Friday, 27 May 2011

Bangkok, Thailand - Tuesday April 26th

Our ship docked at Laem Chabang which is the port for Bangkok. We booked a tour of the Grand Palace and River Cruise and our Canadian tablemates (Robert, Pam and Griffin) were on the same tour so we disembarked the ship and boarded the busses for what was to be an enjoyable day together.

Our bus ride took around 2 hours to get in to the city, during which our tour guide (Chana aka 'Happy Jack') introduced us to Thailand and it's customs. We became part of 'Jack's Family' for the day. We learnt a few amusing thai terms on the way. The first was 'The Happy House' which is the toilet. We had a stop on the way so we could use the 'Happy House', after we all got back on the bus Jack asked "so how are you all feeling now, Happy? - that's the Happy House".

As our journey continued Jack explained the dress regulations for when we went to the Grand Palace. All clothing needed to be modest. Women were not to wear any sexy 'Bow Wow' dresses or skirts. What was a 'Bow Wow' dress or skirt we asked. Jack explained with actions. It is any skirt or dress that when the wearer bows, the person behind them goes 'Wow'. The whole bus was in fits of laughter.

We arrived at the Grand Palace and were immediately set upon by hawkers selling post cards, bags, fans and other cheap souvenirs. Jack inspected the women's clothing and some had to wear a sarong to cover their knees because their shorts were not covering their knees. There was a bit of unhappiness from a couple of American women who couldn't understand why they had to wear a sarong when others didn't. One lady tried to take it off a couple of times but Jack caught her and was persistent. I know I'm generalising, but so many of the older generation of Americans that we are traveling with are so entitled, rude and ignorant of every other person on the planet besides themselves it is amazing. (I might write a post on it with some examples - Anisa calls them 'the angry old people!') Anyway, I don't think there were any 'bow wow' skirts that needed covering just some that didn't cover the knees. Jack taught us his call which was like a bird 'hoo hoo' and signalled us to gather and we headed in to visit the temple and palace.

The Grand Palace is a complex that consists of the royal residence, throne halls, government offices and temples (including the most famous temple of the emerald buddah. The architecture is really amazing with gold everywhere and intricate tiling. We had free time to wander around and explore. The photos speak for themselves.

Lisa and the Landry's on arrival.

The Upper Terrace Group of Grand Palace on arrival. The lawn was immaculate.

The amazing Phra Siratana Chedi.

Kieran, Lisa and Anisa on the upper terrace - just to prove we were there.

Thai warrior statue.

Another Golden Temple (Phra Mondop).

Lisa and Anisa in front of Phra Mondop.

Lisa doing her 'asian pose' - she was imitating some of the girls who were doing the same thing just before us.

And again - I tell you she has no shame, the girls she were mocking were only meters from us!

A miniature stone sculpture of Angor Wat.

Lisa in a 'less asian pose'.

A typical Thai golden statue.

Lisa and Anisa doing the 'tourist pose'.

The Temple of the Emerald Buddah.

Visitors using flowers to bless themselves by dunking it in holy water then hitting their heads (yeah yeah, you know what I mean).

The front entrance of the Temple of the Emerald Buddah - no cameras allowed inside!

I still managed to get a photo! The emerald buddah (carved from a single piece of jade) taken through the front entrance (thank you zoom lens). Very difficult to capture due to the distance and such poor lighting.

Happy Jack explaining how the Jade buddah's costume is changed depending on the season (Summer, Rainy Season and Winter) in a ceremony presided over by the king.

The intricate mosaic tile patterns on the temples.

Beautiful bonsai trees.

Chakri Maha Prasat Hall. Each level was built in a different style -I think English, French, Belgian and a Thai roof (can't remember exactly).

Lisa found a broom and started cleaning up. These are used everywhere in asia and they are more effective than one would think.

Lisa and Anisa with two guards.

We then walked through a market to the river bank and caught a boat which took us for a ride on the river. We went up a side canal and stopped in front of a temple where it is illegal to fish and were each given a loaf of bread to feed the fishes. Within minutes there were massive fish devouring the bread but unfortunately they were too quick to get a decent photo of. We continued our journey up the river and it was amazing to see the houses built on stilts which look like they will fall in at any moment.

Kieran and Lisa on the boat.

This is where we got on the boat and the type of boat we were on.

A typical waterside villa ;)

We got off the boat and met our bus which took us to a restaurant and show for lunch. It was one of those places that seem to be just for tourists but having said that it was quite a nice experience. The food was very nice and the show was interesting but there is only so much Thai dancing and drum beating one can take. The female dancers were beautiful and the moves they make with their hands is quite amazing.

Lisa at Lunch…Yum.

Beautiful Thai dancing girl.

The ugly boys covered their faces with masks!

Some group dancing.

From there is was a drive to a tourist shopping centre which consisted predominantly of jewellery (silver and gold) and souvenirs. Lisa bought some very expensive cubic diamond jewellery ;)

We were exhausted and tired from the heat and humidity and happy to get on the bus for our journey home. Having re-read my post it doesn't really do the experience justice, it was a really nice tour that we enjoyed thoroughly. I hope the pictures speak better than my writing.

Kieran and Anisa asleep on the bus.

1 comment:

  1. Bow wow skirts - hahahahhahahahahah!!!!! Definitely using that one in YW's! heheheheh. Looks awesome and your writing was great Kieran (I'm assuming???)- love the cheeky Asian photo poses Lisa - makes me laugh to think of you mocking people - that doesn't sound like you at all! :) :) :)