Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bangkok - The sleepless city

Bangkok - it's a glitzy city that never sleeps and is home to about a billion traffic police, (there's a LOT of traffic!!) and all the pretty ladies in high heeled shoes. It is also our five day, last stop in Thailand, before we move on to Guilin, China. Bangkok's really touristed but when you think about it, there are not many famous tourist sites to see in Bangkok except for a couple of Wats and the Grande Palace; but we did more things than just that.

To escape from the noisy streets of Bangkok, I suggest you go to Lumphini Park. Lumphini Park is just like any other park in the U.S. except that there are these crocodile looking reptiles that walk all over the grass. You can also rent a paddle boat and steer yourself around a small lake. This park is a perfect place to relax and enjoy yourself!!!

If you are interested in looking at Wats, then you sure will like Wat Arun and Wat Pho!! In the old city, Wat Arun and Wat Pho are two of the three Wats that you definitely want to see. Wat Arun is entirely decorated with broken China and is pretty amazing!! (it's just like saying, "I made a stupa out of my broken tea set!") CAUTION! The steps to walk up are VERY steep. Wat Pho is home to the largest reclining Buddha in the Kingdom of Thailand - literally!! The Buddha's about as long as 5 school buses, and about the width of one too!! He has really awesome feet, as they have designs out of black paint on them. I said Wat Pho and Wat Arun were two of the three major Wats to see and the third one is located in the Grande Palace.

The Grande Palace looks exactly like a street in Disney World. It has perfectly manicured lawns, trees, shrubs, and topiaries (except that the topiaries are not of Disney characters!). The Royal Wat (which is also home to the famous “Emerald” Buddha) is probably my favorite Wat in Thailand. The different stupas that all make up the temple complex are located on a stone terrace. They are all beautifully carved with gods, demons, and decorated with pieces of colourful Japanese glass. The main Wat is home to the “Emerald” Buddha. It's not really emerald but when people first discovered it, they thought it was. It's really jade. The Grande Palace itself was okay but the grounds were pretty elaborate!!!!!

Bangkok has lots of sky-scrapers and tall hotels. We went to the top of the tallest in all of Thailand - The Baiyoke Sky Hotel II. There are 84 floors. Three of them are dedicated to looking out over Bangkok at the highest point. 81 is a museum like area with scenes to take your picture in. 83 is a bar where you can get alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. 84 is a revolving observation deck from which you can view Bangkok. Very amazing!!!!

Bangkok has lots of forms of transportation. To get around inside the city, you can take a meter-taxi, tuk-tuk, or sky train. The sky train is like a subway but up in the sky. For going outside the city and beyond, you can take a bus, train, or plane. Since Old Bangkok is built on water, another form of transportation is a water taxi. Sometimes if you walk into a hotel, you will smell a putrid, dirty, water smell.

As I said in the title, it is true that Bangkok never sleeps. It is most lively at night and is most crowded at night. The traffic is worse at night too. The best place to hang out at night is one of the many night markets. If you are interested in seeing a traditional Thai puppet show with traditional Thai puppets, then go to the Joe Louis Puppet Theatre.

Overall, Bangkok is a pretty nice, crazy, city!!

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