Sunday, 22 February 2015

Words of praise: Book "Bangkok off the grid"

Words of praise: Book "Bangkok off the grid"

Undertow Guides: Bangkok Off the Grid -The Kitsch, the Cool and the Bizarre - A Guide to the Secret Sides of the World's Weirdest City (Undertow Guides) ISBN: 978-3-941893-06-1

I bought this book in Nov 2012 and am very happy with this purchase. Occasionally I leaf through it, and find something interesting I forgot about.

Picture from author's blog:

On Amazon:
Publisher's free preview:
Bangkokbois has a post on this book (misleading title):
Author's blog (many entries from the book can be found here):
Facebook page:

There are few books without mistakes, this one is no exception. Upon perusal I found some mistakes and inaccuracies, and some information that needs an update, which are listed here by page number (I sent this information to the author as well):

46 rENTAL COMIC BOOK STORE (change r to R)

50 since publication, DJ Station raised the drink prices to 150 Baht on weekdays or 300 Baht at the weekend (this is technically not correct, it should be "on nights before a weekend day" - that is Friday night and Saturday night, but Sunday night is back to 150 Baht)

52 since publication, ICK has changed its name to Singapore, then to Wave Club, Update 2016: Wave Club closed, not there are no gay discos in Ramkhamhaeng 89/2 any more

56 Mario Mauer -> Mario Maurer

66 Screw Boy is in Patpong, not in Soi Pratuchai/Twilight

88/9 "cheap gems have even been irradiated ... worthless but dangerously radioactive" To my knowledge (as a chemist, even though this is physics) gems do not become radioactive to a dangerous level upon irradiation. (Update: search on the internet gave some results for dangerously radioactive gems in Thailand, but I don't know if this information is reliable.)

92 Wat Bang Phli Yai (not Wat Yai Bang Phli)

99/100 I went to Wat Pasi (วัดภาษี means "tax, fee" because the wat was build from tax money), their address is correct ( update June 2015: server not found) even though there is no "r" in the name in Thai. In the address section however, directions to Wat Prasri (วัดพระศรี, pronounced pasi, are given, which is located near Laksi Monument on Phahonyothin/ChaengWattana.

100 (Wat Thammamongkhon) "The temple's triangular fourteen-storey tower..." The tower is a truncated pyramid, the sides are trapezoid but not triangular.

101 I went to the Ganesha Park in Nakhon Nayok (, there is another Ganesha Park in Chachoengsao (similar distance from Bangkok) and you have to look closely to notice the difference:

102 (Buddhamonthon) "sometimes claimed to be the largest freestanding Buddha in the world (although this is almost certainly untrue)" I read that is is the largest metal cast free standing Buddha of the world, definitely not the highest, e.g. there is Wat Buraphaphiram (วัดบูรพาภิราม) in Roi Et with a Buddha (made of concrete) which is higher.

110 "in a "garden" of trees baring naked female human fruit" -> bearing

115 "the Fisheries museum is in the red brick and white building"  I have not been there, but on pictures on the internet it looks like red tiles.

121 "foyer of white marble arches" I went to Scala in Siam square, I could not see marble arches because the arches are painted in white. The only stone is on the floor, walls and ceiling are painted. Technically, the arches could be marble, but why would they paint marble and how would you know there is marble under the paint?

"ten metre ... bas relief of Thai workers through the ages" The bas relief is named "Asia holiday" (at the right end).

136 (the old customs house) "Tying with the Sathorn Unique as Bangkok's most exciting ruin..." -> "Vying with..."?

142 Sathorn Unique I made several attempts to enter, the first three failed due to unreliability of a Thai friend, but finally we got in and up to the second floor (via the non-operational elevator from the ground floor = first floor American counting). There are holes in the fence and the door is usually open, but there are always people around (in the building), no way to sneak in unnoticed. There is a note in Thai (which I could read and understand) on the fence which says that visits can be arranged by calling the office (which my friend did). My friend suggested giving 50 Baht tip to the lady (one of the persons who live there on the ground) who accompanied us inside the building, she complained others had given up to 100 Baht. There are a few dogs, they are not fierce, and they are only on ground level. From second floor, stairs lead upwards, but they are blocked by a grille/trellis/grid that is installed permanently (i.e. no lock or door, you would have to cut or unscrew). However the neighboring parking house is incomplete and empty, and there are no people nor dogs, the fence is open and from about 5th floor a makeshift bridge leads to Sathorn Unique. I think this way people get in to change the large advertising banners that are displayed on Sathorn Unique. I would try to get in that way (alternatively I could tell the owner I want to buy Sathorn Unique and want to have a look first). Full story of my conquest of Sathorn Unique is here:

146 "Lebua hotel in the copper-domed State Tower" what you can see is that the dome is gold plated (it might as well be brass or gold paint).

150 Neilsen Hayes -> Neilson Hays

170 For Talad Thai (on Pahonyothin opposite Thammasat University Rangsit Campus) location km 72 is given on page 170 and in the English part of the address guide, in Thai it is km 42, which seems more accurate to me. I didn't find much information in English on the internet about this market. (Update 19nov2017: drove past and it is at km 42 of Pahonyothin road = hwy 1.)

172 "between the Khlong Saen Saeb canal and a shantytown made of tin for local construction workers" Probably corrugated iron, and not the chemical element tin (using "tin" for the material a tin/can is made of would be far fetched).

178 In the adress box, the "F" is missing in "oodland Supermarket Co. Ltd."

182 Crispy Crème -> Krispy Kreme

There is not much I have to add to the book. 

Lack of register has caused me loss of time searching for entries. Register could easily be included in address guide.

There is one interesting place in Sathorn Soi 3 (Suan Phlu), that is build in neogothic style. Others noticed this as well and it is mentioned on the internet:

I found another interesting place, a Sikh Temple in Pahurat. googlemaps It is huge, but surrounded by other tall buildings, so from street level there is no good view to the golden domes on top. Entry is only permitted with your head covered, I and a friend brought a hat, but we had to use a triangular cloth that was supplied.

Copyright 2015 ChristianPFC


  1. Very interesting! Thanks for the tip (& all the corrections).

  2. Talad Thai-end of citybuses 510, 29 passes, is north of Rangsit and is more like the (french) ''Halles'' for Paris-but ,mostly vegetables and fruit. Giant stockhouses for taengmo, sapparot, malako etc-written on the fronts. Very little acitivity daytime.

  3. Tying (not vying) may be correct as tying means equalling in this context.

    1. Indeed, Merriam-Webster says
      tie 4 a (1) : to make or have an equal score with in a contest
      vie : to compete with others in an attempt to get or win something
      both are correct here, with different meanings


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