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Bangkok: an old city, Chinatown, the Grand Palace

Bangkok: an old city, Chinatown, the Grand Palace

By on Mar 30, 2015 in Thailand |

When we started our journey, we didn’t plan on traveling to Thailand.  In fact, we bought a ticket to Australia as an exit plan since we needed to leave New Zealand after 3 months.  One of the benefits to not having a solid plan for this trip is being able to adapt and add new locations to the itinerary.  After we found out a friend would be in Thailand – it seemed like the stars aligned and pointed us towards the lovely country.  It also helped that flights from Australia were only 10 hours as opposed to the 30 hour flights from the US.

Our flight out of Australia was much easier than our flight into Australia.  No problems with visas – no extra luggage fees.  The only problem – we had to sit on the plane for an extra hour or so due to some extra weight in the cargo.  A long flight later – we arrived in Bangkok.

We rented an apartment off AirBNB.  The owners are a very nice couple who gave us directions to give to the cab drivers (complete with Thai directions and an estimated amount of the ride).  Seeing the address, the taxi driver asked how we found his neighborhood.  It’s not known for being a big tourist location.

The hot air hit us as soon as we stepped off the plane.  We thought Australia was warm with its 85 degree weather.  It was 9:30pm and still 90 degrees.  The owners greeted us with some treats and showed us around the apartment – including the community pool (we took advantage of it every day we were there).  The first night, we slept well.

The next day, we did some work before meeting Toy and her friend Too for dinner.   This is where they taught us our first lesson:

The food in Thailand is amazing.


We ordered steamed fish – in Thailand, they bring out the entire fish over the fire. It’s been one of our favorite meals here.

The next day, we met Toy and Too for a trip to Ayutthaya – the remains of the old city about an hour outside of Bangkok (traffic permitting).  Ayutthaya was a beautiful city with over one million residents before it was invaded by the Burmese and burned to the ground in 1767.

After driving past tall buildings and the old Thai Airways building, the streets became single lanes lined by trees and older houses.  Just before we reached the old city, we saw brightly colored temples and people riding elephants.  Arriving at our destination, we took in the temple where we spotted some monks talking on phones – not something I’d seen before.  We walked around the temple before venturing over to explore the ruins..

Amongst the ruins, people have seen a woman dressed in traditional costume.  It is important when in Ayutthaya not to take things from the ruins.  Not even  flowers, leaves, sticks, or rocks.  If you do, the spirit of the woman will come to you in your dreams and haunt you.  We did not take any chances.


The brick remains of the old city – some covered in plaster to help preserve the remaining structures.


The trees around the ruins added to the beauty of the old city.

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Inside the temple in Ayutthaya


People can leave their names or messages – asking the monks to pray for them


We climbed up the steps and had a view of the ruins of the old city. It is difficult to imagine so many people living amongst these walls.


Passed by this old building on the way to the market. Small fish made their way to the top of the water. Tree roots grow out of the building, wrapping around it like some form of building material.


Our first glimpse of some of the colorful foods available in the markets.


These are bags of a sugar-like substance that fill a small crepe like pancake.


the finished product – Will and I ate on the way to the next location. Too sweet for Will, but I liked it – probably good I can’t get them in the states.


Toy introduced us to these coconut drinks. Fresh coconut on top. Very refreshing in the heat. Mine was gone in about 5 minutes. Delicious!


Wat Chaiwatthanaram


The statues have been destroyed over the years. It was sad to see so many destroyed relics.


This small boat on the river made us laugh when it pulled three big boats behind it.


We passed by these boats on our way back to Bangkok.


The stories this place holds…

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The next day, we took the Sky train or BTS to Siam station where we then caught a ride on a long boat to Chinatown where we met Ling.  Ling was kind enough to show us around busy Chinatown.  We then took our first tuk tuk to the Grand Palace.


The Grand Palace is extremely decadent – detailed in jeweled tones


These giant warriors stand look out


This statue is held up by giants and monkeys. There are only 4 monkeys amidst the giants. One is pictured here. Can you find it?


The weight of the world on his shoulders


This guard looked like a statue, barely moving as people walked by – even when they tried to make him smile or take their pictures with him.

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These bright decorations were made by using pieces of broken pottery – plates, dishes, bowls.


More designs made from pieces of pottery.


In China Town – this man was selling peppers.


The flower market was a blur as we walked in a line through crowded areas filled with flowers. I was able to take a couple of blurry pictures on the way



On our way back from Chinatown- we accidentally got off on the wrong boat stop.  People near the docks helped us out immediately.  At the BTS station, the national anthem came on and everyone stopped in their places.  We felt like we were in a giant game of Red Light, Green Light.  No one said anything and we quickly stopped when we realized no one was moving.

We took the sky train to the airport the next day.  We studied the map making sure we were going the right way (even though Toy gave us excellent directions).  A Thai officer came over to make sure we were alright and got directions for us even though we knew where we were going. We weren’t sure how we would do, considering we speak no Thai.  But many people in Thailand speak English and we were surprised at how many signs were in English.  With a little help from some friends and strangers, it was pretty easy to get around.

For only having a few days in Bangkok – we saw some amazing things.  Thanks to Toy, Too, and Ling for being incredible guides and showing us the beautiful sites in Bangkok.  In our down time, we managed to get some work done and enjoyed the pool at our apartment complex.  Beautiful pink flowers floated down into the pool from trees growing above it – all footsteps from the booming, always moving big city.

Before we knew it, we were off to Chiang Mai – smiling as we boarded Thai Smiles for the short flight.  Bangkok was just the beginning of our many adventures in Thailand.