Again, before I really start talking about Thailand, I have to mention how we got there… On Emirates. Another great experience, and this time on their double-decker A380 plane, the largest in the world!
And it’s equipped with a full bar, for those of us on the top floor of the plane. We also had our very own pods to sit in this time, so that everyone got a window, well three windows really…
Our first day in Bangkok was spent at the Grand Palace, which was completely packed with tourists from all over. Which was understandable on account of how beautiful this place is. There was so much intricate detail in EVERYTHING. I really liked the mosaic tile work.
This is where the Kings of Siam resided since 1782 and it is still used for official events. Here, you can see everything from the Emerald Buddha of the 14th century, ancient weaponry, and plenty of Kinnara sculptures (or as I like to call them, chicken people).
Another popular, nearby site we visited was Wat Pho: The Temple of Reclining Buddha. I knew it was going to be impressive, but I didn’t realize just how huge this statue was (over 150 feet long). We had to take our shoes off to go inside and other anyone wearing shorts or tank tops had to rent robes to cover up, out of respect.
We even made a couple monk friends, who have Instagram accounts, believe it or not.
Another temple we were able to visit during our stay was Phra Pathommachedi, and this time the monks we saw were in class. It was really interesting to see in person. There were several classes happening at the same time around the center dome and all the teachers’ voices were overlapping on their microphones.
Another one of our favorite activities in these foreign countries is going to local markets in an attempt to get an authentic experience (unlike the uncomfortable time we had sprinting through Soi Cowboy-home of the kathoey).
Our favorite would have to be the Flower Market (Pak Klong Talad). The smells of the flowers and fresh herbs were all so fresh and kept us going on the 90 degree days we visited.
Most of the flowers being sold were handmade arrangements used as ceremonial pieces or good luck charms. Every taxi, motorcycle and tuk tuk we saw had flowers hanging from mirrors or handlebars as a form of protection.
Although the people were working hard, everyone was very kind and greeted us with big smiles.
Then there was the Khlong Toei fresh market, which had a lot less tourists and offered goods such as vegetables, fruits…. and all sorts of meat products… When I say “all sorts” I mean they use every part of the animal you could imagine. The most disturbing probably being the piles of pig faces for sale, not heads… Just faces… Being handled by young, sweet looking girls with braids. Seeing the fish was pretty sad too, since they were still alive squirming, gasping, and flopping around… Some even managed to bounce themselves out of their displays and onto the ground. Don’t worry, you can keep scrolling down, I only included the photos taken of the vegetables.
We loved how everything was pre-weighed and waiting for buyers on these small plates.
The most touristic market we visited was the Floating Market, where you can ride on a long boat through vendor’s shops right on the water. It’s easy to see why this place is so popular, the concept is really cool. But the seller’s were so desperate for tourists to buy their goods that it kinda ruined the fun. Some people even had hooks to grab onto your boat and lure you closer to their shops. Everyone was basically selling the same things. I think the most interesting were the vendors on boats themselves cutting fresh fruit or serving different types of noodle dishes.
Here’s the adorable and STRONG, little grandma that rowed us around in her boat through the market. She also took us into a neighborhood of houses on the water (as she sang quietly to herself-too cute). This was our favorite part of the experience for sure… Until we saw huge lizards, that resembled Komodo dragons, swimming in the water near us!
My favorite part of Thailand was probably all the shrines, they were literally everywhere! Every home and business seemed to have one. Some were just randomly displayed in trees. No matter how many tourists come through, the culture remains strong here- a lot like our boat rowing grandma.
Also, we noticed most restaurants and street food vendors would have small meals displayed beside them with an incense stuck inside. We learned that these were offerings for homeless spirits. Just goes to show how hospitable the Thai people are.
I will miss this place, and I hope the next time we make it back to Bangkok there will still be just as many street vendors, just as many monks, and just as many smiles as we experienced this time around.