BarclAysia Day 4: Exploring Bangkok

(posted by Emily)

22 December 2014
Bangkok, Thailand
Step Count: unknown....because I deleted my Pacer app and we didn't have Rick's phone with us

Monday morning we got up around 8 and decided to head out and explore the city. Had to stop for a few photos of the lobby of our hotel, decorated for Christmas:

Our first destination was the Grand Palace. In order to get there, we had to take a boat up the river, much like a subwway line. In fact, Bangkok is known aas the Venice of the East! We always enjoy exploring differnt forms of public transit, and had fun people watching and seeing all of the buildings along the water. 

The boat we took up the river
When we got off the boat, we walked right into a market selling fresh fruit, food, clothing, and juices. We had fun deciding what to get for breakfast and settled on a fresh coconut for Rick, freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, and mango. All of that for $4!

The Grand Palace is a huge complex, with government buildings and museums, temples and historical artifacts. It is amazingly opulent, and we had a blast walking around and seeing all of the architecture and sculpture. 

A model of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, where we are headed in a few days

One of the most famous sights in the complex is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Buddha statue is actually made of jade, but the temple is a very holy place for Buddhists. No photos allowed inside, but as we all know from our Sistene Chapel visit, I'm very sneaky with an iPhone :) 

The outside of the temple is amazingly detailed, and we watched a woman doing reconstruction work on the tiling outside the temple. 

We continued our walk around the complex, marveling at all of the beautiful buildings. 

After the palace it was time for lunch. Rick wanted to check out Khao San Road, famous for all of its hostels, bars, and backpackers. We stopped at a restaurant/guest house (an extremely common occurance in this neighborhood) and had some food and used the free wifi. 

I had Pad Thai while Rick had a veggie stir fry
We continued our wanderings, exploring the Khao San area. It is fascinating to see all of the street food vendors, clothing shops, and Thai massage places along the way. At the end of a quieter street, we stopped for foot massages. 

Massages are so cheap here--$8 for two of us for half an hour, $14 for an hour. I know we will definitely be taking advantage of that as often as we can! 

While wandering after our massages, we stumbled upon a vegan restaurant down the street. Who can say no to more delicious food?!

Fried tempeh (tempeh was invented in Thailand!)
Veggie spring rolls
Green papaya salad is a staple here--I ordered mine crispy, where hunks of the salad were deep fried. Outstanding!
Rick had Pad Thai, which was not as good as the one I had ordered earlier. So far, I am winning the food ordering game :)
After lunch, we decided to head back to the hotel to relax. The pool is gorgeous, and we enjoyed laying out on the lounge chairs. 

We decided to wander down near our hotel, which is home to some of the most elaborate and enormous shopping malls in the world. I had found some vegan places in the area and we decided to check out Veganerie, an all vegan bakery in one of the malls. 

coconut ice cream 
Lots of baked goods
We opted for an iced latte with coconut milk--nutty and delicious!
Rick ordered a brownie sundae
I had a red velvet waffle with coconut ice cream. Unbelievable. The desserts were some of the best we've ever had, anywhere in the world. 

After Veganerie, we walked down to check out some of the malls, decorated up for Christmas. They are huge, with so many different and high end stores. Absolutely fascinating! 

Not sure why, but one mall had a sea of Snoopys

A taco truck inside the food court at Siam Paragon. The only food court I've ever seen come close to this is at the Westfield at Stratford in London, and it is only a fraction of the size of what we walked through here. 

Outside Siam Paragon
After the malls, we headed over to a late night spa called Health Land. Unfortunately, they did not have any more spots open for Thai massages, so we headed back up the street to an area called Soi Cowboy. The sex industry in Thailand is a big draw for tourists, and Soi Cowboy is the central hub for all of the go go bars with girls (and boys dressed as girls) for hire. Amusing to say the least! 

After checking out Soi Cowboy, we headed back toward our hotel, wandering through night market stalls, the Indian neighborhood, the Muslim neighborhood, and stumbled upon some Thai massage places open late. We decided to stop, and treated ourselves to hour-long traditional Thai massages. Very relaxing, and a great way to finish the evening! 

Massage count: 2

More to come tomorrow! 


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