What to do in Bangkok.
First off I'll say if you fly into Bangkok, fly into the BKK airport not DMK. As its a little easier to get out of the BKK than DMK. A lot easier.
The bustling capital of Thailand. The location of the film Hangover 2, lots of lady boys, good food and beautiful sights.
I flew into the DMK airport in the north of Bangkok. It's the older airport and definitely looks that way as well. It was quite chaotic inside and took a while to figure out where to go and get a taxi to get to the city. However, I somehow managed after being helped by a 6'3" ladyboy that was looked like a former NFL lineman. That was my welcome to Thailand.
After finally getting my taxi I realizing that they don't use GPS like in every other country you have to show them the place you're staying on a map. Even if you have the address in Thai it doesn't help if the driver doesn't know where that is. Also another thing is when getting in any taxi in Bangkok is to make sure they ALWAYS use the meter. Don't ever get in a taxi that says the price beforehand. However, for some places you can use Bangkok's limited MRT and skytrain system. It doesn't cover much of the city yet, but it's an easy way to get around and avoid the insane traffic that is Bangkok.
The Grand Palace and Wat Pho two things that are basically must sees in Bangkok. One thing though is they have a pretty strict dress code. So no shorts or tank tops...I happened to have both on. You can borrow pants and a shirt for 200baht deposit, but the line takes FOREVER. So just dress properly to avoid all that mess.
The grand palace is absolutely huge. It's home to the King, but he doesn't actually live there. He stays in another palace altogether...well actually he's in the hospital now. Anyways, the opulence of this palace is amazing. Gold everything! Everywhere you look it's all gold. Whether it's real gold or not is another matter, but regardless they make it look rich. The temple of the Emerald Buddha is pretty amazing itself. In the middle of the temple is the Emerald Buddha that sits on a pedestal. It's not actually made of Emerald but that refers to its color. It's actually jade or jasper. Also it's not that big compared to the other statues of Buddha in other temples. I guess it would be difficult to find a giant piece of green stone though. They also dress the Buddha up in seasonal attire. For the "cool" season they put on a coat. Mind you that Bangkok is one of the hottest cities I've been to even in the so called "Winter" time. What's even more funny is that you'll see the locals wear jackets and sweaters around.
Along the walls of the temples in the Grand Palace are painted drawings depicting the story of Ramayana. The paintings are quite intricate and has some beautiful gold inlay.
The Grand Palace also has a miniature display of Angkor Wat and some other gifts from nations around the world. There is a marble staircase from Italy, stone warriors from China, and more.
After checking out the Grand Palace you can walk for a few minutes to Wat Pho. The home of the giant Reclining Buddha.
Surprisingly Wat Pho wasn't that crowded when I went. However, that could have been due to that I was there only 45 minutes before it closed. I could actually take my time and photograph some of the things that were there without a tourist trying to duck out of my photos. Wat Pho actually houses more than just the Reclining Buddha. It also has more buildings inside and is the home of the original Thai Massage. It's said that the Thai Massage, you know the one where they torture/massage you, is originated at Wat Pho. Here you'll find a medicine building where they still teach the original style of Thai massage and also do massages, for a premium of course. About 300-400baht. That's relatively cheap still, but more expensive than other places in Bangkok.
After finishing up with Wat Pho it's time to eat. Perfect because there are many street vendors by the river and a nice park to relax at as well. The best thing to do is get a bunch of things from different stalls then carry it over to the river and enjoy the sunset over Wat Arun across the river.
If you don't feel like going to anymore temples then you can always hit up the markets. There is Chatucha market that is very touristy and always busy. They actually up the prices compared to other places, due to the amount of tourists that visit. If you don't wanna pay the high prices you could haggle the price down to just above highway robbery or simply go to Chinatown instead. Chinatown is more geared towards the locals. It still has a huge market, but you'll see significantly less tourists and more Thai people there.
One thing I have to say is that Bangkok has some of the nicest movie theaters I have ever been to. I went to see Star Wars VII at the IMAX theater and was blown away. The price for the ticket was less than half of what it is in the U.S. to see an IMAX movie. IMAX is the only way to see Star Wars. I don't care how commercialized it is, I'm a fanboy and I had to see it. I was amazed by the movie and the theater.
I'll mention it because it must be mentioned, but Khaosan Road is a place that you can visit...maybe once. It's just a crazy place full of the craziest individuals you'll find from all parts of the world. It's worth a quick walk through during the day, but not much more than that if you're not one for crazy places. Kinda like the Kuta of Bali.
So if you didn't get enough of the temple run then don't be disappointed because there are plenty of temples in Bangkok. Wat Saket also known as The Golden Mount is a temple built up on a man made hill. From the top you can oversee all of Bangkok and get an amazing view of the city. Lucky for me that day was actually a little overcast and not that hot. Which made the walk to the top bearable...I could only imagine walking to the top during the heat of summer with crowds of people.
A short twenty minute walk from Wat Saket will bring you to Wat Ben, also known as The Marble Temple.
Having traveled around Asia for so long, I've seen a lot of different temples. Each country has their own style. Sometimes though there are temples that are just completely different from the others altogether. The Marble temple has metal Buddhas that line the walls instead of golden ones that in most of temples in Bangkok. This place was super chill and relaxed as well. There weren't that many people and I was able to get a shot of the temple without anybody standing in the way which is almost impossible at other places. I also entered from the backside of the temple which meant I avoided paying. I didn't mean to do that, but I just happened to enter from that direction with my friend and we were both pleasantly surprised.
Bangkok a seemingly endless city with so many things to do is a great place to see. It will only continue to grow as the years go on and hopefully their mass transit system will catch up to the growing demand. In the meantime have fun with the tuk-tuks and Taxi drivers that won't turn on their meters.
However, Bangkok does have it's own unique charm like every city tends to have. If you're looking for a chill place then Bangkok might not be the place, but it's worth the pass through.
Next Chiang Mai...
Till them Peace out!
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