Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Following his military successes, Thaksin became more and more excessive in his behavior and was finally ousted in a coup that transferred power to another general, Chao Phraya Chakri. Chakri kicked off the modern history of Bangkok by transferring the capital from Thonburi to the eastern bank of the river, founding Bangkok in 1782 on the fortified island of Ratanakosin. Chakri refurbished many of the existing temples in the area, such as Wat Po, and built present-day tourist sites, including Wat Phra Kaew, the Grand Palace and Lak Mueang, the shrine dedicated to the guardian deity of Bangkok. The National Museum, built originally for Chakri's vizier Prince Wang Na, also dates from this period.
Under Chakri and his successors, Bangkok continued to expand, mainly because of trade. New communities such as Yaowarat (mainly Chinese traders) and Pahurat (the Indian quarter) were established, extending outward from Ratanakosin. The third king in the Chakri dynasty, Phra Nang Klao, developed a new system of royal titles, naming himself Rama III and his predecessors Rama I and Rama II. Rama III was responsible for expanding Wat Pho and Wat Arun to their present form and also initiated the aborted construction of Wat Saket, the spectacular Golden Mount Temple, completed further down the line by Rama V.
Rama IV, also known as Mongkut, is probably best known by Westerners as the ruler in The King and I and the more recent Anna and the King. Thais tend to find these interpretations offensive and growing evidence now suggests the accounts of Anna Leonowens, on which the movies were based, to be pure fiction at best. The real Rama IV was a brilliant leader who skillfully negotiated treaties with foreign powers that prevented the colonization of Thailand. Under his reign, Bangkok benefited from his trade policies with an expanded port and, for the first time, paved streets.
Rama V (also known as Chulalongkorn or "The Great King") took on the throne in 1868 at the age of 15 and continued his father's reforms, setting down the foundations for the modern Thai government as well as moving the royal palace to Dusit and building Bangkok's first railway system. The grounds of his old Chitlada Palace feature the Vimanmek Teak Mansion and the Abhisek Throne Hall, both excellent examples of royal Thai architecture. During this time, both the Victory Monument and Democracy Monument were constructed to designs by Corrado Feroci, an Italian credited with helping found Thailand's modern art movement. Rama V's long reign brought peace and stability to Thailand and his death in 1910 ushered in a period of great change. The first in a long series of coups was launched unsuccessfully in 1912 by a group of disgruntled soldiers. Another coup in 1932 by Western-educated students proved more successful, ending the absolute monarchy and replacing it with a constitutional model.
Rama VII abdicated in 1935, leaving the 10-year-old Rama VIII in his place. Power passed into the hands of Field Marshall Phibun, the first in what would prove to be a long line of military dictators. Probably one of the best examples of 1930s architecture is the Neilson Hays Library in downtown Bangkok. Phibun allied with the Japanese during World War II, sparing the capital from destruction, but lost his position of absolute power to a democratic civilian government after the war. He regained absolute power under murky circumstances surrounding the death of Rama VIII.
The current King Bhumibol (Rama IX) was crowned in 1946, and the first few decades of his reign were marked by the rise of communism in Indochina, leading to growing American military aid and a continuing succession of military dictators. The enduring legacy in Bangkok of this time are the bars of Patpong and Soi Cowboy, which catered to American soldiers on R & R from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Another reminder of this turbulent time is Jim Thompson's House and Museum, preserved exactly as the silk magnate left it when he disappeared mysteriously.
In 1973, massive student demonstrations forced General Thanom, the military ruler, to leave the country. A civilian government took over, but lasted only until 1976, when more student demonstrations against the return of Thanom were brutally crushed by right-wing forces fearing a communist takeover. General Prem Tinsulanonda, a moderate, took power in 1980 and is credited for leading Thailand out of this mess, granting amnesty to the communists and overseeing a period of growth and stability that turned Bangkok into the vibrant modern capital it is today.
One downturn in this trend of liberalization has been another military coup in 1991, overthrown the following year by bloody Bangkok street demonstrations. Since then, a succession of four civilian governments has seen the capital enjoy a much more stable political climate. The only other crisis of note was the 1997 Asian economic meltdown, whose legacy is still apparent in scores of unfinished condominiums and office towers.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Beauty Salon – For your convenience, we provide an on-site beauty salon where guests can receive a haircut and wash, or indulge in a pedicure or manicure. The salon also provides in-room service. Simply contact a member of our staff to make an appointment.
|Salon Services||Salon||In Room|
|Hair Cut||300 Baht||300 Baht|
|Shampoo, Hair Cut and Blow Dry||150 Baht||300 Baht|
|Shampoo and Blow Dry||150 Baht||300 Baht|
|Pedicure||100 Baht||200 Baht|
|Manicure||100 Baht||200 Baht|
* Prices displayed are set by the salon, and are subject to change without prior notice.
Massage Salon – Relax and pamper yourself at our Rehabilitation Center where we offer several types of traditional massage, available at the massage studio as well as in the patient's room. For patients staying in the VIP ward, a separate massage room is also available.
|Rehabilitation Center||In Room & At Center|
|Thai Body Massage (1 hour)||350 Baht|
|Foot Massage (1 hour)||350 Baht|
|Therapeutic Massage (1 hour) |
(administered by a physical therapist)
|600 Baht Outpatient |
1,000 Baht Inpatient