42. VISIT THAILAND
Six months ago, I had the pleasure of attending an old co-worker of mine's wedding in Bangkok, Thailand. Here are some of my takeaways from the once-in-a-lifetime trip.
KHAO SAN ROAD
Khao San Road is a wild place. Its obscene craziness makes Vegas looks tamed. We visited Khao San Road on our first and second to last night in Bangkok.
Khao San Road is mostly composed of restaurants and bars, and gift shops. In the midst of these establishments, you will also more food and gift stands.
Khao San Road has that Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras feel, flooded with tourists and natives alike, who are flooded under thundering music and cheap alcohol. The amount of life that is popping on Khao San Road puts even the grand Times Square to shame.
Throughout the night, you will encounter many exotic venders selling everything from suits to wristbands with English phrases embroidered on them that Jesus would most definitely disapprove to Tasers to scorpions like the one in the picture. Last but not least, you will most, most definitely run into the men making popping noises, striving to escort you and your friends to a ping pong show.
If you are traveling with friends, beer towers are the way to go. There were seven of us. Each person gets about two to three cups of beer per tower for approximately $3 per person. In addition, make sure to pick up some cheap goods at the gift shops and stands while hopping from bar to bar. Be sure to haggle. Try the this-is-all-the-money-I-have trick. It worked for some of my co-workers.
The Grand Palace
Thai architecture is stunningly beautiful. There is really nothing like it. What I love the most about architectures are the exquisite details. I cannot possibly imagine the amount of time its takes to create those minor components, so fine compare to the building as a whole, yet in a way I cannot describe, those small elements elevate the overall majestic presence of a structure.
We zoomed through the Grand Palace. I wish I had more time to truly appreciate its magnificence. The Grand Palace is like the Thai equivalence of the Forbidden Kingdom of China, though significantly smaller. Note that the Grand Palace has very strict code requirements. You are prohibited to reveal your shoulder, and your bottom should not uncover more than your ankle.
While visiting the Grand Palace, be sure to check the City Pillar Shrine, located across the street.
The Marble Temple
The Marble Temple is another popular tourist attraction in Bangkok. It is relatively small by area, nevertheless breathtaking. The above picture shows the ordination hall, grandly situated across from the entrance of the temple.
This is the back exit of the temple.
Here, we are looking at a corner of the backyard, located behind the ordination hall and to the right of the back exit.
Wat Yak Chai Mongkol
Wat Yak Chai Mongkol is an old temple that was burned to ruins in a fire. It is another must see tourist attraction, located just outside of Bangkok. The structure to the left of the Buddha statue is the main attraction.
When I visit a Thai restaurant in the States, Pad See Ew has always been my go-to dish. However, I was not impressed the authentic Pad See Ew that I had in Thailand. I actually preferred the Americanized version of the dish. I was not blown with the Pad Thai either. Then again, I was never a fan of the Pad Thai to begin with. Anyways, here are some food that I had while I was in Thailand that I enjoyed and that I highly recommend.
Every morning, our host's Dad makes a trip to the market to purchase breakfast for us. Our usual breakfast consisted of pork satay, fried chicken, and sticky rice (not pictured).
What I love the most about the pork skewers and what makes those pork skewers different from the ones I had had in the States are the alternate layers of fat between the layers of lean meat. For those who had never had eaten pork fat, take it from me, it is heavenly delicious.
The fried chicken does not taste particularly different from other fried chicken. Nevertheless, it is fried chicken, and fried chicken always deserves a spot light on my blog.
Yes, you are looking at a coconut. And yes, it tastes like any other coconut - refreshing and delicious. After you are done sipping on the juice, you can bring the coconut to the vender and ask the man or the woman to "scrape off" - I am probably not using the appropriate verb - its white meat from the coconut shell for a second snack.
Homemade Coconut Ice Cream
We were walking through a floating market in Ayutthaya, Thailand, when we came by a woman and a boy, who I speculated is her son, selling homemade coconut ice cream on a boat docked by the walkway of the market.
The boy cracked open a fresh coconut and poured its juice into a bucket. I supposed that the collected coconut juice will be used as a base for the next batch of ice cream. Subsequently, the boy - again for the lack of a better word - "scraped off" the white meat from the coconut shell with a spoon. The white coconut meat served as a bedding for the ice cream. Each serving came with four scoops of ice cream and is topped with peanuts.
Warm, sweetened, homemade soymilk sold in a plastic bag. Yum. This is not a product exclusive to Thailand. I have had soymilk in a bag when I was in China. It was very tasty with just the right amount of sweetness that would not leave your mouth dry afterward.
I know what you are thinking. What goes to Thailand to eat pizza?
Well, we thought the same thing.
Returning home after the morning wedding, we were exhausted and hungry. The bride's sister suggested pizza for lunch. We laughed at the the proposition.
"Unless there are pizzas with exotic toppings, like seafood pizza," I joked.
The sister, without saying another word, left the room to make the order. We were all surprised thirty minutes later when the pizza delivery man showed up at our doorstep with boxes of seafood pizza.
The seafood pizza shown in the above picture has toppings including imitation crab, mussel, shrimp, squid, and green pepper. The seafood pizza was okay. It was not mind blowing.
The Thai Hawaiian pizza was the first box of pizza that we opened. I snatched a slice before sprinting upstairs to grab my phone that was charging. I simply cannot eat a meal without proper documentation. By the time I raced back down stairs, the box of pizza was gone. However, it seemed like the pizza was not as big of a seller with the guests resting in the adjacent room, where I managed to snap a photo of their leftovers.
This is that one piece of Hawaiian pizza that I snatched before running upstairs to grab my phone.
Ten day was just not enough. Next, I would like visit Phuket, Thailand and the Phi Phi Islands.