This is my last post in this series of visiting Thailand and I decided to leave it as the last article because I have quite a bit to share. The first thing to point out is my visit was in a historical time in Thailand with the very recent passing of the Beloved King; Bhumibol Adulyadej. During my visit the the country was in deep mourning. In fact I wore black or white the whole time I was there out of respect for my hosts and tour guides.
On this day and night, my guide was Ms Nhong - Rattayakorn Amprai (Personal Tour Guide - www.thaitourguide.com) along with a member of the marketing team from Siam@Siam Design Hotel Bangkok, Bub. It certainly helps when you have two locals taking you around the traps.
Our first trip adventure was to hop into a Tuk Tuk (thanks to www.bangkoktuktuktour.com). Traffic in Bangkok is crazy so riding along in a Tuk Tuk can be, shall we say, interesting! This photo was actually later in the evening as we had a very busy schedule for this tour of Bangkok and our main transport was the Tuk Tuk.
The weather was very hot and our first visit was to be Wat Traimit - pictured at the top of this post. I was in awe of this temple (Wat) with the beautiful Buddha statues, and the intricate details of the structures. The claim to fame for this temple though is it is home of the Golden Buddha.
The Golden Buddha, Phra Phuttha Maha Suwana Patimakon, is a stunning gold statue weighing 5.5 tons (5,500 kilograms). The temple was very busy, however I did manage to find a space to capture the photo below. Words cannot describe seeing something so magnificent.
As with any Thai temple shoes must be removed prior to entering.
One of the amusing things I found in Thailand was the number of cats lazing around, and there were quite a number of them here. I found the architecture and history of Wat Traimit fascinating and, despite the heat, enjoyed every minute I was there.
Click to enlarge images below of Wat Traimit and grounds.
The Royal Grand Palace
It was originally planned for me to visit the Royal Grand Palace on my trip to Thailand but of course with the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Palace was closed to visitors. We did go to the outside of the Palace and here thousands of people were visiting to pay their respects to the King. At one stage, we were offered food and drink by volunteers who provided this service as a community initiative. I was very humbled to have been offered this gesture by these kind people. As well we visited a wall where King Bhumibol Adulyadej's life was painted in pictures. Again, a very sombre mood but something that I will not forget.
Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall
Next stop was Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall a modern facility that displays the history of Thailand and the Royal Family. The tours operate in groups and spoken in Thai, however for those of us who only speak English we have an interpreter and a headset that we can turn on listen to the movies in English. Mind you, I had Ms Nhong, my tour guide, and Bub making sure that I didn't get lost in the translation.
The The Exhibition Hall is a great place to learn about Thai history and throughout the tour visitors get to see movies, artefacts and displays. Below I have put a gallery of some of the interesting things I saw during this two hour tour. I was quite surprised to see that in earlier times Thai ladies had short hair.
Methavalai Sorndaeng Restaurant
Nhong and Bub assured me this was going to be a real treat. As soon as you walk into this restaurant you are transported back in time to an era of elegance! The restaurant offers excellent service by smartly uniformed waiters who are very efficient. We ordered a range of dishes to share and each one of them was as authentic Thai as you can get. I loved this dish below of pineapple rice.
Methavalai is a highly regarded restaurant by the locals.
Chinatown, Flower and Night Markets
After lunch I was exhausted so we agreed to go back to Siam@Siam Design Hotel Bangkok and have a rest before hopping back into the Tuk Tuk to visit Chinatown and the Flower Markets. For someone who loves flowers, I was excited and looking forward to visiting this part of town.
As you can imagine, Chinatown was bedlam with people everywhere and vendors with their carts selling street food. As much as my hosts tried to persuade me to eat some of the traditional dishes being served from the vendors, I declined because I knew we were going to the famous Thip Samai later in the evening. Chinatown was a little overwhelming for me to be honest, with the large amount of people, traffic, vendors and the heat and smells. It's an experience that I am glad that I did though, and I certainly saw some sights, including chickens walking along the busy street!
The flower markets were enormous with so many people milling around. Flowers are a big feature in Thai homes and there is so much choice I wouldn't even know where to start. Nhong bought me a bracelet made from Jasmine petals as a sign of friendship which I wore with pride all night. The smell permeating from my wrist was Divine.
The photo below is a vendor opening up Lotus.
Thip Samai has been rated as one of the best places to buy authentic Pad Thai by CNN, Time Magazine and more high profile publications! The restaurant is buzzing with both locals and tourists and there is a queue to get in. The restaurant was opened in 1966 so has a long history. The dishes are cooked from the carts on the street and brought into the restaurant.
Pad Thai is one of my favourite dishes so I was eager to taste the Real McCoy! My noodles were cooked in shrimp oil which gave them a red colour and bit of a bite. We ordered a special Pad Thai where the dish is wrapped in egg! The egg is cooked like a thin omelette then the Pad Thai is placed in the middle of it and gets wrapped up in the egg. This is the photo below.
If you are in Bangkok and want the best Thai that is raved about from around the world, then Thip Samai is the place to go.
This brings me to the final post of this feature on Bangkok and Pattaya. I will always have fond memories of my new friends, and being in Bangkok in such a historical, but sad time. A special thanks to the Marketing and Management Team at Siam@Siam Design Hotel Bangkok and Pattaya, Roam Resorts and Ms Nhong-Rattayakorn Amprai who is a fantastic tour guide....look her up if you want a tour guide that is devoted to her King, country and knows her stuff!
Deb Carr was a guest of Siam@Siam Design Hotel Bangkok and Siam@Siam Design Hotel Pattaya. This was a promotion organised with Sydney Chic's Travel Partner Roam Resorts. You can read the full DISCLAIMER here.