Sorry for lack of updates. I just got back from Bangkok yesterday. It was such a blissful trip! Hehe! Anyway, to cut the long story short, I was there for a short visit and some shopping. I guess I need a break after six months of working non stop.
We were lucky this time because we got our colleague in Bangkok to take us around for meals on weekend. At least, we get to sample really good local Thai food at places frequented by locals only.
Aor picked us up from the airport and took us to her favorite restaurant for some crispy roast pork and duck. Try eating it with cold coconut lime – it was heavenly! We went to Wat Arun since I didn’t visit this place the last trip in 2009 and it was one of my favorite temples in Bangkok. We took a boat from behind Grand Palace and paid only 4 baht each person to get across. I didn’t even know it’s that near!
The funny part was to find out how Thai people park their cars. Since there’s always space constraints, they would normally double park and don’t pull their hand brakes – I think like the French. When people want to get out, the parking attendant would help push the car to let the car inside to get out.
Also, people in Thailand are normally warm (except for an assistant in Naraya with overly sour face) – they greet each other and when you pay for your goods or food, they would offer you salute by cupping both hands like a lotus flower.
Demon god at Wat Arun
The fun part of going to Wat Arun – on our way there, Aor was worried we might be dehydrated due to the hot weather and told us to drink coconut water. We bought a coconut each. I thought we would be standing or sitting to finish the drink first before we hop on the boat, but were sent walking in hasty manner towards the ferry. It was really funny to think that there were 4 girls holding a coconut each and walking hastily towards the pier! And the coconuts were super heavy!
Buddha at Wat Arun – the Hindu and Chinese influence
We got into Wat Arun for free – we actually saved 50 Baht each because Aor spoke to the ticketing officer and gestured us in. Haha! We made up by giving donations at the many donation boxes in the temple and prayed for good health.
Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho
After visiting the magnificent Wat Arun, we took the boat back to Grand Palace and walked towards Wat Pho. Here, we were told that the place is where all the masseurs in the whole of Bangkok learn Thai massage. There’s a dual charging system – locals pay only 200 Baht for 1 hour massage but foreigners have to pay 220 Baht for half hour massage. For truly traditional Thai massage, you can come here to try. We didn’t because we haven’t taken our baths since morning because we have yet to check into our hotel!
At Wat Pho, the reclining Buddha’s compound, we could take a bowl of loose coins and placed them in the many alms bowls aligned behind the Buddha leading towards the door. Aor said, we could make a wish then, slowly place the coins till the very last coin in the last alms bowl to ensure our wish is fulfilled!
Monk at Wat Pho
Then, another funny incident happened. As Aor was demonstrating how to lock the door at the ancient door of Wat Pho, she couldn’t open the door again. So Gas Stove tried to help her but they couldn’t get the latch to come out from the hole, which we think was rather weird. There was no lock or hook whatsoever in the hole but somehow, we couldn’t manage to remove the latch. Luckily, there were other doors exiting the temple’s compound.. if not, we would probably have to spend the night in the compound where ashes of people were being buried underneath the many stupas and chedis around the temple compound.. creepy!
Kanabnum Restaurant for the locals
Then, we made our way to Kanabnum Restaurant for dinner, one of Aor’s favorite restaurants beside the Chao Phraya river and Sang Hee Bridge. We let her do the ordering since she’s the expert and we ended having a scrumptious dinner. The green curry chicken is a must order – to be eaten with rice vermicelli. The sweet sour fish with cashew nuts is also nice, so was the phad thai. And don’t forget the pork satay! They were delicious! The steamed snake fish in special sauce was okay but it didn’t suit my taste bud. But I could see it being ordered on almost every table in the restaurant, so I guess it’s a specialty!
Egg omelet with smelly vegetables, phad thai, snake fish in special sauce and green curry chicken
After enjoying our dinner, talking about Thai politics (Aor is a Thaksin supporter!) and horoscopes, we made way to Erawan, to give our offerings to the four faced Buddha. Aor told us to ensure that we make wish carefully as it will come true and exactly what we hoped for. I guess she was right. I did made a wish some 6 years ago when I was there and I somehow think, the gods must have fulfilled it, so this time, I merely offer jossticks, flowers and candles as a symbol of gratitude.
One of the many campaign banners in Bangkok
Then on our way to our hotel, Aor passed by the Suan Lum park – where Suan Lum night market was (it has been relocated to Bangna) she showed us the night street walkers coming out to work. We were told that the lady boys would be standing at one side and women prostitutes on the other. We managed to spot a few lady boys in their skimpiest dress. We were told that some girls went into prostitution willingly, not because they are poor. They just want to earn money the quick way. Not all women are forced to work in prostitution – contrary to what we used to believe.
We thanked Aor for the lovely day and we wouldn’t have known so much about Thai culture if not because of her! We check into our hotel late, by midnight. It was pre-election weekend hence, there’s no alcohol being served for the night.