My time in Thailand was originally supposed to be a quick layover in the Bangkok airport on my way to Sydney, but I decided to extend my stay since it was the first time I’d been in Asia. I had no museums to visit or research to conduct, but as it could be many years before I am in Thailand again, I took a few days to explore the city. With a group of new friends, I spent four days touring the Taling Chan floating market, buying homemade goods in the enormous weekend bazaar, touring Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), and wandering through the city’s famous flower market where you can buy huge bouquets of roses for less than a two dollars.
Though the city was not the location of any of my case studies, I did some research into museums in the area. As a famous medical museum connected to the Siriraj Hospital, the Siriraj Medical Museum houses countless sets of human remains that demonstrate the effects of various diseases, natural disasters, etc. Even though my summer research focuses on human remains and I am accustomed to being around them, this museum was so unlike anything I had ever seen before that I began to get a bit nauseous halfway through my visit (no photography was allowed). I will not be including it in my study due to the medical nature of the institution, but it was still a valuable experience to gain insight into the Thai perspective on death and presentation methods of human remains.
Unlike other large cities I’d visited, there was no large centralized public transportation system so my friends and I used a combination of river ferries, buses, trains, and tuk tuks (open-air shared taxis) to get around. My best meals were purchased from street vendors for 30 Baht or less (under $1). With an exchange rate of one US dollar to 30 Thai Baht, Bangkok proved to be an incredibly economical stop on my trip. I wish I could have had time to travel outside the city to the rural villages and picturesque islands of Thailand, but missing out on such locations just provided me with an excuse to return to Thailand someday in the future.