Entering a new major city on the other side of the planet is always exciting, and when I arrived in Thailand on my five-week trip last December I had my camera on me every second of the way. Here are 11 random photos from the streets of Bangkok.
One of Bangkok’s most popular tourist attractions is the Grand Palace, home of the famous “Emerald Buddha.” The 18th century temple complex sprawls across more than 50 acres, so trying to do the architecture justice in photographs is nearly impossible without a helicopter. While I was walking around the grounds at the beginning of my five-week South East Asia trip last December I decided to focus on some of the smaller elements instead of trying to capture how massive the place was. The result of my attention to detail is this gallery of 15 patterns and textures from Thailand’s Grand Palace.
If you like this, check out some of my other galleries of patterns and textures….
A lot can happen in a week, and over the past seven days Lindsay and I did and saw more things than I would have ever dreamed was possible. We have had one adventure after another, and we still have so many more experiences ahead of us over the next four weeks. I’ve already taken a lot of incredible travel photos, but I’m holding on to those for now, so until I post the epic shots, here are 15 of the cool things we did during this first week in Thailand accompanied by a handful of photos and snapshots we took along the way.
If you like this post, make sure you click on my “21 Great Adventure & Experiences Worth Writing Home About” post that went up a few days ago…
Also, here is a page with some more updates from Thailand.
15 Cool Things We Did In Thailand In 1 Week
– Walked around some of the most iconic wats (Buddhist temples) in Asia.
– Used just about every mode of transportation there is; including river taxi, tuk-tuk, cab, bus, mini van, bicycle, motorbike, and train.
– Stumbled upon some old people having a party where I was given the shirt off someone’s back and a handful of sticky rice with curry paste.
– Drove motorbikes to the highest point in Thailand.
– Watched a traditional Muay Thai kickboxing match.
– Learned to make typical Thai dishes in a cooking class.
– Snuck into a dorm at a national park and slept for the night.
– Swam in emerald green pools of beautiful waterfalls and climbed the surrounding rocks.
– Ate strange street vendor foods including a variety of insects, shark fin, and chicken intestines.
– Played with tigers—babies and adults.
– Had hundreds of tiny fish nibble at our feet and legs in a fish spa.
– Visited and bargained with vendors at several markets, including a flower market along the riverfront.
– Ran out of fuel in a rented motorbike at the top of a mountain, coasted down the mountain, and had an ice cream vendor siphon gas for us to get back into town.
– Slept in an overnight train for 15 hours.
After Lindsay read my short, generic notes about this trip she felt that they didn’t quite do it justice so she wanted to elaborate on the 15 points made to help paint a clearer picture. A little dramatic and long-winded if you ask me, but here’s our first week in her words…
– Explored the most ornate and legendary temples in Thailand including Grand Palace, home of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho, home of the 140-foot reclining Buddha, and Wat Doi Suthep, which is perched atop one of the tallest mountains in Thailand.
– Had our bodies pummeled, stretched, popped, and rejuvenated in an hour-long Thai massage at one of the plethora of roadside stands for about $5 USD.
– Took advantage of just about every mode of transportation Thailand has to offer; including river taxi, tuk-tuk, cab, bus, mini van, bicycle, motorbike, moto-taxi, songtheaw, and train.
– Stumbled upon a local roadside political party, quite off the beaten path, where we were welcomed like celebrities and given the shirts off their backs to support their (hopefully worthwhile) political cause, drank whisky with the locals (me), and were fed some sort of interesting concoction of chili paste, sticky rice, and raw cauliflower while they took pictures and cheered us on.
– Drove motorbikes to the highest point in Thailand, and coasted 15 kilometers down the steepest part of the summit to avoid running out of gas.
– Hooted, hollered, and cheered “Oo-iy!” with the locals at a Muay Thai boxing match while Lindsay drank the local brew and Fat snuck into the ringside section to take photos.
– Learned to make traditional Thai dishes like pad Thai, green curry, spring rolls, and hot and sour soup in a cooking class in Chiang Mai, the Northern Capital of Thailand.
– Snuck into a set of beautiful dorms at Erawan National Park to crash for the night when we couldn’t find our rundown bamboo hut in the dark. We did spot it on the way out the next morning and were glad we opted for not-breaking and entering the much cleaner and nicer dorms.
– Swam in ethereal pools of blue-green water at each of the seven tiers of beautiful waterfalls, rock slides, and swimming holes at Erawan Falls.
– Experienced Thailand by taste bud at the many-wonderful and many-bizarre street vendor stalls, including our favorites of pad Thai, fried rice, curries, and noodle soup, as well as the more adventurous options like insects, shark fin soup, blocks of congealed chicken blood, intestines, and an assortment of mystery meats.
– Played with tigers at a park in the tiny town of Mae Rim. The big cats as well as the babies. We have mixed reviews—a neat experience, but we’re positive the tigers were drugged, and they were kept in cages akin to animal prison.
– Ran out of gas in our motorbike at the summit of Doi Suthep north of Chiang Mai, coasted at 60 km/hour down the curvy, mountainous, hairpin turns, and slowed to a stop just in time for an ice cream vendor to siphon gas for us from a couple of different bikes and then give us free ice cream when we tried to pay him.
– Experienced the incredibly odd feeling that comes only when hundreds of tiny fish nibble at your feet, legs, and hands while you soak in a roadside “fish spa” and people watch at a Bangkok night bazaar.
– Shopped ‘til we dropped at markets all over Thailand—from Bangkok’s Chinatown, to Patpong Market (night market and red light district—home of the ping pong show…we’ll leave that to the imagination), legendary backpacker mecca of Khao San Road, the Flower Market along Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river, Chiang Mai’s night market and Sunday walking street, and the stalls selling everything you can imagine and could never need that seem to line every inch of marketable space and sidewalk in all of Thailand.
– Slept(ish) in the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai…a mere 12 hour journey that somehow took 17.
I’ve been in Thailand now for about a week and decided to do a gear bag check with everything in my backpack that I took on this five-week trip. On most of my BMX trips I usually bring a huge bike bag, an enormous suitcase, a heavy camera bag, and a full backpack, so traveling abroad for more than a month with just a handful of items is a big change for me, but it’s working out great so far. Here’s what I’m working with…
I spent another day in Bangkok today. Most of the day (and night) was spent walking around the enormous city in disbelief at all the crazy crap you can buy in markets, in awe at some of the incredible Buddhist temples, and searching for a taxi that wouldn’t rip us off.
Of course there were lots of great moments from the day, but for the sake of a quick blog post before I head to bed and get an early start tomorrow venturing off to a new city, I’ll stick to some basics, mostly revolving around food…
With no tour guide and no signs to read, I don’t know much about this teakwood mansion, but I know we couldn’t wear shoes or take photos inside. And supposedly the entire thing was made with wooden pegs—no nails. Typical Asian tourist pose!
At one of the temples we visited (the best one of the day) there was the famous “reclining” Buddah. That thing was huge!
There’s a million and one weird things you can buy in markets all around the world. And as much goofy Fox knock off stuff as i’ve seen over the years, this knife probably takes the cake.
Now we get to the knitty gritty…I said in my last post that we had only scratched the surface of bizarre foods, and tonight I proved that statement correct. On the menu? Cricket, grub, bigger cricket, mealworm, small grasshopper, frog, large grasshopper, and giant cockroach.
All of them went down with no barfing and no water. The most challenging to conquer, as you may have guessed, was definitely the cockroach. If you want to know what it was like? Hit me up on Facebook and I’ll tell you the street where you can buy them so you can try for yourself…
This blog was never intended to be a personal journal, but I figured I may as well post a few updates from this five week journey through South East Asia whileI I’m here… This will be the longest trip I’ve ever been on, and we have some really wild things planned, and if this first day is any indication of what’s in store, then it may be even crazier than I even anticipated!
After more than 30 hours of travel time from L.A. through London I arrived in Bangkok earlier today where I met up with my good friend and travel partner Lindsay Matush. We got settled into a hostel, then hit the town, starting off with a traditional tuk tuk ride through the city—an experience in and of itself.
We both wanted to dive right into the street food scene, so we snagged some freshly grilled squid and a plate full of muscles.
We also ended up eating shark fin soup, which may be up there with Guinea pig as one of the strangest things I’ve ever eaten. But I’m sure it will pale in comparison to what’s still to come from this trip…
After walking through some markets we ended the night with a fish spa—one of the most bizarre feelings ever! You basically sit there with your feet and lower legs dipped in cold water as a few hundred tiny fish nibble on your skin. After about seven or eight minutes I got used to it, but the initial shock was super funny.
Hopefully I’ll have Internet here and there along the way, so keep checking back for more updates from Asia…