the honeymoon part 2: bangkok
*for part 1, tokyo, click here.
|The view from the Shangri La.|
Well, so much for banging out posts on the honeymoon within a week. Ha. Apologies, my friends.
So! Where were we?
After a whirlwind few days in Tokyo, we hopped on a plane for about eight hours (sadly, no bump to business class this time), where we again received lovely presents and homemade cards from the stewardesses. Every time I fly now, I should probably tell everyone it's my honeymoon. People love love, people. (How's that for an anagram?)
We touched down in Bangkok where it was blissfully warm and -- due to the protests -- completely devoid of traffic. I'm told this is more than a rarity, so it was a pretty sweet and unexpected perk. Speaking of the the protests, we saw nothing. All of the tourist areas were spared any of the parades, flags, explosives, etc.
Since we were only in the city for a little over a day, our excellent travel agent Josh suggested we hire a guide to make sure we could cram everything in. I cannot recommend this highly enough if you're planning to visit Bangkok for a short period. It is a very loud, crowded and confusing city and having a local (with a car and driver!) saved us immense amounts of time and stress. Plus, with the exchange rate, it won't cost you gobs of money.
|A plate of sapodilla and citrus in our room.|
We decided to stay on the river, since it seemed like a central location and opted for the Shangri La, which was huge and had very friendly service. Also, randomly, the largest hotel gym I have ever seen. My favorite part was the bowl of fresh tropical fruit in the room every morning, complete with a guide to all the unfamiliars. Longan, anyone?
While we had done copious amounts of research on street food (duh), our concierge at the hotel put the kibosh on a few locales, due to their proximity to protests. He suggested the Chinatown market, which was a short cab ride away and featured many Thai specialties alongside Chinese dishes.
|The "king" of fruits, durian. It smells like any number of bad words.|
|Fresh pomegranates and juice at a roadside stand.|
|Shark fin soup! We did not try this one.|
After roaming the main road and side streets, we decided on a popular stand that actually featured waiters, menus and little tables and stools. Motorcycles whizzed by about six inches from my face, but I put on my big girl pants and tried not to freak out. Once they brought us out our food however, you could have thrown me off of an airplane and I probably would have kept eating; it was that good.
|Noodles and crab curry.|
After a much needed rest, we woke up the next morning to grab breakfast at the street market before our guide Tiger (!) picked us up. I LOVE tropical fruit and was very excited to see that even in the Thai winter, there was still quite a selection.
|Eating dragonfruit. It actually doesn't taste like much.|
|The best yakitori we've maybe ever had.|
Our first stop was Wat Pho, home to the famous reclining Buddha. The temple complex actually encompasses quite a few more buildings than just the BIG Buddha and we got there early enough to see the monks' morning prayers, which was very cool. Also, some tourists asked to take their picture with me. Still haven't figured that one out.
|The reclining Buddha.|
From there we headed to the Grand Palace, which is both incredibly palatial and grand. The grounds are immaculate and the various temple buildings (part of a complex called Wat Phra Kaew), plated in gold or mosaic, are stunning.
From there we took about an hour-long longtail boat trip through the city.
And saw our first floating market! This when a vendor in a boat pulls up alongside yours to sell you anything from water to kitschy little Thai carvings. There are also full floating markets, where the boats are docked and you can wander from vendor to vendor.
We finished off our temple tour with a trek up these long stairs at Wat Arun. The view was worth it.
For our last meal, we decided to try Nahm. It's helmed by an Australian named David Thompson, who, although not Thai, is known for being one of the most innovative Thai chefs in the world right now. It was definitely more playful than standard Thai fare, but it was also certainly one of the best meals we had our entire trip.
|Our amuse, pineapple with ground shrimp.|
|Bananas in coconut milk, the first of many.|
And yes, I DID try durian and it was fucking disgusting.