The airport at Don Mueang International Airport in air-conditioned and fresh smelling of newly brewed coffee. I just ordered a cappuccino before opening my laptop. I am about to start a year into the unknown and just stopped in Bangkok for three days. I needed a couple of vaccinations before entering Indonesia.
So I went to do some sightseeing in Bangkok to check out the food, have a full body massage and learn more about this friendly culture. I ended up learning about spirit houses, fortune tellers, wading the monsoon traffic, and the most efficient way to get around the city of Bangkok.
I like to see the occasional temple or two, but walking the streets of the food marked will give you the taste of Thailands flavors. The flower marked will show you the spiritual side of Thai life and the food you buy from the street vendors around town is delicious and the Thai way of eating.
Longboat ride on the river
A nice break from the heat is to rent a longboat to see life along the rivers. It is a feast for your eyes and you might meet lizards in the water, fish being fed bread for luck and the occasional boat vendor trying to sell you a fan hat or some colored fruit. Don’t be afraid to leave the tourist traps to see real life. The superstitious Thai people are super friendly and will help you if you ask and if they speak English.
The little houses you see outside the houses they live in is a spirit house. They believe that if you buy a spirit house, have a ceremony where a priest invites an angel spirit to live there, no bad spirits will enter the family house. Unless of course, you want you’re desired relative to come to visit.
If that is the case – you just book the priest to have another ceremony and invite the spirit in question to join you. Some white powder is spread on the doorstep to prove by footsteps that the spirit has entered. Thailand must be heaven for a priest.
The fortuneteller temple
If you think hours of sightseeing at the Grand Palace in the heat is not your thing, try Wat Pho. Here you get the feel for the traditional architecture, the Buddhist/Hindu religion and the soul of the Thai people.
This is also the perfect place to get your palms read by a fortune teller, there is one just outside the men’s room at Wat Pho. You get to see the beautiful temples, the giant Buddha and get your fortune told in one place.
When in Thailand, you need to try a Thai Massage. I stopped by next to my hotel and paid 300 Bath for one hour. I decided to go for one more hour of back massage and came out like a new person for only 500 Bath. They had a lower price for the second hour. That translates to NOK 117,- €13, or 14 USD for two hours of amazing massage.
I had to stop for a glass of wine at the next door bar to celebrate my lucky find and paid 300 Bath for a glass of wine. So, wine is expensive but a body massage is so good and cheap you have to think of it as a lovely package deal.
The royal family
The Thai people love their Royal Family and the color yellow is a special color to wear on Mondays because that is the color of Monday, the day the King was born. Many Thais travel to Hua Hin on December 5th to celebrate the Kings birthday – which is also fathers day. Others throughout the country feed monkeys in the morning to celebrate the Kings birthday.
Most Thai have pictures of the King on display in their house and. After the King died the demand for black clothes has emptied the stores stock of black. Dyeing shops are now popping up, offering to color lighter garments into proper mourning black.
Getting around traffic
Traffic is horrible in Bangkok, but the sky train is super fast and works basically like any other subway in the big cities of the world.
The water buses run nonstop to get you to anywhere along the river. Most of the recommended temples and sights are situated along the river.
The higher class hotels have their own docks and shuttle their guests to the nearest public dock nonstop. Find a hotel in walking distance to the sky train or water buses and save yourself the hassle of hours stuck in traffic.
When it rains, it pours, and flooding’s of the streets are normal. I came off the sky train just before sunset one day to find people wading the zebra crossing barefoot in streets flooded by water from the rain. Electricity is hanging so low, you can touch it many places.
I decided to stop by the Sky Bar at the Marriot in Sukhumvit instead of hitting the streets. Not much of a sunset in the rain but a lovely atmosphere and tasty but expensive wine. Just what I needed – a little luxury on a rainy adventurous day, watching the selfie people on top of the world.