Bangkok, Thailand

 
Ah Bangkok. I wasn't sure I would really enjoy Bangkok so I didn't plan to spend much time there. I figured we could always come back another time if we wanted to. As it was we got in early in the morning from the overnight train from Chiang Mai then left on the evening overnight train to head south to Krabi. We had about 12 hours to spend in the city exploring and eating all the foods. I actually think that was a good amount of time. We managed to see everything we wanted and neither of us really loved the city that much so we were fine leaving that evening.

 
We had arrived about 7am, put our bags in storage, and started walking towards Chinatown where the heart of the vegetarian festival would be while searching for some breakfast.

 
Not much was open yet, but we did find some fried dumplings which were delicious

 
And then a sit down place that had noodles and tofu and lots of locals eating there. 

 
Chinatown

 
The main road for the vegetarian festival - it would be all set up later when we came back through

 
After breakfast we headed towards the Grand Palace, which looked like it would take a while to walk to. We walked along Sampeng Lane, this really fun market street. It was just like an alleyway, but shops lined either side, they were air conditioned so it was nice and cool walking along there (it was already way too hot out and it was still the morning). The shops also had so many cute thing! Hello Kitty and other fun characters, clothes, bags, jewelry, really anything you could want. I loved it!
We were walking for a little bit after the market and suddenly we were at the Grand Palace! I was just like wait a minute, that didn't take very long to walk to. I wasn't paying attention to the scale on my map so I thought it was much farther than it was. Good for us because then we could walk everywhere which I like more than taking the tuk tuks.

 
I needed a break as my feet were still a bit tired from all the walking we did the day prior so we sat by this park across from the palace. And they were watering the lawn from the road. 

 
You couldn't see that much of the palace, and we could have gone in and explored, but we didn't really want to. 



 
Fun traffic circle and where we encountered the first of many people trying to scam us. We were walking away from the entrance to the palace, obviously not going there, and this guy came up to us and told us oh no! Raymond wouldn't be able to go in as he has shorts on! He needs pants (he did have his pant leg bottoms in his pocket in case we did go somewhere where he needed them so no worries there and the guidebook said you can rent clothes if you don't have the appropriate ones on)! We should let him take us to see the big Buddha statue instead. Come on, just go with him to go see the big Buddha! It is open right now and free to go in! We said no thank you, we weren't going to the palace, we were just wandering around and exploring and he was just like oh no! There is nothing over here! Go with him to the big Buddah even though we didn't care to go see that. It was really annoying and not the last time we had to deal with people who would just not take no for an answer/not listen to us at all and just keep hassling us forever until we could finally lose them walking away. I hated that. 
So we sat on the bench for a while and looked at the map and saw there was a big park nearby, Sanam Luang, so why not check it out. We couldn't figure out how to get into the park we had been sitting outside of as there was a fence all around it even though we could see people inside. We thought we might be able to lay in the shade at the new park. Well...the new park was just a wide open sunny field. There was a tiny bit of shade, but not really as the sun still shined through and made it hot. Still we stopped for a longer break and Raymond went and got us some cold beverages to enjoy on our break. 



 
And we found this bug on our bench! I put him on a stick and put him in the grass as I figured he would like that much more than the bench. He was so weird. As soon as I started moving the stick he froze like then I wouldn't be able to see him. Silly. 

 
Then we went to try and spy on a Wat that was listed in the guidebook and seemed interesting, but again we couldn't figure out how to get in. We walked all around it and nothing...it was a bit of a mystery to us. So we headed on to the ferry terminal to take a boat across the water to the Royal Barge Museum which I was excited about. It took us a bit to find the correct dock for the ferry we needed, but eventually we did. 

 
So much vegetation in the water and was kind of disorienting watching it bob around

 
The ferries were crazy. Super fast and I expected them to slow down to dock, but nope. They just go super fast, then whipped around to the dock and slam the back of the boat into it. You definitely had to be holding onto something as it was not a soft landing at all. Then the people got on and off so quickly - it was like a race. 

 
Then we had to try and find the museum from the ferry dock, which was easier said then done. Some people right outside pointed us in the right direction when we were trying to figure out where to go on the map - some of the helpful people who didn't want anything, but because there were so many people trying to get us to pay them to take us places and whatnot I was always hesitant to talk to anyone which is lame. 

 
So we were walking and there were a few signs, but then you get into this maze of tiny alleyways that look like we are going nowhere. 

 
Every once and a while there would be another sign right about when we thought we were lost. It didn't really seem like there would be anything at the end of the path. Like maybe it was all a big ploy to get you to do something else...but we did finally make it! For some reason when we got there I decided not to spend the extra money to be able to take photos. Probably because by the time we got there I was so hot and just didn't really care than much. I just wanted to have a seat in the shade and cool down for a bit. Here is just a google image search if you would like to see the barges. They were really cool. Very colorful and I greatly enjoyed wandering around in there. When we got there there was a tour group watching some videos about the barges and the processions with them and training to be one of the people who rows the boat and everything. We sat and watched them as well as I didn't realize they were a tour group at the time. That was really interesting and apparently Thailand is the only country that still has a boat procession for special occasions. 
As we were leaving another guy tried to get us to go on a boat tour around everywhere and I was just like no! Stop trying to trick  us into doing something we don't want to do!!! They are so persistent and really annoying. On the way in we had seen a sign that said "This was to - We have cold sodas by Otto" so we went to get a cold soda for our walk back to the ferry. The guy working there was super nice and was just like you must be from Germany to Raymond because of his beard! Then we chatted for him for a bit auf Deutsch. It still is odd how many people spoke German there. I really wasn't expecting that at all. 

 
We took the ferry back to where we had caught it and found this really nice, upscale shopping area. And the ice cream place had a veg fest flag so of course we had to stop and get some ice cream! They had strawberry banana and chocolate coconut. Both were delicious and very refreshing!

 
Fountain in the shopping area

 
Then we were walking by this other restaurant and they had a veg fest sign with this veggie pizza that looked interesting. Since it was lunchtime we decided to go in there and try that, but they were sold out! So we tried to order a few different things, but they were out of a lot of it, so we ended up with just Pad Thai. Still tasty and nice to have a break somewhere with AC. We were able to get some banana muffins for breakfast the next morning. 

 
After lunch it was just off to wander along the waterfront until we made it back to Chinatown. The next photos are all from the fancy shopping area








 
 
At some point we couldn't walk along the water anymore so we ended up wandering through this area where there were tons of people selling Buddha and royal family jewelry and trinkets. 






 
And we had to walk back by the Grand Palace and got more people trying to take us other places we didn't want to go. One guy started talking to us as we were walking and he seemed like he was just a friendly guy like in Chiang Mai, but nope. He was a tuk tuk driver trying to take us to see the Big Buddha. Honestly even if I had wanted to go there, all of them trying to take us there made me not want to go. Like it would just be overrun with tourists and eh. He was just like here let me take you to the Big Buddha! We said we had already been there this morning. Oh you took a tuk tuk? - No we walked. - But that is so far!! - No it is not really - Here let me show you on the map. See here is the Big Buddha! - We don't want to go there again. - Well have you been here (points to somewhere else) - We don't want to go there. - Oh where are you going? - Raymond shows him on the map as we are walking - Oh no don't do that - there is nothing down there! Here let me take you to see the Big Buddha! - man it was annoying. We finally had walked far enough away from his tuk tuk that he turned around, but man. I wouldn't mind if they asked if we wanted to go, but then when we said no thank you they left you alone. That is what they did in Laos and that was fine with me. I didn't care about that. It is the not giving up and not leaving us alone that bothered me. At one point during the day Raymond turned to me and said "No one in Laos tried to rip us off." and it was just like exactly! I didn't feel like people were constantly trying to take advantage of the fact that I wasn't a local in Laos. Not like Thailand. Before we went everyone said how super nice everyone in Thailand is, and sure I guess, but there are also a heck of a lot of people who try to rip you off. I did not like it and it really made me not want to go back. 


 
As we were wandering we did come across this fresh market. I don't know if you can really tell that is what it is, but it was just a bunch of trucks with produce in the back. This is why I love walking around a city. You can stumble across fun things that you wouldn't see if you were in a car being taken from point a to point b. 


And wandered along the water again. We did stop and get a cold beverage in Starbucks as it was the only place we could find (we did wander for a bit, until I was just like I need to sit down for a minute this will have to do). The Starbucks was right on the water so it was nice sitting in the window looking out. The people working there were not at all happy, but it was a cool place to sit and rest for a minute. 



 
Then it was back to Chinatown to eat all the foods! Or really get foods to take with us on the train ride. We got a few salty and a few sweet soy bean buns and man they were tasty! So many different treats we could have gotten at this bakery. 

 
Then we stopped in and had some curry and tofu stuff. The curry was actually too spicy for Raymond and almost too spicy for me. I never thought I would be the one that was able to eat something spicy and Raymond wouldn't! When we first met I didn't like any hot spicy - I didn't like my food to hurt me - but now I really enjoy it. As long as I can still taste the food. My spice tolerance has really gone up a lot. And now I make spicy foods at home too with my Thai chilies. 



 
The main street veg fest area. It was crazy! The one side was just food and we got another feast for the train as I just couldn't pass up trying most of it. 



 
7-11 is even in on the vegetarian festival. This is only part of the big sign of everything they have that I could eat. And 7-11 was everywhere so worst case scenario you could get something to eat there. 

 
The stage area for the festival - nothing was going on yet when we walked by. 

 
At this Wat there were a bunch of people lined up outside like they were waiting for someone famous or something. Not a huge mob, but enough people that I was curious who would be there or what was going on. 


 
We had to pick up our train tickets at least an hour before our train so we got back to the train station about an hour and half before we were supposed to leave. We could have wandered some more, but we were both getting tired from a long day of walking. The main area of the train station was just an open hall with tons of seating. At the front were the big photos of the royal family that people would go up to and kneel before and do whatever they were doing. We also watched singing competition shows as that was all they seemed to play on the TV there. We saw the Winner of the Year 2015! It was fun. 

 
Our feast! Steam buns, a few different kinds of spring rolls (one was corn and it was very tasty!), two types of noodles, on the front left was this container of these cake things that had spinach and other greens and maybe taro? It was like a taro cake with greens. And a bag of "pork" and noodles

 
"Pork" - So much food and so tasty! We did save some of it for the morning as it was just a lot of food. I loved the vegetarian festival! All the food! And all so good! So those were our Bangkok adventures. Not my favorite city and I would only go back if I had to, like another layover stop or something. The constant stream of people trying to take advantage of you got old very quickly. 
Our train was supposed to leave at 7:30pm, but for some reason we didn't leave until 8:30. I was sooo tired from not sleeping well the night prior and walking around all day and just wanted to go to bed before we even left, but I couldn't. I had to wait for the guy to come make up the beds as the compartment was set up as just a seat. I was super zombie Jen and the guy walked by and saw me and came and fixed up our beds for us so I could go to sleep at 8:30pm. I really know how to live it up! Luckily I slept really well that night and woke up nice and refreshed for more adventures!

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