Bangkok Must See: Vivi The Coffee Place

There is a hidden secret that was discovered by a colleage a few years back right and one that I truly enjoy visiting. Thank you na ka.  It’s a little coffee shop called “Vivi The Coffee Place” located right next to the river of Kings and it is somewhere that is perfect if you want to stop by and have a little rest after a visit to the Grand Palace or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.  It gets hot and humid and having somewhere to just chill and relax by the river is ideal.  Or if you just need a little hideaway, this place too is the perfect place.  It’s quiet, it has a gorgeous view of the Temple of Dawn, an ancient fortress and you can spend a good number of hours just reading away.  Away from all the crowds of people you usually find on streets and shopping malls.  Here you are at peace.

The Coffee shop is part of a boutique hotel called “Aurum” which in itself is a beautiful building that makes you wonder if you are indeed in old Bangkok.  I believe the building is new, but it has been built in a style that reminds me of the old buildings in Paris.  What I love about it is the feeling you get when you first see it.  You are walking up a small little “soi” or alley surrounded by old Thai shop houses and then suddenly you find yourself standing in front of a beautiful building and the entrance to a coffee place.  You feel like you are an explorer finding a secret.

The service is friendly and if you go early mornings, you have the place to yourself.  There’s seating both outdoors and indoors.  Outdoors you get to sit on a little balcony right next to the river and facing the Temple of Dawn, and indoors you get to be in the comfort of airconditioning.  You also have a view of the temple, but it might be somewhat obstructed by those sitting outside.  Wherever you sit, it’s still a beautiful little coffee place.  Their bathroom is also very clean so if you are in search of a clean bathroom (which is most often the case when one goes on holiday) this one is great.

Check out their website! It’s mostly about the hotel though…but it’ll offer you a map of the place.  Enjoy!


Bangkok Must See: The Temple of the Reclining Buddha

On the same day that you visit the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, I also recommend visiting the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho).  It is located right adjacent to the Grand Palace so it is within walking distance and it allows you to see some more of Bangkok.   Although this temple is less spacious I like it because it offers less shade and it is somewhere one can spend a good amount of time just walking around and taking in the atmosphere.  This is also supposedly one of Thailand’s oldest Buddhist temples and dates back to the time before Bangkok was our capital.   The original temple on the site has long gone, but the current temple built in the 18th century is a restoration of the original.

For lovers of Thai Traditional Massage, you might also want to know that this temple is supposedly the birthplace of the Thai Traditional Massage.  It is now also home to the school of traditional medicine and massage so if you’re feeling tired, you can have a nice massage at the temple in traditional temple ambiance. 🙂 If you want you can also take lessons there on how to give a massage.  Some friends of mine have taken it and she seemed to enjoy it 🙂  Oh, there are also marble plaques throughout the temple with inscriptions on the traditional massage.

Other than the massage, of course what you must visit at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is….. the Reclining Buddha.  Now I have photos of when I went there with Alex, but now in this modern world when we move from one old desktop to old laptop and now new netbook, I cannot find it. One day I will have to compile and combine all my photos in one external harddrive. (Therefore photos today are courtesy of Wiki)

The reclining buddha is amazing. It’s the largest reclining buddha image in Thailand and the 46 meters long 15 meters high gold plated image is enough to make you stand in awe.  The gold shines out making it seem as if it were glowing from some internal force. As you walk from the head of the buddha towards the feet you will find that the buddha’s feet has engravings made of mother of pearl.  These engravings are the 108 characteristcs of the true buddha.

However, if you have time I also recommend pausing a bit and take a look at the murals on the walls.  They too are incredibly intricate and depict stories of the life of buddha in traditional thai painting style.

Outside, you will also find a little garden with a tree trunk.  It’s decorated with plants and little statues, but t his tree trunk is no ordinary one.  It is supposedly a cutting from the original tree in India where Buddha sat while awaiting enlightenment!!

Throughout the compound you will also find over 1000 buddha images dating back from the ancient capital of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.  This temple is not only known for the reclining buddha, massage school, and bodhi tree, but it is also known for having the most buddha images.  If you’ve never been, I recommend a visit….it took be awhile to get there, but I’m glad I finally did 🙂