Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bangkok, Thailand. Day 3

Today we left very early to go out of the city to see a coconut farm, experience a floating market, and go to a cultural show.
Driving on some back roads almost 2 hours out of Bangkok we toured a coconut farm.  We drove thru miles of coconut trees and saw piles and pils of coconuts.  The lady that gave the tour climbed a tree and showed us how they cut the flower of the coconut and put the cut flower into a narrow bucket to catch the sap from the flower.  After 3 months of doing this they have a substantial amount of coconut sugar.  She took us thru her house and proudly showed off her kitchen, her bedrooms,  pictures of the family and the king and queen of Thailand, and the sparsely furnished living area.  We bought some coconut sugar and saffron(very cheap).  

We took a long tailed boat ride to the floating market of Damnoen Saduak.  It was definitely an E ticket ride as we sped through the canals.  The floating market is a parade of merchants paddling along the canals peddling their fresh produce, tropical fruits, and snacks and meals cooked on the boats.

After lunch we watched an elephant show and cultural show at a local resort.  I got my picture taken with a pigmy elephant for 40 baht (about $1.25).  The two shows we saw were at a big resort outside of Bangkok.  The first show was the elephants and then we went into pavilion and watched a cultural show on Thailand with musicians, dancers, boxers.

After the show we made our way back to Bangkok through terrible traffic.  That is definitely the downside of Bangkok - the crowded streets and congested freeways.

Tomorrow - Loas!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bangkok, Thailand Oct. 30

The second day in Thailand and we are driving out of the city to Ayutthaya, the old capital of Siam.  The drive took us 1 and 1/2 hours but it was worth it.  The ruins of this once large temple complex were beautiful and not as crowded as the Bangkok grand palace.  Ayutthaya was burned in 1797 by the Burmese.  Saffron robed Buddhas were everywhere.

After lunch we took a boat ride on a local river where we saw beautiful and colorful scenery and a very large monitor lizard!

We walked thru a Muslim village and visited a mosque and talked to the head man of the village.  Muslims are definitely in the minority of this Buddhist country but he said they have no problems. This is our group with him.

Tonight we had another wonderful Thai dinner with free wine tasting!  The food is fantastic here!

Bangkok, Thailand Oct. 29

We have just finished our first four days of our 18 day OAT trip- Ancient Kingdoms.  After flying 20 hours and sitting in airports for 10 hours we arrived in Bangkok Tuesday night, Oct. 28,at 11:30 local time.  There are 14 more adventuresome people on this tour from all parts of the US.  Our trip guide is Todd from Bangkok.
The first day was full of a touring highlights in Bangkok.  The Grand Palace is a sprawling compound of ceremonial halls, gilded spires, and ornate buildings.  The king of Siam ruled from this palace and is the inspiration for the musical "The King and I".  

The most worshipped Buddha in all of Thailand is a 26" emerald Buddha located in one of the temples.

In the afternoon we visited the Wat Pho temple complex which is home to the largest Buddha image in Thailand - a 150' long, 49' high reclining Buddha covered in gold leaf.

In the evening of the first day we boarded a traditional wooden rice barge for a welcome dinner.  The lights of Bangkok were magical and the food was delicious.