Search: Advanced | Preference
Traveling Boy means the travel adventures of the Traveiling Boitanos
Travel adventures of Eric Anderson Boitano
Travel adventures of John Clayton
Travel adventures of Deb Roskamp
Travel adventures of Fyllis Hockman
Travel adventures of Brom Wikstrom
Travel adventures of Jim Friend
Travel adventures of Timothy Mattox
Travel adventures of Corinna Lothar
Travel adventures of Roger Fallihee
Travel adventures of Tamara Lelie
Travel adventures of Beverly Cohn
Travel adventures of Raoul Pascual
Travel adventures of Ringo Boitano
Travel adventures of Herb Chase
Travel adventures of Terry Cassel
Travel adventures of Dette Pascual
Travel adventures of Gary Singh
Travel adventures of John Blanchette
Travel adventures of Tom Weber
Travel adventures of James Thomas
Travel adventures of Richard Carroll
Travel adventures of Richard Frisbie
Travel adventures of Masada Siegel
Travel adventures of Greg Aragon
Travel adventures of Skip Kaltenheuser
Travel adventures of Ruth J. Katz
Travel adventures of Traveling Boy's guest contributors

Ketchikan Bed and Breakfast Service

Panguitch Utah, your destination for outdoor discovery

Alaska Sea Adventures - Alaska Yacht Charter and Cruises

Colorado ad

Sorrel ad

Polar Cruises ad


About Gary   write me    Feeds provide updated website content        

Gary: Thailand

wrecked fishing boats and debris at Baan Amphoe Beach
The wreckage of Baan Amphoe Beach

Thailand: From the Wreckage, a Lotus Blooms
Story and Photos by Gary Singh

aan Amphoe Beach sits about 15 km from Pattaya, Thailand’s Dionysian party playground. I am here amidst an assortment of wrecked fishing boats, all parked on the beach in various states of disrepair. It looks like a tsunami has just hit, but I learn from the nearby Malabar Seafood Restaurant that this is where the locals store their boats when they need to get fixed.

It’s funny, primarily because Baan means village and Amphoe means district, and there exist many different English spellings for anything in Thai. I see it written Baan-Am-Per, Ban Amphur and at least a few others. But the absurdity phases me none. On the contrary, the desolated abandonment of the entire scenario beckons me to stay. I got a thing for abandoned places.

dilapidated fishing boats at Baan Amphoe
Dilapidated fishing boats at Baan Amphoe

gathering storm at Baan Amphoe with fishing boats in the foreground
The storm looms
As I contemplate the scene, a storm appears imminent, with a dreary gunmetal sky hovering above all. Crashes of thunder begin to reverberate across the landscape, juxtaposed only against the horrific ‘70s AM-radio monstrosities emanating from the Malabar Restaurant. Leo Sayer would be proud to know he is “only a heartbeat away” from this destroyed nautical bric-a-brac near the Gulf of Siam.

And here at Baan Amphoe, I also sense a feeling of laidback acceptance of all things as they are. As soon as one local floats up in his fishing boat, he begins pumping the water out of it. The boat has a leak, it seems. More locals are yelling playfully at each other across the inlet. A few bored seagulls float in and out of the scene. A few children scamper about. Everyone appears to be in a lazy mood due to the pulverizing humidity, even though the rain is starting to come down.

fishing boats and locals at Baan Amphoe
Baan Amphoe locals take in the day

Malabar Restaurant is cheap. As I meticulously pick through a delicious grouper fish, a syrupy instrumental version of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline fills the room. Moments later, the sky darkens to near-black and the rain suddenly becomes violent. The employees scramble to shut the sliding glass barriers that separate the restaurant from the outside patio. I am now safe to watch the abandoned fishing boats in all their ruined glory.

With the storm now in full force, the boats look even more wrecked and desolate. Many Thais believe in animism, and I wouldn’t be surprised if spirits from times past are lurking here somewhere.

a sea wall at Baan Amphoe
At Baan Amphoe, there must be spirits

After experiencing the desolated and remote wreckage at Baan Amphoe, it was time to revel in the polar opposite: sheer luxury. Shattered nautical wreckage and luxury hotels can be seen as merely two sides of the same coin. Just like yin and yang, each scene compliments the other.

So, one day later, the opulent Siam Kempinski Hotel in Bangkok became my next place of contemplation. After all, what would a bleak stew of conked-out fishing boats be without a contradictory scenario? In particular, the Garden Wing of the Siam Kempinski features 21 swim-up rooms with direct pool access (see photos).

views of the swim-up rooms and pool, Siam Kempinski Hotel, Bangkok
Left: View from outside the swim-up room; Right: View from inside the swim-up room

view of the pools and gardens from the tenth floor, Siam Kempinski Hotel
Tenth-floor view of the Siam Kempinski pools and gardens
Inside, weary folks might feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the Kempinski’s grand lobby in all its glory--the interior design alone is staggering--but as a traveler who often feels like a ghost looking in on humanity, I fit in perfectly. The Kempinsky is inimitable. It is not cookie-cutter. The hallways are refreshingly maze-like, an uplifting change from the repetitive straight corridors of so many homogeneous box hotels.

But the property’s art collection, above all else, is what comes crashing through as the key visual component. Over 4000 pieces of native artwork fill the rooms, hallways, public spaces and especially the lobby, creating a vibrant cultural backdrop. Of those 4000 pieces, 200 are commissioned paintings, sculptures and photographs from more than 30 Thai artists. It took four years to amass the entire collection.

artwork with a lotus theme on wall of Siam Kempinski Hotel
Lotus-themed artwork appears on every wall, every nook and cranny

The lobby alone functions as a 24-hour art gallery of sorts, with lotuses and splashing water serving as the foundation and source inspiration for the rest of the collection. The wall sconces are formed like the decorative fingernails of traditional Northern Thai dancers, with lotus patterns blooming from splashing water. Similar lotus patterns appear on the elevator doors and signage, as well as the employees’ uniforms.

urn and bottled water at the Siam Kempinski
Left: Urn on the 10th floor;
Right: The Kempinski stocks its own bottled water in the rooms

The lotus appears everywhere at the Kempinski

Especially for a traveler in Thailand, where Buddhism penetrates everything, all of this leaves an indelible impression. The lotus in ancient worlds was believed to symbolize the union of the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Its roots are in the earth, it grows in and by means of water, its leaves are nourished by air and it blooms through the power of the sun’s fire. Therefore, the lotus can represent the fourfold order of the natural world.

The unfolding petals of the lotus also symbolize the expansion of the enlightened self. As the saying goes: “From the darkest mud blooms the brightest lotus.” One needn’t eliminate the imperfection, the mud, the wreckage, in order to bloom. It is precisely in that mud where our own true nature thrives.

And yes, I am transformed. In a period of just two days, I have traversed a tiny slice of the Thai landscape. From the abandoned wreckage and dreariness of a desolated beach at Baan Amphoe to the opulent environs of the Siam Kempinski Hotel, I have bloomed.

view of the pool from one of the swim-up rooms at the Siam Kempinski
The Siam Kempinski features 21 swim-up rooms

Related Articles:
8-Circuit Thailand


Name: Required
E-mail: Required
City: Required
Feedback:
 

Let Gary know what you think about his traveling adventure.

* * * * *

Your tea adventures are especially interesting because I've always associated tea with British etiquette or a bevy of women wearing dainty victorian costumes and sipping tea with their little pinky sticking out. To see Tea from a man's perspective brings new light in a man's psyche. I've been among the many silent admirers of your writings for a long time here at Traveling Boy. Thanks for your very interesting perspectives about your travels. Keep it up! --- Rodger, B. of Whittier, CA, USA


Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the White Continent of Antarctica

nguins on  shore as writer's cruise ship passes by, Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more, but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages. Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.

Go There

Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: Food, Fun and Falconry at Ashford Castle (Dispatch #18)

sunset at Galway Bay

The Palladian Traveler soars above the crowd with a gal named Lima, cruises across a lake dotted with hundreds of islands, and feasts like a king in a regal dining room.

Go There

John Clayton's travel blog/review
Would You Believe She Can Carry 800 (Yes, 800!) People!

Emirates Airbus A-380
As she came around the corner we could not believe how big she was. Massive, and yet incredibly beautiful – almost elegant in fact. Her lines were so symmetrical she seemed to blend into a classic example of astonishing good looks. The other fact that amazed all of us was how quiet she was. We felt sure that with the obvious overwhelming power she evidenced, she'd be extra loud. It's a cliché, but she was as quiet as a church mouse – or "as quiet as dreaming trees."

go there

Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's Gold Country

aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
In the 1840s, the population of California was only 14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived from all over the world – and they came for one reason: gold. James Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in El Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.

go there

Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
Lake Charles’ Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras

dressed-up for the Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their children’s eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from last year’s Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already fed and are rubbing their stomachs.

go there

Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass' Home is as Imposing as the Man who Lived There

Cedar Hill, Washington DC
Having recently received a misguided shout-out from the president during Black History Month – Frederick Douglass has done an amazing job... – it seems a good time to revisit the cultural icon's legitimate place in history. And a visit to his home in Washington, DC – surely a place the current president might want to consider visiting himself – would be a good place to start.

Go There


© TravelingBoy.com. All Rights Reserved. 2015.
This site is designed and maintained by WYNK Marketing. Send all technical issues to: support@wynkmarketing.com
Friendly Planet Travel

Lovin Life After 50

Big Sur ad

Herzerl Tours ad

Tara Tours ad

Alaska Cruises & Vacations ad

Dude Ranchers' Assoc. ad

Cuna Law Yacht ad

Cruise One ad

Global Exchange Reality Tours ad

Global Exchange Reality Tours ad

Global Exchange Reality Tours ad

Park City ad

Visit Norway ad

MySwitzerland.com

Sitka, Alaska ad

Montreal tourism site

Visit Berlin ad

official website of the Netherlands

Cruise Copenhagen ad

Sun Valley ad

Philippine Department of Tourism portal

Quebec City tourism ad

AlaskaFerry ad

Zurich official website

Zuiderzee Museum ad

Like-a-Local.com