After an uneventful journey from Koh Samui, we landed in Bangkok in the evening and headed out from our hotel for dinner before getting an early night. We had to be up early the next morning because...my sister Julia arrived to visit us from the UK! Impressively jetlag-free, we set off to explore some of Bangkok's main attractions.
On our first full day in Thailand's capital, we opted first to visit Wat Pho, Bangkok's oldest temple and home to the giant Reclining Buddha, with a 5m wide smile!
After Wat Pho, we visited Wat Traimit, home to the world's largest solid gold Buddha, standing just 3m tall but weighing 5 ½ tonnes!
In the evening we visited Bangkok's infamous Khao San Road, a backpacker's Mecca and home to all manner of suspect and unusual business ventures...we found a pretty respectable bar to drink our buckets of cocktails from, and the rest is history!
The next morning we made for the Grand Palace, Bangkok's number-one sightseeing stop. I have to say, this monument complex was a little disappointing to us. Firstly, as we knew visitors to the palace are required to dress modestly, Julia and I had come accordingly attired- long trousers and shawls which completely covered our shoulders, necks and arms. However, on arrival we were told by security staff on the gate that this was not modest enough, and forced to go across the road to buy thin, sheer white cotton tops to wear on top of our vest tops... which left more skin exposed than the shawls! We did see an elderly Chinese woman slipping through with just a shawl covering her shoulders, and suspect this was a scam operated by the clothing vendors in collusion with the gate guards.
Once inside, the Palace was undeniably impressive- multiple ornate spires and intricately carved images of the Buddha- but the oppressive heat and humidity on this overcast day, along with the swarms of foreign tourists with *ahem* different ideas of personal space to us, combined to make the visit uncomfortable and we left after just an hour to cool off with an ice cream.
The afternoon and evening were occupied much more agreeably; after battling the Bangkok rush hour in an Uber, we finally arrived at our destination for rooftop drinks with the sunset as our backdrop.
Tuesday morning was another early start, because we'd booked onto a tour to the Maeklong railway market, a pretty unique place (let us know if you find any others!) where the commuter train runs directly through the market, the vendors pulling in their produce and awning at the last possible moment before the train passes through. We'd seen this on TV and were absolutely thrilled to be able to visit in person.
After the Railway Market we got back on the bus and drove to the Damnoen Saduak floating market. This experience was much more like what we'd expected from the Mekong Delta markets in Vietnam; hand-rowed barges in narrow lanes with local produce (and a fair number of tourist souvenirs), mixed with motorised long-tail boats and 'restaurant' boats to create a colourful (and surprisingly clean and fragrant!) melee of commerce.
On our last night in Bangkok we returned to Khao San Road for more buckets of cocktails and to say goodbye to this bustling, frenetic city.