Sunday, June 10, 2012


Ok, so we have a travel list. It's a long list of all of the places we want to visit while we are in SE Asia.  There are the places that "we must" visit and others that we will visit if we have time and money.  At this rate, our list is a bit ambitious but we are making a large dent in it.  Last weekend, Eric had (another) long weekend and we decided that a visit to Bangkok was in order.  Bangkok is one of a few direct flights from Penang and perfect for a long weekend visit.  A short hour and a half flight and we were in one of SE Asia's biggest cities.  Perfect.

We were warned by friends that traffic in Bangkok is unbelievable and to avoid getting into any automobile.  Luckily, the city has done a fantastic job with their public transportation system and getting around is a breeze, not to mentioned air conditioned, cheap and fast! We managed to move around the city on the Metro, Sky Train and Water Taxis without any problems and only took one taxi (which we ended up getting out of and walking to our destination because it was faster).

Our two big goals for our trip were visiting Temples and Shopping.  We visited Wat Pho and the largest Reclining Buddha in the world.  This was one of our biggest draws to Bangkok after seeing Todd English's visit to this temple on PBS.  It was awesome and less touristy then other temples we had been to.  

We took a water Taxi across the river to Wat Arun, a stunning pagoda where you are able to climb the steps of the very intricate and detailed temple. 
Young Monks joined us on our river taxi to Wat Arun
Beautiful Wat Arun
The steep steps to the top
After experiencing Bangkok's temple scene and hot temps, we settled in for some good Chang beer and fried rice.  Eric made friends with our waitress...
We spent an entire day shopping.  Bangkok is known for it's markets and malls and let me just say, they do not disappoint.  While, shopping is not our "thing" we did check out the famous Chatuchak Markets and Siam Paragon Mall.  We left with a few finds but nothing overwhelming.  We had a nice lunch at the Paragon Mall and were witness to a young couple's proposal and engagement.  It was very sweet.  We also ventured to the famous backpacker haven, Koh San Road, where we determined that we are officially old.  We had an early dinner and took a taxi back to our hotel on the river. 

Here are a few more Bangkok pictures:

This is what happens when you are hungry and over templed

If you look close enough you will see that I am only smiling to hide my heat rash
Thai engineering at it's best.  I wonder how many homes and business this powers...

An American engineer pondering all of the code violations...
When cars die, their engines' become boat motors...
Final Thoughts: I'm glad we visited Bangkok and can say that we have been there.  It's a big Asian city that is modernizing while holding on to and honoring the old ways of life.  I don't think we will go back to visit but it's a worthy stop if you are in SE Asia.  I will say that Bangkok during the day is much much different than Bangkok at night.  The sex trade and oppression of women is very much alive and well in Bangkok.  Please keep that in mind when traveling here.  As a social worker, the exploitation is overt and a hard pill to swallow; but it's life and the truth of thousands of women here. All in all a good weekend, a good city with excellent transportation, people and food!

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