Hope you got my Hangover II reference 🙂
So the day finally arrived: my first full day in Bangkok. I woke up to my alarm going off bright and early at 7 a.m. No big deal for me…I was still on East Coast time, so it was 7 p.m. as far as my brain and body knew.
Since we were going to the temples today, I had to wear pants and a shirt with sleeves.
Tip: Thai people are pretty conservative and generally don’t do exposed shoulders. It’s “okay” in tourist areas for tourists, but definitely not okay in a temple. Carry a scarf to drape around your shoulders if you must wear a spaghetti strap style shirt.
Me, being an unfashionable Florida girl, my shirt collection consists of mostly spaghetti-strap tops OR if my shirt DOES have sleeves, it probably has a sports team on it, so I wore the plainest tee shirt I could find.
My full outfit looked SO tacky.
The Grand Palace is a complex established in 1782. Located inside the complex is the royal residence, government offices, and the famous Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
While I won’t call this place a tourist “trap”, it is definitely full of tourists. Mr. Perez, our tour guide, gave us the deets on the Grand Palace and set us loose.
This palace was GORGEOUS. Buildings were so incredibly intricate.
Phra Mondop is the Buddhist library. That Buddha pictured above is made out of volcanic stone.
Fun Fact: My favorite color (right now) is gold. So I was feeling like Midas.
We then went into Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred Buddhist temple, which houses the Emerald Buddha.
Another fun fact: You aren’t allowed to take photos of Emerald Buddha.
But if you do your Googles, you can find him there 😉 The most interesting fact is that he is super tiny, especially compared to other Buddhas at other temples.
There were a LOT of Chinese tourists that gave me a lot of stares. One guy was even sneaking photos of me, which was annoying. One couple didn’t speak English and pointed their camera at me, which I took as them wanting me to take a picture of THEM.
They wanted a picture WITH me. I wonder what their caption said when they posted it somewhere….
I felt like a fake Beyonce, like I was mad famous.
Enjoy the photos and video below of the Grand Palace!
Longtail Boating It
Rumor is, Bangkok is known as the “Venice of the East”. We headed to a marina to find out why. In VERY choppy water, we boarded a longtail boat. Y’all, I know I said I was scared when I was in the Tuk Tuk the night before, but this time, I was scared for real, for real. To board, the long stern of the boat pulls up to the marina. You walk across this stern through an open window to board the boat. One slip, you’re falling and swimming in the brown, choppy water, while everyone laughs at you.
Along the Chao Phraya River, we saw homes and a giant scary lizard thing that lives in the murky water and goes up to land to warm up. Did you know catfishes (that is the plural form. Oxford dictionary even said so) eat bread? In reality, they probably eat just about anything though.
Check out this cool video below of all the cool scenery along the river!
During the cruise down the Chao Phraya River, the longtail boat dropped us off at Was Arun. Wat Arun is another Buddist Temple.
Wat Arun is also known as the temple of Dawn and it is beautiful.
I was really liking Wat Arun because of the colors!
If you and brave (and agile) enough, you can climb the steep stairs for a cool view of the river and of the temple.
Inside many temples that are popular with tourists, there is a guarded entrance where only Thai people can go in and pray. This temple wasn’t as busy, and there were chairs for non-Thais to quietly sit in the back of the room and observe the rituals. If pictures are allowed, I say it’s best to hang back and observe, rather than stand over them while they practice their faith 🙂
An hour is a good amount of time to spend here.
We boarded the longtail boat back to the marina and headed back to the hotel to get ready for our Welcome Mixer. Every EF Ultimate Break tour comes with an Welcome Mixer that usually includes an open bar and some small bites while getting to know your fellow travelers. By now, we had already spent the day together, but it was nice to see everyone dressed up since we spent the day being sweaty and temple hopping. We knew that weren’t going to have a lot of downtime on this trip, especially in Bangkok, so a large group of us decided to go to Skybar (that cool rooftop bar from The Hangover II!)
Note: The Skybar has a dress code, so please check it before you head there! Also, drinks are super expensive up there, so it’s best to come buzzed, like we all did 😉
The drinks aren’t worth it, but the view definitely is worth checking out!:
While up here with so many of my new friends, it hit me; “I’m in MF Thailand. A trip I booked on a whim…and I’m here. Right now. This world is SO big, and I can’t wait to explore it.”
- I explored the Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets and learned I’m terrible at neogitations
- The Thai Dinner and Classical Dance Show
- And I got a weird private Thai massage in my room