The overnight bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok was much more comfortable than I’d anticipated and we managed to sleep pretty well, albeit continuously disturbed by the stopping and starting of the bus. We arrived in Bangkok at 7AM but could only check into our accommodation at noon. We were able to leave our luggage at the hostel though and had a quick freshen up there before venturing into Bangkok.
We took a local boat taxi along a rather filthy river lined with slum looking housing and arrived near the Old quarter of town. From there we walked to the Grand Palace in the sweltering 32•C heat. We contended with the thousands of other tourists trying to get into this complex of opulent temples. It may have been crowded but it was spectacular. The temples were as beautiful as the ones in Chiang Mai but the sheer scale and number of these temples was really the most impressive part. We walked around admiring the golden and jeweled buildings and also got to see the Emerald Buddha.
We continued our exploration through Bangkok’s hustle and bustle and arrived at Wat Pho. This temple housed the biggest Buddha we’ve seen so far: the Reclining Buddha. The rest of the complex was dotted with multicoloured towers decorated with intricate patterns.
By this stage the heat and sleep deprivation was starting to get to us so we decided to take a lunch break in an air-conditioned restaurant. With some food in our tummies and our body temperature sufficiently lowered, we continued on our way towards the market area of town. The side of Bangkok was by far my favourite: we walked along the calm river lined with beds of Bougainvillea in a rather uncharacteristically peaceful atmosphere. We explored the vibrant colours of the vegetable market overflowing with bright red, green and orange chillies, baskets and baskets of ginger and enormous vegetables. It was a real treat to see the locals going about their daily routine of lugging massive baskets of fresh produce from the wholesale to their respective restaurants and hotels.
On the way back we stumbled upon a little oasis: Saranrom Park. A luscious green tropical park filled with trees and the most beautiful lake covered in massive lily pads. The lake was home to an enormous fish, Asian monitor lizards and a turtle. I absolutely loved it!
We spent in the rest of the day lapping up the cool air in our retreat from the scary city: Home Mali Hostel .
The staff here were incredibly helpful and really kind, welcoming us into their little family.
Nic had discovered that there was an Anime store close to our accommodation and so we spent the morning checking that out. Then after lunch we headed into the Old quarter to admire the expansive flower market. Orchids, roses, the orange carnation-looking flowers used at the temples and everything else in between were being cut, sorted and packaged. We spent the rest of the afternoon back at Saranrom Park with its cool shade and lily pad lake, relaxing and reading.
On our final day in Bangkok we decided to check out Lumpini Park. This is a large park in amongst Bangkok’s skyscrappers that can be compared to Central Park in New York. We took the Skytrain to get there and I was really impressed with the slick and first world comparable transport system. We spent our time walking through the tropical park filled with palm trees and a dense humidity. There were duck shaped peddle boats available to rent so we took a leisurely peddle across the lake in a mild sort of ‘safari’ where our main sightings were turtles, a sort of cat-fish and lots and lots of scary lizard/crocodile/snake looking creatures called Asian monitor lizards.
At first I found Bangkok scary and busy, but in the end I actually ended up really enjoying my time in Thailand’s capital. Today we fly to Hanoi at the top of Vietnam and our Vietnamese adventure begins!
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