Day 2 and 3 in Bangkok

We have been running around Bangkok and the surrounding areas over the last two days.

Quick recap:

On Monday our guide picked us up early at the hotel and we made a 1 hour drive to Maeklong Railway Market. It was very interesting to see and our guide helped us navigate the the streets as we discovered some delicious food from street vendors along the way.

The amazing thing about this market is the train that goes thought it. It’s hard to do justice in words but basically many of the vendors are set up right beside the tracks. At just the right time, all the tents fold up and the street vendors pull everything back a few inches (literally) and then the train goes by. And then everything resets.

We spent about an hour there eating and people watching. It was a visual overload, in a good way.

Afterwards we left for a long boat ride through the canals of Damnoen Saduak. The ride ends at the floating market (many street vendors on long boats) which is a tourist trap but fun nevertheless.

We had a nice local lunch and then returned to the hotel for a few hours before dinner.

We had a delicious dinner at the Issaya Siamese Club.

We spent Tuesday in the city of Bangkok. Driving around the old parts of the city, passing through Chinatown and then we made it to Wat Pho and the Grand Palace.

Wat Pho was amazing and well worth seeing. We made it in time for the morning monk ceremony which was so cool to watch. The temple is absolutely stunning and a must see. It was interesting to compare Thai temples to the temples we saw last summer in Korea. (The latter are much simpler and less ornate. Not sure if that is due a cultural difference or if it was a result of wars over the years).

We then went over to the Grand Palace. There were people dressed in black. mourning and paying their respects to the recently deceased king everywhere at the palace. This man was loved.

Lunch time was a much needed break from the crowds and the intense heat.

After lunch we took a Tuk Tuk to another long boat right through the river and canal in the city. The Tuk Tuks are a fast way to get around the city but they are super aggressive often changing lanes suddenly and even going against traffic at times. I’m sure they are not the safest thing so worth considering.

We had an amazing dinner at Gaggan. It was a unique 22 course meal but each course was very small and typically one bite. I highly recommend this place.

This morning we are leaving Bangkok and traveling to Cambodia.

Other stuff:

+I cannot stress how nice everyone is here. And especially to our children. Kindness is everywhere.

+mobile coverage in Bangkok and surrounding area is mostly fine. I am using my Verizon iPhone with the international $10/day plan.

+I’m told the dominant messaging app here is Line. So now I have it on my iPhone. Twitter works just fine here and Foursquare is so so helpful. (Yelp doesn’t work here).

+it’s now 5:20am. I’ve been up for hours. My body is still not adjusting to the time zone changes. Thankfully lauren and the kids have adjusted just fine.

First day in Bangkok

First day in Bangkok

Our flight into Bangkok arrived on time Sunday morning. Getting through customs and the visa process was very easy and straightforward. (In case the time and dates of my posts are confusing, the local time here in Bangkok is +12 hours ahead of eastern standard time).

Our luggage came out quickly as well. Actually all of our bags except for James. We couldn’t find it. It turns out his blue suitcase looked exactly like another one belonging to a passenger on our flight. The airline contacted that passenger who kindly returned our bag 45 minutes later. We were quite relieved and a good reminder to keep medication in our carry on and to make our luggage more distinct looking.

The drive from the airport to Bangkok was less than 40 minutes. We were told it can take much longer but Sunday morning was pretty quiet on the highway.

After checking into the hotel we took the Skytrain to the Jim Thomson House. It was really quite beautiful and his life story is interesting and mysterious. By mid afternoon we were all pretty wiped out and stumbled back to the hotel to rest for a little while.

For dinner we took a 20 minute walk to a restaurant called Eat Me. The name is a little funny but the people at the restaurant couldn’t have been nicer and the food was delicious. The sights and sounds of Bangkok at night is fascinating.

After dinner we squeezed into a Tuk Tuk and drove back to the hotel at the speed of light. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get Lauren back into one of those things. The kids loved it.

The sights and sounds of Bangkok is fascinating. There are shrines everywhere. There are memorials for their King everywhere. The kindness of Thai people feel so genuine. We have picked up a few simple words and I adore the Thai greeting

After returning to the hotel we all collapsed in bed by 10pm local time.

Unfortunately I woke up at 3am, wide awake. So here I am writing this post.

Anyway I am really looking forward to today. We have some exploring to do.

(please forgive any typos. wrote this on my iPhone)

To Thailand and Cambodia

Ever since our trip to Nicaragua last year, Lauren and I have been thinking about another trip to a place we haven’t been. A place that wouldn’t feel familiar.

This summer we did a bunch of research we decided on a December trip to Thailand and Cambodia with the kids.

So we left Boston Friday night and flew some 13 hours to our layover in Dubai. By the time we arrived in Dubai it was already dark outside so I couldn’t see much of the surrounding countryside as the plane approached the airport.

The Dubai airport is quite possibly the cleanest and newest airport I have ever experienced.

We had a quick dinner and then caught our flight to Bangkok. It’s approximately 6 hours from Dubai to Bangkok. I should probably be sleeping on this flight right now but I am too excited — although my head feels quite woozy at the moment. We are due to arrive mid morning Sunday local time.

I feel like work life and personal life has been a blur since Labor Day. Our oldest is a senior in high school and just finished sending in all of her college applications. Our middle child just started her freshman year in a new high school. And the little guy, who isn’t so little anymore, has had a busy schedule of his own.

So this vacation is here and all of us are terribly excited. The trip is a mix of urban, jungle and beach. I am shooting film on this trip so aside from a few iPhone snaps on Twitter I won’t have any photos to share until I return. But I will try to keep a daily journal of our trip on this blog.

Each of my daughters brought more cameras than me. That is a first and a proud moment for their photographer pappa.