03.05.2013 - 03.12.2013
We chose Thailand for our first Asia stop because their arms are open to lazy travelers like us who haven’t planned ahead for visas. They hand them out like candy upon arrival. Plus, practically every cheap Asian airline flies there so it’s a good jumping point. Oh, then there’s the cheap food and the massages which we suffered through while waiting on our Myanmar visas.
The hotel, Feung Nakorn Balcony Hotel, was a huge score because it was in a non-touristy area with lot of local flavor. I’m not sure why they put ‘Balcony’ in the name because they really didn’t have balconies, just open walkways. It was mostly a residential area along some quiet canals. I didn’t even think this still existed in Bangkok. It was like walking through their living rooms as everyone’s small homes are opened to the street, which is really just an extension of their home. And then there was the street food (angels singing in the background). I think I mentioned before that Africa is not known for culinary delights, so we made up for lost time. It doesn’t help that an entire meal was about $1 on the street. Hawkers came and went all day long, each specializing in something we just HAD to try. In this area, most of the people did not speak a word of English, so ordering was a crapshoot although I don’t remember being disappointed once. Menus that did have an English translation were a hoot but didn’t help much, though at least you knew when you were getting “assorted meats.”
There was a beautiful little park nearby where people relaxed by the goldfish filled ponds or went for some outdoor exercise. We went a few times to walk/run and watching the monitor lizards and turtles helped to distract from the thought that you might actually be melting. Nearly every day topped 100 degrees. Now I like hot weather, but this was ridiculous.
We went for Thai massages almost every day. I know… it’s excessive. But this was our little piece of heaven. Honestly, Thai massages aren’t always pleasant. Some of these viscous ladies turn it into a crash course in contortionism, putting you in positions that would have scored you a gold medal in Twister. Other times it feels like they are giving nooggies with their elbows (flashbacks of my brothers’ torture sessions). But in the end, you feel great. We even splurged $25 for a 2.5 hour massage one evening. If I get any more relaxed, I’ll just turn into jello.
We had been to Thailand before, so weren’t really trying to do any site seeing, but our hotel was right next to the Grand Palace. It’s a must see, but we had been there before. Right next to the Grand Palace is Wat Pho, so we took the opportunity to check it off the list. It’s smaller, but similar to the glory of the Grand Palace and has the giant reclining Buddha.
The entire interior of the giant Buddha building was covered in artwork that almost went unnoticed by the visitors. A shame as every inch was hand painted.
Wat Pho has a lot to offer and we spent the afternoon just wandering around in this fantasy world. It’s just amazing to imagine all the designing and work that went into the place. And even crowded with tourist, it is still a very spiritual place for Buddhists.
After about 6 days our Burma visas were ready and we had no more excuses to hang around indulging in these little treats. Off to Burma!