in Bangkok which managed to maintain its cultural heritage. A good place to learn about the history of the Portuguese is at Baan Kudichin Museum. Entry is free. Closed Mondays.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/deyrHQtdK…

One of the famous snacks in the Kudichin community is Khanom Farang, which is a cupcake brought to Thailand by the Portuguese many years ago. They still make them in the same way with the original recipe passed down through the generations. You can find other unique food here too.

Our boat tour is on one of the new electric catamaran boats belonging to MINE Smart Ferry. The MFA rented this one for the day but normal trips cost 20 Baht. This is a cashless boat. You have to use either a contactless credit card or QR Code.

[STOP 04] Lunch today was at Krua Khun Kung on the bank of the Chao Phraya River near the Grand Palace. My favorite dishes were green curry with chicken (top left) and soft shell crab curry (top right)

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/oqqapLsas…

[STOP 05] Holy Rosary Church, or Kalawar Church in Thai, is an old Gothic style Roman Catholic Church in Talad Noi on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. The plot of land was given to the Portuguese by King Rama I in 1786. The present church is 120 years old.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/4ZkCEEaEp…

Holy Rosary church was built in Gothic Revival style. It follows a cruciform floor plan, with the main façade facing the Chao Phraya river. The church has Gothic-arched doors and windows throughout, and its stained glass work is said to be among the most beautiful in Thailand.

[STOP 06] Statue of Captain John Bush who was Harbour Master during the reigns of King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn. He was also the first Director General of the Marine Department. He was so famous that the road where he lived is called Captain Bush Lane.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/WS2dAn2zN…

This is the entrance to Bangkok Yai Canal. This was the original route of the Chao Phraya River. A shortcut called Khlong Lat Bangkok was dug in 1542 which saved hours on the journey to Ayutthaya, the former capital. This is one reason why foreigners still call this area Bangkok.

[STOP 07] Thailand’s first Thai bank was started in 1904 and after a few name changes became the Siam Commercial Bank in 1939. The Talat Noi Branch is the first and longest running bank branch in Thailand. It is located in Talat Noi of Bangkok.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/EZBYNGdkN…

The Talat Noi branch of Siam Commercial Bank, on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, was designed by Italian architect Annibale Rigotti in the Beaux-Arts style, just over 100 years ago. You are allowed to visit during normal banking hours.

[STOP 08] Assumption Cathedral in Bang Rak dates back to 1809. The present larger church was built in 1909 due to a growing congregation. Most of the marble and stained glass windows came from France and Italy. The tower is 32 meters high.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/swUr3ro1y…

Assumption Cathedral is the principal Roman Catholic church of Thailand. The cathedral hosted both of the Papal visits to Thailand; Pope John Paul II in 1984 and Pope Francis more recently in 2019.


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Railway Exhibition at Hua Lamphong Station

🚂 Calling all train fans! There is an event at Hua Lamphong station from now until 16th January 2022 where you can get up close with steam locomotives and also visit places in the 105 year old station that are not normally open to the public.

As well as taking pictures of the steam locomotives, there are also various carriages on display from the wooden benches in 3rd Class to the sofas in the 1st Class carriage. There is also a board room with a very long table

At the front of Hua Lamphong station, you will find the railway museum which is open every day during the train exhibition. Entry is free. There is a lot of train memorabilia that will fascinate all train fans

You are probably very familiar with this front view of Hua Lamphong station, but have you been up to the balcony on the second floor? Until 16th January you are allowed to go up. Entrance is through the museum to the left of this picture.

During the event at Hua Lamphong station, there will be live music every weekend in the afternoon of Saturday and Sunday. There is also a photo exhibition. You can also enter your own pictures with a chance to win big prizes.

There are ten places at Hua Lamphong station which you can visit to take pictures. At each location, get a special card stamped. Once you have finished, you can pick up a free presentation pack with stamps from the 100th anniversary of the station.

Another place you can visit at Hua Lamphong is the entrance to the former hotel on the second floor. Entrance is by the toilets. Upstairs, there are some good views looking down to the tracks which you don’t normally get to see.

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Boat Trip on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

⛴ Good morning from Bangkok. Today I’m on a special one-day excursion on the Chao Phraya River aboard the RIVA Express. I love doing boats trips and so couldn’t resist. Cost is 699 Baht and there will be seven stops. This is a live THREAD of the trip.

The RIVA Express has a lower deck which is air-conditioned and an upper deck which is open to make it easier to enjoy the views and take pictures. There are also male/female toilets.

[⛴ STOP 01] Our first stop was the Guan Yu Shrine, which is the soul of Thai-Chinese people. Inside there are three statues with the oldest dating back to 1736 when the shrine was established. King Taksin is believed to have come here.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/tTcqgQzuh…

[⛴ STOP 02] The Princess Mother Memorial Park was opened in 1997 as a remembrance to the mother of King Rama IX. There is a replica of her childhood home that used to be nearby and also two exhibition halls on her life.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/K3EMcRyTL…

[⛴ STOP 03] The excursion boat next stopped in front of Wat Kanlayanamit. Established in 1825, the temple has Thai-Chinese architecture. It houses a massive 14 meter tall Seated Buddha and also has the largest temple bell in Thailand.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/cqk4qtPAf…

[⛴ STOP 04] We next walked along the river to the Kudi Chin Community. This dates back 250 years and was given to the Portuguese by King Taksin after the fall of Ayutthaya. Of interest is Santa Cruz Church, local food, and a museum.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/W4XmWwDtp…

[⛴ STOP 05] Our lunch stop was at Tha Maharaj. They gave us one hour here. This area is famous for the amulet market opposite Wat Mahathat.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/iGb6eTsCB…

Some of the artwork that can be seen at Tha Maharaj, which is close to the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang

[⛴ STOP 06] After lunch, we got back on the boat and headed further north to Bang Or Mosque. This mosque was built by Persian merchants descended from rulers of Songkhla. It was built during King Rama VI’s reign.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/Qn3fMCmjp…

[⛴ STOP 07] Our last stop on the boat trip was at Wat Devaraj Kunchon. This is a popular place for Thai Buddhists to release fish into the river in order to make merit. There’s also a golden teak museum here, but it was closed today.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/tkHxXYXMH…

That’s the end of the boat excursion on the RIVA Express. I hope you enjoyed my photos and I’ve inspired you to do a boat trip on the Chao Phraya River in the future.

Click on “Show this thread” to see all the tweets from this special trip.

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How much do you trust public drinking water?

I’ve promoted the free drinking water dispensers at airports before, but several people had a valid question. How much can we trust that they maintain the filters? So, I brought along a TDS Water Meter to measure dissolved solids in the water.

The first TDS reading is tap water at Phuket Airport. At 92ppm that is actually safe to drink or at least brush your teeth with.

* Obviously my meter doesn’t test for everything. For example, it doesn’t detect poisons like arsenic and so only use it as a guide.

At Phuket Airport, they have these drinking fountains. The TDS reading here is 66ppm which is still within accepted limits for drinking water.

Phuket Airport also has these hot and cold water dispensers. The TDS reading here was zero which meant no dissolved solids. My water filter at home is the same. But some water filters add minerals for health benefits. Bottled drinking water is never this low.

This is the tap water in the toilet at Don Mueang airport. The TDS reading is quite high at 203ppm but it is still within acceptable limits for clean water. Though at the upper end. You shouldn’t do more than brush your teeth with it. But don’t swallow!

This is the water filter at Don Mueang airport. The TDS reading was 183ppm, not much lower than tap water. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worse than the water in Phuket which was zero, as this one could be adding minerals. I’ve written to the manufacture but no answer yet.

The drinking water dispensers at Don Mueang airport have a status light which was green. So, safe in theory. I decided to test the water at the far end of the terminal which would have less foot traffic and so less people using it. As expected the TDS reading was lower at 159ppm.

This is not a scientific study. Like I said before, the TDS meter doesn’t test for things such as poisons. Plus, a high reading could just mean that there’re minerals present, like in bottled water. My intention here is just to stimulate discussion. Is public drinking water safe?


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Train Excursion to Sai Yok Noi Waterfall

Good morning from Bangkok Railway Station. Today I’m taking the excursion train to Nam Tok in Kanchanaburi. There will be a couple of stops along the way before we get to the waterfall.

When you get on the Nam Tok excursion train, it’s important that you get in the right carriage. This is because the train also has carriages for the excursion to Hua Hin. At the junction, the train will split. We will go west and the other half will go south.

Tickets for the day-long excursion train to Nam Tok are only 120 Baht for 3rd Class carriages with fan. If you want air-conditioning, it is 240 Baht for 2nd Class. The train runs only at the weekend and public holidays. There’s a couple of stops along the way.

These are the toilets on our train. They all seem to be Western style toilets with seats. Quite often, 3rd Class carriages will only have squat toilets. These are not easy at the best of times, but on a moving train they must be nearly impossible to use.

Our first stop on the day excursion train from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi is in Nakhon Pathom. The highlight is the giant stupa which is the biggest in Thailand. The top of its spire reaches 120.45 meters, with the base circumference of 235.50 meters.

As it is an excursion train, they wait for you at the station. They gave us 30 minutes which was just enough time to walk to the chedi and to buy some breakfast in the market. I had Moo Ping with sticky rice. The train left promptly at 8:20am.

As we approached Nong Pla Duk Junction, the engineers prepared to split the train as we would be going separate ways. The front half, where we are, will go to Nam Tok in the west. The back half will go to Hua Hin in the south.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/eQiYNt7pW…

The uncoupling of the train literally at Nong Pla Duk Junction literally took them less than two minutes. On our return this evening, we will be coupled back together at this station for the last keg back to Bangkok.

The second stop on the excursion train trip to Nam Tok was at the Bridge on the River Kwai Bridge. They gave us 25 minutes here. This was made famous by the movie of the same name. Though, they didn’t actually shoot it here and this isn’t a wooden bridge.

You can take boat trips from the River Kwai Bridge which I will try and do the next time I’m here. The boat is only 800 Baht for 90 minutes and it has several stops. It’s worth spending at least two nights and three days here. I’ve been here many times.

The most scenic part of the railway in Kanchanaburi is when it goes along the river near Saphan Tham Krause station in Sai Yok. I’ve done this a few times. But to be honest, the best views are while you are on the trestle bridge watching the train pass.

The best pictures are from the left hand side of the train. Make sure you sit in 3rd Class as the windows on 2nd Class don’t open and are tinted. They also open the front of the train so you can see the view that direction.

Our final destination on the train excursion to Kanchanaburi was Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi. This is the last station on the original line that went all the way to Burma. In the past, the line ran right past the waterfall. There is a steam locomotive here as a kid of a memorial.

This is Sai Yok Noi Waterfall which is the highlight of the special train excursion to Kanchanaburi. We were supposed to have three hours here but the train arrived half an hour late. But it was still enough time to walk around and have something to eat. Some people swam as well.

This was our lunch today at Sai Yok Noi Waterfall. There is plenty of choice for food here and so no need to bring your own. As it’s a national park, alcohol is not allowed. Nor are plastic or foam boxes.

After nearly three hours at the waterfall, the guard blew the horn as a signal for us to head back to the train. The return journey to Bangkok will take at least five hours. If I remember right, there should be a brief stop in Kanchanaburi to buy snacks.

After crossing the bridge, the special excursion train stopped for 30 minutes at Kanchanaburi station. That was long enough for us to visit the nearby war cemetery to pay respects and to get some snacks before getting back on the train.

Quite a few of the major railway stations in #Thailand seem to have steam locomotives. This one is at Kanchanaburi station. There are two more at the Bridge on the River Kwai.

Finally back at Bangkok Railway Station after a great day on the Nam Tok special excursion train. The full day cost was only 120 Baht. You can book here: dticket.railway.co.th/DTicketPublicW… Scroll down to Sai Yok Noi.


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Exploring Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem

This morning I’m exploring Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem on foot. This outer moat for the Grand Palace was dug in the 1850’s during the reign of King Rama IV. The canal is 20m wide, 3m deep and 5.5km long. All of the land on the right hand bank of this photo belongs to the railway.

As you can see from these photos, the BMA are improving the landscape on each side of Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem for 1,250 meters where it runs alongside Bangkok Railway Station. They will widened the path to include a jogging track and also plant 151 more trees.

These are artist impressions of what this section of Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem canal will look like. The BMA anticipates that this new green area will be finished by March 2022.

This is the Bobae Market section along Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem. Will the BMA be tempted to move them away from the canal banks as part of their beautification project? They did this already with the market over Khlong Ong Ang.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/uDG5KYy2i…

Where Luk Luang Road meets Rama V Road, next to Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem, there is a new tourist attraction called the Great Wall of Thailand. The shipping containers and razor wire seem to be a permanent fixture to protect Government House.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/8TAFkBdrP…

Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge is the most impressive of the bridges on Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem. It was built in 1900 at the same time as Ratchadamnoen. The bridge and avenue were commissioned by King Rama V following his first visit to Europe and was inspired by the Champs-Élysées.

At the northern end of Khlong Phadung Krung canal is Thewes Pier. From here you can catch a Chao Phraya Express Boat. This is also a few meters from the last pier of the electric canal boat service. So, it’s very convenient.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/ULwiQfTbT…

As I was about to head back down the canal to Hua Lamphong on my electric scooter, one of the electric canal boats pulled up and so I decided to take the scenic route back instead. This boat service is free and runs seven days a week every 15-30 minutes depending on time of day.

This is as far south as I can go on Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem. Just out of site is a watergate and beyond that the Chao Phraya River. Before the watergate was built, there was a bustling trade with many boats going up and down this canal from the river to the train station.

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Train Excursion to Pasak Cholasid Dam

Good morning from Bangkok Railway Station. Today I’m going on a special day excursion to Pasak Cholasid Dam. The train leaves at 6:00am and returns tonight at 6:50pm.

To go on the train excursion, you must be fully vaccinated or can show a negative ATK covid test taken within 72 hours. After we had boarded, someone came round to inspect our certificates. Really it was just a cursory glance. He told me, just to make passengers feel better.

This is Bang Sue Grand Station which will replace Bangkok Railway Station as the new terminal station for the capital. It’s about 25 minutes north of Hua Lamphong. From 24th December, all trains will depart from here.

I’m traveling today by 3rd Class which is my preferred way to ride the trains. It’s not really about the cost (3rd class with fan is ฿330 and 2nd Class with air is ฿560). I like to have an open window to make it easier to see the view and to take pictures.

I always bring a book to read on long train journeys but I rarely read them. I spend most of my time looking out of the window or chatting with fellow passengers. The time always passes quickly.

The highlight of the train excursion is crossing the bridge over Pasak Cholasid Dam in Lopburi province. This is the biggest earth dam in Thailand. The rainwater catchment area is 14,520 square kilometers and the storage capacity is 785 million cubic meters.

The excursion train stops on the bridge over the dam at a point where there is a good curve. Here we are allowed to get down for twenty minutes to take some photos. There’s a really nice cool breeze today.

The end of the line for us is at Khok Salung station. We stayed here for 30 minutes while the engine was switched to the other end for the return journey. Local people had set up OTOP shops for us to buy snacks.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/hX54FyXbP…

You don’t need to take the special excursion train to cross the bridge over the Pasak Cholasid dam. You can take a local train which will be much cheaper. But it won’t stop on the bridge for you to get out to take pictures.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/Xi4meTGXM…

After we left Khok Salung, we went back over the lake to our next destination, Pakak Cholasid Dam Station. Here we had the option to take a van to two locations including a sunflower field. The cost is 60 Baht per person.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/VibLPio4V…

Our first stop was at Banana & Egg Cafe. This is one option for a place to eat. You can also pay 20 Baht to join a golf cart tour through the gardens. It is up to you how long you stay as there are 25 vans doing a circuit.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/9EGYFQYE6…

Our second stop was the highlight for many people as it was a sunflower field. If you don’t have your own transport, these are not easy to visit as they are often in the middle of nowhere.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/yTmZSMN8d…

Entrance to the sunflower field was 20 Baht per person. There are many locations in Lopburi and Saraburi for seeing sunflowers. They don’t last forever and so farmers take turns planting sunflowers so that there is always somewhere to see them during the cool season.

After the sunflower field, I jumped in the next van that took me back to Pasak Chonlasit Dam. They have a recreation area next to the lake and this is where I will hang out while I wait for the train to return at 3:30pm.

📍MAP: goo.gl/maps/iTUvTsNEL…

Lunch with a view. Today I’m having stirfried basil and minced pork on rice with a fried egg. 40 Baht. I couldn’t have picked a better day. There’s a lovely cool breeze in the shade by the lake. Up next is a tram tour of the dam

After lunch, I paid 30 Baht for a one-hour tractor and trailer tour of Pasak Cholasid Dam. They took us across the 4 kilometer length of the dam to the other side where we stopped briefly at a giant Buddha before coming back. Not very exciting but it passed the time.

In total, we have four and a half hours at Pasak Cholasid Dam before it is time to catch the excursion train back to Bangkok. I spent most of the time on the two tours, eating lunch, and walking to the spillway. But still another hour to go. Luckily I bought a book to read.

Time to board the train and head back home. The following are some things you can do at Pasak Cholasid Dam
✅ Tour to sunflower field
✅ Tour around the dam
✅ Picnic by the lake
✅ Walk to the spillway
✅ Fly a kite
✅ Rent a bicycle

I think I will sleep well tonight.

Tickets for the Pasak Cholasid Dam train excursion cost ฿330 for 3rd class and ฿560 for 2nd Class. Book online dticket.railway.co.th/DTicketPublicW… or call 1690 for info.
🗓 28 November
🗓 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26 December
🗓 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30 January

That’s a wrap on my train excursion to Pasak Cholasid Dam. I hope you enjoyed my photos and I’ve inspired you to take the train. Thanks and see you on the next train trip.

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Improving the landscape of Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem

The Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) are improving the landscape on each side of Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem for 1,250 meters where it runs alongside Bangkok Railway Station. They will widened the path to include a jogging track and also plant 151 more trees. This is an artist impression of what this section of Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem canal will look like. The BMA anticipates that this new green area will be finished by March 2022.


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Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market

One of my favourite riverside markets is Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market in Taling Chan district of Bangkok. I went there the other weekend and it was just as popular as ever. If you are worried about crowds, I would strongly advise you to arrive by 9:00am at the latest. This is a great place to come to eat a meal or two and do some shopping. We also did a boat tour from here which lasted about one hour. You can take the public boat, but we decided to rent the whole boat for only 300 baht. I highly recommend doing this trip. If you don’t have your own transport, then just take a taxi. As long as you don’t come back too late in the afternoon, you won’t have difficulty in finding a passing taxi to take you back home.

MAP: https://g.page/taladnamkhlongladmayom?share


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The Grand Palace during Covid

Now is a great time to re-visit or take visitors to the Grand Palace as there are hardly any tourists. Usually there are long lines to take selfies, and then you will always get strangers in your photos. Not so at the moment. Entrance fee is ฿500 for foreigners and free for Thais. I’ve never seen the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace so empty. It’s really weird not seeing group tours. It’s also very nice, as the Thais here were really happy to see us. They kept asking, “Where are you from?” – This is really a good time to come to Thailand.


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Monks Doing Alms Round by Boat

The tradition of offering alms to monks on boats is not seen so much these days. In the old days, when canals were the highways, it was more common. One place where you can still observe this is at Kwan Riam Floating Market in Minburi district of Bangkok. If you come at 7:30am on Saturday or Sunday, you can offer alms to monks on boats. Once finished, you can then have breakfast in this riverside market. They also do short 30-minute boat tours from here along Saen Saeb canal. It is a nice market, but it is not my favourite.

MAP: https://goo.gl/maps/yFPnupK3zrZF4HHTA


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Hidden Bangkok Canal Tour

One of my passions is boats and canals. During my youth in the UK, my parents often took us on canal boat holidays during the summer. So, even today, even though I don’t as yet own a boat (one day maybe), I love exploring the canals and doing boat tours whenever I can. So, I was really happy when the guys at Hidden Bangkok Tours invited me to do a boat tour on the Thonburi side of the river.

In the days before the long-tailed boats, these slower boats were the way you got around. From a tour point of view I found it much better as they are slower, quieter and the tour guide doesn’t have to shout. Our tour started in the Wat Nak Klang Community on Khlong Mon. It is in Bangkok Noi district. This is actually a really nice community with some good street art. There’s no doubt that the highlight of the two hour boat tour on the canal was passing the giant Buddha statue at Wat Paknam. But it was also great to observe canal life. Many of these houses have no road access. So they come and go by boat. Including deliveries.

If you are interested in going on a boat tour, you can contact them through their Facebook or Instagram pages.


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Headache Stencil, Thailand’s Banksy

One of the most well known political street artists in Thailand is Headache Stencil. Like Banksy, he likes to remain anonymous as much as he can. He told Khaosod, “I started calling myself Headache Stencil because I knew what I did is going to cause people headaches. I’ve been a troublemaker since I was a kid.” His street art has been appearing on walls since the military coup in 2014, but he became famous in 2018 with his political commentary about the luxury watches belonging to the deputy prime minister and the poaching of a black panther by one of Thailand’s richest men. The artwork for the former case was the face of Prawit inside an alarm clock and the latter case showed a black panther crying tears of blood.

Headache Stencil’s street art can be found all over the city, but there is a nice collection in the On Nut area. Though be aware that some come and go quite quickly due to the political content of the artwork. There are a few at the top of Soi Sukhumvit 58, but some have already been whitewashed out. His latest one can be found down Soi Sukhumvit 56 on the boundary walls of an empty lot (13°41’58.1″N 100°35’55.7″E). The new mural is in support of same sex marriage in Thailand. The photos below are all from this same location.

The following street can be found at the top of Soi Sukmvit 58.

At the Jam Factory in Bangkok (see Google Map), there’s an interesting exhibition by 30 political artists. It’s curated by Headache Stencil.  The exhibition runs until 22nd November 2021.

Please let me know in the comments below if you have had any recent sightings of his art work. Let me know the date and exact location. Thanks.

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Applying for the Yellow Vaccine Passport

Today I’m at the Department of Disease Control to apply for my yellow vaccine passport which I will use for international travel. I’m applying at the office in Nonthaburi, but you can also apply at your local health office or provincial hospital. This THREAD gives you the steps.

[2/6] I made an appointment to apply for the ‘COVID-19 Certificate of Vaccination’ from the website of the Division of Communicable Diseases: vpassport.ddc.moph.go.th. But please note, after 30 October, you must use the Mor Prom app to make an appointment.

[3/6] My appointment was at the Department of Disease Control in Nonthaburi (Map: goo.gl/maps/KdeCViUtA…). You need to go to Building 5. The security guards told me where to go before I asked. At the lobby entrance, you pick up a queue number and wait to be called.

[4/6] All you need to show them are signed photocopies of your vaccine certificate and passport. They didn’t ask to see my originals, a flight ticket, or my appointment number. You can photocopy your documents here. No passport photo is need for the vaccine passport.

[5/6] Once they have checked your documents, you take the lift up to the 6th floor. Here you must take another queue number. A short while later, my number was called and I submitted the two photocopied documents. There was no form to fill out. I was then told to wait.

[6/6] About 30 minutes later, my name was called and I went to pick up my yellow vaccine passport. All very simple. I was in and out in less than one hour and the process only cost me 50 Baht. I’m now good for international travel.

[UPDATE 1:]  The yellow vaccine passport has no expiry date. Though obviously the “life expectancy” of the vaccine will expire. So, there is space for eight more vaccination jabs.

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Lunch with the New British Ambassador

I was really happy to be invited to have lunch with the new British Ambassador last week at his private residence. This follows my tour of the new embassy in AIA Sathorn Tower a few months back. I find these informal meetings with ambassadors, and consular staff, very important to get to know each other and to let them know about concerns of the expat community. I share a number of social issues and concerns as them such as tourist safety, road safety, air quality and climate change, and of course, fair and equal treatment of foreigners living in Thailand. During lunch, we talked about ways we can work together to help the expat community.

Related Blog: A Chat with Mark Gooding, the British Ambassador

I didn’t post pictures of what we ate on social media and so quite a few people asked about this. So, if you are really interested, we had smoked duck and mango salad for the starters, seared red grouper with lemon butter sauce and vegetables for the main course, and lemon posset for dessert.

I cannot show you pictures of the inside of his residence, but I will say that it is much larger than I thought it would be. I think there is enough room to host a reception here for up to 40 people. Obviously not as many as what they were able to do in the past at the old residence, but you cannot beat the magnificent view that they have now.

The Former British Embassy

After eating lunch with the British Ambassador at his new private residence, I thought it would be a good idea to go and take a look at what has happened to the former residence on Ploenchit Road. I took the above photo about three years ago from the fifth floor of Central Embassy. The mall where I stood used to be the front lawn of the embassy. The remaining land was sold in 2018 for a record at the time of £420 million. It was bought by Central Group and its Hong Kong partner. At the time they said it would become a mixed-use project.

This is how the plot of land now looks three years later. To be honest, I thought there would be more progress by now. I am not sure why it is taking them so long. The War Memorial, which I will talk about in a future newsletter, was moved to the British Club. The Queen Victoria monument was sold as part of the deal. It will apparently be put back in place once the building has been completed. I am not sure where it is at the moment. I also heard a rumour that the former ambassador’s residence would also be reconstructed on site and be used for functions. But that seems very unlikely.

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