We could not have picked a more interesting and exciting time to be in Bangkok. Currently, there is a “revolution” occurring in the streets and the streets are packed, the people are screaming and we are in the middle of it all. The “revolution” is what it is being called by the people but in actuality there are two opposing political protests going on. Millions of people rallying up and down the streets with whistles, motivational speakers calling to action over loudspeakers, grandparents dressed in full revolutionary gear and baby carriages decorated with the Thailand flag. Although traffic in the city has surely picked up, this did not stop us from accomplishing all we set out to see. Our first stop was to the Wat Saket also known as the Golden Mount, a Buddhist temple on a hill that overlooks the entire city. We then wanted to see the city by sea so we hopped on a James Bond Longtail boat and took a river cruise visiting water communities and shop from the floating market. It was incredible to see the homes standing on beams just above the the water and devastating to see homes that had not been so lucky and had totally collapsed into the river. During our tour we even stumbled upon a nasty sea creature and I no longer had any desire to go swimming. We ended the boat tour at Wat Arun, another Buddhist temple named after the Hindu god Aruna. Hopping on another boat we made our way to Asiatique, Bangkok’s newest shopping, dining, and entertainment area. After a seafood dinner underneath the huge ferris wheel, we ended the night by attending the Calypso ladyboy performance.
The next morning we slept a little later and then spent the rest of the day at the Weekend Market. The market was filled with western clothes, traditional Thai attire, hipster stores, food vendors, jewelry boutiques and countless other stores. The day completely escaped us and we ended the busy shopping day on Khaosan Road enjoying a live band while sitting at a table in the middle of the street in the center of all of the action.
A visit to Bangkok would not be complete without visiting the major Buddha temples: Giant Buddha, Reclining Buddha, and the Emerald Buddha. All of these temples were very grandiose and elaborate so it was fun to contrast them with the more low cost, every day temples we stopped into while walking around the city. We also spent a portion of the day at the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine, built by King Rama I to bring unity and fortune to the country and is considered one of the most sacred places in Bangkok. Across from the City Pillar Shrine is the Grand Palace, also built by King Rama I as a royal residence. The Grand Palace is divided into many sections of living quarters, temples, state buildings and ceremonial areas. The Emerald Buddha stands in the Grand Palaces Outer Court and is so spectacular because it is carved from green jade. After exploring the throne hall we visited Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile to admire her beautiful gowns, shoes and jewels.
Of course no trip to Thailand would be complete without a fish pedicure and a Thai massage..or five. So we very generously treated ourselves to a couple of evenings at the spa! There is much to do in Bangkok but we became extremely tired of city tours and temples; it was time for an excursion outside of Bangkok.