On My Itinerary: Wat’s Happening in Bangkok

Buddha, Grand Palace, Bangkok

Buddha, Grand Palace, Bangkok

Ah, Bangkok. It was a long journey that lasted more than 24 hours door-to-door, felt like more than 24 hours, and at one point in the flight from JFK to Tokyo I felt like a prisoner belted to my middle seat forced to watch terrible movies like “How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days”. In Tokyo we replenished with a bowl of requisite udon noodles and then boarded the next 7-hour flight to Bangkok where I passed out in a failed effort not to sleep during Thai daytime hours. But we finally arrived to sweltering temperatures in the high 90’s!

However, after a refreshing four-hour sleep in our hotel, we embarked upon the streets of Bangkok armed with our Lonely Planet guide, digital SLR and bottle of hand sanitizer. We rode up the river in a water bus and hit up the main tourist necessities:

The Grand Palace, a grand palace indeed. Bejeweled in mosaics of sparkly colors and gold paint, the former King’s home was very dazzling and bright. Inside contained its own famous Wat Phra Kaew (i.e. temple). I was stopped by guards who are otherwise fashion police for wearing calf-length capris, far too inappropriate than the other ladies sporting thigh-high mini skirts (apparently skirts are acceptable, but women in pants bearing skin is sinful). I donned a stylish sarong I purposely kept in the bag for this purpose, which made the visit very hot.

Wat Arun, situated a ferry ride across the river, with a chedi (pillar-like temple building) so tall with  stairs so steep it made the Half-Dome hike in Yosemite seem like walk in the park. Great views, if I didn’t have panic attacks every time I looked down.

Wat Po, home of the sitting, standing and reclining Buddhas. The reclining Buddha is enormously tall and has mother-of-pearl feet.

We also stopped in for an obligatory Thai massage while at Wat Po, where for $6US I was  prodded, beaten and knead to a pulp by strong little Thai lady (Jon by a tough little Thai man). She pulled each of my fingers until they nearly popped out, resulting in two very satisfying cracks each. Later we celebrated our honeymoon at the Peninsula hotel’s riverside restaurant, but I fell asleep halfway through the meal. Jon forced me awake by scaring the crap out of me with a “Where’s my wallet??” to check out the seedy neighborhood that makes Bangkok so famous, because we were that curious, and were invited by someone every five feet to watch his club’s sex show (we did not).

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