After making the decision to bypass Thailand for the less touristy Burma we found ourselves with just one day to explore Bangkok, in between flying in from Hanoi and out to Mandalay. We were determined to make the most of it and so prepared ourselves for a somewhat busy day…
It began with a boat journey along the Mae Nam Chao Phraya river to Wat Arun, also known as The Temple of Dawn. This is a Buddhist temple that overlooks the river and is beautifully decorated with a mosaic of porcelain tiles.
It's possible to climb up to the top of this temple for a superb view of the river and city. I was wearing a long skirt with flip flops and carrying two bags and a camera. I was asked to pay to borrow a shawl (as the sleeves on my Tshirt were too short and we all know Supreme Beings get extremely offended by women's shoulders) so I had to hold that too. In addition to this, after our Halong Bay cruise I'd developed a bit of a cold, I managed to climb up the steps to see the view…
… but, on the way down disaster struck when I simultaneously sneezed and got my big toe caught on the hem of my skirt. It was very nearly curtains for Laura Moreton, I can tell you!
We then crossed to the other side of the river to explore Wat Pho, the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok, which amongst many beautiful buildings and statues, houses the country's largest reclining Buddha.
PEEPO! 46m long and 15m high
The passing of Buddha into final nirvana
Next up was The Grand Palace, slightly pricey to get into, but worth it. We firstly looked around Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is within the same grounds. Then walked around the palace buildings, before visiting the Sanskrit museum.
The Emerald Buddha
Then it was time for a visit to Khao San Road…
I stayed on Khao San Road to explore the markets and sample some Thai cuisine while Katie jumped on the Sky Train to explore Soi Cowboy. Obviously I bought the compulsory baggy trousers and hippy vest top, before jumping back on the boat for a night time river cruise.
The Temple of Dawn from the river at night.
We finished the day by looking out over the city from the Sky Bar at Lebue (the hotel where the Hangover II was filmed). We almost weren't allowed up because we were too scruffy and poor-looking, but managed to sneak in behind an elderly, obese businessman and his great, great Thai granddaughter?!
We arrived back at our hostel, Saphaipae, at around 11pm and madly shoved all our stuff in our bags ready to leave for the airport on the Sky Train early the next morning.
We didn't think we'd like Bangkok, but actually we both found it to be a vibrant and exhilarating place, certainly worth a visit.
Bye bye Bangkok!