Saturday, March 2, 2013

SE Asia Days 22 & 23 - 2nd chance at Bangkok

Our flight from Hanoi to Bangkok and subsequent Skytrain ride to the central city put us navigating the streets of Bangkok at about 8 pm. The wise thing to do would have been to accept the offer of a tuk tuk ride and let the savvy driver take us to the hotel, but for some reason we insist on walking. That only served to make us hungrier, thirstiest, and crankier. We were glad to check into the Centre Point Petchburri residence inn, on the 25th floor, no less. Here is a picture looking down to the lobby from the hallway outside our room. There are no safety guards here; I could have base jumped down to the lobby.
The room was large and nice, although the shower temperature control was nearly useless.

We went back out to the street in search of food, but street food was not looking good to either of us, so we got beer, yogurt, and water at the Kwic Mart and some fruit from a street vendor and called it a night.

The next morning we enjoyed the first real sun we had seen since leaving Cambodia almost two weeks ago. The pool was great.
Then it was off to check out one of the major tourist destinations in Bangkok that we had wanted to see last time but ran out of time. We took a canal speed boat for $0.10
That zipped along a pretty dirty canal, but the sights were interesting and the challenge of keeping the spray off our faces while still trying to look around was entertaining.
Next was a tuk tuk ride to the Royal Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, the route of which took us by elephant topiary. Neat-o!

We had seen a lot of wats in Chiang Mai, but nothing nearly as massive and glitzy as the complex of Wat Phra Kaew. Everywhere we turned there was another building covered in colorful tile, mirrored tile, bells, gold leaf, and statues.

The color of choice for religious temples and statues is gold here.

Well, not all the statues were gold. Some were stone,
And some (one) was emerald! This is the current house of the Emerald Buddha, seen as the little lighted speck in the middle doorway in the picture below.
Here is a telephoto view. Pictures we not allowed inside - too sacred? A lot of people were inside worshiping. This Buddha is a very special statue. I was glad to see it because one of the big temples we saw up in Chiang Mai was the former home of this Buddha figure. The journey here was reportedly difficult for the statue. It was disguised in plaster, but was stolen anyway, only to be returned much later.
Adjacent to the Wat is the Royal Palace. The royal family used to live here.

To get back from the Wat we took another form of water transport, the water taxi on the Chao Phraya River. It was really fun, cheap, and exciting.

Plus we scooted by another cool looking wat, Wat Arun

Yes that is a monk in front of me. I was riding a water taxi with a monk.

After a 45 minute break from each other (our first time apart from each other in the entire trip) for me to make one last run through the shopping stalls and street food vendors and for Drew to plan our last meal, we walked to an oasis of a restaurant called "Once Upon a Time" located in the middle of all these gigantic high-rise hotels and office buildings. The garden setting was romantic and the food was good.

Drew had a chicken curry served in a hot pineapple
And I had mussels. I asked for spicy, but either I have fried all my taste buds on my homegrown habanero peppers or the restaurants here have a different scale of heat.
Either way, the meal was delicious and the company I had was magnificent. I couldn't have toured Southeast Asia with anyone more accepting of my need to seek culture and street food while keeping me on track than my best travel buddy and husband, Drew.

Today, we just lazed around the hotel, had a good breakfast and one last poolside siesta before heading to the airport, via tuk tuk to the Skytrain this time.

So now we are on a plane bound for Seattle and our vacation will be over in less than 24 hours. I guess I am ready to get back to everyday life - I know Drew is anxious to fly again and we are both looking forward to getting back on the bikes to train for another season of racing.

I will wrap up this post with one last totally Asian picture - the everything toilet! Seat warmer, two different wash cycles, air dryer, and sanitizer. And yes, I did try them all ;-)


  1. Hey Lucy,
    I've really enjoyed your travel-blog and pics! You must be ready for the Amazing Race by now, eh? Hope your re-entry is going smoothly!

    1. Thanks for reading! I know I can be long winded and goodness there are so many pictures, eh?

      Many times I said to Drew, "we could so rock The Amazing Race now!" We would.

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