What did we learn in Bangkok?
1) It is fabulous to stay in a hotel along the river. That way you can hop a water taxi to go places, rather than sit in dense road traffic for hours.
2)The floating market isn’t visible every day, but that doesn’t stop the river from being a fascinating slice of local life. The homes along the canals, the bustle of commuters on ferries, express the mix of ancient tradition with modern times. The long tail boats are cool to see – but you can get pretty wet on a fast ride in one!
3) Did you say temples? What a glorious display of magnificent temples, from Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) to Wat Pho, home to the reclining Buddha. These sacred places along with the passion and knowledge shared by our incredible guide, allowed Buddhism to add a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere to the entire adventure.
4) Biking through the city and markets gave a view of the inner workings of city life. In a city of skyscrapers, there are still families who cook in the streets and live simple lives in simple homes lining narrow allies. And you know what? Everyone pauses to watch the Thai soap operas every evening!
5) Now if you want to try the subway – easy to figure out – let me tell you it is spotless. No food or drink allowed, and not a sign of litter or dirt. In fact, on the platform everyone lines up, single file, to board the car as it pulls into the station. I just don’t think I will ever see that in Boston. And I loved that their priority seating is reserved for … monks!
6) Dinner in a local restaurant.. I would not have dared try this without our guide to – well – guide us, but what a fabulous dinner! We had pad thai, excellent coconut soup, and even roasted crickets and silkworms. Leo said the silkworm gushed too much for his taste, but the crickets were crunchy and tasted a bit like fried chicken…
7) That Flight of the Gibbon zip line outside of the city? Awesome, and longer and more exciting than the same-named one in Chiang Mai. Just like a team building exercise, this brought our group together – and, ok, maybe I was silly about being nervous about the heights and all.
8) If you plan right you can visit a local tailor and have an awesome suit custom made for you, to be ready for pick up in 10 days when you return to the city before flying home. For a fraction of what it would cost in the USA.
9) But would we have found any of this without the careful ministrations of our beloved guide? Not at all. We always say, the guide makes the experience and this was no exception in Bangkok!