On Thursday Annie and I got up determined to not fall into the absolute deliciousness that is the buffet. Instead we had a tea/coffee along with a small pastry in the cafe in our lobby. From there we lounged by the pool and got a little bit of writing done. This was our view, and surprisingly enough we were very productive.
From there we gathered up her parents and decided to walk to a small section of town we had explored for just a minute the day before. We had passed some great street food but hadn’t tasted it. Annie was determined to try all the street food she could before leaving Bangkok and this was a goal I was willing to assist in. 🙂
We walked down a street and basically anything that looked even the slightest bit tasty we purchased. One of the things that has made me so willing to try anything here is that the street food is so tasty. 20-50 baht is the going rate for street food here, which is roughly 50-1.5 US dollars. So we would get one of everything and share it amongst the four of us. We were getting hot at this point (96 with full humidity) so we stopped for another snack at a place called the Lighthouse. Annie had had a bingsoo on her trip to Korea and suggested we take a break at a dessert cafe.
We got smoothies and a kiwi bingsoo, which is cut up fruit, with ice cream and ice shavings. It was delicious. Totally the right call to cool down.
From there we went back to the hotel to have a little bit of quiet time before our tuk-tuk tour. We knew we were going to be up late so we took a mid-afternoon nap in our quiet little rooms at the hotel. It was totally the right call after walking in the hot sunny Bangkok heat for a few hours. I snoozed and felt like I could then handle an evening out.
We took the BTS over to the meeting point for the tour. We had a few other people in our group, some Americans, a couple from Sydney and one British man. Our tour guide was called Net, and we had 5 tuk-tuk drivers. Tuk-tuks are three wheeled open air taxi’s. Annie and I jumped into what we dubbed “the party bus” with pink and yellow striped seats and pink and purple lights.
We started at a small market called Klong San Market that had fresh fruit, prepared foods, some clothes and other odds and ends. Net told us about the Thai’s devotion to King Rama and how they are in mourning for his death this past October. She showed us a small prayer room, and various alters where people leave things as gifts to the Gods.
We stopped at a temple called Wat Prayoon, and then hopped back into the tuk-tuks to speed towards the Giant Swings. A religious monument constructed by King Rama 1, was used until 1935, when it was retired due to the fragility of the pillars and to fatal accidents during the ceremony. It has been renovated and is a big Thailand attraction. It was located at the center of a busy cross-street so it was hard to take a good photo.
Net explained that Bangkok is a name that Americans and other tourists have for the city, but it has a much MUCH longer name, that natives will only use in conversations with other natives.
We took some silly pictures with the tuk-tuk’s and then we were off to dinner at a famous pad-thai restaurant on Ratchadamnoen Avenue. The tour guide had a guy stand in line for us for about forty minutes so that when we arrived we had a table. The line was out the restaurant and down the block. I took this video to show how many people were waiting just to order and then had to wait again for an open table.
There were six or 7 chefs cooking outside the restaurant and a few more inside making endless rounds of pad-thai. They even offered one with pad thai wrapped up in an egg omelet. Net helped us order and then we sat down at a table inside. Clearly this tour group had done this before as it was a smooth transition for us luckily! Our food came and it was delicious!
After that we hopped back into the tuk-tuks and were driven to Wat Pho, a large royal temple where some of King Rama 1’s ashes are enshrined. Wat Pho is one of the oldest royal temples in Thailand, as each King Rama has added on to the temple grounds. There were four main structures for four of the kings, although there were much smaller structures built by wealthier families in a different section. There are also two different schools there, one of medicine and another of massage. It was much cooler at night, and easy to walk around the temples although we couldn’t go inside of them.
From there our final stop was the 24 hour flower market, which sells flowers all the time but 70/80% are sold as gifts for the gods. It was amazing to walk through the seemingly endless stalls with colorful flowers. Net told us that yellow and red flowers have special significance as the flowers that are most often given as gifts at the alters.
Prayer garlands were made of a small white flower called popcorn flowers, which cost roughly 20 bahts for 1 kilo.
My favorite is the unusual colored orchids we saw in the last stall.
We went upstairs where they had prepared mangoes and sticky rice for us to munch on as we tried our hands at folding flower leaves. Mine was not the prettiest, so Annie helped me improve mine.
The tuk-tuk’s dropped each of us off at our respective hotels and we crashed hard. I think the tuk-tuks were my favorite part of the tour, as it was a nice and breezy way to zip around the city.
Have you ever been in a tuk-tuk? Would you ride in one?