Inspired by the title of the utterly hilarious 80’s flick, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, I’ve decided to devote this post to some of the more unusual sights in the city. 😛
These landmarks are not necessarily on everyone’s radar, but they definitely should be. 😀
First up, we’ll start with trains.
Trains: Hua Lamphong Train Station
Over the weekend, the Hua Lamphong train station in Bangkok celebrated its 100th anniversary.
My co-worker and I stopped by to check out the event held for the occasion, which included traditional Thai dance performances, handicraft stalls, and a chance to view their vintage steam trains.
We even walked onto the new VIP train, thinking it was allowed, since we saw other people on it. 😕
Turns out that was actually the Prime Minister of Thailand and we were quickly told to get off. Whoops! 😮
Hua Lamphong is currently still in operation, with diesel trains arriving each day from all over the country. In fact, over the past decade, this station has served as the point of arrival for rural workers, who have come to Bangkok seeking employment. They even have a government-run employment office in the station, and apparently a barber shop as well. I guess you’ve gotta make a good first impression. 😉
Now we didn’t get any hair cuts during our visit, but since the station is so close to Chinatown, my friend was able to get her eyebrows done. 😛
The technique involves using thread to gently remove the hairs, and chalk to increase visibility. Cost: $3 USD
Next up, let’s move on to planes.
This weekend my friend and I also did some urban exploring at Bangkok’s airplane graveyard, an utterly creepy junkyard filled with old, abandoned airplanes.
Planes: Airplane Graveyard
Essentially, these are decommissioned jets, including a Boeing 747 left to rot in an empty junkyard on the outskirts of town.The airplanes have been stripped down to the shell, covered in graffiti and weeds, becoming one with the urban landscape surrounding them. The graveyard is unique considering the obscure location, very disconnected from the international airport, surrounded by high rise condos and a school. Anyway, after meandering the overgrown grounds, we decided to go in for a closer look.
By far the highlight was stepping onto the abandoned Boeing 747. It was incredibly creepy walking around the aircraft, almost like we had walked on after a plane crash. 😮We were even able to take a ladder up to the second level.Oxygen masks seen eerily hanging from their overhead bins. 😮I think it may be too late for that. 😛
I actually found out about this place after reading an article on CNN about how some people live in these abandoned planes.It makes a lot of sense considering the shelter and security they provide. As such, these “residents” of the airplane graveyard do charge a 6 USD entrance fee, but considering their lifestyle (the woman wore a tattered sarong and only had one tooth), I felt like at least the money was going to people in need.
Lastly, let’s talk about automobiles.
Automobiles: Vintage Night Market
Now Bangkok is notorious for their night markets, and this has to be one of the coolest yet.Rod Fai Market combines food, shopping and music, all with a vintage twist.Not only do they have vintage bikes on display, they’ve converted the cars into trendy restaurants and bars. They had a lot of traditional Thai foods for sale, but also these bizarre eats: deep-fried century eggs. 😮
I’m usually a fan of bizarre eats, and these are a known delicacy, but there is controversy as to whether their preservation methods are toxic (occasionally using harmful copper sulphate), so I decided to pass this time around.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed learning about these unusual sights and they inspired you to do a little exploring of your own.
Still to come, I hope to update you on changes to our teaching methodology at school. As well, I have two big trips planned for July: a week-long adventure in Chiang Mai province and a weekend getaway to Sukhothai. Until then. Have a great week everyone! 😀