Bustling Bangkok

As you may have guessed by my absence (where I was more than easily replaced by 13 wonderfully kind guest bloggers), I wasn't sitting at home twiddling my thumbs. We traveled to the other side of the world to experience the color and chaos of Southeast Asia - Bangkok, Thailand and Siem Reap, Cambodia to be exact. It was a mix of fun and somber reflection as we sampled the sights, tastes, nature, culture, and plights of these areas. I took a ton of photos but the sun and heat really sapped the creativity from me at times. The markets were plentiful, food and transport cheap and the experience everything I expected it would be.

So enough of the summary, you want to see something right?

On our first day we took in the top tourist sights of Bangkok - the Grand Palace and Wat Po temple, etc. We booked a tour guide for this so we could learn a little more about the history and meaning behind each stop. We were traveling with another couple so the cost was a bargain and it made the sights much more meaningful for us.
StoneandGoldWatPhoMonkeysandDemonGrandPalaceGoldBuddhasWatPho
20BgoodluckcoinsTiledStupaWatPho
WallPaintingWatPho
GrandPalaceGuardTukTukoutsideofWatPho
We ticked off all the usual spots - the reclining Buddha, the emerald Buddha, the wall carvings, the palace guard, etc. And while each was beautiful and interesting, we mutually decided we wanted to deviate from the plan a bit (we had planned to see many more historical sites).

Our next stop was Chinatown. This was more our speed in that I could sample current city life and grab some yummy dim sum for a few bucks.
ChinaTownSign
ChinatownFishSellerChinatownApothocary
PickledFruits

On the following day we got back into the tourist swing of things (I am the first to unabashedly admit I love being a tourist and feel no shame in flocking to the attractions of mass appeal. Generally speaking, those spots got popular for a reason!) Today's itinerary had us leaving Bangkok proper to see some of the sites outside of the city.
SeaSaltFieldsFishMarket
GreenMussels
Our first stops were to see the sea salt farms just after sunrise followed by a bustling fish market. A little drive down the road we stopped at a fresh market that is set up right on the train tracks! When the train comes, the vendors push their awnings back and their wares to the side just to miss the swipe of the train.
TrainMarketTrainisComing2 ChiliesattheTrainMarketTrainMarketFishSellerTrainWheelsgoroundandround
No, this isn't computer generated blur. Thats the wheels of the train as it spins right next to the produce for sale. But we weren't there just for the photos - we sampled some delicious coconut pudding things (cooked up fresh right in front of our eyes), a freshly grilled banana and a bundle of lychees. Fun morning!
CoconutCustardsLychees

After those pit stops, it was time for the main attraction - the floating markets.
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BoatNumbers StefandLukeatFloatingMarket
While it was certainly interesting to see, it was kind of a futile exercise for us. I didn't really want to buy anything while floating by on a boat. It was incredibly crowded and most things sold were cheap souvenirs that didn't peak our interest. (I was convinced by my guide to buy this ridiculous hat to protect me from the sun - I'm sure feeling like a complete idiot didn't add to my enjoyment of the trip.) We did get to sample some more food here - a bowl of yummy brothy noodles that will forever be known to us as "boat soup" and the ubiquitous mango with sticky rice. The latter part of the boat ride took us to the virtually empty back canals where we got to see some of the local housing, plants and animals. The experience was one we were happy to have but don't ever need to have again if that makes any sense.

So after that was over it was time to go a little farther out and see some swimming monkeys. You read that right - I said swimming monkeys!! And with that, I'll leave that as a teaser for tomorrow's post.

The rest of our Bangkok trip recap can be found here.

If you like to own one of my photos, shop my portfolio. Prints start at just $6.

33 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:31 AM

    Good Morning....

    You never cease to amaze me :) We just returned from CA (La Jolla) 3,000 miles for us... how long does it take you to get back to normal, sleepwise, after such a long trip ?

    Swimming monkey's can't wait !!!

    All the best,
    Kathy :)

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  2. Fascinating! Beautiful photos!! Can we switch lives? Can I entice you with a trip to DALLAS I am taking this weekend!!???? :) hehe

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  3. Anon: Funny you should ask that. We've been to Asia before and have only needed a couple of days to adjust back to normal once we're back. But for some reason, we've had a tough time of it this go around. Its been more than a week and I'm still not totally back to normal. A small price to pay but it is unsettling.

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  4. I love hearing about your travels but I have to inquire do you ever worry about your safety abroad as an American?

    Do you use a tour guide service or embark on these travels just the two of you?

    I'm a dual citizen and when abroad rarely ever bring my American passport with me.

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  5. O wow! You need to think about writing tour books! I love how you venture to places and markets where people don't usually go! It makes it more interesting to see the culture!

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  6. Beautiful photos!

    Between an aunt who raves about Thailand and a friend who was stationed in a rural region during a stint in the PeaceCorps, I'm fascinated by the place. I would love to visit someday!

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  7. what an amazing trip
    great photos!

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  8. Rebecca: What is your concern about bringing an American passport exactly? The main risk of going anywhere is generally theft - and theives don't ask to see your passport before they rob you. (thankfully we've had nothing but positive experiences in all of our trips) While it may be an issue in some parts of the world, I've never been anywhere that I feel MORE at risk as an American than any other foreigner. Its more of being an outsider than being an American per se.

    I wouldn't say I worry about it. I consider it as a slight risk but there is always a risk of something bad happening even when I'm home. I try to mitigate the risks by being smart but I try not to let it limit my experiences too much. When reasonably priced, we try to book a private tour guides for at least a day or two no matter where we go. It makes the visit a lot more productive to have someone who speaks the language and knows the city well.

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  9. What an amazing trip. The pics are gorgeous. Can't wait to see swimming monkeys!

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  10. Bangkok is really a wonderful city. Can't wait to see where you stayed in SR. One of my favorite hotels ever is there!

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  11. Your pictures are always incredible. What a cool trip..love seeing the floating market and the crazy shops on the train tracks! I live practically in the smack dab middle of Europe, but we can't afford to travel much now..damnit!

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  12. You have taken the most amazing images I've seen in a long time... congrats!!!! and thanks for sharing them with us... please stop by my blog and participate on my latest giveaway!

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  13. This looks awesome! Great pictures...makes me want to travel (even more, if that's possible).

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  14. I've never had a desire to visit Asia until seeing your photos today! You have such a great eye for the camera. Beautiful!

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  15. Stunning photos, as always. If you don't submit them to travel magazines, you totally should! They're definitely print-worthy and I think make all your readers want to hop on a plane and have such great experiences.

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  16. GREAT photos; I can almost feel how it smelled! :-)

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  17. Gorgeous photos!

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  18. OMG, that's where you were?! Your pics/commentary are bringing back wonderful memories of our honeymoon (did things just get weird up in here...). Our trip to Thailand was amazing. I must say, your photos capture the country better than ours did. I should just frame yours instead, HA!

    Might I interject regarding the whole being American/safety thing. The locals were sweet/humble beyond belief. We just used our street smarts & best judgement, like in any city (only get in marked cabs, etc). We did encounter Europeans/New Zealanders who were curious about us being American but what criticisms they had were reserved for the gov't/President we had at the time. Otherwise, we felt totally welcome!

    Yeesh, sorry for the novel.

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  19. "The experience was one we were happy to have but don't ever need to have again if that makes any sense."

    Are you specifically talking about the floating market - or Bangkok?

    Do you ever have language barrier issues when you travel?

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  20. Oh I just meant the floating market - really enjoyed Bangkok. I really should have said I wouldn't want to do the floating markets again because when Mr. Limestone read this, he felt like it was a great experience.

    Sure, there are language barriers anytime you travel outside of an English speaking country but its usually pretty easy to overcome. Bangkok is fairly easy for an English speaker to navigate. Tokyo and Moscow are the only two places where I felt that to anything more than a minor issue.

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  21. Wow X a million. Your travels always leave me breathless and envious. : )

    The black and white picture of the ladies in the boat is probably my favorite of yours to date. Love it.

    Thanks for letting us all live vicariously though you!

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  22. fun trip and great pictures!

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  23. I'm in awe - you've captured some incredible photos! What an awesome adventure - can't wait to see more and read more for that matter!

    If you're open to answering questions, how do you document these trips (other than the blog) - photo albums? in a journal? digital photo books? Will any of your photos end up in frames? or on the fridge?

    Can't wait to read about the swimming monkeys!

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  24. Amazing! I can't wait for the rest of the vacation. You have traveled to places that I will never go so I enjoy reading about it through you.

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  25. Oh so exciting to drop by today and see this bit of visual treasure! I'm looking forward to hearing (and seeing!) all about the rest of your trip. It's been about 10 years since I visited Bangkok and Siem Reap, and I'm excited to see more of your experience!

    Please, oh please, take all the blog space you want to travelogue... I'm sure we'll all simply love it! :-)

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  26. Great pictures. I love the one where the train comes in the market

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  27. It's always a pleasure in seeing which exotic places you've been to.

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  28. As usual your pictures are AMAZING! AMAZING! I hope they don't only live on your computer because they so need to be printed out...or perhaps put into a book - like the ones you can create at Blurb?

    This is exactly the 3 country trip I'd like to do - I hope you don't mind if I touch base with you via email and get some suggestions?

    Off to read part 2!

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  29. Anonymous4:10 AM

    Hello!
    I've been reading your blog for about a year (love it btw!!) but this is the first time I'm writing. We just booked our flights for Thailand this summer. We've been there once before but missed some of the things in Bangkok that you talked about. My kids would love the swimming monkeys. Could you give me some more info ? Also any hotel recommendations ?
    Thanks !

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  30. Great photography.

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  31. Once again, wonderful images and commentary from another interesting trip! I had computer troubles this week and none of the images were showing, now they are! Janell

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  32. absolutely amazing photos! makes me wanna go.

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  33. I think your hat is just adorable! I was going to ask where you got it. I think it would be perfect to wear to your backyard BBQs with your new grill. :)

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