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Archive for Thailand

Lunch at Siam Bay, snorkeling on the east shore of Racha Yai

Christmas lunch was amazing. We ate in a grass hut perched above the beach on Siam Bay. The food was good; the atmosphere couldn’t have been any better.

We then walked over to the east side of the island for our final (and best) snorkeling experience in Ter Bay (Ao Ter).

After a fresh water shower on the boat, we were on our way back to Phuket.

We realized the next day that Linda didn’t have her sunglasses anymore. We asked Raya Oceanic Diver if they happened to find them. Not only did they locate them (in the “restaurant” at Siam Bay), but they had them delivered to our hotel (a half hour boat ride and half hour car ride away) at no charge. They are a great company to use if you are looking for a snorkeling or diving tour from Phuket.

Bangkok night

Night time came to our first full day in Thailand. After a refreshing (a bit too cold if you ask me) swim at the hotel we headed out for dinner…

…though not at McDonald’s. Notice that Ronald is doing the wai, a Thai form of greeting, thanking, etc. by putting your hands together near your neck and bowing a bit.

We ate at Sphinx, located at the end of Soi 4 off Silom Road. The food looked really good, and the free wonton appetizers were great, but this was my most disappointing meal in Thailand (and the most expensive).

We took a tuk tuk back to our hotel for only 20 baht (under $1). This was our first, and last, tuk tuk experience in Thailand, not that the experience was horrible. Tuk tuks in our next location (Phuket) were ridiculously priced so we never used them.

Road back to the Holiday Inn Silom Bangkok

thai food street market thailand bangkok

Street food, like the above, was available all over the place. Ellie had a coconut, but we avoided meat that wasn’t cooked right in front of us. Amazingly enough, none of us got even a little bit sick during the nine days we were in Thailand. We didn’t drink the water, but we had plenty of ice.

wat arun temple of dawn

The boat ride back down the Chao Phraya River had better views than the way up as the clouds and sun did a little dance behind Wat Arun.

chao phraya river bangkok thailand

mandarin oriental hotel bangkok thailand

Right on the river, near our pier, was the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The place is incredible. The above photo doesn’t do it justice. It probably didn’t hurt that we were hot, Bangkok was humid, and the inside was nicely air conditioned.

thai girls buying soda from street vendor

Further up the street we saw a street vendor making a killing thanks to the nearby school which had just let out.

The Grand Palace

guardian of grand palace bangkok thailand

I’ll wrap up Thailand’s Grand Palace today with another flurry of photos.

thai man working at grand palace

This Thai man was working on the grounds. The above, close-up shot doesn’t fully revel his environment so I went for a wide angle shot, below, as well.

man working in thailand's grand palace

king's guard at thailand's grand palace

Just like Denmark and Norway, the king of Thailand has his guards too.

grand palace elephants bangkok thailand

Above is the Chakri Maha Prasat Hall. We didn’t see any live elephants in Bangkok, but we saw many in Phuket a few days later.

Linda and Ryan at the Grand Palace

I caught these two hanging out on the grounds of the Grand Palace.

grand palace gardens

The place almost looks like Disneyland… Older and not so phony though…

thai buddhist monk photographers

These two, Thai Buddhist monks sported far larger, fancier, and more expensive camera equipment than my little TZ7.

Aphorn Phimok Prasat Pavilion gold pavillion at grand palace bangkok thailand

This last structure is called the Aphorn Phimok Prasat Pavilion.

Emerald Buddha

phra wiharn yod

The grounds and buildings around the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha are amazing. Add to that the sky we experienced, and I entered photographer’s nirvana. I took a few hundred photos, but will spare you from having to see them all.

The first picture, above, is mainly of Phra Wiharn Yod.

Alan and Ellie Case outside the Royal Pantheon bangkok thailand

Royal Pantheon from hor phra gandhararat

The above photo is of the Royal Pantheon and was taken from the building which houses the Emerald Buddha.

emerald buddha bangkok thailand

Above is the Emerald Buddha, not nearly as impressive, to me anyway, as the Reclining Buddha. He is actually made of jade rather than emerald. The king gives him an outfit change a few times a year. You can only see a small piece of the vast amounts of gold that fill this room from this picture. Photography isn’t allowed inside. I took this picture from outside.

thai buddhist demon temple guardian holding up golden stupa

Holding up the golden, bell-shaped towers (stupa) are these temple guardians or demons.

golden stupa emerald buddha grand palace bangkok thailand

nice backdrop for a family photo

The ultimate Thai backdrop for a family photo…

lotus pond

Lotus pond basins dotted the landscape of the temple grounds.

sky contrasted with thai buddhist architecture

Did I mention how cool the sky was on this day?

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew fence and outer grounds

After exiting Wat Pho through the back we made our way up the east fence (pictured above) to get into Wat Phra Kaew (which includes the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace). There was no entrance on the east side either. Finally, when we got to the north side we found the only way in.

case family at Wat Phra Kaew bangkok thailand

The admission to this place is the only thing I found expensive in Bangkok. It was 350 baht (about $11) each. That’s about the same fee as the expensive temples in Kyoto, Japan (the ones in Tokyo are free and the ones in Kamakura are either free or close to it), but this is Thailand where most people make less than 250 baht per day. For example, the meal we had just eaten, for four with drinks, was less than admission for one of us. But the guidebooks said this was the place not to miss so we paid, and we were not disappointed.

One, quick, funny story about Ellie’s shirt in the above photo… She had on a dress with tights underneath. Even though the tights weren’t tight and went below her knees and her dress almost went down to her knees the guards would not let her in, saying she was too immodest. So Linda took her to the bathroom where her dress was pulled down below her knees and put a souvenir, Bangkok t-shirt on to cover up where her dress was. We made it through with this far sillier, and no more modest, outfit with no questions asked.

frescos wall paintings at Wat Phra Kaew

The frescoes along the inner walls of the temple are fantastic. You could spend a day just examining them. A guide who could of told us the stories painted on the walls would have been nice.

thai person painting at Wat Phra Kaew fresco bangkok

Several Thai artists were freshening up the murals.

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