You know you're in Bangkok when....

Bangkok Travel Blog

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Water taxi coming to pick us up

You spend the entire day sweating and sweating and sweating and you long for the cool AC of the SkyTrain! :) Luckily I am dating a man who does not mind that I sweat because he sweats too...we are quite a pair of farangs!

A farang is a westerner and I'm pretty sure it is white westerner, so we are definitely farangs.

I was in a hurry last night so I didn't give too much background so I will try to fill in today.

Our flight was 26 hours total, 19 in the air and the rest on layovers, it was a long day. We crossed the International Date Line so even though we left early Friday morning we did not get in until almost midnight on Saturday.

Bangkok is a city of 12 million and it is full of contrasts. Standing at the SkyTrain station in front of our hotel you can see very expensive high rise condos from one side of the station and shanty towns from the other side.

On the water taxi, notice the yellow shirts
The Thai people are very kind, very friendly and very peaceful. It seems to come from being Buddhist. You never see public displays of anger or frustration, everyone smiles and moves through the city calmly. Even on crowded streets or trains, people do not get upset when they are jostled or bumped into and you never feel like someone is going to snap at you.

We are staying a nice hotel. We get breakfast each morning and the number of choices is amazing. In our hotel there are tourists from the US, China, Japan, Lebanon, Egypt, Germany, Russia....all over. And the breakfast seems to accomodate most of those countries. They have eggs and ham for the Americans, yogurt, salad and a variety of Asian choices.

Brian and I were exhausted last night and we were asleep in bed by about 8 p.

Temple of the Reclining Buddha
m. As a result we were both awake at 4 a.m. and decided to do some reading while we waited for the rest of the world to wake up.

Today we took the Sky Train to the river and bought an all day river pass so we could take the boat up to the palace and several temples. As we got on the train we noticed that almost every single person was wearing a yellow shirt today. We had several guesses as to why, Monday is yellow shirt day, yellow is a hard-working color so all workers wear yellow, yellow is the color of the main Thai sports team and they play tonight.....but we finally decided that it has something to do with the King. The King is much loved in Thailand and the people celebrate the King in a number of ways. They stop and play the national anthem twice per day, every house and business has a picture of the King prominently hung and there are billboards all over Bangkok proclaiming God Save the King.

Reclining Buddha
We read in the newspaper that the King received some bad news at the doctor recently and had to have a brain MRI. We know that the King's birthday is December 5th...so we are not sure what the celebration is all about. As soon as we find someone who speaks English we plan to ask all about it.

The water taxi is pretty amazing. It is a long, skinny boat with two seats on each side and an aisle down the middle. The Chao Praya river runs through Bangkok and it is completely brown. I asked Brian if he thought there were any fish in there and he said there probably were, but there were no birds to be seen which to me means that there are no fish. The taxis move quickly down the river and when they come to a stop they pull alongside the pier for a moment and everyone jumps off and on.

Brian heading up the last part of stairs at Arun Wat
As Americans we were chuckling at the lack of safety features. In America we are so overly safety conscious, Bangkok is the opposite.

We stopped at Wat Pho, which is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. We did not know what to expect, but as you can see from the photos, the reclining Buddha is huge. He is reclining the length of an entire building. The surrounding temple grounds are beautiful with several spires covered in mosaic tiles.

We next walked over to the Grand Palace but it was closed until 1:30 for a celebration for the King...we stilll don't know what the celebration is. :)

We took a "ferry" across the river to see Wat Arun. "Wat" means temple, so there are several wats around town.

Arun Wat
Wat Arun is a beautiful and very steep temple. You can walk up stairs on the side, each step is about 12 inches high and very steep. I made it 2/3 of the way to the top but did not go up the last part because I knew coming down would be hairy. Wat Arun has had several different names throughout the years, every time there has been a new king it has been renamed. For now it is Wat Arun which means temple of the dawn.

We decided we were starving so we jumped back on the ferry across the river, caught the river taxi back down the river and jumped on the sky train for the Siam Center. We knew that we could get good food at Siam Center and that we could sit down in air conditioning, which was even better! We chose a "hot pot" restaurant after walking by and seeing others enjoying the fun.

A delicious hot pot
We got a plate of pork and a plate of mixed veggies and then we cooked our own stew or hot pot at the table. It is the Asian version of the Melting Pot. It was delicious. Despite the heat outside the hot pot was very refreshing and filling. While eating we saw that the internet cafe here was significantly cheaper than at our hotel so here we are writing away....meanwhile we still haven't made it to the Grand Palace! :)

Tonight we plan to revisit Pat Pong market because last night it was so flooded that we did not get to explore. We are also looking forward to dinner and a bottle of wine.

richburgcd says:
Hi Kim, this is the first time I read your blog and decided...if I just want a quick lowdown I'll read Brian's. If I want the details (like women do)I'll take the time to read your blog.

Virginia
Posted on: Oct 18, 2007
dkcotter says:
Really enjoying this.
You two are doing such a great job
with the blogs---- Thanks :)
Posted on: Oct 16, 2007
dquinn says:
Hi Kim and Brian,
Sounds like you are seeing quite a bit. When do you move on to the next place? Happy Trails!!

Mom
Posted on: Oct 15, 2007
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Water taxi coming to pick us up
Water taxi coming to pick us up
On the water taxi, notice the yell…
On the water taxi, notice the yel…
Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Reclining Buddha
Reclining Buddha
Brian heading up the last part of …
Brian heading up the last part of…
Arun Wat
Arun Wat
A delicious hot pot
A delicious hot pot
Our first attempt at Pat Pong, it …
Our first attempt at Pat Pong, it…
A sample of some of the entertainm…
A sample of some of the entertain…
Bangkok
photo by: Deats