Day 16: Bangkok

As evidenced by the photo above, we are exhausted! I think our early mornings, long days, and many adventures have caught up with us. We are still having a great time, but our TLC day yesterday was not enough. Luckily, we also had tonight to relax as well, so hopefully tomorrow we will have our energy back for Cambodia!
We were able to sleep in this morning which was so nice! It is the first day of the trip that we have been able to sleep past 8 am, and we really needed it. Our hostel provided free breakfast, so we were able to run down and grab something to eat as well! We decided to stay at this hostel because it had really good reviews and was really cheap and it was a great choice! We have a private room with two bunk beds, and a dorm style bathroom with showers is just down the hall. Even though it is a hostel, it is the cleanest place we have stayed by far!

We are getting used to being barefoot all the time- no shoes in the rooms!

Also, the woman who runs the hostel has been so good to us! She gave us a map when we checked in and highlighted all of the routes we would need to get to local attractions. Then today she suggested taking a water taxi to the Grand Palace and told us exactly how to get there. She also gave us a once-over and told some of us that we needed to change before going to the temple. It was like we had a mom (and a dad making sure we were dressed appropriately) here in Bangkok! When we got back, she wanted to hear what we did and whether or not we had fun. She was so happy when we told her that her suggestion was great! She also was just glowing when we told her we really liked the hostel! She clearly takes great pride in it and it shows! She said that she is waking up at 5am tomorrow just to say goodbye to us (The front desk usually doesn’t open until 7), so that gives you an indication of how sweet this lady is. The people here have been so good to us!

Crazy huge and busy!

After we all finished eating, we decided we were going to go to the Grand Palace which is where the Royal family lives. It is a huge, beautiful complex and is one of the “must-sees” in Bangkok. Thanks to Robert’s remote research from Michigan, we discovered that you could take a water taxi to get there! We will do anything to avoid getting back into a taxi and the crazy “traffic jam” and Bangkok is actually known as the “Venice of Asia” because of all of the rivers and canals winding through the city, so it was a perfect thing to do. After getting specific directions from our hostel mom, we were on our way!
We first had to walk a few blocks to get onto the BTS sky train. It is really similar to the lite-rail in Minneapolis, except it is above normal traffic, so it was very quick. Public transportation is pretty much the same everywhere! We then rode the sky train to Central Pier where we got onto the boat that would take us to the Grand Palace.

A long tail boat!

The boat we rode on the way there was called a long tail boat. The breeze and the mist felt really good and it was really cool to see part of the city from the water! I never realized water was such a big part of the city. For some reason we had to where life jackets which was really puzzling because there has been zero safety precautions anywhere in this country so far. They added a lot to our outfits, so we didn’t mind!

It was about a 10 minute ride and then another 15 minute walk to the palace entrance. There were so many people there! I think this place is like the Disney World of Thailand. It was just chaos. There were workers scanning everyone’s outfits and they would send those who were not dressed appropriately to the clothing rental building. Beth had to grab a shirt to cover her shoulders, but luckily it was free to rent for the day!

We really had no idea where to go or what we were supposed to get into the massive complex, so we just took the follow the crowd approach. At some point we got our bags checked and then were led to a ticket counter and finally into the palace area. There were many group tours there. I am not sure if they were Chinese or Thai people, but they were everywhere in large hoards A lot of them were carrying umbrellas even though it wasn’t sunny or raining, so a few us got an umbrella to the face a time or two!

When you go to the Grand Palace, you actually don’t look at the palace. You actually tour the temples that are on the palace grounds. These temples and structures were all of the other temples I have seen on steroids. They were so huge and intricately designed. Every single inch of the buildings were beautiful and thought out. Even the ceiling!
There were many cool statues around as well. These people don’t mess around with their creatures! They are just interesting to try and figure out what it is supposed to be!

What was funny about being there is that pretty much every single person had a selfie-stick and looked so excited about being there. For us, it was just something really cool to look at, but for them, it was like seeing the most magnificent place of worship at their nation’s capital. People just looked so pumped. How we felt playing with the elephants was how they felt being at the palace. Everyone is different:)

It wasn’t sunny today, but it was very hot and humid. You could just see the sweat beads running down peoples’ faces and their clothes sticking to their skin. For some reason, it never really felt that hot in Chiang Mai because we were pretty much always in the water. The heat was making us all very tired and lethargic, so we only stayed at the palace for about an hour before trying to find somewhere with AC for refuge.

It was so hot, you had to sit down when you had a chance to rest!

We ended up finding a nice place to eat and cool off. I was able to finally try Pad Thai in Thailand!  It was way better than the American version I had before I left. After we were full, hydrated, and cooled off, we decided to head back to the area of our hotel. It is pretty crazy how fast the heat affects you here. After we had been in the AC for awhile, we all perked up and felt re-energized and excited about the rest of the afternoon, but after walking for even 5 minutes, we all looked and felt like zombies. Our Minnesotan bodies are just not used to it!
Instead of a long tail boat, we took a “tourist barge” back to the Central Pier. Again, the breeze was nice. By this point, we were all just trying to stay upright we were so tired from the heat and all of the walking we had done.

After taking the sky train back to our area of town, we went back to the mall to look into getting our feet “nibbled on”. When we went to the mall yesterday, we saw people putting their legs into fish tanks where these little fish would eat all of the dead skin off. We thought it would be really cool to do, but we would have had to wait and decided to just carry on with our day.

One thing we have learned on this trip is that all of us have the “buying in bulk” mentality from growing up in a large family. Even though we were so tired, we still went to one of the big grocery stores to make sure we had food for our train ride to Cambodia. It is so nice that we have been trained to do this because we have saved a lot of money while still eating really good food. Thanks Mom and Dad!

We barely made it to our hostel and rewarded ourselves with ice cream after a really tiring day. We made sure to take the photo below because that is what we will all remember about Bangkok- it was exhausting!

This captures our day perfectly.

I accidentally posted it to Facebook after putting a filter on it and mistakenly thinking I deleted it and everyone who saw it was very worried about us. I was so embarrassed that people saw it without context, but you can see how awesome our Thai Mom and Dad are based on these comments. Also, Randy and Tom got to do some bonding, so it wasn’t so bad.

After we all took a quick nap, we ended our night perfectly. On our way home from the grocery store, we stopped at 7-11 and grabbed some ramen noodles that we had in Phuket. So, we spent our last night in Bangkok eating some yummy gas station ramen noodles while sitting around our TV table in our pajamas. It was perfect. You just have to know your limits sometimes. We lead a simple life I guess. Or we are just college kids that miss our staple food:).

Our version of eating Thai food 🙂

After experiencing the city, we would tell people that travel similarly to us that it would not be necessary to come to Bangkok. Even though it was cool to see the city, the palace, and be on the water, it isn’t really worth it if you would prefer to be in the mountains, the country, or on the beach. It is really smelly, loud, and crowded here and we are not very sad about leaving. We tried really hard to be city girls, but we failed pretty epically!
The past few days have been very tiring, but we are still having so much fun and giggling excessively. Our sense of humor has not failed us yet! Tomorrow our train to Cambodia leaves at 6am, so we will be up bright and early to start our next adventure!


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