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This is day 1 of 20 days in Southeast Asia. Here Zach and I spend our first day in Bangkok, Thailand wandering the veins and arteries of Chinatown before taking a water taxi up to Banglamphu to see Khao San Road, the Contemporary Art Center, and many Wats along the way.

Enjoy!

This is October 3! Hours before we were leaving Honolulu, Hawaii on the way to our layover at Narita in Japan. After many in-flight meals and a quick mid-flight Zach panic about what day it was (time zones are nuts), we arrived in Bangkok a little after midnight.

I pre-organized a ride in advance with our accommodation because I was worried about arriving so late after such long travel.

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 7.26.27 PM

The driver took us about an hour from the airport to Chinatown. I was wide awake for the whole journey just in awe that we had finally made it to Thailand.

We passed giant billboards (I think I mentioned them in this brief post I made while in Thailand), many of them in memory of the beloved Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej who had passed away almost a year before in 2016. We had arrived in the last month of the year of mourning.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017

Once we got to Loy La Long Hotel we were welcomed and brought up to the room. This hotel is a converted teak floating house on the grounds of Wat Pathumkongka. There are 7 rooms, each beautiful and unique. We basically got in, enjoyed our lemongrass “welcome drink” and then passed out.

Bangkok October 2017
Good morning! Poked our head outside our little escape door to the side balcony. We saw this kitty the evening before, this must be his spot.

Bangkok October 2017
Another view from the little balcony of Loy La Long’s “Red Room.”

Bangkok October 2017
Wall of the late King in the upstairs common area.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Textured wall with our door to the red room in the back right.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Went downstairs to enjoy breakfast overlooking the Chao Phraya River

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Feeling overwhelmed by the welcoming breakfast and the view directly on the water.

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Before we left on our trip we did a majority of trip planning online (and with the help of you on my planning posts) but wanted something small with actual physical maps we could reference quickly and without internet access. We settled on this little Pocket Bangkok guide from Barnes & Noble, it’s about $7.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
After a long leisurely breakfast and finally strategizing and planning out what we’d do on our first and second days, we got our stuff together and prepared to head out.

Bangkok October 2017
Shoe area. Let’s go!

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
First sights of Bangkok in the daylight.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Soaking in the streets of Chinatown as we walked from the river towards Wat Traimit to see the Golden Buddha.

Bangkok October 2017
I remember this moment as one of the first *intense* intersections that we had to really carefully run across.

Bangkok October 2017
Wat Traimit in the distance, so close but so nervewrecking when we were being scaredy cats about the traffic. *Gotta build up the nerve*

Bangkok October 2017
We stood in line at the ticket booth to pay entry fee when the tiniest chain of school children passed by.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Parts of the exhibition halls and museum were closed, but we did get entry (around 40 Thai Bhat) to go up to the top to see the Golden Buddha.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Ascending the stairs

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Details

Bangkok October 2017
High enough to look out over Chinatown and see some of the financial area (we were told).

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Preparing to enter—shoulders and legs covered, no hats.

Bangkok October 2017
This Buddha is 3 meters tall. Apparently it was covered with plaster and when it fell from a crane it was revealed that the statue was actually made of gold. It may be from the 13th century—but there is a lot of mystery to this particular sculpture.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
The shape of the Golden Buddha’s head is in the Sukhothai Dynasty style of the 13th-14th centuries. It was possibly covered in stucco before Burma took over the Ayutthaya kingdom in the 18th century. Golden Buddha was moved from another wat in Chinatown to Wat Traimit in the 1930s, but only once the true nature of the Golden Buddha was revealed in an accident was an entire new pavilion erected to house it.

Bangkok October 2017
Zach and Golden Buddha

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
The details on the walls

Bangkok October 2017
Suddenly got super crowded so we decided to slowly wander out.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Looking down at the area we purchased tickets.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Collected our shoes from the shoe racks

Bangkok October 2017
And took our time wandering down to the exit.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Nice light on this gloomy morning.

Bangkok October 2017
Mickey Mouse in the wild. We said our goodbyes to the Golden Buddha and decided to wander through Chinatown a bit.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Yaowarat Road, Chinatown’s main road.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Crossing roads, getting lost.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Wandering down these narrow passageways with shops on both sides. Each shop seemed to have their own niche—stuffed animals, kitchenware, balloons and party supplies, wigs, etc.

Bangkok October 2017
The path is only wide enough for one or two people to walk in one direction, so there is a lot of just side to side looking and saying ‘excuse me!’ when accidentally bumping people who definitely seemed to know where they were going.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Made it out of one of those little veins.

Bangkok October 2017
Building eaten by plants

Bangkok October 2017
Organized telephone wires

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Walking toward N5 Rajchawongse boat dock.

Bangkok October 2017
Keeping our eyes peeled for the boats with the orange flags. This blogpost shows the entire boat line, the docks, and describes the differences between the colored flags. There’s a tourist boat that stops at the major attractions, but it’s more expensive than the orange flag. The orange flag boats run every day from 06:00-19:00 and come every 5 to 20 minutes. It’s 15 baht and you pay when you get on.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
If you aren’t sure who to pay, just hang out and wait for the sound of metal coins hitting a can. That person will take your coins!

Bangkok October 2017
I loved taking the boats, so much more convenient, scenic, and fun than taxis.

Bangkok October 2017
The water taxi attendants are so so athetic and incredible jumping from boat to dock at every pier. A coordinated series of whistles seems like a secret code.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Exiting at Phra Arthit—yes, this exit is the stop for Khao San Road, the infamous backpackers district. We wanted to see this street (it’s really not a huge area) and walk to a few museums and wats nearby.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Near the pier is Pom Phra Sumen, an 18th century fortress in the middle of a little grassy park.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
The area was a little flooded, it’s rainy season so not super surprising.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Across this little bridge appeared to be what looked like a hostel (signs say it’s the “Flapping Duck”)

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Reptile friend, you see him?

Bangkok October 2017
We stood at the edge of the river looking into this area with the hostel in the background. All this plant stuff had collected in this one area and we debated…was this put here on purpose or did the tides or movement of the water somehow push this all here? We never found out…

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
A good broom to fly

Bangkok October 2017
Kumon!

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This area seems to be known (at least among western tourist guides) for awesome river views, backpackers and chaos on Khao San Road, and bar hopping.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
We started walking away from the river edge back towards the start of Khao San Road and it started raining.

Bangkok October 2017
Thankfully there were a lot of delicious smelling food stalls set up with rain covers on the sidewalks.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Lots of little puffy bags of food, like edible balloons.

Bangkok October 2017
At this point it starts to pour rain.

Bangkok October 2017
We debate eating here but decide that we’ll sneak in a bit more sight seeing first. We try to haggle for some umbrellas but eventually decide to pop into the first restaurant we saw to wait out the downpour.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Well here we are on Khao San Road, the beers are kind of expensive, but hey we’re just here mooching on the wifi of this tripadvisor approved restaurant. It’s still pouring rain.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
The rain lets up a little bit and we walk as fast as possible down Phra Sumen. I wanted to see a Wat on the way to Ratchadamneon Contemproary Art Center.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
The lighting and sky were mystical and beautiful but we were walking as fast as possible sensing another downpour.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
In the distance we could see Wat Bowonniwet Vihara.

Bangkok October 2017
We had to sprint the last few yards as it started raining once again.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
From the safe dry space of the entry gate, we could see that the wat was under construction but definitely still open.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
We waited in the little entry gate to see if the rain would let up. It didn’t.

Bangkok October 2017
So we finally ran across the huge puddle that had formed. We were standing in that little entry moments ago.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
I wish I had recorded the sound of the rain hitting all the scaffolding. But maybe you can imagine it.

Bangkok October 2017
We snuck into the temple and a few other people were quietly sitting, also hiding from the rain but enjoying the atmosphere.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Painted doors and ceilings

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
We waited quietly amongst strangers. The sound of the rain was intense. It was a really cool experience being there.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
The rain let up just enough for us to continue our walk down Phra Sumen.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
We popped into a 7/11 to buy an umbrella and I surveyed the snack options. There are 7/11s everywhere!

Bangkok October 2017
There are 7/11s on every other corner and tempting street vendors on every block.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
It was still incredibly humid and warm despite the rain.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
We finally made it to the area with the Queen’s Gallery, King Prajadhipok Museum, and Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Center.

Bangkok October 2017
The gloomy weather made the golden roofs pop. Here’s Wat Ratchanatdaram in passing! We’ll be back….

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Be back, Wat!

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Contemporary Art Center!

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
We arrived at an off season time, they were about to open the Bangkok Biennial so we only had the option to see a few exhibits on the top floor.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
This installation featured technology projects bringing to life Southeast Asian cultures including language and cuisine.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Even the bathrooms had vinyl decals.

Bangkok October 2017
Fascinated by the number of signs that ask for people not to squat on the toilet. Is it because squat toilets used to be more prevalent and people still want to do that on non-squat ones? I see how squat toilets are definitely more sanitary but how many porcelain toilets shattered under the weight of innocent squatters? You have to wonder…

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Wish we could have come back to see the biennial!

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Wat Ratchanatdaram

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
This temple was built to the order of King Nangklao (Rama III) for the princess granddaughter, Somanass Waddhanawathy in 1846.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Visiting Loha Prasat which translates to “iron castle” or “iron monastery.” The 37 virtues that are required to reach enlightenment are signified by 37 black metal spires.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
You can climb a spiral staircase up a few levels, each with new places and things to discover. This temple’s design is said to have derived fro metal temples built in India and Sri Lanka more than 2000 years ago.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
At the very top you get incredible views, and at the very top there’s a relic of the Buddha.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
*Sweaty but also damp from the rain*

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Finding our shoes again

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Peeking around

Bangkok October 2017
Wat Kitty

Bangkok October 2017
From here we walked to find some food.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
We were starving. We looked in our little Lonely Planet pocket guide and saw this was a closeby recommended restaurant. We tried the tom yum soup (ugh seriously so good, I’m craving it looking at these photos!), spicy stir fried crab (drooling), and an egg souffle dish. The place is called Krua Apsorn.

Bangkok October 2017
Leaving full and happy

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
After lunch we stopped by Wat Suthat also known as the Temple with the Giant Swing.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Incredible floor to ceiling wall murals.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
20 baht well spent

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
We wandered around the grounds—this area looks like spare architectural features?

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Always look up!

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Trying *desperately* to fit in.

Bangkok October 2017
*Cries* So beautiful.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Little kitty heads popping up in the distance.

Bangkok October 2017
From Wat Suthat it started raining and was getting dark so we decided to hop into a taxi and get a ride through Chinatown back to the hotel.

Bangkok October 2017
We were bad passengers and at first struggled to give a drop off point that worked for the driver, but we settled on getting dropped back by the Golden Buddha temple we had seen this morning.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
It worked! We walked back to Loy La Long Hotel and perched up on the deck and watched the dinner cruises go by.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Lively river compared to the taxis we saw in the morning.

Bangkok October 2017
Same view from our room but evening time.

Bangkok October 2017
I was so so so exhausted, and I’m sure Zach was too but he dragged me out to at least grab a snack and drink so we’d force ourselves to stay up until 10pm at least.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
This place was literally a 1 minute walk from Loy La Long Hotel. It’s called Samsara Cafe.

Bangkok October 2017
Little wings

Bangkok October 2017
Watching even more party dinner cruises go by.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Zach and another kitty we almost stole to take with us.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Outside the entrance to the restaurant—you walk through a windy little pathway parallel to the waterfront and then enter an old home.

Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Bangkok October 2017
Walked back to our hotel and called it a night. We went to bed a bit early to save up some energy for an early day sightseeing in Ko Ratanakosin and Thonburi, Bangkok’s historical center.

I hope you enjoyed (and if you’re visiting, that this gave you some ideas filling a day in Bangkok!)

Check out all my “Waldo in Southeast Asia” travel posts including a packing list and planning here.

Much love friends.

Posted by:sarahwaldo

By day I'm a content producer at an arts org in Los Angeles, by night I am the overly apologetic brain and face of sleepywaldo.blog

10 replies on “GOLDEN BUDDHA, YAOWARAT, BANGLAMPHU: BANGKOK, THAILAND (DAY 1)

  1. Oh my it’s here! Hope you enjoyed making this post as much as I (we) enjoyed reading it.
    Do you remember @otherjoseph from livejournal? I was thinking this post reminds me so much of the mood he has in his posts, then it hit me: you’re in Southeast Asia so the atmosphere, light, rain, are the same (ahahaha)! I always felt that the light was different here, and looking at your photos I feel like I have confirmed this theory. 😛

    The Thai king is/was well loved and I remember my Thai friends mourning and being really sad when he passed away (even Filipino friends who have worked there for at least 3 years), so I’m not surprised that there are giant billboards honoring him.

    Your hotel is lovely! I love the view (especially at night) I also love how there’s a smorgasbord of colors and things that don’t fit together but actually work. Also amazing how you got to see so many sights in one day! I always love how they respect their Buddha monuments and put these in the signages too for visitors. Love your outfit during temple visit!

    “We stood at the edge of the river looking into this area with the hostel in the background. All this plant stuff had collected in this one area and we debated…was this put here on purpose or did the tides or movement of the water somehow push this all here? We never found out…” — oh, definitely the tides moved it! Our rivers have those too from time to time then the tides just transport them away.

    Did you do Kumon as a kid?

    Love all the rain shotsl! Monsoon is my favorite season and it does get pretty cold and comfortable (not humid all the time) and I could almost smell the scent of rain and the sound in your photos *_* so happy that you got to capture that moment.

    The thing with squatting is it’s sanitary for the one who’s squatting, but so unsanitary for the next user! Usually they dont clean their shoe marks, and yes the toilets break…

    Seriously that Thai meal you had…omg…I’m so hungry now!!!

    That shot in the cab, those alleyway shots at night and the evening view from your room reminds me of Wong Kar Wai films.

    Can’t believe this is only Day 1!!! Thank you for sharing, those are some spectacular views. Can’t wait for the other 19 days and of course, your life in California. Belated happy thanksgiving to you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Firstly…thank you so much for your patience and your long comment–it brings me joy to see different parts of the post being commented on and I can only imagine the time/effort it took to compile your thoughts hah. Thank you!

      I love @otherjoseph and his work, we’re still friends on FB and he still makes beautiful portraits. I definitely think the quality of light is super special, combo of grey skies and diffused light makes everything look lovely.

      I could see and feel the respect and sadness for the Thai king, it was humbling to witness, for sure!

      The hotel was so cute, I remember booking it a few months back thinking “this is way too fancy!” but I’m so happy we did it was the perfect little escape after long travels and big days out in the city.

      Thank you for solving our question! Hahah, I was certain the river moved the plants (because what a weird thing for a person to do) but now I know and can rub the info in Zach’s face.

      I didn’t do Kumon, but other similar programs. My friend/sister Lauren did Kumon and I was jealous of all her stickers.

      I didn’t mind the rain at all, in fact it was nice to have opposite weather conditions to Los Angeles pretty much immediately!

      OMG to be compared to Wong Kar Wai…highest compliment, thank you ahah.

      Thank you again for your comment! My Thanksgiving week post is going up tomorrow, I scheduled it to give a little room for Bangkok Day 1 to breathe. *Whew* Hope your week is going well!

      Like

      1. Oh, it’s no problem at all! I love commenting! I remember as a young student suffering in highschool, then university your posts would always brighten me up, and now it has the same effect with the busyness of work life 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. i’ve been a lurker of your blog since 2013 (late to the party), never commented til now, and i cant believe youre in my home country!!! you make me miss home so much (currently working in manila) but so happy you depicted bangkok in the way that you did 🙂 did you ride a tuktuk?

    i hope you won’t be offended as this might be off topic but i will be going to munich (2 days), salzburg (1 day), and hallstat (1/2 day). i know you went there in 2014 (someone in the comments was also bugging you about it haha) and bec im not sure if youll ever post it…just wanted suggestions on where to go for the days i have alloted, would be so interested to know where you went!

    thank you and please keep posting, you make us all so happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thanks for following along, 2013 is still 4 years…bananas! I can’t wait to share more from Thailand, I had such a great time. I didn’t ride in a tuktuk but a did ride in a songthaew!

      I really should get those photos up from Germany and Austria, not only because they are beautiful and we really caught Hallstatt at a beautiful time, but that I get some questions about what to do. Thank you again for reminding me! It’s on my list.

      SO! I scrolled way back on my Instagram just to get a peek at a few things we did:
      Munich:
      From Munich took a day trip out to Schilersee, a beautiful little mountain town.
      Schloss Nymphenburg, huge palace in Munich
      Saw the surfers in Englischer Garten and just walked around the gardens
      Visited the Munich Stadtmuseum
      Glypothek to see Sleeping Fawn and other ancient treasures
      English Garden is also beautiful!
      Olympic Park for a more urban vibe
      Bike around! And visit biergartens in the parks.

      Salzburg
      We only stayed overnight at a hotel on top of a hill and we wandered the streets for just one evening. I wish I could share more!

      Hallstatt
      It’s so tiny you can’t even really drive into town, you have to park outside and walk to your hotel.
      Walk around, see the cemetary with the decorated skulls, go high and go low, see the city from all vantage points in early morning light and sunset. IT IS BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!
      We visited the salt mine which was corny but really cool cuz you get great views at the top and get to go up the huge funicular.

      Hope this helps!

      Like

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