Our latest adventures took us to Bangkok where we primarily explored food and temples. Everything I’ve hear about Bangkok is true – it’s wild, it’s crowded, it smells, it’s beautiful. Bangkok is an astonishing mixture of old and new, rich and poor, traditional and modern. Mitch and I were there Friday night to Sunday morning and these photos provide just a taste at what we saw and experienced. We already have a list of what to do next time we go!
The Sky Train was our primary means of transportation and I really liked it because you can see quite a lot of Bangkok from the slow train up in the air. The stations are also really close together so train journeys are a lot shorter than they look.
Saturday morning took us to Chatuchak Market, a massive outdoor market selling literally everything one could hope to buy. The food smelled and look delicious, but we had already eaten. If you go, go hungry!
I particularly enjoyed our trip down the river in one of the many water taxis. Again, this was a great way to see the mixture of temples and religious sites and fancy hotels along the water. I also really love boats and it was fun to see the sheer variety that crowd the river and canals. Be warned: The smaller water taxis fly along and the journey can be rather harrowing for those not comfortable in the water. However, it’s a unique experience that does provide quite a bit of sight-seeing.
The water taxis claim:
But of course they’re not.
Since we were in Thailand, we felt it was only fitting to enjoy real Pad Thai and Thai iced tea. As with most food that we’ve tried in Southeast Asia, the “real thing” is sweeter and far less saucy than its imitation back home. Delicious!
Most of Saturday found us exploring temples. We took a tuk-tuk to see Wat Intharawihan, a beautiful temples complex containing a 32m-tall Buddha statue. There are Buddhist temples all over Bangkok and each one had people praying, which was interesting to watch. We were allowed in one of the temples in this particular complex; as always, temples are a no-shoes zone. The stone steps were really hot!
We also visited the Grand Palace, another complex containing the palace (obviously) and massive, stunning, opulent, and literally jaw-dropping temples and statues. It was incredibly touristy but, I think, worth seeing. There were monks visiting and taking photos, too, which made me laugh because I don’t think of monks as real people. In some capacities, though, I guess they are.
One of my favorite wanderings near the Grand Palace brought us through streets and alleys that had been turned into a market. As usual, people were frying meat, peddling fresh fruit, and there were tables full of various souvenirs and items I couldn’t even try to name. I wish we’d had more time to go explore other neighborhoods of the city. Next time, I suppose!
Throughout the city, Mitch and I couldn’t help but marvel at Bangkok’s answers to modern the need for electricity. American electricians would probably start to cry.
If nothing else, though, Bangkok is pragmatic. We found both normal boxes of condoms and mixed fruit flavored boxes of condoms in the basket of snacks in our hotel room. There were also people on the street selling sex toys and protection along with various juices, baked goods, and meats on sticks.
I really loved seeing shrines everywhere – in parking lots, in parks, in alleys – and constant reminders of the importance of religion to the Thai people.
Never in my wildest dreams did I actually think I’d get to visit Bangkok. Amazingly enough, it’s only a two-hour flight away.