Fri 29 Jan 10 - Sun 31 Jan 10 31 °C
The past two days have been mostly filled with shopping. We spent Friday night at Suan Lum Night Bazaar and on Saturday morning we went to Chatuchack Weekend Market, which is apparently the biggest market in Thailand. Most shops have signs warning against taking pictures, so we don't have anything to show. I'm not sure I entirely understand that rule, but that's the way things are. Most museums and temples also have that rule, but in those settings it's a bit more understandable.
We did get to see a lot of the city while shopping, though. There seems to be two sides of Bangkok. The street vendor, hawker market side and the high rise and giant shopping mall side. I prefer the former, but it's good to see both.
The high rise side:
The street food side:
This morning we had no plans, but decided on the fly to head out to Chinatown. It was well worth it. We got to take the Chao Praya Tourist Boat again, but this time we were significantly less jet lagged. The views from the river are stunning. There is a huge amount of traffic along the river unlike anything I've ever seen before. People genuinely use the river to get around and I can understand why. The skytrain (BTS) and metro (MRT) don't reach out far enough to hit things like the Grand Palace and Chinatown. You have to either take a boat or fight with dreaded Bangkok traffic.
San Francisco's Chinatown, while it may be one of the best in the US, has nothing on this one. The streets were incredibly narrow, yet bikes and mopeds shared them with pedestrians, hawker carts, and store fronts. There was all sorts of merchandise out on the street, but we had done so much shopping already we didn't buy anything except for food. We do a lot of eating here, but everything is just so delicious.
After that, we went to the National Museum, which was pretty cool, but probably would have been better earlier on in the trip. It was basically an introduction to Thailand, with dioramas depicting the history of the country as well as various artifacts throughout Thailand.
We finished our day by visiting the Jim Thompson House. First of all, the house was beautiful, but what I found most interesting was that in 1967 Mr. Thompson went for a walk in the Malaysian jungles and just... vanished. No trace of him. However, he's best known for reviving the Thai Silk industry and creating his traditional Thai home, filled with artifacts from throughout southeast Asia. It was a really beautiful home and I'd totally live in a house like that if I had the money. (Freaky note: 2/3 of the house is exactly the sane design as my dream house,and I'd never heard of this place before today - Josh)
We're back now and preparing to leave Bangkok tomorrow. We'll be headed to Ayutthaya, the ancient capitol of Thailand (known as Siam then). We'll be spending two, possibly three days there.
By the way, this is tonights dinner.