Bangkok – trips, events and exhibitions

Unbelievable but my semester abroad is almost over. In the next few weeks we are going to finish our projects and write our finals. This time it’s going to be a little bit hard but not as much as it had been at home. We still just have three times a week courses. Also the final program had changed. Instead of four final exams we only have four final projects and one exam now. This is awesome! Especially for me, as I am a more practical oriented design student.

Since my last post a lot of interesting things happened here in Bangkok. First, we visited Koh Samet. Koh Samet is an Island in the Gulf of Thailand. The journey was a little bit tricky and we used several ways of transportation. At first, we took a cab to the public bus terminal, than we got by bus to the port. From the harbor we took a boat to Koh Samet and then a cab again to our hotel. The second cab ride was really funny. The paths on the island have many curves and potholes. So it remembered me more of a ride on the roller coaster then on a taxi. After we finally found our hotel it was really enjoyable. We stayed there for four days and used this time to chill out. Our bungalow was for sure not the best one. But for sleeping it was enough. The rest of the time we had spend at the beach and in the restaurant. Our accommodations restaurant was really great and not too expensive. I tasted a frog. It was delicious!

Back in Bangkok we did a lot of sightseeing. But the most impressive things I have seen are the museums. We visited the TCDC (Thailand Creative and Design Center). You can find there some exhibitions about design. The permanent one is about the most important and formative designs in chosen countries. All the other exhibitions change time by time. The one we have seen is called “Always Prepare: Living with changes”. It explores how we can prepare for the unexpected by reflecting on Thailand’s experiences with floods and Japans with earthquakes. It was really fascinating to see what they invented for their safety.
But the greatest part of the TCDC is the unimaginable huge library with over 15000 books in the end. And all of these books are about design! We were in paradise.

After this we visited a small photo gallery and the Museum of Siam Discovery. As you can imagine it is about the history of Thailand. But it also had a great exhibition about rotten food. But the point is not what these museums are about, it is more how they work. The interior design reflects the theme of the exhibition. Also you can find everywhere something you are allowed to touch and to play with it. There is not one single sign with “do not touch”. It is designed in a way that it will be possible for everyone to learn and have fun at the same time. It is really a discovery museum.

We also have been at the snake farm, in a seashell and the forensic museum. The snake farm was really interesting. But there are not just snakes you can look at like in a zoo. There was also a museum on the second floor which works in the same way as the discovery museum. At a particular time there are two shows. The first so called “venom extraction” show, just takes place from Monday to Friday. The second one occurs every day. But at the weekend and on holidays it proceeds on a different time than usually. This one is called “Snake handling and taking pictures with tame snake”.
About the seashell museum there is not that much to say. It is just a beautiful place worth seeing. As you can imagine, there is not that much to interact with. But the design of the museum inside is really nice to look at. It is amazing to see all this different and colorful shell species. When you go inside it’s as if you dive into a magic world full of shimmer. You go inside with low expectations and came out just in a good mood.

In marked contrast to the shimmering Seashell Museum there is the forensic museum. This was really interesting but depressing and creepy in so many ways. It is located in the Siriraj Hospital and took a bunch of different museums together: Forensics, pathology, Thai medical history, parasitology and anatomy. To summarize it you can see a of lot dead bodies, Photographs of self murderer and people killed by accident or by a murder, Siamese twins, organs and body parts. This is really not for the faint-hearted! But for everybody who thinks he can handle it, it is worth looking.

But of course we do not just visit museums in our time here. In the last weeks our university took us to some trips. We visited Ayutthaya, the old capital of the kingdom of Siam. There we saw many stones which once were temples and a. After the walk through the ruins we visited an elephant camp, where we were able to pet, feed and ride the animals. This is a great experience for everybody. Even if you just pet them and refuse the ride. Our second trip was to Siam Niramit. This is a traditional Thai dance and theater show. It will be hard to find something equal to the magic of this evening. Do not miss the opportunity to see the show, or you are going to miss something really mind-blowing! If you get the chance take a look! Our last trip was to Ancient City. There you can find recreated the most important memorials and buildings from the whole country. To see the entire park you need a vehicle. By walking you wouldn’t even see half of it in one day.
What we all liked a lot, was that we paid nothing for all these trips. Also the lunch and a snack on the bus were paid by the Chulalongkorn University. But this is still not the end since there will be a few more events in the next weeks.

Best wishes and thank you very much for reading,
Irina Kusmina