We went to Thailand! Thailand has been our dream destination for quite a while, but we never had enough vacation time to accommodate the 24+ hour travel days and all of the sights we wanted to see. We finally found a two-week block and jetted off to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and an island near Phuket. Traveling through Thailand, overall, is enjoyable because the Thai people are generally exceedingly polite, it is easy to communicate in English, and the domestic flights were prompt and efficient. Each region of Thailand that we visited was very different from the others.
I’ll start by telling you about Bangkok- it is very affordable but very polluted, the city sprawls out over an enormous area, but the public transportation options are efficient, the streets are full of traffic that does not respect pedestrians, the shopping is incredibly luxurious with more high-end stores than Paris and Las Vegas combined, and the weather in June is unbearably hot and humid.
One of my favorite parts of visiting Bangkok was getting to enjoy the incredible fruit. On the left is a mangosteen, a fruit I had only ever eaten fresh in Hawaii. These mangosteens were sweet and tender. Peeling through the thick, crumbly skin dyed my hands and napkin a pretty purple. The segments inside the fruit are fibrous but juicy, and some of them have big seeds in them. The fruit on the right is a rambutan, and I learned a trick to opening them: Hold a rambutan with two fists, and twist it open. The rubbery skin will pop right off! The fruit’s anatomy is similar to a lychee, but it doesn’t taste like one. It’s not as sweet or juicy, and they’re not my favorite. The Thai mangoes, however, were otherworldly-delicious! And have you ever had a rose apple? So crunchy and juicy!
We took Bangkok’s very modern and efficient Sky Train to Chatuchak Weekend Market. That place is a literal maze. It is full of narrow alleys, lined with shops that sell all kinds of things (dogs, kitchen supplies, silk, shoes, lamps, jewelry). If you see something you like, you have to buy it on the spot because it’s impossible to find the stall a second time. Don’t go here if you’re claustrophobic or seriously adverse to nasty smells because the market was cramped, stinky, and crowded. Happily, we stumbled upon one section full of gorgeous and high-quality art, and we bought a really unique painting of a cherry blossom tree. I am in love with it!
Here is a view of the market from above, the tiny rooftops go on FOREVER in every direction!!
We also had a great time wandering around a Bangkok supermarket and checking out the different products for sale. Some of the most interesting things we saw were this pig heart and pig tongue, each packaged like it was a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Aside from the smattering of organs, it was SO difficult for me to refrain from buying all kinds of snacks, spices, cookies, and grains. I was in a personal candy land.
Sightseeing wise, we visited Bangkok’s Grand Palace. It is such an ornate and pristine area- a complete contrast to the rest of Bangkok. In order to enter the Grand Palace’s grounds, everyone has to be fully covered- no shorts or exposed shoulders. David had to rent a pair of pants to put on over his shorts. With the heat and humidity, I have never been so sweaty in my life- not even from doing hot yoga.
Every inch of the palace was so beautiful. It has been meticulously restored, and the architecture was inspiring.
I love the symmetry and rich color of these gold tiles. You have no idea how many detail shots like this are hiding out in my camera. I wanted to photograph everything (and nearly did)!
After becoming intimate with the feeling of delusional, desperate dehydration, we finally found a little café within the Grand Palace where we could replenish our water supply and enjoy some ice pops. Check out the available flavors— whenever I think “refreshing,” my mind always goes right to corn. Once we were rehydrated and cooled off, we ventured back out onto the palace grounds.
It is amazing how many different buildings are on the property and how unique each one of them is.
The property is surrounded with a portico that is decorated with a beautiful and endless mural. I have never seen so much gold in my life!
We loved this golden statue of a chicken lady. We saw similar statues lining the road to the airport. Does anyone know the significance of this figure? I’ve been trying to search online, but “thai chicken lady statue” must not be the right search term 🙂
There were some sights in Bangkok that we didn’t have the opportunity to visit because of the extreme heat, so I wouldn’t be opposed to returning in the future. However, Bangkok really made me appreciate living in DC where the crowds are light, it is quiet and clean, cars stop when I cross the street, and the sidewalks aren’t conspiring to take me down. I’ll tell you about the rest of our trip later (don’t worry, a cooking class will make an appearance!).