“Shopping in Thailand is super cheap and generally high quality. Bangkok is also safe. If you see anybody wearing camouflage holding a machete, don’t be scared. They sell coconuts.“
– Bobby Lee
After Chiang Rai I hopped on a plane to Bangkok to meet up with my friend, Øyvind, who decided to merge his holiday with my trip. We stayed in Bangkok a week, then headed to Krabi, then I managed to get him to join me in Kuala Lumpur, because… Well, just because.
Here’s a tidbit I was told by my guide the day I got my tattoo: Bangkok is NOT called Bangkok anymore. It is now known as “Krung Thep Maha Nakhon” (or Krung Thep for short, The City of Angels). My mind was blown…
WAT ARUN TEMPLE
Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan (the Temple of the Dawn) is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. Wat Arun is among the best known of Thailand’s landmarks. The first light of the morning reflects off the surface of the temple with pearly iridescence. Although the temple had existed since at least the seventeenth century, its distinctive spires were built in the early 19th century during the reign of King Rama II.
We got on a boat “negotiated” by a little, old and very cunning lady who charged us way too much (even after all this time I can get conned *lol*), but we got a nice boat ride along the river that deposited us right outside Wat Arun. It was a lovely temple, that didn’t mind my leggings (I wish they woul make their minds up about what is appropriate and what is not, because the next day when we went to the Royal Palace my leggings were not appropriate enough). I must admit that I myself am completely “templed out” at this point, but Øyvind hadn’t been to much of Asia so I figured it was a nice outing for the day.
The Grand Palace // The Royal Palace
The Grand Palace (the official residence of the Kings of Siam (Thailand) since 1782) was another outing for the day. It is very impressive (but the people at the gates are very skilled at getting the most bang out of the buck. Any little ting they could point to to make women buy a scarf, sarong or shawl was pointed out so… Yeah, I felt it was a little “money grabby”.
Our outing here was a bit amputated because of the heavy rains, we ended up under roof in a small gateway between some of the buildings, waiting it out as best we could. I had Øyvind’s massive rain poncho over me because I had the backpack under it. I looked super pregnant *lol*
After a while we waded through the rivers that now covered the ground and found a cafe to make use of the aircon. It was excruciatingly hot… To be honest I thought the Grand Palace was a bit overrated, but the temple of the Emerald Buddha was pretty cool. Of course we were not permitted photographs from the inside, but the walls were covered in absolutely gorgeous murials and atop a tall pedestall was the Emerald Buddha itself. An antique statue of Buddha carved out of a single, precious piece of jade, and a large one at that. They say the statue was discovered as far back as the 1400s and it took them a while to realize it was made completely of jade as it initially was covered in plaster (or something to that effect).
As well as the Emerald Buddha, the main building (house of the King) was interesting because it was such a blend of traditional Thai architecture and 19th-century European styles. They were beautifully put together.
KHAOSAN ROAD AND VARIOUS STUFF WE SAW WHILE WALKING
Bangkok is a huge city with a lot of chaos (what some people call “life” or “vibrance”, me being one of those people). I love cities and people. And lights. And street food and markets… I just love the hustle and bustle. Bangkok was a bit too hot some of the time to wander too much, but we saw a lot of cool stuff, tattoo shops everywhere offering silly tourists a permanent souvenir (I did one, but it wasn’t at one of the street shops, it was a proper Sak Yant Tattoo done by a monk), Ronald McDonald looking very creepy, promising the best burgers ever (yeah right, McDonald’s!) and the ubiquitous guys selling laughing gas to gangs of young Europeans wanting a new way t get high… The doctor’s office (Dr. Khaosan!) set right in the middle of all this insanity gave a comforting feel (yeah, that’s sarcasm…)
The markeds are awesome, you can find anything here. Clothes, keychains, shotsglasses, “sacred objects”, massive wooden penises to decorate your shelves (cause who wouldn’t want that?). It’s a great place to part with your money and find something to bring back home.
I can’t even remember if I bought anything… I’ve bought so much crap by now it’s impossible for me to keep track.
I was on another boat. We cruised. The food was ok, the drink was “one included”, the entertainment was exceptionally kitch (the dancing), but the singer was really earning her keep. She got the boat rocking… Well, most of it. The most memorable thing about the evening was the singer’s endless demands that we “sit dooooown!” when he boat neared the lower hanging bridges. To be fair there was a real possibility that the taller guys would brush their heads and possibly get a concussion so I kind of understand her incessant calling on the mic, but her drawling and nasal voice was extremely grating (though pretty funny at the same time… I’m confused now).
We got to see Wat Arun at night though, that was pretty cool.