We got on a plane in NYC and 21 hours later, we were in Bangkok. The flight isn’t so bad because you are mentally prepared for the journey. The hardest part is the 12 hour time difference. You adjust but it isn’t that easy.
We were greeting by our guides at the airport. Our entire trip was booked through Absolute Travel. They crossed every t and dotted every i. Impressive group and we will use them again. Not for everyone, they are a very high end service, but we loved them. At every stop along the trip, these flowers were the first thing you receive. The leis of Thailand. Beautiful smelling jasmine.
We soon discovered that Thai’s love their flowers, limes, straws, the Rama’s (their kings) and spices. The people are wonderful. The country is beautiful. The food is fantastic. What is most amazing is that the entire region of Asia that Thailand is surrounded by has been so ridden with strife over the years but Thailand has remained an independent country, always. Very impressive. We were fascinated about the history of the King Rama’s. Obviously a smart dynasty. Right now they are on Rama 9. He has been in power for over 60 years.
Our first day in Bangkok we got on a longtail boat and traveled down the Chao Phraya River to see the Wat’s. Wat is church. There are about 4000 Wat’s in Thailand. We were totally "watted" out by the end of our trip. This picture if of the homes that you see traveling down the river.
Our first stop was the War Arun. The workmanship is incredible. We were awed. The place is pretty spectacular.
We continued down to the Grand Palace and Wat Po. If you get to Bangkok, these are 3 places that you must see. We basically spent the first day and a half in Bangkok seeing the sights. We returned to Bangkok for the end of the year to celebrate New Year’s. At that point, we journeyed around the city and got a better feeling for what it was about. The first few days were total tourist stuff.
The Grand Palace is pretty amazing. No pictures are to be taken inside any of the Wat’s. All shoes must come off before entering. Actually, everywhere significant site, no shoes allowed. It is actually a nice custom. At the Grand Palace they take large flowers and dip them in water and then you let the water drip on your head.
It is spiritual. I tried it before I went in the temple.
This one picture of the temple on the right doesn’t give you an idea of the scale but the place is huge.
The best was the street food. We didn’t go with the bird flu fear. We ate everything. Although we always made some type of joke about it before eating chicken. Someone would always say, "doesn’t this taste like bird flu". We went with the theory that we’d be ok. Glad we went with that, the food was delicious everywhere.
So, that was day one. We made our way back to the hotel after that. We were shattered and were attempting to get into the time zone.