We used our two full days in Bangkok wisely, hitting the major tourist sites early which left us ample time to explore the city. The weather is *warm* with a side of humidity. All of the temples require women to wear ankle-length bottoms and covered shoulders. I brought along a scarf to drape around my shoulders when necessary which still allowed me to wear a tank outside in the courtyards. On the grounds at Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) there is a Thai Traditional Massage School where you can get an hourlong massage for less than five USD. J and I both opted for half-hour foot massages which were killer after the long flight. Usually I’m anti-massage, even at the most upscale spas. I just can’t justify being touched so intimately by a stranger. An upscale spa this was certainly not, but it was a well made exception.
We primarily used Uber and hailed tuk-tuks to navigate the city. We basically retreated to our hotel every day around 3pm for some air conditioning and normalcy. We stayed at The Peninsula which was truly spectacular. It felt like our own sanctuary within the frenetic city. Our room had a balcony overlooking the river and a bathroom with a television mounted in the mirror above the bathtub. What I’m saying is that I took two baths during our stay despite the daily temperature being around 90F.
After my first bath (accompanied by the Thai Cooking Channel on blast), we left the hotel and sat ringside at the nightly Muay Thai boxing matches held at Rajadamnern Stadium. We sprung for the VIP ringside seats which we picked up from the concierge at The Peninsula. They were $60 USD which is the Thai equivalent of Adele seats at MSG. But it allowed us a great view and we avoided sitting on the bleachers behind a chain-link fence filled with local gambling addicts. There was also waitress service which readily served us huge cold Singha beers for fifty cents each.
After Muy Thai we tuk-tuk’ed (now a verb) to Thipsamai for some egg-wrapped pad thai, supposedly the ‘best’ in all of Bangkok. The line was relatively short and we were able to sit outside and have some noodles and delicious pulpy orange juice (maybe better than the noodles?).
The following day started with a private boat ride on the Chao Phraya River. Our hotel arranged the boat, which I was originally nonplussed about; it sounded like a snooze fest. It turned out to be better than a white water rapid ride with the additional benefit of a non-English-speaking captain and a wooden boat that felt like it was going to crack on every swell it encountered. It was exhilarating. The backyard view of the riverside houses and temples was interesting. We bought stale bread from one of the local women who pulled up on a smaller boat and fed frenzied fish who piled up on top of each other to get a helping. This was obviously my favorite part.
We had the captain drop us off at the dock nearest to the city’s huge flower market. We walked around and sampled everything possible. The best meal we had in Bangkok was fried squid over rice from a woman on the street there. We latched onto local schoolgirls waiting at her station figuring it was legit. It was.
After our adventurous morning, we spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing at the hotel pool. There is nothing wrong with poolside appetizers. That night we visited the Patpong Night Market to take in a ping pong show. Uh no we definitely did not do that, but we were both semi curious. We did however procure a selfie stick for $2 and perfected our bargaining skills before tuk-tuk’ing it back to our home away from home, The Peninsula. I took another bath to prepare for our early morning flight to Hanoi, Vietnam.
การอำลา (Farewell) Bangkok!