The Bridge On The River Kwai

The bridge isn’t on the Kwai at all. The upper stretch of the Mae Klong river in the Kanchanaburi district of Thailand that the bridge straddles, was renamed Khwae Yai in 1960. Three years after the release of the epic multi Oscar winning David Lean movie!  I was aware that the movie had been shot…

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Bangkok – Phra Buddhasaiyas In Perspective

The highlight of the 17th century Wat Pho, the temple adjacent to the royal palace, that is also a school of traditional Thai massage, is the golden reclining Buddha or Phra Buddhasaiyas. This 46 meter long gilded statue is also the most visited tourist attraction in Bangkok, so braving throngs is de rigueur. We passed by…

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Asian Traditions

Every custom, folklore, tradition and value system across Eastern cultures is heavily influenced by religion. Secularisation of society and mass tourism pose real threats to these shared beliefs and traditional ways of life. Traditional dress is already on its way out and language, customs and value systems are constantly under assault from global media. Imagine a…

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Conspicuous Contrast

The streets around the glittering malls of Bangkok magically transform into a night market every evening, particularly during the festive season. Walking back from dinner one evening, we were struck by the stark contrast between the little roadside stalls and the luxury brand hoardings on the facades of the malls behind.  A contrast of fantasy v/s reality,…

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Meditating Beneath Metal Spires

If only one of two historic monuments were to be saved from the wrecking ball based purely on antiquity, cultural relevance or singularity, which factor do you think should take precedence? In a city full of Wats, the sacrifice of a heritage Art Deco theater to expose yet another Wat concealed behind it for years, and one of later vintage,…

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The Scented Colours Of Pak Klong Talat

The perfumed air gives notice of the visual feast to follow. With its kaleidoscopic array of vibrant blooms, the Pak Klong Talat, is the largest wholesale fresh flower market in Bangkok. It’s proximity to the temple of the reclining Buddha, and easy access from a river pier, makes it an ideal stop to be combined with a city…

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Thank You For An Amazing Year!

I wouldn’t be here if not for the travel editor of our local daily, who edited butchered my article to accommodate his own piece in a weekend supplement. That decapitated article led to the birth of ‘The Urge To Wander’, exactly a year ago today. The start of an uncharacteristically unplanned journey, that I half…

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