Hello and welcome to my Thailand adventure! I've been in sunny Thailand since last Saturday and boy has it been an extreme trip. There are sporadic bursts of activity and lazy moments full of cocktails and delicious Thai cuisine!
Sunday and Monday we explored all over the city and did lots of walking. We've done so many things worth mentioning that I don't even know where to start. Lots of walking around and basically stopping wherever we fancy - that's my idea of a fantastic vacation!
Tuesday we visited the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, temple of the Emerald Buddha and I must say that both were quite impressive. Thailand is so rich in history and culture that it can be, at times, a little overwhelming! There are also parts of the country (namely, Bangkok and some beaches) that are heavily trafficked by tourists from all over the world, so there is definitely an interesting blend of authenticity and tourist-driven activities.
Yesterday we visited the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi Province of Thailand (it borders the coast of Myanmar/Burma) and saw some World War II monuments/museums/etc.
To keep this brief (therefore giving me more time to explore Thailand), here is a list of things that have struck me as odd/interesting/both:
- Thai people are very religious and take the Buddhist faith seriously. Everyone, from the cosmopolitan shoppers at Siam Paragon to beggars on the street, wears amulets that protect them and offer all kinds of food/drinks/etc. to the Buddha Lord. It's not uncommon to see treets with trays attached full of foods and whatnot.
- Thai people are very serious about their king. You can be imprisoned if you talk poorly about the king or queen (even if you're a visitor) and there are pictures of the royalty everywhere. The king has been in power for over 60 years and even in the movie theatres they play the national anthem/show pictures of him and you must stand (that was a cool experience)!
- Thailand has a large sex community and it's not uncommon to see naked statues of women or men dressed as women (lady boys). A lot of western men come here to find love. Patpong, a district in Silom, has a mind-boggling red-light district full of flashing lights that advertise clubs called "super pussy" and "king pussy," etc. Ping Pong shows are easy to come by here (look it up, please).
- Tuk Tuk's are everywhere and are a major mode of transportation. You have to be careful on them because a lot of Tuk Tuk drivers will take you somewhere you don't want to go (say, a jewelry shop) in order to get a gas voucher!
- There is food everywhere and it is cheap, cheap, cheap. It's easy to eat for under $1 and be very full here! Wonderful! :)
Here are a few of my favorite pictures so far (at least from what I've uploaded). Note that none are edited in any way so they may not be spectacular!
Tuk-Tuk - a tri-wheel vehicle that is a staple of Thailand and inexpensive (20-100baht, roughly $.50-$1.00).
Dinner our first night here. I had Tom Yum Koong, a sweet and sour soup seasoned to perfection with lemon grass, tamarind, lime and others. The prawns were so large that it took 3-5 bites just to finished 1/2 of one and they were cooked exquisetly. We also ordered crab-stuffed spring rolls with 2 sauces accompanying. One was salty, but not too much so, and the other a sweet and gooey alternative with a hint of tang.
Thailand is known for its wonderful foods and its foods are pleasantly inexpensive. This street vendor was making stir fry for 30 baht a person (less than $1 each). Our tuk-tuk driver took us to this hidden gem and we quickly noticed that it was a locals spot. We filled our bellies with a tasty shrimp stir fry that had lots of delicious veggies and a fried egg on the side. Perfection!
On Tuesday evening we perched along the famous Chao Phraya River, Thailands only and largest river where barges and other boats pass by often often, some gaudy and drenched with flashing lights, others quaint teakwood boats with the right amount of flair. After a delicious dinner, we enjoyed cocktails and a warm breeze and talked over live Thai music. I ordered a Mai-Tai, David ordered a Singapore sling. We ended up switching. :) The total at this fancy restaurant was only $15 USD.
Striking fresh, crimson roses by the roadside wrapped in a beautifully-contrasting newspaper and sprinkled with morning dew. I love this photo. :)
Decorative building trims are easy to come by in Thailand. It goes without saying that Thai people appreciate the female form.
The Condom Tree at the restaurant "Cabbages and Condoms" which has great food, by the way!
Some more delicious food! :)
At the Grand Palace in Bangkok
Grand Palace/Wat Phra Kaew
Grand Palace again
Expect 1-2 more updates from Thailand! I've got some CRAZY pictures of some tigers among other things!