Bangkok - A Short-Lived Visit
My stay in Bangkok was a little short-lived. When I finalized my itinerary, I didn't account for travel days, which usually take half the day. So when I arrived at the Princeton Park Suites, it was already close to dinnertime. I decided that some desparately needed rest was in order. I wasn't feeling well either, so a reprieve from the usual hustle and bustle was fitting for my first night.
Brief Plug: I booked all my accommodations via hostelworld.com. I was blown away by this hotel - so chic and luxurious for the price that I paid (1/3rd the list price).
I decided to take advantage of a 2-hour Thai oil massage, which was quite different from the traditional Thai massage I had in Koh Samui. Absolute heaven. I know that as soon as I leave Asia, the spa prices will be much higher so I took advantage of the spa treatments whenever I could. Plus, my back needs major massaging since both my primary and mini backpacks are getting heavier by the minute. Total weight 40 pounds.
For dinner, I ordered pork loin with raisin and pepper sauce. It was one of the best meals I've had to date. The pork melted in my mouth. It was that good! The fries weren't bad either. Shortly after, I spoke with the tour counselor and we ended up taking a 10-minute cab ride to a booking facility, where I paid for a half day cultural tour of Bangkok.
The following morning, my personal guide and driver (Oom) picked me up. Our first stop was the Wat Traimit Royal Temple, which showcases quite a few golden Buddhas. This temple proudly displays the world's largest Golden Buddha, which was built in the Sukhothai era, 700 years ago.
On our way to our next destination, we passed through Chinatown and a 24-hour flower mart. We ended up in Wat Pho (largest reclining Buddha). Oom narrated and cited historical information as we walked past numerous architectural wonders. I tried to absorb all the data, but after 3 weeks of traveling, my short-term memory is now overly saturated.
Our last stop was the Grande Palace, former home of Thailand's King. The entire lot was quite expansive. Without a guide, one can easily get lost. I was quite impressed with the library museums (featuring royal jewelry, wardrobe, gun collection, etc.) temples, and the elaborate architecture. Most buildings were adorned with gold-leaf foil similar to what you would find on many Bangkok landmarks. Other buildings were fusions of different architectural styles. There was one building in particular with a colonial base coupled with a Thai-style roof.
Oom continued to drive past other points of interest including the Ministry of Defense and new home to Thailand's royal family. I would have liked to walk around other parts of Bangkok, but I knew that I couldn't last one more second in the heat. It was unbearable at times. We had a buffet meal at one of the local piers (overlooking Bangkok's main river) and concluded my tour.
Overall, my experience in Bangkok was vastly different from my experience at Koh Samui and Phuket. Thailand is such a beautiful country, replete with culture and natural resources. I highly recommend visiting all three to fully capture what this country has to offer.