Our last day and a half in Phuket was spent getting to know the bartenders at the main pool. It was a vacation after all, we needed to be lazy slobs for a second. Not a LICK of it was photo worthy, so let’s flash forward to our quick and stinky day in the capital of Thailand.
We found our place on Airbnb. It was my first time using it and I absolutely loved it. Easy and cheap with a SUPER nice host and this view:
We stayed in the Sathorn district in Bangkok – not exactly in the middle of the touristy bit but an easy walk to the river taxi stop, BTS, and a pretty close night market.
I will say, about Airbnb and the quest for life as a local in a foreign country, the idea is exciting and charming. However, something I failed to consider with due effort was that the locals speak thai better than we do which is to say they speak thai AT ALL and so it was a little more challenging to find our way around. If there are any couples out there trying to decide whether they should get married or not, they should travel to a foreign country without any language skills and try to get around for a few days. If you both come out alive and relatively unscathed, you’re meant to be!
The next morning after a gigantically unsuccessful attempt to find plain old coffee, we left breakfast up to chance and got our tourism on, starting at the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat.
Conveniently enough, the first stop was just a few blocks from where we were staying. We welcomed the breeze coming off the river (Hello! Newsflash: Bangkok feels like it has about 500% humidity and 95 degree weather combined with what smells like an open sewer system in parts of the city). We were happy to find an English speaking guide at the boat, bought a one day pass and hopped on.
The boat took us up the river where we hopped off at the stop for Wat Pho, the home of the famous Reclining Buddha. However, when you first jump off the boat you land in a mini street market and the very first stall we walked by was hawking my favorite thing on the planet…something I’d been hunting in Thailand since we arrived…
Mango and sticky rice and bad hairdos forever!
Guys. The mangos in the US are just lousy. Thai mangoes know whats up. They’re closer to mango flavored butter, but in a refreshing way. I could cry just thinking about it.
We wondered across the street to Wat Pho, where (as we’d been warned) we were told by at least 5 different taxi and tuk tuk drivers that it was closed for another 3 hours or so. Don’t listen! They just want you to jump in their tuk tuk so they can take you somewhere else and make a few bucks!
So we hopped over the threshold into the temple, bought our tickets and the guard at the gate really gave us the Wat Pho (heh heh heh)…
This place was incredible. As with most of our experiences in Thailand, there is just nothing at home to compare this to.
Each structure was covered in the most finely detailed, colorful designs. Everything here commanded respect and reverence. The details were unreal.
There was a sort of exciting moment at Wat Pho for me…we’d been experimenting with our new GoPro in Thailand (more on that later) and Eli wandered off with it while I was distracted taking some photos. The exciting part: he was wearing a backpack that had all my money and boat tickets in it so all I had on me in this strange place where I didn’t speak the language was my camera. No cell phone to find each other, no keys to get back into our apartment, and I had no idea where he went.
I found him eventually, but for the few moments when I was totally on my own without any resources I actually felt really wonderful – really free. All I could afford to do was focus on this magnificent place and take in all of the sights and sounds around me. Parts of this temple are 200 years older than the United States and everything, without exception, was exquisitely beautiful. I was only alone for about 10 minutes but it felt like much longer, and I loved it.
Chillin. This Buddha is 15 meters high and 46 meters long, and was built in 1832.
We’d heard about it from a really helpful youtube video and one of the top goals was to find the deep fried pork at the beginning of that segment. AND WE CONQUERED!
We made one more stop before coming back home for a break, so it was off to Chinatown, which we really loved.
Chinatown was so wonderfully random. You could walk by an entire store that JUST sold glittery sheets of tissue paper or ONLY sold Hello Kitty hair scrunchies. It was still very busy and vibrant but just a dash quieter than the rest of Bangkok.
We stayed at: A private residence on Airbnb
We flew from Phuket to Bangkok on: Air Asia
We booked our travel through: Momondo