Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thailand: One Night in Bangkok

.... and the world's your oyster. OK, make that two nights in Bangkok. A big, polluted, and crowded metropolis, definitely not my favourite city in Asia but there are some lovely temples and Grand Palaces to keep you busy for 48 hours or so, and lots of parties if that's what you fancy. 

We opted to stay near the Chao Phraya River for close proximity to the river taxis and the metro system, which we never ended using as taxis are so cheap in Bangkok (you can get around town for less than 100 THB). The heat in Bangkok was stifling and unbearable. We knew it would be hot in Thailand, but I hadn't realised that April was the hottest month of the year! 

As Keenan had never been to Bangkok, we did the touristy circuit and spent one evening hanging around Khao San Road. We did what the locals did and feasted on street food on the adjoining streets of this famous backpackers haven, and enjoyed some live music at a low-key bar. 

The next day, bright and early (it was 28C by 10am!), we took the river taxi gliding past the elegant Wat Arun to Tian Pier for some temple-hopping starting with Wat Pho which is famous for the 43m long Reclining Buddha and contains over 90 chedis and 400 images of Buddha. 

Across the street from Wat Pho is the majestic Grand Palace which I failed to see on my last trip to Bangkok in 2006.  Built in the late 1700s, this beautiful palace was the official residence of the Kings of Siam until 1925. Today it is still used for official state events and royal ceremonies. Among the highlights are the Temple of the Emeard Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) and the Golden Stupa. If you only have time to visit one attraction in Bangkok, make it the Grand Palace, definitely worth it even in the unforgiving heat. 

Next up: the Andaman islands. 

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