LAX > BKK
This is quite the journey, folks. Things to consider—bring an airplane pillow, bring a bunch of lil bottles of liquor (if ya feel like drinking on the cheap). PACK LIGHT, lighter than you’ve ever dreamed of packing—this is to encourage ease of travel, nobody wants to lug a bunch of luggage around. (Fun fact: the word ‘luggage’ comes from the combination of the words ‘lug’ and ‘baggage’.)
Fresh off the longest travel day/night of our lives, we arrive in Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. Yay!!!!!! We made it.
We were staying in a shared room hostel, called Suneta hostel. It was OK and served its purpose - the complimentary breakfast every morning was a nice addition. But, after Bangkok, we upgraded to private rooms. (Still so cheap!)
Our first day, we headed out to visit the Chatuchak Weekend Market.
Modes of transit: walking and bus! Whenever we took the bus in Bangkok, there was a chance we were either going in the direction that was mapped or we were headed into the unknown. Somehow it all seemed to work out.
Open noon-6 on Saturday and 9-6 on Sunday, the market was certainly a sensory delight, with all sorts of prepared foods and fun, quirky gifts. We picked up some yummy dried mango (highly recommend) and wandered around until we tired ourselves out a bit.
The weekend market is directly adjacent to Chatuchak Park, where we explored the lush, surreal landscape and took in this oasis within the city.
Our hostel was located nearby the Khao San Road. Khao San Road is chock full to the brim of caucasian tourists... we’re talking tourist level: obnoxious. But it’s worth seeing just for novelty and it’s a major POI.
We ate our first official true thai meal closeby Khao San Road at a place actually called “I <3 Thai food” flat out english no bones about it. It was so yummy though. Green curry was a huge hit.
After curry, we returned to the hostel for a shower and light siesta. Then, we went back out to do some more leisurely exploring. We stumbled upon the Rama VIII bridge, built 1999-2002 to provide another access point to cross the Chao Phraya River that cuts through the city and to alleviate traffic on nearby cross river bridges.
On our second day we were feeling refreshed and revived. Jet lag has nothing on us, just helped us get up earlier to beat the crowds. First on our list—Wat Pho—Bangkok’s most grand Buddhist temple complex. Wat Pho is also known as the “Temple of the Reclining Buddha” and it’s official name is Wat Phra Cetuphon Vimolmangklaram Rajwaramaviham. (Pretty much all Thai name’s are the length of a run on sentence.)
This temple houses the famous 150 ft + long giant reclining buddha. The stance represents Buddha during his last illness about to enter the parinarvana (nirvana after death). The “reclining buddha” stance is a popular position for buddha sculpture and you will likely see more examples of this position as you travel around.
Wat Pho was completed in the 16th century and has since achieved “royal temple” status. Read more about the history of Wat Pho here.
After we left Wat Pho we ended up wandering around some of the nearby streets and it was really a highlight of the trip. There’s something about getting off the beaten path and seeing the non-touristy side of local life. We stumbled upon an awesome dried fish/shrimp/seafood spot that blew our minds. So many vendors, so many people, so much dried seafood. Flies having a field day. Check out some of the pics in the gallery below to get a feel.
We eventually made our way to the Grand Palace. Don’t make the same mistake one of us made (ok, it was Hill) by wearing anything mildly inappropriate. The offense was yoga pants.... too revealing. By the time we made it into the Grand Palace, it was about midday and the swarms of tourists had descended onto the land. You couldn't wave a fan without hitting a selfie stick. Ab and I wondered, what was it like to travel in a time before cameras? We will never know.
Construction on the Grand Palace started in 1768, and continued for years after. It’s been the official residence of the king since 1782. Read more about the history of the Grand Palace here.
After the Grand Palace we set out to visit a most unusual museum. The Siriraj Medical Museum is unlike any sort of museum we’ve seen in the US. Preserved bodies with a variety of medical oddities abound. It really was one of the most interesting museums we’ve ever seen. See pics!
We left the medical museum and taxi’d home for an evening break. Our mission that night was to visit the “world’s highest rooftop bar” the Sky Bar.
We dressed up to the best our measly “pack light” wardrobe allowed and we headed to take the bus a ways across town to get to the Sky Bar.
Must say we don’t recommend this place. The couches were facing away from the view!! The fuck kinda design is that? It was a nice view, but not worth the extreme cost of drinks and poorly designed patio. Bangkok is known for its rooftop bars, however, and you should definitely check another one out.
On our way home we decided to hit up Bangkok’s Chinatown, cause we <3 Chinatowns. It was awesome. So many cool lights and visuals. Not veggie friendly, but if you enjoy meat, there’s tons of yummy food for you here.
On our last day, we decided to take the much talked about boat ride on the river. It was AMAZING. The “floating market” we visited was a total joke but it was still so cool to see the city from that vantage point. Bonus, we got the whole boat to ourselves! So that was fun. We were, though, caught by a little "hidden charge." When we docked at the end of the boat ride, we were told we had to pay the man who owned the dock a fee for the right to de-board.
Time for the night train to Chiang Mai!! Check back next week to read up on our Chiang Mai adventure!