December 15, 1991 |
Bangkok is inspired confusion, a city that combines back-country Asia with the most modern conveniences (and inconveniences) of New York or Rome. It's "the Venice of the East," the capital of Southeast Asia (as well as of Thailand), choked and adorned with life. It's not surprising that beautiful prostitutes and Buddhist monks are two of its most characteristic classes or that the city's name really isn't Bangkok. In their ceremonial fashion, the Thais have accorded what seems like an endless string of titles to their social, political and economic capital, giving it the longest official place name in the world.
December 24, 1989 |
We will be visiting Bangkok soon and would like to go to Vietnam for a few days. What will it take for us to do that? J.D., Wyncote It is possible for Americans to visit Vietnam, but arrangements usually must be made outside the United States, as the U.S. government forbids American travel companies from doing business with Vietnam. Being in Bangkok, however, puts you in a good position to sign up with one of several tour companies there that offer such trips. Orbitours, an Australian company, offers trips to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia that originate in Bangkok.
October 17, 2011 |
BANGKOK, Thailand - Barriers protecting Bangkok from Thailand's worst floods in half a century held firm Sunday as the government said some water drenching provinces just north of the capital had begun to recede. That fueled hopes that Bangkok, a city of nine million, could escape unharmed. But outside the capital, thousands of people remain displaced and hungry residents struggle to survive in half-submerged towns. On Sunday, the military rescued terrified civilians from the rooftops of flooded buildings in the city of Ayutthaya, one of the country's hardest-hit.
October 22, 2011 |
BANGKOK, Thailand - Floodwaters that have devastated Thailand's industry and agriculture seeped into outer Bangkok on Friday as the crowded capital's residents braced for the impact, uncertain if they will soon be hopping over puddles or fording waist-high streams just outside their windows. Thailand's prime minister urged residents of the city of nine million people to get ready to move their belongings to higher ground. Key gates on flood-control canals in the capital have been opened in a risky move to drain the high waters into the sea, but it's not known how much will overflow onto streets.
November 27, 1988 |
Asian and European properties dominate the latest listings of the world's top 12 hotels, with one exception from the United States, New York's Carlyle, which was rated the best hotel in the America's and 12th best in the world. The rankings result from a survey by Institutional Investor, a monthly magazine for bankers and the global investment community. It has ranked the world's 50 best hotels since 1977 by surveying senior bankers from around the world. Rated the world's best - for the eighth consecutive year - was the Oriental in Bangkok.
October 25, 1987 |
Is it Thailand or Siam? It's Thailand, of course. Has been for almost a half-century. All the maps and atlases call this country Thailand now. But does Siam still exist here, if only intangibly? Do the old ways linger, living with the new, tradition with trend, or has Siam vanished - gobbled up by progress and westernization? And what are the differences, anyway? Thailand is a fact; Siam is a mood. Thailand is a geopolitical certainty; Siam is an image in the traveler's mind, perhaps evoking scenes from The King and I. Thailand is an agrarian nation of 198,000 square miles and about 50 million people, between Laos and Burma; Siam is . . . well, you may not know exactly what Siam is, but you'll know it when you see it. Here in Thailand, can you still go in search of Siam?
October 29, 1988 |
Along the dark and crowded alleys of Chinatown's Thieves Market and the cool, carpeted corridors of this hard-sell city's finest art dealerships, the stakes of trading in ancient treasure have always been high. Rare finds and blind luck have more than once transformed a humble, bent- backed junk-seller into a gold-draped millionaire. But bad luck and bad judgment have been at least as common. Fortunes have been made and lost, and so, sometimes, have lives. Bangkok has for years been the center of a multimillion-dollar trade in ancient artwork, not all of which comes from Thailand.
June 11, 2000 |
You can have some bad luck and end up vacationing next to an erupting volcano, traveling through a capital city during a coup d'etat, or trying to find a hotel room during a surprisingly popular convention of mothball collectors. Or, as is often the case with me, you can just create your own misfortune. The upside is, I now know better. The downside is, it took many years on the road to figure some of this out. Travel Mistake No. 1: Wandering around Europe for three months with a backpack the weight and girth of an automated teller machine.
March 8, 1998 |
Somerset Maugham slept here. Noel Coward slept here. Graham Greene slept here. James A. Michener slept here. Joseph Conrad probably slept here. Now I've slept here. Here is the legendary Oriental Hotel, considered by many the world's best hotel, with a history that goes back at least 120 years. Institutional Investor magazine gave it the No. 1 rating for 10 years running. The publication this year dropped it down a couple of notches, after the Peninsula in Hong Kong, the Bel-Air in Los Angeles, and the Regent in Hong Kong.
March 25, 2002 |
Ngun Chai sold his 13-year-old daughter into prostitution for the price of a television set. He had no regrets. His wife, Lu, had one. When she discovered that her eldest daughter wasn't working in a bar in a nearby city - as the agent who bought the girl had promised - but was selling her body in a Bangkok brothel to as many as eight men a day, she wept. The tears were not for her daughter. "I should have asked for 10,000 baht [$228], not 5,000," she said. "He robbed us. " The Chai family lives in a thatched hut in Pa Tek village on the outskirts of Mae Sai, a bustling township on Thailand's northern border with the military state of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.