Home Up

NOTE: "HOME" takes you to our initial home page; "UP" will return you 
to the Round The World 2012 site for more exploring.

Friday, 26 October:  Our flight to Bangkok left Kuala Lumpur at 10:10PM.  There was a one hour time change and we arrived as scheduled at 11:30PM.  En route, on our first flight with Royal Jordanian, we enjoyed a light meal and a very nice wine.  Once on the ground, the Immigration process went quickly.  Our bags were the first off the conveyor, and we quickly walked through Customs.  Then, however, it took some time to get cash from an ATM (we wanted to ensure that all ATMs – there were only three branches with ATMs at the Airport) had the same outrageous 150 Thai Baht fee (4.50USD) – ouch!  After checking them all, we broke down and paid the fee.

Afterwards, we went to exit Door 5 and found the Best Western Amaranth Hotel representative.  We were able to catch the 1:00AM shuttle and we at the hotel in about 30 minutes.  Then, it was time to get some rest on this our first “morning” in Bangkok since our original visit here in 2002.

Saturday, 27 October:  We stayed in bed until about 8:00AM and then it was time to get going.  We enjoyed a very nice breakfast beginning at 9:00AM.  Afterwards, we went back to the room to repack our luggage.  At 11:00AM, we checked out of the hotel and took a taxi to the Holiday Inn Silom, our home for the next five nights in Bangkok.

Although we arrived before official check-in time, the Executive Lounge staff quickly checked us in.  Then an associate from the Lounge escorted us to a beautiful corner room with nice views of the city.  We settled in and unpacked all our things in anticipation of leaving one bag at the hotel while we visit Laos (November 1 – November 10).

At 6:00PM, we returned to the Executive Lounge and enjoyed a gin & tonic as well as some great peanuts.  Then, it was time for red wine and some wonderful snacks – including a delicious caprese salad (tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella cheese).  We enjoyed ourselves until about 7:30PM.  We then returned to our room for some well-needed sleep.

Sunday, 28 October:   Ed was up very early (5:00AM) and he caught up on some paperwork.  Then, even Lindy got up by 7:00AM.  We had decided to try to get out and about early (due to the heat) so we got ready quickly and were at breakfast at 8:00AM.  The buffet featured a variety of dishes – Thai, Indian and, of course, Western.  It was a bit crazy and chaotic but we found delicious items to eat.  Then, it was time to get going.

We walked to the closest Skytrain Station (Surask Station) and caught a train to Siam Station where we switched to another line to go to Mo Chit Station.  From there, we walked to the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market.  On weekends, it becomes Thailand’s largest street market with 8,000 plus stalls.  It was booming when we arrived and began walking through its various alleys and walkways.  The vendors were selling just about everything – clothing, pets, plants, etc. – and there were lots of tiny restaurants and food stalls.  We spent several hours wandering around.  Then, it just got too hot.  So, we returned to the transit station and reversed our route back to the hotel.  It was amazing that we could take a 30 minute ride in a beautiful air-conditioned environment for only about $1.35/person. 

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Inside the market - clothing &
other materials
Decorative items
Live fowl (probably
for eating; not for pets)
The exterior part of the market
This photo is for Ken - his
 employer has an operation in Bangkok

[ T O P ]

Once back in the Holiday Inn, we went to the Executive Lounge for ice-cold Coca Cola Light.  Then, it was time to go back to the room and clean-up and relax till we once again returned to the Lounge for happy hour and snacks.

Monday, 29 October:  We enjoyed another leisurely breakfast.  Unfortunately, as we sipped a final cup of coffee, the clouds began rolling in.  Initially we had planned to visit one of Bangkok’s great temples, Wat Pho.  But as conditions worsened we decided instead to visit MBK (Mahboonkrong) Mall.  It’s a giant air-conditioned indoor market similar to the weekend outdoor market.  We took the SkyTrain from the station near the hotel (Surasek) to the end of the line (National Stadium) and the Mall was connected to it via a walkway.  While there were a couple of large department stores, the majority of the mall was small stalls.  Interestingly, as we discovered at the outdoor market, the stores are grouped together by product.  So, if you want towels, there will be 10 booths in a room with towels.  Similarly, there are 20 booths in a row selling jeans.  So, it’s definitely a place you can bargain it.

We stayed till 2:00PM and then decided we were done with shopping.  So, we once again took the SkyTrain back to Surasek Station.  Although it’s only about a 15 minute walk from there to the Holiday Inn, we were both really hot due to the extreme heat and humidity.  We made it back just in time before the sky opened up and huge rain drops began to fall.

After a quick stop by the room to freshen up, we were back at the Executive Lounge for an ice-cold Diet Coke.  Then, we returned to our room for another shower and some “r&r” time before enjoying the balance of the evening back at the Executive Lounge.

Tuesday, October 30:  Well, the rain continued throughout much of the evening and early morning.  We were both up early and since the skies looked clear (we hoped the rain was done for a bit) we decided to make our trek to Wat Pho (more correctly being known as Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklaram Rajwaramahaviharn).

After breakfast we made the familiar walk back to the Surasek SkyTrain Station.  This time we rode only one stop (in the opposite direction of our prior travels) to arrive at Saphan Taksin Station.  This station connects to the Central Pier water station.  From here, we were able to catch a commuter boat (an “orange flag” boat) and for the same 15THB fare as we paid on the SkyTrain, we traveled far along the Chao Phraya River to Tien Pier.  From there, it was a quick walk to Wat Pho.

We spent about four hours walking and photographing the Temple grounds.  We had to take breaks as it was unbearably hot and humid (the site gives away free cold water bottles to paying guests (i.e., foreigners) to help cope with the overwhelming weather).  Despite being uncomfortable, we weren’t deterred in our hope of exploring all of the Temple complex.  To summarize our excursion…. it was truly amazing!  The key attraction of Wat Pho is its Reclining Buddha.   The Buddha is a gold-plated monument.  The Buddha is 48 meters in length and is the third largest Reclining Buddha in Thailand.  The soles of the statute are inlaid with mother of pearl depicting 108 images.  It was truly beautiful!  Then, the overall complex was perhaps even more amazing.  It contains numerous temples and halls containing beautiful statutes of Buddha.  The temple entryways are beautifully decorated with inlaid pieces of small tiles of colored glass that glitter in the sunlight.  Also, there are beautiful porcelain covered columns and stuppas.  Wat Pho truly is magnificent!

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Mass transit on the Chao Phraya River
High rise buildings on the river
Lest costly housing on the river


Topiary welcoming us
to Wat Pho
The amazingly beautiful and
intricate roof lines in the complex
A beautiful bell
A small but highly decorative temple
Two stone guardians
at an entry way
Stupas near a temple
A passageway between
stupas and temples
Beautiful roof lines
highlighting a tile roof
A close-up view
Looking through a doorway at Buddha
Now, as seen from within the temple
A very different interior courtyard
A row of Buddhas, one without
a golden covering
Bonsai, stuppas and temples
Another view of numerous
temples at this amazing complex


The head of the Reclining Buddha
Looking from the Reclining
Buddha's head to his feet
A view back to the
Reclining Buddha's head
An entire view of the
Reclining Buddha, including
the soles of his feet
A close-up of the inlay and
information found on the
soles of the Reclining
Buddha's feet

[ T O P ]

Following our visit we reversed our travel (first, a commuter boat and then the SkyTrain) to return back to the Holiday Inn.  Well, we only thought we were hot the day before!  We had to stop by our room and shower before we could even think about entering the Executive Lounge.  As soon as we were done we rushed up to gulp down several ice-cold Diet Cokes.  Then, back to our room for a quick break before returning to the Lounge for another wonderful happy hour with delicious snacks.  Afterwards, it was time for bed.

Wednesday, October 31:  Happy Halloween!  Well, it started raining again near midnight and it continued to rain throughout the morning.  We had a late and relaxing breakfast.  Then, we did a little bit of shopping in some nearby shops.  The balance of the afternoon was spent packing our things – those to stay here while we travel to Laos and those that will go with us.

We did take an afternoon break to enjoy a diet Coca-Cola and have the staff help us re-confirm tomorrow’s flight on Lao Air.  It took the ladies (both named Jirapa) a bit of time so we knew we had made a good decision to ask for their assistance, especially since all we can say in Thai is “thank you” and “hello” (and we’re not very good at that.  We enjoyed another great cocktail hour and then returned to our room in anticipation of a 5:00AM wake-up.  We didn’t have to feel sad about leaving since we know that we’ll be returning to Bangkok in about 10 days before beginning the long trek back to the USA. 

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