Over the course of the next few months, we plan seek refuge in Bangkok for a few days. This time around, we spent five days touring the sites. Below is a run down of our whirlwind tour.

Khao San Road
Curious about the famed tourist Mecca in Bangkok, Khao San Road, we made our way to its street stalls and open-air bars. Khao San Road is party-central for the backpacker and tourist crowd. Even mid-morning it’s a happening place. Apparently by night, it’s the place one goes to get their drink on. Watching bare-chested men strut down the street, I can only imagine what it must be like at night. Perhaps on one of our return trips to Bangkok, we’ll check out the night scene. For now, we haven’t soaked up enough Thai culture to revert to hedonism. The picture to the right tells a lot about this street; buckets of caffeine-loaded alcohol can be had for less than $10. And, as if there weren’t enough bars crowded into a tiny street, just off of Khao San, gas stations are converted into bars. Everything about this street lures one to drink. And once you’ve imbibed, the stalls loaded with clothing, CDs, and DVDs might just seem like they offer good buys.

Chatuchak weekend market
We can’t imagine coming to Bangkok without making the trek to the Chatuchak weekend market at least once. Chalk-full of stalls selling everything from kitchen sinks to hamsters, we wandered its maze for hours. For right now, we forbid ourselves from buying anything but I made note of several goods that might just have to be shipped home (think silk pillowcases and beautiful trivets). Entering the furniture area, the skill and quality of the workmanship impressed us. There were several pieces that stood out, and we contemplated the shipping costs. Part of this market contained an entire pet section with veterinarians to boot. Puppies, fish, turtles, snakes, mice, hamsters, birds, and all of their living needs could be bought here. This seemed to be the largest part of the market, and it easily overwhelmed us in just a few minutes. As we made our escape, I am certain we passed by rare animals and I wondered if there were any controls on the trading of exotic animals in Thailand.

Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha) and Grand Palace
On our second day in Bangkok, we took a water taxi along the Chao Phraya River to the Grand Palace. The river taxis offer affordable and fast transportation for locals. Costing us less than $1 to travel several kilometers, we made great use of the taxis duringĀ  our stay.

The palace grounds are exquisite with their mythical guardians and nymph-like creatures. Mosaic tiling reflects light in glitteringĀ sparkles throughout the complex. Huge guardians flank the walls of the grounds, and smaller guardians protect the upper terraces. The real draw for most people coming here is the Emerald Buddha (actually made of jade). Its history is a complicated one as it has changed hands many times in the past and no one is exactly certain of its origin, but it’s thought to be from India. The grounds are impressive with each turn of the head filling the eye with a myriad of colors. It’s hard to describe because it’s just so impressive. Gold-leaf, mythical creatures line the courtyard and huge golden prangs spire to the sky. The palace grounds are just something you must see for yourself as a description doesn’t due it justice.

Wat Pho
Located next to the Grand Palace, we made our way to Wat Pho (the Reclining Buddha) after a quick lunch at a street side food stall (stay tuned on a post about our more adventurous dining-out). The Reclining Buddha is an impressive figure, measuring 46 meters long and 15 meters high with gold plating covering its body. Its eyes and feet are decorated with intricate mother of pearl detailing. The wat housing the reclining buddha is one of the oldest and largest in Bangkok. Its sprawling grounds house over 1,000 Buddha images all encased in glass. Intricately detailed, the mosaic prang (spires) seemed to be made of hand-crafted porcelain.

For round 1 of Bangkok, that’s about it. We perused wholesale shopping malls, took local transportation, and as usual experienced our fare share of tribulations navigating a large city. Tonight, we are off to the southern beaches of Thailand for some relaxation and diving.

Sometimes pictures speak louder than words, so check out all of our photos from the past few days at Jodi’s and Chris’ flickr pages.

One Response to “Round 1 Bangkok”

  1. Jamie says:

    Hey. I just caught up with your blog and am so excited to see something I recognize!!! It’s crazy to hear about the Seattle weather, but I’m happy you’re back in the tropics.

    Take care and welcome back to the traveling life…hopefully we’ll join that life again soon!