Monday, June 3, 2013

Adventures in Bangkok

We arrived in Bangkok from Indonesia on the 29th of May and took taxi and then the skytrain to our short-term, fully-furnished apartment!  I found it on it was right on the Udom Suk BTS (Skytrain) line which was perfect for our daily trips into the heart of the city. While being on the 16th floor was a little unnerving- I loved the views from our window as well as from the rooftop pool that overlooked the city. We spent every evening on the roof- cooling down after hot days in Bangkok while watching the distant lightening strike somewhere behind the city.

The apartment was outside of the touristy areas- so there were lots of cheap and tasty local food stalls and markets to enjoy.

Pad Thai and fresh lemon soda water.

It was nice to be at a place long enough that we could make it feel like ours.  I found these beautiful orchids at the local market for less than a dollar for us to enjoy while we were at the apartment. 

On our first full day in the city, we caught the skytrain to Saphan Taskin Station and hopped on the Chao Phraya Tourist River Boat. It has multiple stops along the river and allows you to hop on and off through-out the day for 150 baht ($5).  Between the river boat, the skytrain, tuk tuks and our own four feet-- we were able to cover a lot of ground in our short time there.

Our first stop was the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. I had visited this beautiful temple with my friend Skaidra last July- and then promptly lost my phone with all my pictures on it. I was eager to visit this site again, show Nate AND immediately download my photos as soon as I could. It's a very large and beautiful complex. The reclining Buddha is only a very small portion of the site but the area that gets the most visitors.  In order to see the reclining Buddha, you must remove your shoes before entering and dress conservatively (no tank tops, short shorts or revealing clothing). I generally always carry a light wrap with me both to keep the sun off my shoulders and to cover up if entering a temple. I saw that the temple had some bathrobe type wraps that it let a few people borrow before entering. Oh- and no hats.

After getting lost in the beautiful Wat Pho temple complex- we took a boat across the river for only 3 baht to the Wat Arun temple. I almost think that this is better viewed from the opposite side of the river (which is where I took the below photo)- or maybe it was just hot and the thunder seemed to be growing closer- but we left without giving it enough time. Maybe we'll go back one day?

We were in need of some food and a cold beer sounded pretty good too- so we took the river boat up a few more stops and got off near the famous (to backpackers at least) Khao San Rd. It was a good stop for people watching while we waited out the lightening bolts and declined the fried scorpion salespeople.


We extended our stay in Bangkok for a day because I really wanted to go to the Chatuchak outdoor weekend market (at Mo Chit BTS stop). It's one of the largest in the world and covers over 35 acres and has around 8,000 stalls.  I went with Skaidra when we were in Bangkok and had such a great time- but even having been here once before didn't help me navigate any better.  Nate and I still got horribly lost.  None-the-less, it's a must-do if you're in Bangkok over the weekend. But go early- it gets outrageously crowded by mid-afternoon.  Here's some pictures of the largest paella that I've ever seen- being made right in front of us. 

We also went to the Dusit Zoo (which is a tuk tuk ride away from the Victory Monument BTS Station).  We never got to see this Bengal up close, but she/he was magnificent. 

We will be back in Bangkok again in the coming weeks to meet some friends and to explore more.  It's really nice to know that we will be back- there is so much left to do!


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