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Somanathapura temple front facing Karnataka

Day-trip from Bangalore: Visit to Chennakesava Temple, Somnathpur

Date: 30th May 2009

This was a one day drive to a town called Somanathapura, most famous its Kesava temple, located around 100kms from Bangalore and 35kms before Mysore city. Just off Mysore Road, it will probably take you 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours by car.

Hay outside Somnathpur temple Karnataka
It was past 10am when we arrived at the temple
Somnathpur temple entrance Karnataka
I don't remember, but I do believe there is an entry fee to the temple. It's not much.

Tree branches Somnathpura Continue reading “Day-trip from Bangalore: Visit to Chennakesava Temple, Somnathpur” »

Gandikota gorge Pennar river end of hill

Bangalore weekend drive: Gandikota and Belum Caves, Andhra Pradesh – Part 1

I interrupt my current Singapore series to bring attention to a place I never knew even existed in India!

Me and my friends haven’t gone on a road trip in quite some time. So when we spoke about driving somewhere we all had never gone before, it was hard. We were sick of Mysore Road and have seen pretty much every attraction that stretch of Karnataka has to offer. This was going to be a proper weekend drive – leave early Saturday morning and be back by Sunday night, so given the time frame, the choice of destinations were quite limited to begin with.

As luck would have it, a friend of mine uploaded a few photos he had taken from his visit to a place called Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh. I had never heard of the place before but when I saw his photos, I just couldn’t believe I had never even known about its existence! Upon asking him for more information about Gandikota and doing some research on my own, I suggested a drive to Gandikota to my friends.

Some of them were apprehensive, saying it looked like “just a canal,” some couldn’t make it, but I was still hell-bent on going there. Charting a route map using Google Maps, the drive from Devanahalli to Gandikota was going to take approximately 5 hours (250kms). I also found that we can drive to another attraction, Belum Caves, from Gandikota itself and that would take over an hour to cover the 60km distance. From Belum Caves, we could then drive to the town of Anantapur and connect back to NH7 to drive back all the way to Bangalore city (280 kms).

After much convincing and last minute tussles, we (myself and friends Anand and Ramesh) were ready to venture into a territory hardly many from Bangalore have gone before.

Date: December 17th, 2011

The plan was for Anand to first pick me up and then Ramesh by 6am, but as is usually the case on our drives, we were slightly delayed and only picked up Ramesh as it neared 7am.

Foggy Sarjapur road morning drive Bangalore
We started from Sarjapur-Outer Ring Road… which was rather foggy at 7am
Airport road towards Devanahalli Bangalore
We drove on Airport Road and past Devanahalli

We stopped at a Kamat restaurant adjoining a Bharat Petroleum bunk to our left for breakfast. After puris and tea, we set off again towards Chikballapur.

Route map to Kadiri
We got off the main highway at a major intersection from where you need to take a right (Image: Google Maps)
Untarred road to billur
We did get a bit of rough road…
Road to Billur Karnataka
… but got back on to smooth tarmac soon after
Goats blocking Indian road
But we had to slow down when we saw this
Goats on road Karnataka India
Bangalore’s mutton supply discovered!
Goats crossing road India
There was a LOT of them!
Goat herder crossing road India
We waited until the herd passed by
Goats ram Karanata road India
Papa goat?
YSR golden statue junction Andhra Pradesh
We came straight down that road and passed this statue of the late YSR. When we stopped to confirm if we were going the right way, a passer by told us we need to take a right instead to head towards Kadiri
Road to Kadiri Andhra Pradesh India
We were now in the state of Andhra Pradesh

Lake Andhra Pradesh India

Road to Kadapa Andhra Pradesh
The road got narrow for a bit
Temple lake Kadiri Andhra Pradesh India
By 11am, we were in the town of Kadiri
Raja Reddy wedding photo
Raja looks pleased

Kadiri temple Andhra PradeshMixture namkeen shop kadiri AP India

Kadiri town AP India
Kadapa is the nearest major town to Gandikota, but we decided to drive through an alternate route that would take us straight to Gandikota
Jalamadugu turn at Kadiri Andhra Pradesh India
We came down that road and took a right towards Jammalamadugu
Ramesh Anand Phadake Ford Fiesta AP India
We stopped for a tea break at a dhaba along the way
Gopi Punjabi Dhaba Andhra Pradesh India
Gopi was the name of one of our ex-bosses… but that’s not why we stopped here, I swear 😉
Kadiri rocks Andhra Pradesh India
The landscape in these parts is completely different. Lots of rocks…
Inner Andhra Pradesh rocks geography
… and the rocks just stay (Taken by Ramesh)
Ramesh Iyer tea Andhra Pradesh India
We had our Rs. 5 chai

Mithun Divakaran taking photo outside Kadiri

Anand Phadake tea stop dhaba
It was 11:45am, and we still had a long way to go
Inner Andhra Pradesh old man
We hit the road again
Road to Jamalagundu bridge
This was pretty cool
Hindu temple under huge rock India
This temple under that huge rock

Temple beneath rock Andhra Pradesh IndiaDriving to Gandikota bridge

Andhra Pradesh interior electricity lines India
For most our journey, we traversed through sparsely populated villages and barren landscapes — and hardly any vehicles with a ‘KA’ registration
Road to Jammalamadugu trees
(Photograph by Ramesh)
Sunflower fields Andhra Pradesh India
There were SO many sunflower fields on either side
Sunflower fields Jammalamadugu Andhra India
(Mind you, just about all the shots above were taken from behind the car window)
Ramesh phone GPS Ford Fiesta drive
Even though Ramesh had copies of the map routes on his Nook tablet, we relied heavily on the Google Latitude mobile app to check if we were on the right path
Goat crossing Andhra Pradesh
More ‘mutton’ crossings

We eventually reached a small village where we had to stop at a railway crossing. Something that took an ungodly long time!

Anand Mithun Ramesh in car
We had plenty of time to take photos of ourselves in the car

Nearly half-an-hour later, the train finally shows up — and how…

We had lost quite a bit of time and it was already lunch time. Fortunately as we arrived in the town of Jammalamadugu (yeah, try saying that fast) we saw a sign of hope.

AP toursim Gandikota hotel road sign
Finally, we were getting nearer!
Road to Gandikota Andhra Pradesh India
The roads for the most part were good… and there were *hardly* anybody else driving through these roads
Windmill blades Suzlon Andhra Pradesh India
There’s quite a lot of windmill activity by Suzlon in these neck of the woods
Road to Gandikota fort Andhra Pradesh India
The road got narrower — which meant we were getting close
AP tourism Gandikota hotel entrance
And by 2:15pm, we had finally reached our destination! Haritha Hotel Gandikota, by APTDC

When we called up this hotel (Ph: (0)90105 54899) to book a room, the guy who answered simply told Ramesh “just come”. Now we know why. There were hardly any other guests besides us!

The waiter/receptionist/attendant showed us the cottages, we didn’t want an A/C room, so we just took a fan room that had a large bed which could easily accommodate the three of us. The room cost Rs. 630 ($11/€9), and we didn’t have to pay anything extra for the third person. Unfortunately, the water heaters weren’t working. (Why is it just about every hotel in India that costs about the same has such a problem with providing hot water?!)

Gandikota hotel restaurant granite pillars
We were hungry, and sat down at the restaurant for lunch

There wasn’t a menu, so we just asked what was available for lunch. The receptionist/attendant/waiter told us: “chapathi, phulkas, dal curry“. That’s it. We didn’t have any choice but to order all three.

Since they hardly see any guests, they don’t stock any meat either. But receptionist/attendant/waiter assured us we would have more options available for dinner, like egg. Sigh…

Mithun sunglasses reflectionWhen our food came, the chapathis and phulkas were essentially the same – both were made using maida, the phulkas only being a little smaller. And I doubt the phulkas were made the way they are traditionally done so. They cost the same too, Rs. 24 per plate (a plate has two), so you might as well just order chapathis. The dal (Rs. 40) was passable. We were hungry, so had to eat what was given.

By the way, they have the full stable of Coca Cola’s offerings like Kinley water and soda, besides the other carbonated drinks like Sprite, so you really don’t need to carry the same when coming here. Unless you’re a Pepsi fan.

Gandikota hotel garden playground Andhra Pradesh India
We decided to take a few photos of the hotel
Gandikota fort from APTDC hotel
You can see the Gandikota fort wall from here
Aptdc gandikota hotel granite buildings
Everything is made of granite stone
Gandikota hotel rooms Andhra Pradesh India
Our room was in the back
Gandikota aptdc hotel resort panorama
The cottages are on the extreme left (Panorama comprised of 9 shots)
Mithu Divakaran AP tourism hotel Gandikota India
(Photograph by Anand)

We decided not to leave our bags in our room just yet. Instead, we wasted no time in heading straight to the fort.

Once you reach the fort walls, you can take your vehicle inside and down a narrow ‘S’ path, through a small village to park right near Gandikota masjid (mosque).

Gandikota fort masjid Andhra Pradesh India
We parked by the side
Gandikota masjid entrance Andhra Pradesh India
There was no entrance fee to enter the masjid, but the guides there said we’d have to pay Rs. 25 since we have professional cameras

Gandikota fort masjid architecture Andhra Pradesh India

Gandikota fort masjid Andhra Pradesh tomb
The Jamia Masjid

Gandikota masjid minarets Andhra PradeshGandikota fort masjid halls IndiaGandikota fort passage hall sun rayGandikota corridor wall writings Andhra Pradesh IndiaGandikota fort dome IndiaGandikota fort tree lawn IndiaGandikota fort masjid behind Andhra Pradesh IndiaGandikota fort masjid architecture IndiaGandikota fort cowGandikota fort minaret Andhra Pradesh India

Gandikota fort masjid minaret dome parrots
Anand’s Canon SX30IS super-zoom is truly impressive
Gandikota fort rocky building Andhra Pradesh
After the masjid, we went in here to pay the ‘camera fee’
Ramesh Mithun paying fee Gandikota fort
There was no sign anywhere saying Rs. 25 was the ‘camera fee,’ but the guide sounded kind enough and eager to tell us about this place without asking for any money, so we didn’t mind paying up

Gandikota fort hall windows panorama

Gandikota fort hall pillars panorama
Panorama comprised of 4 shots
Anand Mithun taking photos Gandikota fort
Photograph by Ramesh
Rangaswamy temple Gandikota Andhra Pradesh India
I walked to this temple while Ramesh and Anand walked towards the gorge
Red granite temple rocks Gandikota
The stones are mostly red granite

Rangaswamy temple entrance Gandikota Andhra Pradesh IndiaRangaswami temple hall Gandikota India Ranganatha Swami temple elephant stone carving Gandikota

Gandikota Ranganathaswami temple pillars ancient art India
The temple is called Ranganatha Swamy temple

Ranganathaswami temple art stone carving Gandikota Ranganatha Swamy temple back red rocks GandikotaRanganathaswami temple pillar stone carving Gandikota IndiaRangaswami temple pillars GandikotaRanganatha swami temple pillar stone carving Gandikota IndiaRanganatha swami temple pillar stone art Gandikota

Ranganatha swami temple door Gandikota
I was too chicken to enter this dark room

Ranganatha Swamy temple stone carving art Gandikota IndiaRanganatha swamy temple pillar stone carving GandikotaRanganatha swami temple pillars art carvings Gandikota

Ranganathaswami temple gates Gandikota India
I left the temple and walked towards the gorge
Gandikota panorama from Ranganathaswamy temple Andhra Pradesh India
A panoramic view from Ranganatha Swamy temple
Granite rocks Gandikota Andhra Pradesh India
Tread carefully, its all rocky grounds here
Rocky hills Gandikota Andhra Pradesh India
I was walking towards the main reason I wanted to come to Gandikota
Gandikota Erramala hills towards Pennar river
Wait for it….
Gandikota gorge Erramala Pennar river panorama Andhra Pradesh India
… voila! Ever thought India had geography that looked similar to America’s Grand Canyon?

Oh, if you thought the above photo would make for an awesome wallpaper, here’s a 1920×1200 version! 🙂

Mithun Divakaran Gandikota hills
It’s quite windy at the edge
Red granite stones formation Gandikota
Wonder how these rock formations even came to being
Gandikota gorge rocks river
The rocks just seem planted there

Erramala hills Gandikota fort rocks India

Anand Mithun taking photos Gandikota gorge
(Photograph by Ramesh)

Erramala hills Gandikota grass

Gandikota Pennar river Andhra Pradesh India
A very calm Pennar river
Mithun Divakaran taking photo Gandikota gorge
(Photograph by Anand)

We looked for other ways to reach centre of the hills, from where I hoped to take panorama of the entire plateau in front of us.

Mithun way under rocks Gandikota
Just then, we spotted this opening, and I went in to see if it led anywhere

Going under rocks Gandikota hill

Gap under rocks Gandikota gorge
It led us out here
Gandikota gorge from cave panorama India
The view from down here… about the same as from up there
Mithun Divakaran Gandikota rocks Andhra Pradesh river
Photograph by Ramesh

Ramesh taking photograph under rocks GandikotaMithun Anand through gap Gandikota

Going back out rocks Gandikota
We made our way back out one-by-one
Anand Ramesh walking up rocks Gandikota
We moved on further
Rocks boulders Gandikota Andhra Pradesh India
We had to move slowly and chart our own path
Stones boulders Gandikota hill Andhra Pradesh India
I can’t stress enough on safety. It’s just rocks and boulders you will be stepping on, so take your own time. Some of these rocks are loose too.
Gandikota fort walls river hills
But it was worth it, the view was fantastic…
Gandikota gorge pennar river panorama
… and I got my panorama!

Anand Phadake Gandikota hills eveningKite bird flying Gandikota sky India

Gandikota gorge Pennar river end of hill
Took some last few shots with the 70-200mm lens

Gandikota fort wall stone steps

Gandikota fort walls river side panorama
Imagine what life must have been in those days
Gandikota fort walls Pennar river Andhra India
We would have liked to have gone all the way down to the river… but we didn’t see a way or anybody else down there (Photo from Anand’s super-zoom camera)

Gandikota red hill Errmala gorge

Cave Gandikota hill Pennar river Andhra Pradesh India
How cool is that? There’s a cave down there… and I would had *so* loved to have gone in there
Red granite stone hill Gandikota India
Red granite

Gandikota hill red stone Andhra Pradesh India

Ramesh Anand Mithun photo Gandikota Andhra Pradesh India
We attempted a group shot with Ramesh’s camera atop my bag. After a few attempts, we got this.

Gandikota rocks Pennar river India

Gandikota reservoir Pennar river
The river flows into the Mylavaram reservoir
Standing stone Gandikota rocks India
The rocks here are quite something
Gandikota tourists evening Andhra Pradesh
It was past 5pm, and most visitors were on their way back
Sunset Gandikota rocks Andhra Pradesh India
It was getting darker, but I still had some more to see
Gandikota fort wall ruins India
I wanted to go that Mayan-like structure right of the centre
Gandikota hill Erramala Andhra Pradesh India
Walking away from Erramala hills
Gandikota fort ruins boundary wall India
It smelt of shit here — both goat and cow (and hopefully not human)
Gandikota fort ruins steps to platform
Unfortunately as I got near the structure, the entry path to the steps was blocked by plants and weed
Lamb shelter Gandikota village
Hello you shitters!
Gandikota village old houses
Walked through the village
Gandikota village stones houses India
Everything is made of stone here

Telugu girl child village Gandikota Andhra Pradesh Gandikota village cow calf Andhra Pradesh IndiaGranite stone village homes Gandikota Andhra Pradesh

Gandikota village well Andhra Pradesh India
One of the village’s source of water
Gandikota fort masjid reflection well
I walked back to the car and re-grouped with Ramesh and Anand

We still had one more temple to see inside the fort, but we just couldn’t figure out the way to get to it. So we drove out of the fort and wondered if there was another way.

Once out, the guides told us the way to Madhavaraya temple was from inside the fort itself, but they suggested we go tomorrow morning as the fort was going to be closed (more like, the guides were done for the day).

Turkeys Gandikota Andhra Pradesh India
Well hello turkeys! We don’t see much of you here in India.
Gandikota turkey birds India
They may taste good, but boy are they ugly headed!

Gandikota turkey black featherWe decided to head back to the hotel. We were all pretty tired and we just wanted to rest.

Anand Ramesh rooftop AP tourism hotel Gandikota
We went up to the roof of our cottage

Standing on the roof I thought of how I could have brought my grill and some marinated meat in the cooler. I’m sure the staff wouldn’t have minded. It’s a perfect setting for a barbecue.

Mind you, Gandikota isn’t for everyone. It’s not what I’d call a ‘family destination,’ unless your family is the adventurous kind. The rocks you will have to walk over just to take the kind of photos of the gorge you see above aren’t easy for everyone to do. Also, there is hardly anything around for fun or excitement. Not even a hospital in case of emergencies.

If you want a weekend of peace and quiet, some privacy or even a new spot to usher in the New Year with close friends, then consider Gandikota as a perfect Bangalore getaway.

Gandikota evening pink sky Andhra Pradesh India
The evening sky at 6:15pm was a picture perfect end to an amazing day of discovery
View from AP tourism hotel Gandikota
There is quite literally, nothing surrounding this resort
Gandikota hotel dog on steps
Only stray dogs for company

I took bath without hot water because I desperately felt the need to be clean after walking amid goat droppings and all the climbing. Fortunately, it wasn’t too cold outside.

The same receptionist/attendant/waiter came to our room to ask us what we wanted for dinner. It would help the kitchen if we ordered in advance. The options weren’t many, but we asked for some rice, chapathis, dal, tomato curry, egg masala and egg burji. Everything cost Rs. 40-Rs. 45, so our expectations weren’t very high.

There is the option to have cable (Dish TV) in our room but we told the guy we definitely weren’t going to be watching television. We had ‘Mr. Jack‘ for company and the three of us spent the night reviewing our photos and chatting away.

Tomorrow morning, we had to go to the temple, drive 60kms to Belur caves and then drive back to Bangalore before nightfall. Day 1 was fantastic, we couldn’t wait to see what day 2 had in store for us!

Bonus: Here’s video of the Gandikota gorge I put together using clips from Ramesh’s and Anand’s camera

Next post in the series:
Bangalore weekend drive: Gandikota and Belum Caves, Andhra Pradesh – Part 2

Gurdwara entrance sikhs Bangkok Thailand

Thailand 2010: Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha, Sampeng Market, JJ market (again)

Date:  28th November 2010

I began today with a taxi ride to Phahurat Raod.

House Lumpini building Silom Bangkok Thailand
Drove towards Silom first

Silom buildings Bangkok Thailand

Silom HSBC building Bangkok Thailand
A lot of financial firms have offices in Silom
DTAC telecom headquarters Bangkok Thailand
DTAC is Thailand’s second largest mobile service provider

Wat temple Silom Bangkok

China town daytime Bangkok Thailand
Drove through China Town again
Thanon Chakphet road Bangkok slums
Got down at Chakphet road

Chakphet street food stalls Bangkok

Fried fruit street hawker Bangkok Thailand
Batter-fried fruit

Phahurat market Chinese sweet shop Bangkok

Thanon Phahurat road Bangkok Thailand
Reached Pahurat road

Thanon Pahurat road shops Bangkok Thailand

Gurudwara Sikh point sign Pahurat road Bangkok
I could see a sign stating Gurudwara Sikh, but all it pointed to was a wall of shops on the side of the road I was on

Old Siam plaza Bangkok Thailand

Pahurat market shops Bangkok
I still waded through Pahurat market

Figuring the gurdwara was behind the shops, I found a gap and walked into an alley. There, an old Thai man saw me and just raised his arm to point to where I needed to go. I guessed I wasn’t the first Indian he may have come across in search of the elusive gurdwara.

Pahurat Bangkok alley way to gurdwara
Kept wondering how much more I had to walk to find it…
Bangkok gurdwara Indian temple Thailand
…but there it was (finally!)
Way to gurdwara Bangkok alley
The ‘desis’ were in sight 🙂

Shops near gurdwara Bangkok ThailandMarket near gurdwara Little India Bangkok

Gurdwara Sir Guru Singh Sabha Bangkok Thailand
Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha

You can read about the history of the gurdwara at their official site, but apparently Sikhs have been in Thailand since the early 1900s. Gurdwara entrance sikhs Bangkok ThailandAll non-Sikhs have to cover their heads with a scarf, which they provide by the stairs in the main hall.

Gurdwara scarfs Bangkok Thailand
Pick one

You also have to take off your shoes if you want to go upstairs. They have a big shoe rack in the main hall and you get a token.

Gurdwara main hall Sikhs blood donation Bangkok
The Sikhs were being their charitable self today with a blood donation camp
Gurdwara main hall fans Bangkok
The 6-storey gurdwara is one of the largest outside India
Gurdwara Langar hall Bangkok Thailand
The first floor is a Langar hall, where visitors and devotees had sat down for the free meals
Gurdwara wedding hall Bangkok sikhs
The floor above it looked like it was hall used for weddings and other events
Gurdwara prayer hall Bangkok Thailand
Above that was the main prayer hall

Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha prayer hall Bangkok

Gurdwara prayer hall Bangkok Sikh kid photobomb
This kid was waiting for his chance to ‘photobomb’ this shot
Gurdwara Sikh classrooms Bangkok Thailand
The fourth floor is a school
Gurdwara old Sikh lady Bangkok Thailand
The fifth floor was a hall with rooms…
Gurdwara Bahi Dharam Singh Bangkok Thailand
… with priests (I assume?)
Gurdwara Sikh guru rooms Bangkok Thailand
Not sure what this signifies or what they preach

Gurdwara window Bangkok ThailandChinaworld building Pahurat Bangkok

Gurdwara entry Pahurat road Bangkok
That looked like a more accessible entry
Gurdwara top floor Bangkok Thailand
I had reached the top
Gurdwara prayer hall carpet Bangkok Thailand
So naturally, I went back down

Gurdwara Guru Granth Sahib prayer Bangkok ThailandGurdwara Punjabis prayer hall Bangkok ThailandGurdwara Punjabi men praying Bangkok Thailand

Gurdwara Punjabi women praying Bangkok Thailand
The sexes are segregated in order to maintain ‘concentration’ it seems

Gurdwara Punjabis praying Guru Granth sahib Bangkok Thailand Gurdwara sikh women praying Bangkok ThailandGurdwara Sikh men praying Bangkok Thailand

Gurdwara prayer hall Bangkok Thailand
Assuming the prayers were over, I went down
Gurdwara Indian food hall Bangkok
Decided to eat

As much as I love Thai cuisine, after nearly two weeks, eating simple dal curry, sabzi (vegetables) and chapathis felt soooo good.

Feeling full, I went all the way back down, collected my shoes and left the gurdwara.

Pahurat market outside gurdwara Bangkok
Stepped out to a world where samosas and spring rolls are sold side-by-side
Pahurat textile market clothes Bangkok Thailand
Now to get back out…
Pahurat textile market prices Bangkok Thailand
I walked through the Pahurat textile market
Pahurat textile market Bangkok Thailand
I finally came out through here
Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin Poh Chang campus
Rajamangala University of Technology was across the road

Here’s a map to give you a better idea:

Gurdwara Pahurat map Bangkok
(Image source: Google Maps)
Nightingale Olympic Company building Pahurat Bangkok
I moved on

Nightingale Olympic Company building Bangkok

Triphet road traffic crowds Bangkok
I was on the hunt for Sampeng Market next
Triphet road junction traffic Bangkok
The traffic scene here is *quite* different from the Sukhumvit side

After a bit of asking around, I was directed to Sampeng Market.

Sampeng market entry lane Bangkok
This wasn’t the main entrance or anything. Just one of many lanes in.
Sampeng Chinese market Bangkok Thailand
Sampeng market is known to be an integral part of China Town

Chinese idol worship Sampeng alley Bangkok

Sampeng Chinese market bags Bangkok
The lanes eventually all meet at one main straight path…
Sampeng market clothes CDs Bangkok Thailand
…which extends a long way

Sampeng market is a massive space with stores selling, well, just about everything: clothes, Chinese medicines, other Chinese specialties, toys, households items, pirated CDs and anything else China mass produces.

Sampeng market Sunday Thais Bangkok
Today being a Sunday, it was very crowded!
Sampeng textile market crowded Bangkok Thailand
Thus, very stuffy… and quite suffocating at times

Sampeng Chinese market accessories toys Bangkok

Sampeng market crowds traders Bangkok Thailand
It’s through one narrow lane visitors, traders and porters all the pass through

Sampeng isn’t for everyone. It’s quite congested inside (or I assume it’s like this every weekend) and it can get very hot. Also, I didn’t find much of the merchandise to my liking, so unless you want loads of stationary for your kids, cheap, then Sampeng is the place… if you feel it’s worth the effort. I only stopped to buy one of those inflatable travel pillows/neck rests (cost ฿50).

Sampeng market open road Bangkok Thailand
I finally got out and I had the option to move to the next section
Sampeng market Chinatown Bangkok Thailand
Instead, I wasn’t confident I’d find anything more worth buying and therefore, decided to end my Sampeng trek
Ratchawong road Bangkok Thailand
If you want to get a good starting point at Sampeng market, this is the road to get to first
Chinatown Bangkok morning Thailand
The main China Town area was just a few steps away

I still felt like ‘buying something,’ so decided to head back to my favourite ‘market’ in Thailand.

Silom way to Sathon Bangkok
Took a taxi to the nearest BTS station
Victory Monument from BTS Bangkok Thailand
Victory Monument, as seen from inside the train

Victory Monument Bangkok Thailand

Nichkhun Thai ad BTS skytrain commercial
“Thai Prince” Nichkhun was selling something (one of the many products he shills for in Thailand)
Chatuchak market roof Clock Tower Bangkok
Yup, back to Chatuchak market
Chatuchak market from above Bangkok Thailand
That’s what it looks like from up above
Chatuchak Park stage Bangkok
Walked past the park again
Chatuchak weekend market gate us Bangkok Thailand
I plunged in
Chatuchak market rock band t-shirts Bangkok Thailand
I was eying some more good t-shirts, among other things

Though most clothes shops sell more or less the same merchandise, there are a few (relatively speaking) independent studios selling something creative that sets them apart from the rest.

Paracetamol Studio t-shirts Chatuchak market Bangkok Thailand
This was one such shop

Called Paracetamol Studio, the guy in the photo above says he does all the drawings and art himself, and then prints them on t-shirts and bags. I really liked his art and ended up buying three t-shirts at ฿300 each. He wouldn’t allow for bargaining but if you bought more, the price per t-shirt comes down.

Ladies fashion boutique stores Jatujak market Bangkok Thailand
There are more such ’boutique’ stores
JJ market art studios paintings home furnishings Bangkok Thailand
You also have studios selling paintings and other works of art too

I just can’t recommend Jatujak market enough! There’s a reason why I like coming here. The variety of things you find is simply amazing. A lot of it is inexpensive and the rest, still rather affordable.

Jatujak Sunday market Bangkok Thailand
But do get here early in the morning if you plan to cover as much of this place as possible

Because despite coming here for a third time, I still can’t tell you how much of Chatuchak Weekend Market I have covered!

Chatuchak weekend market map Bangkok Thailand
If you asked me where Paracetamol Studio is located on this map, I couldn’t possibly tell you

So if you wish to return to a store you once shopped from, take my advice, note down the store number.

Chatuchak market Clock Tower Bangkok
This clock tower is one of the most important landmarks at Jatuchak. Important, because it stands high above the shops and can be used a point of reference in case you get lost (which will happen!)
Chatuchak market clock tower porters Bangkok Thailand
The clock tower is also where you can find porters in case you buy more than you can carry

Chatuchak weekend market cheap t-shirts clothes Bangkok Thailand

Jatujak weekend market shops Bangkok
It was lunch time and I reached the phase where one wonders if they are walking around in circles
Beeberry Mangosteen juice Chatuchak Bangkok
Tried this on the way out
Chatuchak market tattooed Thai famous crocodile skin Bangkok
This guy is a bit of a celebrity here at JJ market

Just as I was rushing out, I stopped by a store that sells genuine rock band t-shirts, many of which are seconds, but in very good condition and well washed. I finally managed to score a Def Leppard (my favourite band) Hysteria t-shirt and got it bargained down to ฿300 with the excuse it was my last night in Thailand. I was quite happy 🙂

Siam Paragon Krispy Kreme line doughnuts Bangkok
Back at Siam Paragon, there was still a big line for Krispy Kreme

I called up my friend Sawmteii as we had agreed to meet for lunch, but she was still busy with family.

Siam BTS interchange station Bangkok Thailand
Siam BTS interchange. One train plys the Siam line, the other, the Silom line

I therefore headed back to my room, freshened up and got my ticket printed for tonight’s Jay Park fan meet at Siam Paragon.

I have already written about the Jay Park fan meet in another post, which you can read here.

After the fan meet, I went to a supermarket to pick up snacks and other items to pack in now itself as I was leaving Thailand tomorrow.

2pm Nichkhun prawn crackers chips Thailand
Bought some prawn chips, and this one had Nichkhun and his fellow 2PM members on the packet

As I was packing and trashing unwanted covers, I ended up having a right laugh reading the instructions on the Chinese travel pillow I had bought from Sampeng earlier in the day.

Chinese travel pillow Sampeng Bangkok

My Thai Airways flight was at night, so I still had tomorrow morning to do something. Which means, there’s one more post before I conclude this trip! 🙂

Final post in this series:

Thailand 2010: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market tour, Cobra show… and leaving Bangkok

Previous posts in this series:

Thailand 2010: Back to Bangkok — Chinatown, Patpong, Platinum Mall and Chatuchak Market

Thailand 2010: Pattaya — Beach road, Viewpoint, Jomtien Beach, Walking Street

Thailand 2010: Golden Triangle in Mae Sai; Chiang Rai’s White Temple (Wat Rong Khun)

Thailand 2010: Heading to Chiang Rai by bus, Wat Jedyod and Golden Clock Tower

Thailand 2010: Last day of Loi Krathong; Sunday Grand Parade (Day 4, Part 2)

Thailand 2010: Chiang Mai Zoo (Day 4, Part 1)

Thailand 2010: Chiang Mai Loi Krathong celebrations; first Grand Parade

Thailand 2010: Chiang Mai cooking class; Loi Krathong celebrations in Mae Jo, Sansai

Thailand 2010: First day in Chiang Mai for Loi Krathong; driving up Doi Suthep

Thailand 2010: Arriving in Bangkok and preparing for Loi Krathong in Chiang Mai

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