Video #1 | August 30, 2017
Welcome to Bangkok Unmasked, your virtual Bangkok tour guide! If you’re interested in Bangkok sightseeing, Bangkok tourist attractions, things to do in Bangkok, Bangkok points of interest and what to see in Bangkok, this is the channel for you!
Bangkok, also known as the ‘City of Angels’ and ‘Venice of the East’, is an assault on the senses. Hot, polluted, and chaotic, it thrills with energy, and the sightseeing, shopping, and eating possibilities are so huge that you’ll have little time to stop and rest.
The city is a mesmerizing blend of old and new, East and West, and uncountable contradictions. Temples and red-light districts, languid canals and permanent gridlock, street-side vendors and chic upscale eateries, all exist side by side. Bangkok rarely fails to make an impression, and yes, you’ll probably need to spend a few days on the beach to recover from it all.
Hi there, and welcome to Bangkok Unmasked! My name’s James, and I’m the writer, editor, director and producer of this show.
So what’s the Bangkok Unmasked YouTube channel all about? The plan is to build an insider’s guide to the city of Bangkok. Where to go, what to see, how to get there, and everything in between.
You may be wondering what qualifies me to produce these videos? Technically, I’m a newbie to video production. However, regarding Bangkok, I have lived here for over 18 years now and know the city, people and culture pretty well. To start with my plan is to produce videos on my favorite spots in Bangkok, and basically build from there.
Why Bangkok Unmasked?
Why ‘Bangkok unmasked’? While Bangkok is visited by millions of tourists every year, most tourists will only scratch the surface of the city, and the Thai people/culture. Honestly, I find out about things I had no idea existed on a pretty much daily basis.
As an aside Statista has the number of international overnight visitors to Bangkok through 2016 at 21.47 million, pretty much double the 10.44 million registered through 2010!
Thailand, and the ‘Khon’ mask.
To further the ‘unmasked’ part of ‘Bangkok Unmasked’, I was thinking about how to define Bangkok, and it came to me that there’s a parallel between the city, and Thai dance. Known locally as ‘Ram Thai’. One of the most famous dances is a masked dance called Khon. This dance was traditionally performed solely in the royal court. The Khon is performed by men wearing masks, and by narrators who told the Ramakien story on which the Khon is mainly based. It’s sort of like a Thai version of Shakespearian dramas. The Ramakien can be considered as Thailand’s National Epic in which Hindu and Buddhist mythology combine with local Thai traditions.
What you can see on the top left of the screen is an example of what a Khon mask can look like.
Anyway, I digress, it seems to me that Bangkok [and the Thai in general] wear an elaborate Khon mask for tourists, and short term visitors. However, there’s a lot more going on than what you see on the surface. The Khon mask has only one expression, like Bangkok might appear to someone who is only able to spend a couple of days in the city. However, if you spend more time in Bangkok you’ll see that there are literally hundreds of masks worn by the city, and its inhabitants. It takes quite a bit of time, and perseverance, to see them all!
Bangkok city has everything!
Another comment on Bangkok before I sign off. Bangkok city offers pretty much everything, and at all price points. For example, if you want to stay in hyper-luxury, this is absolutely available. Hotels like The Peninsula or The Mandarin Oriental will blow your mind. And also blow a hole through your wallet! There are a lot of luxury serviced apartments that would not look out of place on Bravo’s ‘Million Dollar Listing’. However, you can also stay in a guest house or hostel for next to nothing. If you take a look on the net, you can find listings for around $10 per night. And there’s literally all price-points in between.
The Thai have a well-used phrase; ‘up to you’. When it comes to how much you want to spend in the city it really is ‘up to you’. Everything is available. Dining in Bangkok is another case in point. If you want to have some fried rice from a food cart by the side of the road, you’re probably looking at $2 for something very edible. Conversely, you can go to Michelin star restaurants. Here you’ll spend as much as you would in the same sort of places in New York, or London. Eye-watering bills. Hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars if you also get a decent bottle of wine! The tax on wine in Thailand is horrific, but I’m going to save this topic for another video.
See you next week!
Anyway. That’s it for this video. Expect a new video shortly. The next video should be posted in about a week, or so.
For all you techies out there, this video was shot on a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and edited using HitFilm Express.
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Thank you very much for watching. I’ll see you next week. Goodbye.