For years I’ve heard about how great Thailand is and, I have to say, it lives up to it’s reputation. It has amazing water, beaches, natural beauty. But the best thing about Thailand is the bathrooms. Really. Every single bathroom I encountered there was very clean and obviously well cared for. Go Thailand!
We found a place to stay through Airbnb. It was an updated condo and it was very nice to be in an actual home. Our host, Tatiya, was a very good cook and we shared a delicious meal with two other travelers. Tatiya provides home cooked meals to travelers visiting from abroad through an online service.
We found a restaurant on our first night that was quite unlike any I’ve seen. The whole place was covered, floor to ceiling, with items that once belonged to the King of Thailand. It wasn’t just a tribute, it was tatamount to being in the kings living room. The food looked extremely elegant and unique but there was virtually nothing vegetarian. Ironically, our favorite meals in Bangkok were in the Suvarnabhumi Hospital near Tatiya’s. Everything was very fresh, authentic and extremely inexpensive. Never in our wildest dreams would we ever have thought you could have great food in a hospital cafeteria.
We did quite a bit of wandering. Took the subway, rode in the boats on the river, went to temples and tourist traps. Honestly though, after having been in beautiful island paradises, it was hard to appreciate Bangkok’s big city vibe.
We met up with my friend Craig and he brought us to an impressive temple called Wat Suthat. The cloistered courtyard surrounding the main chapel, boasts 156 Buddha images along the outer walls and four entry gates individually hand-carved with intricate details but it was the wall frescoes inside the main chapel that I found really striking. Detailing the previous 24 incarnations of the Buddha, it uses the art technique of perspective which is unique to this temple. Lining the outer walls are Chinese stone sculptures and eight-tier hexagonal pagodas. Wat Suthat, better known for the towering red Giant Swing that stands at its entrance, is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok and has exquisite hand-carved teakwood door panels. We went there for a nightly chanting session and the place was full of devotees which made a meaningful impression on us since most of the temple viewing we had done had merely been sight-seeing.