Thursday, September 26, 2013

thailand travels part 1: bangkok

for our anniversary trip this year, joe planned a two-week vacation throughout thailand.
(we decided not to do surprises anymore.
it's more fun when we can both be excited about where we're going.)

we started off the trip with 2 days in bangkok. 
the parents of one of joe's best friends are serving an lds mission there, and his mom, sister seangsuwan, was the best. she picked us up from the airport and took us to her sister's house where we stayed while in bangkok.
we woke up early the next morning and headed out to the floating market
it reminded me of chinatown in san fran, except we were in boats (obviously), and the vendors were much more aggressive!
they each had a pole that they'd hook on your boat, pull you over, and try to sell you anything they could.
we bargained for some souvenirs and ate coconut pancakes & mangoes.
our next stop was the samphran elephant zoo.
we took pictures with tigers & elephants, watched a crocodile wrestling show,
a magic show, & an elephant training show
^ they seemed very subdued, which was sad, but i was still too scared to pet them ^
^ this one slapped me in the face with her ear...scared me to death. ^
the next day, we took several buses and then a boat ride to the
grand palace
where the kings of siam lived from 1782-1925
the palace is actually made up of several buildings, including the temple of the emerald buddha.
it poured rain the whole time we were there, but it was beautiful and intricate!
outside the grand palace there were rows and rows of street vendors set up, selling food and souvenirs.
we ate meat balls, mangoes and sticky rice, fried fish cakes, dragon fruit, and thee best pad thai of my life.
i'll be craving it til the day i die.

next, we went to wat pho, or the temple of the reclining buddha.
it was huge and beautiful, and interesting to watch everyone worship a statue.
another bus and train ride later, we ended up in downtown bangkok. we spent some time at siam paragon - a huge shopping center. then we went to the bayoke sky hotel - the tallest building in bangkok, and ate at the buffet on the top level.
we spent some time shopping on the streets, got ripped off by a taxi driver, and finally made our way home.
bangkok was crowded, dirty, interesting, exhausting, and alive.
biggest thanks to sister seangsuwan for being our personal tour guide! she was so generous and dropped everything to show us a good time. bangkok would have been a terrifying mess without her.