Our first day in Bangkok we rose early thanks to jetlag. Bangkok is 14 hours ahead of California, so our bodies hadn’t quite caught up yet to our location here halfway around the world. 5:20 am my brain was wide away, so Annie and I showered and got ready for the day. Luckily there is both a Starbucks and a 7/11 on the same corner as our hotel, so we popped down for coffee after getting dressed. I tried to order my usual, but I’m not sure that the barista understood my order as I got some fruity green iced tea instead of my normal chai. It was tasty though not what I expected.
We had a teak boat tour scheduled for 8:30, so we left the hotel and took the river taxi down to the local metro called the BTS, and our stop was the #7 Saphan Taksin Station. Each station was labeled by numbers as well.
Annie had taken the canal tour before and had secured the same tour guide named Nui for a 5 stop tour. We would explore a floating market, a pagoda, a garden temple, the orchid farm, lunch and an artists studio.
Our first stop was at the Wat Sat floating market, that due to flooding in the canals and the consequent building of flood locks was permanently moved to land. We were blown away by the exotic fruits they had: mangosteen, rambutan, pineapple,dragonfruit, lychee, and longan.
They also had people cooking and making prepared foods, like grilled meats, bananas and rice in a banana leaf. There were various rices in large bags and tons of flowers. We tasted the grilled banana wrapped in rice, as well as a freshly cut pineapple.
From there we hopped back on the teak boat and drove through the canals to the temple Wat Paknam, which is a popular attraction in Bangkok. Wat Paknam is a large, royal temple where many come to meditate.
We saw many monks dressed in bright orange as they went about their practices. We saw many golden Buddha statues and one large statue of a former abbot, but my favorite was the 5th floor glass statue and the ceiling. Airy and brilliant with color, you can also walk the balcony’s to get a great view of the city and the various canals.
From there, we jumped back into the teak boat and went to the garden temple. It was a totally different feel, very quiet, but closer to nature. Nui explained the Buddhist principle of karma, which is the closer relationship between cause and effect of the individual.
It was a warm day, roughly 88 with humidity, but the cool air and light spray from the water was great on the boats. Standing still and listening to Nui at each spot was a little warmer. My hat kept me cool and shady, but we had to have covered knees and shoulders for the various temples. The sun slid in and out of the clouds as we tried to stand in the shade of the trees. From the forest temple we jumped back into the boat, and on our way to the next stop, we passed some boats that were cooking food. We stopped and tasted two different dumplings: chive and taro with a chili oil sauce. The dumplings were steamed and then pan friend right before eating to ensure a crispy taste. They were served in a banana leaf bowl and were delicious! I almost wanted a second one, but I knew there was more food coming.
Then we continued on in the teak boat along the canals over to the orchid farm. It was rows upon rows of different flowers and different types of orchids. Apparently the farmer cuts of the top orchid and sells that, and the plant continues to grow more flowers. They had a tiny concrete walkway in between the rows for us to walk on. Nui kindly snapped a few pictures of us among the flowers.
At this point in the orchid farm it was far less breezy and pretty warm. Annie had gifted all of us with these mini fans for Christmas, and us two got them out. They were a lifesaver!
We jumped back into the boat and Nui and our boat driver steered us over over to our lunch spot. We had the best cashew chicken I have ever had in my life along with a tasty Panang curry. I had a pineapple smoothie, but Annie got a passionfruit one which had better flavor. Our coconut soup was delicious.
From there we walked down the walkway and over to the artists studio for a puppet show about Hamuman the monkey king and his love of this mermaid.After that many people took pictures with the puppets, but I was too shy. I instead took photos with the statue by the water. We drank iced coffees and Nui told us about the history of Thailand and King Rama.
From there we went back to our drop off point and walked to catch our train. Nui was absolutely the best! She told us funny jokes, took so many pictures of us, and directed us to all the best spots and food.
Nui handled all the talking, ordering and purchasing of everything. I totally recommend booking a tour with her if you are ever in Bangkok. Also she walked faster than any of us and was the smallest!Love her!
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