Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thailand, Part 1: Bustling Bangkok

So this week, I've discovered that jet lag is, in fact, a very real thing. Ugh. 

Even though we've traveled quite a bit, I've always been able bounce back from trips pretty quickly and get readjusted to my home time zone. However with our trip to Thailand, that has not been the case! Both Cameron and I have just had such a nagging tiredness since returning home over a week ago, and it's been much more intense than I expected. I am such a night owl and always have to force myself to go to bed, but this week I've been having trouble staying awake past 9pm, which is really unusual for me. I'm hoping that things get back to normal soon because I'm sick of feeling like a zombie!

Anyway, on to the first post about our trip to Thailand!

It was such an interesting place full of vibrant colors, ornate details, and natural beauty that it was hard not to try to capture all the things we were seeing via camera. Basically, we took a TON of photos! I wasn't sure how I wanted to break them up to share on the blog, but decided I'd start with a massive photo dump from Bangkok, since that's where we started our trip. I'm not great at just picking out a few photos to share in a post as I really want to remember as many details about the trip as possible...in other words, prepare for photo overload...don't say I didn't warn you!

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We spent a day and a half in Bangkok at the beginning of our trip, and then another day and a half at the end of our trip. I was told that we wouldn't need any more time than that and I had heard that Bangkok was a dirty big city where there wasn't a whole lot to see. I think I was surprised that I actually liked Bangkok a lot more than I anticipated! It is big and some parts are pretty dirty, but I really quite enjoyed the frenetic hustle and bustle of it! It's a crazy place for sure, but it was fun!

One of the most wild things about Bangkok is the traffic - there are cars, buses, and motorbikes everywhere and the way people drive is really insane. But one of my favorite things about Bangkok (and Thailand in general) were these bad boys...they're called tuk-tuks!


(And yes, I had to get a picture of this one since it was pink and green!)

Tuk-tuks are basically motorized rickshaws and you see them all over the place in Thailand. They are very inexpensive to take from place to place, although granted they are probably not the safest thing in the world! We really enjoyed taking them throughout our trip as I really felt like being in the open air allowed us to take in more of the city around us.


Bangkok zooming by from the back seat...

As for the taxis, they were also really inexpensive and a lot of them in Bangkok were hot pink!

Our first hotel we stayed at was called Pullman Bangkok Hotel G; it's located in the Silom Road area, which seemed to be a more business-y part of the city with lots of hotels and shopping. The Pullman was very sleek and modern and I really loved the overall vibe of it!


The hotel decorated for Christmas
Our room was all white (which I loved) and had great views of the city!

When we came back to Bangkok at the end of our trip, we actually stayed at a different hotel because the Pullman's rates had gone way up for New Year's Eve. We stayed at the Narai Hotel, which was right down the street however, it was significantly cheaper. Overall, it was much more dated than the Pullman, however, if you're not planning on spending much time in your room, it's a great option!

In this picture, you can actually see both hotels - Narai Hotel is the lighter building in front with the yellow and green details and the Pullman is the gray one behind it with the blue mirrored windows :)


Even though we didn't get to our hotel until after 2am Bangkok time, we still tried to get up reasonably early that morning to get adjusted to the time change and get a jump on sightseeing! After leaving our hotel, we walked through one of the markets off Silom Rd and were just trying to take it all in!

We tried these things on the street - not quite sure what they were exactly, but they were delish!


Our hotels were fairly close to Mariamman Temple, which is actually a Hindu and not Buddhist.

Outside the temple, they had these beautiful flowers for sale!


We walked from Silom Road down towards the Chao Phraya River and hopped on a boat to see more of the city. There are tons of different boats and water taxis that travel the river so it's quite a busy place!

I really enjoyed the mix of modern and traditional architecture that we saw along the river!

After our riverboat ride, we headed towards the Grand Palace!


The Grand Palace is actually a very large complex filled with multiple government buildings and it also houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which apparently is the most sacred temple in Thailand. They are very strict about people being dressed modestly to enter the temple grounds, so that's something to be aware of when visiting. However, they do have clothes (both pants, shirts, and skirts) that can be borrowed if you're not dressed appropriately. It seemed like half of the people entering had to go borrow clothes, myself included since I was only wearing shorts and a tank top :)

After putting on the long sleeve shirt I brought over my tank top and getting a long skirt to wear over my shorts, we were ready to go check it out!



The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (known in Thai as Wat Phra Kaew) is actually a bunch of different buildings, shrines, and pagodas that are located in a walled section of the Grand Palace grounds. I was blown away by how ornate and over the top everything is! Because there wasn't a ton of English signage, unfortunately I'm not quite sure of the names and significance of everything we saw, so I will let the beautiful photos speak for themselves! (And I took a lot of them...but can you blame me?!)

There were no photos allowed inside the actual Chapel of the Emerald Buddha, but we were able to get some outside. It's carved out of jade and it's quite small compared to other Buddhas we saw!
So much gold everywhere, I loved it!
Outside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha area, we also saw this beautiful main palace building

It took quite some time to walk through the grounds, but I definitely think that the Grand Palace/The Temple of the Emerald Buddha are worth seeing if you're ever in Bangkok! 
After we finished up, we headed off in search of lunch!


Bangkok has some really elaborate statues on the city's roads, along with lots of posters/signs/monuments to the king. There has recently been some unrest within Thailand, and people have been protesting against the government/current prime minister in Bangkok. While we were on our way to lunch from the Grand Palace, it seemed like things were super crowded and everyone was wearing shirts with Thai flags, which we thought was kind of strange. There was also a lot of garbage and it looked like a big event had taken place, but we headed to the restaurant and went on with our day. After we got back to the hotel that night and watched the news, we realized that a big protest had taken place earlier that day and we walked right through where it happened!


We went to a place called Krua Apsorn, at the recommendation of our Lonely Planet book. It was a pretty basic restaurant that didn't have much going on in the way of decor but the food was good!

A crab stir-fry dish
Cute rice :)
Crab omlette
This is what Cam ordered and I don't remember exactly what it was...but you get the idea :)


After lunch, we walked over to check out another well-known temple in Bangkok, Wat Pho, or Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Entry to this temple was actually really inexpensive and it included a free bottled water, so you can't beat that! It's a little tough to see the scale in these photos but the reclining Buddha was HUGE. The grounds were pretty and there were a lot of really beautiful buildings, but it wasn't quite as large/overwhelming as the temple we visited in the morning, which was nice!


After getting our fill of Buddhist temples, we ended up walking through Chinatown later in the day. This was a crowded area and it was interesting to see how Chinese culture has remained within Thailand. 

Oh you know, just some bags of frogs for sale...
So much interesting food for sale, even though we had no idea what most of it was!

So this was basically the first day of our trip.
Like I said, we took a lot of photos! Ha.
Next up, photos from the Thai cooking class we took while in Bangkok!

9 comments:

  1. Looks great!!! Can't wait to check out Bangkok next month!

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  2. wooo! thanks for sharing! looks like such a unique place - so busy and crazy!
    ladies in navy

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  3. I love photo overloads on travel posts :) I would love to visit Bangkok!

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  4. I love your passion for travel. I'm excited to see the rest of your trip... It looks like you had a blast!

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  5. Amazing! It all looks so dreamy! Keep the photo overloads coming because I LOVE it!

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  6. love, love, love these photos. giving me the travel bug for sure!

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  7. The photos look great! I love how a lot of Asian countries just sell their food out of the streets like that - it makes me want to go visit Taiwan again! And the picture of the Thai curry had me drooling.

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Your sweet words make my day! :)

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