Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Exploring Bangkok

When we awoke on a quiet New Years Day we were excited to not feel jet lagged anymore and energized to explore the city. We headed out to take the river ferry up and down the river Chao Phraya which runs through Bangkok. The town has set up ferries you can ride for about 50 cents US Dollars and you get a nice ride along the river. Of course their are entrepreneurs right next to the ferry trying to get more money from you for a private ride which could be a nice option too but we enjoy using public transportation. The ferry boats aren't anything fancy but I thought the hotel ferries were pretty cute. Here's a picture of one (from the Hilton I think). 
Riding along the river was a nice way to escape the heat since you get a good breeze off the water. But also, I was fascinated with the super fancy five star hotels right next to slums. It was quite a sight. I kept thinking about how in the US waterfront property is the most expensive. This must not be the case in Thailand since a lot of the riverfront is slums. Regardless, it was still a really nice ride!
When we exited the ferry we found ourselves in a market where we admired all of the yummy food but didn't purchase anything quite yet. It all looked great but we weren't quite ready to make the plunge. What can I say, we are spoiled Americans!
Next we did a walking tour of 'downtown' Bangkok. Bangkok is massive but luckily most of the things tourists want to see are in one area. Unluckily, that area is of course full of tourists and people catering to tourists so it can be a bit of a zoo. Of course their are tuk tuks everywhere, but I think it's fun to spot the tuk tuks!
I most of all enjoyed taking in the Siam culture, like this giant sculpture in the main round about with fancy pink elephants! 
Wat Rakhang (wat means temple in Thai) was also in the area and it's very beautiful and I enjoyed spotting it as we walked around. The temple was built during the Ayutthaya period (from 1350 to 1767) and rests nicely along the waterfront.
Later that evening we went to a Muay Thai boxing match. I'm not big on fighting and the such but we had heard these are fun and Dale really wanted to see it. So, off we went. The fighters all looked really young and I felt pain just watching them beat on each other. They kick and punch and knock each other around much more than is legal in the USA.  

When we were buying tickets to the match they wouldn't not sell us foreigners tickets to the 2nd or 3rd class seating areas. They said this was because things can get quite rowdy and a lot of gambling goes down. Maybe our match didn't have very popular people or something but it did not seem like 2nd or 3rd class were out of hand at all, in fact they weren't even that full. But of course, as foreigners we were only allowed to buy 1st class seats rink side. These tickets were many more times what the locals were paying but I guess that is part of being a tourist. The plus is we were rink side so we got to see every punch and kick very well! Even though we were 'only allowed' to buy the expensive tickets, I still think it was a fun and unique experience so I'm glad we went! Here's a picture of Dale in front of the boxing stadium in Bangkok.
Afterwards I guess we were feeling a little brave from all that fighting because we finally tried the street food. Here's Dale a little timid before the meal.
 We opted for some sort of noodles and broth with vegetables and chicken. At least, that's what we could best decipher it to be. And it was delicious! Probably one of the top meals of the trip! Here's a look at the 'restaurant' where we bought and ate, a street food cart with plastic tables and chairs in the middle of the street. Love it! Love it! Love it!
Love Always,


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