My first impressions at the airport: big - loud - and a lot of people. My first question: Where can I get a visa? After an entlass way within the airport, I found a big hall where someone gave me all the important documents for the visa. You don't need to organize a visa in advance - you can just get it as "on arrival" directly on the airport. It is valid for the next 28 days.
Everything went fine without any complications. After I picked my stuff up from the assembly line, I tried to organize a Sim-card for my phone. For the nexst time: It is cheaper to buy the card in the city, do not buy it at the airport. I payed 700 Baht for 14 days, that means round about 20 Dollars - it would have been more cheap in the city, believe me.
But who cares? - Let's jump into a taxi to Bangkok! For the first time I see this crazy traffic in real life.
The wildest cars, big busses without door and a lot of Tuk Tuks and Motorbikes. Everything seems to be chaotic, but some how it works.
I can't wait to discover this city!
Government: Constitutional monarchie
(1€ = 33,84 Baht)
Time zone (UTC + 7)
5 hours later then Munich
Population: 8,21 mil
Area: 1.569 km²
Also known as:
City of Angel
If you want to know more about the traditional dance in Bangkok, you definitely should check out the traditional Khon Dance. This kind of dance is based on the tales of epic Ramakien, which is Thailands national epic, derived by the Hindu epic Ramayana. Originally, Khon can only be performed by man. But today, they opened up these rules and women are also part of the performances.
The principal characters are heroes, ogres and a lot of monkeys - the monkeys are the most important part. While the ogre and monkey characters wear masks, most of the human roles do not. The dance is inspired by natural movements of the monkeys and for the humans roles - the movement of the hands and feet are really important and detailed. Normally the Khon dance is only for the king, that means if you want to see this wonderful tradition today - the only place is the Theater Sala Chalermkrung. They do an authentic performance of an old tale, where a white monkey falls in love with a mermaid and has to pass through a lot of adventures.
The Sala Chalermkrung Theatre
As I just told you. Visit the Sala Chalermkrung Theatre. If you don’t want to loose so much time with it - use the opportunity with a combo-Ticket for the grand Palace and the show. The show is only 40 minutes and you can watch it after visiting the Grand Palace. The show is great, the dancers are amazing and the stage possibilities are crazy good. They used video projections, moving stage elements and great stage pictures.
Siam Niramit Theater
I also visited The Siam Niramit Theatre. It is not so easy to find, because it’s in the north of Bangkok - don’t try to get there by taxi or Tut Tuc. You can use a shuttle from the central station or take the subway (as I did) by yourself (be prepared to explore an adventure - so many people use the subway in Bangkok!) The show was interesting and it’s amazing what they did with the technique on stage (water, moving elements, flying dancers), but I have to say: the real performance was a bit dissapointed. If you want to spent a great evening with food and a funny show - its great! But if you want to get in touch with their local theatre, I would choose a smaller and more authentic show. This show was created for tourists.
In Bangkok you can also visit the National Theatre of Bangkok, with traditional shows, the Patravadi Theatre with traditional dance performances (it’s also a school for new performer so please check them out) and a lot of crazy shows - like ladyboy shows, variety and comedy)
Khao San Road
A crazy street full of party, music and food - around 400 meters long. It has not so much to do with the local traditional culture, but it’s a really good place to get in touch with local musicians and other backpackers from all over the world. I had the great chance to sing with two local musicians - we sang "sweet dreams" by Eurythmics. It was a great experience!
And as a hint, you can also check out the street next to Khao Sun Road - You will find a lot of live music and bars. In Addition you can find a list with local clubs for concerts and events down below.
It was not so easy to organize a singing lesson - and even more hard to find the place. But - I made it. I had a great singing lesson with one of the most famous singing coaches in Thailand Fasai at the Music and Dance Acadamy Bangkok. After a short warm up, which was not so different then my singing lesson in Germany, she told me a lot of interesting things about thai music and singing technique which I will definitely use for my songwriting. It’s so incredible:
The Thai langue uses a lot of different tones - that means one word can change the meaning when you use it in another tone. When I compose a melody - It is possible that I have to change the melody because of the meaning of the lyrics. Lyrics and Music are more together like this and I really like this thought. Further more the thai langue is really high - I mean the place where you feel your voice is a bit more up then for example german or english. I know it’s not easy to explain, but I hope you get what I want to say - It’s much more easier for a thai-singer to reach higher notes, because they already speak so high (especially for pop music). If you are a musician or interested in singing, I highly recommend you to join a singing class in Bangkok.
Although I have seen so much in Bangkok, the Lumpini Park was one of my highlights. As the first stop of my journey, Bangkok was great, if not sometimes a bit too much: loud, people, energy, color and culture. The Lumpini Park is the complete opposite of this big city madness and yet part of this fabulous world.
You can drink a coffee, take a deep breath, and work on ideas. In addition, many locals are visiting this park - jogging, dancing, singing - If you are in Bangkok, you should really come over here!