thailand

Textures: Central Thailand by a zugunruhe

The monkeys of Lopburi menacingly lurking, the history of Ayutthuya, the overcrowded markets, and the terror and beauty of Hellfire Pass. The middle of Thailand is a busy and varied.

Lopburi is pure monkey anarchy that is partially tamed by the two scheduled feedings everyday that quell the casual theft and battery the monkeys are prone to. Ayutthuya was the seat of Siam before the Burmese army rendered it obsolete in the 18th century. The terror of what happened to the Allied prisoners of war at Hellfire Pass is felt through the silence allowed now that the area is a protected park.

The markets a few hours outside of Bangkok are a clusterfuck of annoying tourists. Arriving early is key as by 10-11am Damnoen Saduak is a traffic jam. Though, an hour earlier it’s a peaceful walk through vendors setting up shop and the wonderful smells of noodles and chopped fruit. The railway market at Maeklong is overrun by GoPro strapped onlookers waiting for the train to pass through, while their litter is thoughtlessly piled at the end of the shops. Just up the road from Maeklong is the gem of Amphawa. The canal is wide enough to accompany tourists on boats, ample room on the side streets, plus there’s a sweet upcycle shop that had a St Edward’s shirt prominently on display. 

Lopburi

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Ayutthuya

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Hellfire Pass

Trains and Busses

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Damnoen Saduak

Maeklong

Amphawa

Textures: South Thailand by a zugunruhe

The south is a little bit of a different world. Much more clear water, remarkably warmer, and much higher prices. At times, the tourists or expatriates seem to outnumber the local population. 

The old town in Phuket City still feels colonial and has more in common architecturally with Havana than the cities in northward in the country. The rest of the province is partially mountainous and outlined by sandy beaches that are littered with colorful plant life and plastic bottles.

Koh Phi Phi is this exquisite, biconcave island in the middle of the Andaman Sea. The majority of services are located on the isthmus between the two limestone peaks. The island is so small that the service workers live right outside of, and between, the pricier resorts. A quick walk around the corner takes you from a these resorts to a local neighborhood where discarded sports bar signs rest and picture frames hang from windows. Tourists are charged 30 baht (~$1) when arriving at the island to aid in clean up and trash reduction efforts. Even as trash is collected and shipped off the island, large build ups of water bottles and other trash are still present from the mass amount of tourism the island receives.

Phuket

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Andaman Sea

Koh Phi Phi