Before jetting away to Bangkok, we had one last breakfast overlooking the ocean. Can you see the dragonfruit on my plate? We can get it in Japan but I still wanted to take advantage of having it ready-to-eat here.
One last ocean view.
Ryan had an omelet at the omelet station.
And I also tried out the waffle too.
Then we headed back to our villa to grab our bags and head to the airport. One thing I didn't mention that our villa was right under a durian tree. It wasn't really a problem but then one fell and burst open, wafting the smell all over the entryway to our room. Yuck!
Back to the airport and on the plane to Bangkok. I was told Bangkok is a city. It's a city. Of course. It is a big city. So, I was told that I didn't need a lot of time there and I should spend more time in Chiang Mai. I planned according to that advice (which was good advice and came from more than one person) so we ended our trip in Bangkok, which made getting home to Japan a little easier.
Sometimes food served on planes makes me giggle. I have no idea but it seems to be a sandwich made with potato salad containing peas and carrots.
Our final hotel stay was at the Shangri-La Bangkok. It's the same chain of hotels that I stayed at in Kuala Lumpur, which I loved and highly recommend. I saw they had a Bangkok location too, so we decided to splurge a little on it. Our room was lovely. A good size and very comfortable. Very nicely decorated.
We booked a room overlooking the river. It was an amazing view. The river isn't the cleanest, but it was still a beautiful view and fun to watch as the boats/water taxis went up and down. The rooms were at an angle so all rooms had a nice view. Ours was cool because from the bed, at night when the city was lit up, I could see downriver to a giant ferris wheel. I loved sitting there, even if for a short time, looking at the ferris wheel lit up at night, spinning around.
Down below was the swimming pool. Gorgeous!
With only 1 night in Bangkok (yeah, I have the song on my iphone because I couldn't resist) we couldn't waste any time. The hotel was conveniently located at a water taxi stop. We headed over and took it up the river towards the main temples and palace.
Some views along the way.
So cool looking!
Here is a picture of the water taxi (I forget the official name, but it's like a water taxi).
This is one of my favorite pictures of all time. There were tons of boats like this going up and down the river, but this one was so perfectly colored and in just the right position with Wat Arun in the background.
This is a little closer up picture of Wat Arun. It was on the opposite side of the river from where most of what we wanted to see was located, so we passed on going over to see it.
On the way over to Wat Phra Kaew, we become targets in the most well known tourist scheme in Bangkok. A taxi driver/tour guide will stop you on the way to the temple and tell you it is closed for the day. They will say there was a religious function in the morning and this closed it for the day. Instead, they offer to show you around the city and take you places, then you are free to visit the temple the next day. There is no major harm in this, other than wasted time and being taken to souvenir shops you are not interested in, and maybe some sightseeing along the way. It may cost you more than you want too. But there is no risk to your safety, that I know of. It's a scam and one that they make sure to cover in all the tour books. We knew this in advance so we were blown away to see it in action. Obviously we did not go with the guy and we made sure to tell him he was a big liar and scam artist. Then, as we approached the temple, we saw this, which was really funny to see that this was necessary because it is such a real problem here.
Here we are inside the grounds. Now, dress code is a big thing here, so if you are headed there, make sure to dress properly. This means shoulders and knees covered for females. For males, you must wear pants. Shorts covering the knees are not permitted. Ryan had to rent a pair of pants!
The complex is very large with lots of buildings, some of which you can enter.
I took lots of pictures, so I hope you enjoy them.
Inside is the Emerald Buddha. Too bad you can't take pictures inside.
Ornate window and door panels.
Interesting...these are Jewish stars!
It's a really beautiful temple.
Again, very ornate.
Lovely garden area.
Here I am!
Here I am in front of the Grand Palace.
Also a very beautiful building. Too bad at this time the skies became gray and it started to drizzle.
You can tell by my hair and dress that the wind was really picking up.
Love the trees and landscaping here.
After we left the temple grounds, we debating just heading to dinner and skipping more temples because of the rain. Just outside the temple we spotted oodles of tuk-tuks.
Taxis too. Did I mention taxis in Bangkok are hot pink? I want one!
We decided not to let the rain stop us and headed to Wat Pho instead, which is where the Reclining Buddha is located.
Here is the entrance.
Benches with a nice little waterfall.
Lots of these around. This is known as a chedi.
Like I said, these are all over. Very ornate and beautiful. Others are all gold, but these appear to be tiled.
Inside we saw the Reclining Buddha. It's huge! HUGE! I could barely get it in an entire shot.
Little shrine areas all along the body.
This may give you an idea how long this Buddha is.
Closer up picture of the waterfall area.
Love the little welcome area in the grass.
More pictures of the temple grounds. It was a pretty large complex too.
More Buddha statues. The reason why not many people are around in all of our pictures is because of the rain. Once it started to drizzle, we noticed that most people disappeared.
It was like having the place to ourselves. It was so quiet and that is what I think made it so surreal and so spiritual to be there. It just had a very distinct vibe. The quiet is really what did it.
One last Buddha!
We had 2 nights for dinner really, so no worries that we spent our only dinner dining in a Hard Rock. We were headed there because I wanted a shirt. After a long and crazy tuk tuk ride during rush hour, we made it to the Hard Rock. Given the rain and our hunger we decided it was best to probably just eat there.
And so we did.
I ordered shrimp pad Thai.
Ryan had the local burger.
Refueled, we headed to the shopping malls nearby. I even found the Mywarisa store, which was perfect because the cost of the shoes in Thailand was significantly less than in Japan. I found this brand of shoe in an advertisement from FB and checked it out because the shoes were so cute. I researched it more and discovered this was a Thai company. I knew I was headed to Thailand so I decided to hold off on ordering online. Excellent idea because I found the exact shoes I was looking at for less than half the cost if I ordered them in Japan.
After some more shopping and looking we found some interesting stuff. I have no idea what this is, but it made me laugh a little.
Love this name for an ice cream/dairy treat shop.
We found all of these ice cream shops. What we liked was that these were primarily Hokkaido ice cream shops. We were in a very Japanese area so it made sense. Hokkaido is the Japanese island just north of where we live. They are very well known for their dairy. Most dairy in Japan comes from Hokkaido.
Then we headed to the subway station next to the mall and headed home. While we were waiting I spotted this sign for Kaplan. Couldn't resist a picture because I teach for Kaplan (and have for 5 years now!).
When we got back to the room it was dark out, but not so easy to take a picture. I tried! You can see the ferris wheel I mentioned above out there in the distance (off to the left).
Well, that does it for our one night in Bangkok! We had one more almost full day before taking a red-eye back to Japan. We had to wake up super early to head to the floating markets, which I was really looking forward too, so that was it for our night.
QUESTIONS: Have you ever been to Bangkok? Have you ever visited a Buddhist temple? What hotel have you stayed at with a great river view?