Sunday, February 14, 2010

day 1 - bangkok, thailand

got things started friday night with a nonstop flight to bangkok, where we arrived at 6:30am local time on sunday. surprisingly, the 17 hour and 10 minute flight wasn't too painful as i got to watch two subpar films ('whip it' and 'the invention of lying'), played a few long games of tetris, and grubbed on some pretty darn good food, courtesy of thai airways.

grabbed a taxi from the airport to our hotel (silom convent garden), which apparently is very difficult to find, as i had precise directions off the hotel site and our driver - along with another later today - got lost. it's a furnished apartment complex situated in the heart of bangkok, yet set back off a main street, so there's quiet to be had here.

too early to check in at 8am, we dropped our bags off and proceeded to the grand palace, the city's most famous landmark and former home of the king. but because chinese new year starts today, the grounds were closed until 1pm due to prayer service, so we went next door to visit wat po, bangkok's oldest and largest buddhist temple. it's dubbed the temple of the reclining buddha, as it houses the largest buddha in the country. and i'm not kidding when i say it's large.

wat po is also the birthplace of traditional thai massage, so yours truly indulged in a half-hour session to combat the fatigue of the long flight. thai massage is completely different from a swedish massage (which uses oils and is lighter in touch), in that they love to INFLICT PAIN.

the girl that had me basically uncovered all of my pressure points and i was fighting back the urge to yell at some of the compromising positions she had me in. at one point i looked back to see where she was, and her feet were OFF THE BED, i kid you not. good times.

we took a tuk tuk - the equivalent of a motorized rickshaw - to famed khao san road, a bustling street favored by many a backpacker for their dirt cheap housing and a gateway to many other tourist destinations. tuk tuks are wild and akin to hopping on super mario's kart. b/c of their size, they duck and dart thru traffic, and like korea, the painted lines are merely a suggestion on where to drive...

1pm brought us cooking classes at may kaidee's vegetarian restaurant, which were a whole lotta fun. may is a charming and charismatic chef, food personality and teacher, so our small group (which included a young australian couple) got a hands-on lesson on crafting, and eating, twelve dishes of thailand's specialities - including pad thai, tom kha soup (spicy & sour soup w/coconut milk), spicy green papaya salad and my fave, mango sticky rice. given the right ingredients and preparation, all of the dishes took no more than 5 minutes to complete, so i'm excited to try these out upon my return. also learned that one can do no wrong by being generous w/peanut sauce and/or coconut milk... :D

headed out for drinks at moon bar, which is located on the 61st floor and rooftop of the banyan park hotel. this was the only place where the prices were equivalent to hollywood (US $30+ total for a glass of wine and beer), but then again, the view is simply breathtaking, so one has to bite the bullet. the photos don't do it justice, but i'll try to anyways...

lastly, some shots of street food being prepared throughout the day:

1 comment:

caroline said...

the temples there are so intricate and detailed it's kinda crazy. LOVING that they put toeprints? on the bottom of buddha's feet.

and the food looks so fresh and delicious!! ahhh looks like you're having a good time.