One Night in Bangkok…
Okay … the title of “One Night in Bangkok” isn’t entirely accurate: we actually had one night surrounded by two afternoons in this vibrant, contradictory, crazy city.
But before we arrived that Saturday afternoon … there was still Northern Thailand. We left Lampang early — after a bittersweet goodbye to our new family there — and took the hourlong taxi ride with our family and new friends to Chiang Mai, then the Air Asia flight to Bangkok.
(Two points of interest on this journey … the airport was shut down in front of our eyes while one of the Thai Princes arrived at the airport to great fanfare of military officials, and great amounts of military security. Meantime, we got a foot massage while awaiting our delayed flight, for like $5 … I love Thailand!) At this point, my mom and Jack stayed in Chiang Mai for a few days, and Holly, Nick and Missy went down to the south of Thailand to see Phuket and the islands. So it was me, April, and her brother Scott, to explore for a day before heading out of Thailand.
(Click below to see more Bangkok photos)
Another taxi ride and we arrived at our hotel, The Gulliver Hotel. We loved this place … it was affordable, clean, had lots of hot water, was modern, and was in a central location. We were very happy with the choice, and highly recommend this for a Bangkok stay. (This is their restaurant next door … we checked it out, not our style).
Across the street was a middle-eastern area, so we ate a great persian lunch. The rest of our day was pretty simple. We were loving the hotel room — and the amazing shower, after the muggy, dirty air of Bangkok left us feeling filthy — but we finally made it out, met with the local Ronald McDonald for a photo op …
… and, to be honest, most of the rest of the night was unmemorable. Everywhere we talked there were stray dogs, sometimes heartbreaking. (The stray dogs became a recurring theme of our trip, oddly, as we continued onward.)Â Later, we did take a walk around the seedier side of Bangkok at night, and ended up staying up way too late.
The next morning, we nearly got scammed by a taxi driver … (Watch out! They will tell you that they can’t take you to your location because of traffic, but they can take you to the river where you can ride a river boat up. Of course, they get big commission because the boat is totally overpriced … which we figured out, walked away from, and took a “public” boat for about 1/5th the price.) … but made the best of it and enjoyed our tour up the river.
We toured the King’s Palace, which was stunning. Of course, it was beyond crowded, beyond hot, and with the humidity of Alabama … so that took a bit of the enjoyment out of the moment … but again, April, Scott, and I had a great time. This is one of my favorite pictures, not the least because April — in her ao dai (white hat) — is walking through the stunning scenery:
I love this shot of the “palace trashman,” giving perspective and contrast to the temple.
I also love the contrast of the sharp corners and the garden in this shot:
After several hours there (and many, many more pictures not shown here!), we left, tired, hot, and a wreck. April and Scott were responsible and went back to the hotel by our checkout time (6pm) … I begged to have a little more time and check out a couple of temples as quickly as possible … which I did, including the massive reclining Buddha complex of Wat Pho …
… and this shot of the back of his head to show scale.
There was this incredibly beautiful “clanking” sound in this complex, which sounded like huge drops of water in a big cave. It was really people dropping small coins (donations) in a long, long row of metal containers … it was music of a sort I hadn’t heard before … another happy moment on the Wedding World Tour.
I took a quick ferry across the river, and climbed up the VERY steep, somewhat scary steps of the Wat Arun…
(And now that I look at these photos, I see that I should’ve chosen some more wide shots to show the scope of it all … very beautiful, though!)
It took a water taxi, a boat, a tuk tuk, the sky-train, and lots of walking to get home … and I certainly wasn’t on time by the time I finally arrived. But Gulliver’s Tavern (the hotel) was cool about everything, and I had time to shower, shop some more, and pack. A few hours later, we were on our way to the airport for our overnight flight to Nairobi, Kenya, for the next phase — the Maasai ceremony! — of our Wedding World Tour.
— a gallery of some more photos —