Our first days in Thailand were spent in the bustling metropolis of Bangkok. With 8.3 million people calling this city home, it is the largest in Thailand by far. When we weren’t in out hotel room sleeping off the jet-lag, we saw some of the most famous sites and mostly wandered around wide-eyed trying to figure out what to eat.
Bangkok traffic is crazy! Motorbikes are the most popular mode of transportation in Thailand.
Bangkok is built along the Choa Praya River, earning it the nickname “Venice of the East.”
The city has an excellent tourist ferry system that takes you to all the sites along the river.
Bangkok is ripe with scams attempting to mislead tourists. Thankfully we had done some research before hand so we knew not to believe a well-dressed man we met in this ally who attempted to convince us that the Grand Palace was closed for lunch. The Grand Palace
The entrance to the Grand Palace.
Construction of the Grand Palace begain in 1782 and it has been the official redince of Thai kings ever since. The current kind does not live at the palace (I can see why since it is constantly flooded with tourists), but it is still used for special events and ceremonies.
This building on the palace grounds is called The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The temple was filled with Thai people kneeling before the buddha statue. We were surprised at how many people came to see the buddha, which was actually quite tiny compared to the giant temple.
There were so many bright colors and ornate details to see all over the palace grounds.
Even the trashcans at the Grand Palace are fancy!
Wat Pho – Temple of the Reclining Buddha
After touring the Grand Palace we went to Wat Pho. Wat means “temple” in Thai and Pho is pronounced “poe.”
Wat Pho is famous for its reclining Buddha statue. It is 15 meters tall and 46 meters long.
Wat Pho has a similar architectural style as the Grand Palace, but with more wear and tear. These grungy details just made me love it all the more!
The temple complex contains the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand.
The temple is Thailand’s earliest center for public eduction. It still houses a school for traditional Thai medicine.
A monk feeding the temple cats.
Wat Pho is also known for being the birthplace of Thai massage.
Jim Thompson House Museum
On our final day in the city we successfully navigated to Sky Train in order to visit the Jim Thompson House.
Jim Thompson’s house showcases traditional Thai architecture and decorations. You can also learn about the silk making process.
Tour guides take you around Jim Thompson’s home pointing out interesting details in each room and telling Jim’s peculiar life story. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed inside the house.
Jim Thompson was an American business man who moved to Thailand after serving in Thailand as a solider during World War II. After returning to Thailand, Thompson fell in love with Thai culture and Thai silk. Time Magazine credits him with almost single-handedly saving Thailand’s silk industry from extinction. In doing so he helped raise thousands of Thailand’s poorest people out a poverty.
He built his house by bringing parts of 6 different traditional Thai homes and joining them together. He decorated the house with Thai silk, of course, and artifacts from all over Thailand. In March 1967, Thompson left Bangkok to visit friends in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands. On a Sunday afternoon he left the cottage where he was staying for an afternoon stroll. He never returned. To this day neither him nor his remains have been found. Highs & Lows
Chelsey’s highlight of Bangkok: Walking through the city streets. My favorite part of travel is simply seeing new things and there were so may interesting sights all over Bangkok.
Chelsey’s lowlight of Bangkok: Food, food everywhere and not a bite to eat. Our struggle with not knowing what to eat can completely be blamed on us. There were food stands lining every street but we had know idea what the food was or how to order it. A few times we pathetically slept through dinner because we didn’t know where to go for a meal.
Cole’s high: The Jim Thompson House and getting lots of sleep in our hotel room
Cole’s low: All the traffic and people
Plants are everywhere in Bangkok and I love it! It gives a new meaning to the term “concrete jungle.”
Bangkok is a hub for traveling through Southeast Asia so I’m sure we will return at some point. See you later, Bangkok!