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4 Over 5: The World is My Home

Out with a Bang

THAILAND | Monday, 9 February 2015 | Views [364]

Bangkok that is. It is known as Krung Thep in Thai, which roughly translates into the City of Angels. I don't know about that but it is certainly the city of shopping and great food. I have tried very hard to keep me and my suitcase from gaining weight but I fear I have failed. After going to the Chatuchak market, I have had to employ the Marit system of packing - nothing new can go in unless something comes out. The market was amazing though. It spans 35 acres and is reportedly the largest in Asia. Unfortunately I did not make it to the animal and produce section. It was difficult just to get through the maze of souvenir and clothing stalls. At least twice I realized I was simply going in circles. I loved it though.

Just as amazing was the Pat Klong Talad market, better known as the Flower Market. As the sun goes down, the market starts to bustle with the wholesale of millions of flowers. This is where the city's florists come to get everything from marigolds to roses to orchids (and everything in between). And it is also open to the public. I bought a large bunch of jasmine to help with the smell coming from my hotel bathroom for less than a dollar. A huge bunch of roses could be bought for less than ten. Runners trolley the flowers from the warehouses in large baskets. If you are not careful, you are bound to get run over. It was amazing just to be part of the hustle and bustle.

Unfortunately, the city's new floating market was a huge disappointment. There were no floating boats anywhere! I went on a tour of the canal thinking they were somewhere ahead, but no such luck. Why is it that Asian tour guides think they have to talk all the time? The monologue was in Thai too so to me it just sounded like noise (nothing against the language itself). The only boats to be seen were moored to the enclosures and associated with restaurants therein.

So when I finally tired of the markets and shopping, I hit the food stalls. There is no need to go into a restaurant in Bangkok as some of the city's best food is served street side. Food carts are everywhere. I simply took a seat on one of their little plastic chairs and enjoyed such classics as Pad Thai, Spring Rolls, Tom Yum soup, etc.

While I generally dislike overt tourist traps (Khaosan Road in my opinion is just wrong), I felt a trip to Bangkok would not be complete without a visit to the Grand Palace. I am not sure there is a good time to go but oh the people! It rivaled Angkor Wat in the number of Chinese and Korean tour groups. It was impressive though - so opulent. I also hit Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It was well worth the visit and much less crowded than the palace. Except of course for the tour group of monks (complete with monk tour guide - refer to my earlier note on tour guides) which I think were photographed as much as the temple structures.

Now as I conclude my Asian tour tomorrow, I think that Bangkok was the perfect place to bring it full circle. The city did a bang up job of bidding me adieu.

Tags: city, food, markets

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