Friday, November 25, 2016

Thailand It That Way: Exploring Bangkok

One can easily fall in love with Thailand. You can never go wrong with their vibrant and multifaceted culture, their colorful heritage, and their food. History tells us that this country was once a powerful kingdom in this region, and had fought numerous tribes and neighboring kingdoms who had tried to claim their throne. Even after their beloved king's passing a few months ago, it didn't stop us from exploring this country in Southeast Asia.

For four days, we got awed by the stunning Buddhist architecture, idled inside our van as we endured the notorious Bangkok traffic, visited temples as if we were brought back to the golden era of Siam, and rode down narrow pathways on our bicycles through verdant orchards and appreciate Thailand's timeless beauty.

Bangkok is remarkably fast-paced, but traditional pockets can be found in every corner of the city. Golden pagodas and old Siam architecture stand out, making this city an interesting place to explore. On our first day, we left our hotel at half past six in the morning to avoid the morning rush hour. Traffic in Bangkok is terrible, but it didn't hamper our excitement. We first visited the Marble Temple in central Bangkok. It is a Buddhist temple built by the request of King Chulalongkorn in 1899. It was designed by Prince Naris, a half-brother of the king, and is built of Italian marble. It houses 52 images of Buddha.

Early morning at Pratunam

Marble Temple

We drove for another one hour to one of Bangkok's famous floating markets - the Damnoen Saduak. In the olden times, The waterways served as means of transportation and the center of economic activity as well. Here, the locals set up makeshift stalls along the riverbanks, and the traders bring their goods for barter and trade. Today, the floating markets still exist and have been frequented by both locals and foreign tourists. Your Thai experience wouldn't be complete without visiting their floating markets.

Moon River. LOL

After our hearty Thai lunch nearby, we went back to Bangkok and visited the Ancient Siam. This is a vast park featuring the entire Siam Kingdom. The grounds of Ancient Siam correspond roughly to the shape of the Kingdom, with each of the monuments lying at their correct places geographically. Here, you can either ride a tram or ride a bicycle. The information center will provide you a map. In my case, I should've opted the tram tour instead of riding the bike. We were there at around two in the afternoon. The sun was at its zenith, and the weather was sweltering hot and very humid. There are few restaurants and restrooms nearby which are all indicated on the map. Don't forget to drink lots of fluid when exploring Ancient Siam by bike!

Ancient Siam

Traveling around the heart of southeast Asia made me realize my home country very different from other countries in the ASEAN region. If Bangkok did not preserve its heritage and culture, the city wouldn't be that appealing. 

Pad Thai!

Here's an aftermovie of our four-day adventure in Thailand. Enjoy!

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