David and I are now in Thailand and the trip is off to a great start! We just missed our flight to Cambodia, so we’re now killing time at the airport before our rescheduled flight. :) We spent our first day eating lots of street food, visiting temples (Wat Pho and Wat Arun are beautiful!), booking travel, wandering the market, walking around town, and even managed to fit in a night of Muay Thai (Thai boxing, the national sport). Money in Thailand is currently 30 bhat = $1US.
Bangkok Hotel: We stayed at the Shanti Lodge, near the river, at the recommendation of friends. Double room with fan 750 bhat. Nice rooms with fan, balcony, en suite bathroom, good cafe downstairs, free WIFI, kid-friendly (lots of couples with kids age 0-4), etc.
Muay Thai: Tickets to the nightly matches were 1600 bhat per person for ringside. Rather expensive, but seemed like a cultural must see. (We were content to do second class, but they kept steering us away and even gave us the discount for ringside so price was comparable. Can’t argue with that). I’ve never watched any boxing or fights before and it was surprisingly engaging. Definitely entertaining, though I’d probably recommend checking the program to see what weight of fighters was happening if you have the flexibility in your schedule. (We had the light weights, and the heavier fighters of the evening definitely packed more of a punch and much stronger kicks). There was one total knock out where one of the guys almost had to be carried out on a stretcher, but aside from that scary moment it was totally fun.
Street food so far has been lovely, plentiful, and cheap! Egg and banana crepes 10bt, grilled squid with chilies 10 bt, pork meatball skewers 10 bt, mango with chili 10 bt, grilled meat (pork?) 10 bt, fresh ground and brewed coffee 25 bt, etc. Not sure if we’re going to find many veggies from street food vendors… might need to hit a sit down place if we want to add some balance to our diet.
Wat Pho was awesome and home of a really enormous reclining Buddha. He was so huge that I could only get part of his head in a single shot, standing as far back in the temple building as possible. Ditto for his pretty toes… so huge they filled the entire frame of the camera. :) We caught sunset over the Wat Arun… hard to imagine anything more scenic than that!
Next up: Flight to Siam Reap, Cambodia so we can visit the temples at Angkor Wat for a few days. The flight is are rather expensive, but Angkor Wat comes highly recommended by good people like Mez so we’re making the trip! The grounds cover 25 sq km of space… huge! Looking forward to it!