Thursday, September 4, 2014

Asia Part I - Thailand

By: Ryan Kinports

Urban planning occupies a significant portion of our time in architecture. We plan for large communities, integrate green technologies to reduce consumption, and search for methods to encourage mass transit usage in the car age. Manhattan NY was the densest urban area I had been to until I traveled to Thailand last summer.

  Bangkok has a population of 14.5 million that travel into the central city on a daily basis. I've never seen endless traffic before. The flow of people in all directions was at times staggering with shoulder to shoulder contact a norm. There were clear problems with city services like electrical supply, and sewage runoff. I got the impression that they were and are growing at a rate much greater than the government can handle. Construction is booming in tourism and high-end residential towers. There is clearly money flowing into the city

This was taken from the Baiyoke Sky Hotel. The view and warm breeze made for a beautiful experience.
Downtown Bangkok at night.
A large section of the city is built on a canal system. The residences in this area are all designed to accommodate a boat. There was a whole boat culture here with service garages, mobile food vendors, and the navy handled policing

There are many shrines and temples around the city. This is Wat Arun which was completed by 1851.
Traditional Thai homes are not built often anymore but there are a few museums that display the simple wood construction with pride.

After architecture my favorite part of traveling is eating local cuisine. Seafood and fresh fruit was outstanding. It was a pleasant surprise when I found most Thai dishes to not be spicy. I was able to eat just about everything on as well due to the favorable currency exchange.

We were there for a coup which was exciting. Thailand has had 12 successful coups and many more attempts. The cause is rooted in a large divide between the two major parties. At this point it is status quo for their political process and instances of violent occurrences were substantially exaggerated by international press. We certainly never had any issues.
We spent a few days on Phi Phi Island far south of Bangkok. There was not a whole lot of activity on the island which was a welcome change. Everything from the water to aquatic life was beautiful. We took meals on the beach and had not a care in the world.
We could not have asked for a better end to our stay in Thailand. I’ll be walking you though Hong Kong in part II.

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