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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
After those pit stops, it was time for the main attraction - the floating markets.
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.
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