04 May 2016 – DAY 1 BANGKOK ANCIENT CITY AND AYUTTHAYA RUINS

We finally arrived in Southeast Asia late last evening after nearly 24 hours of flights, passing through immigration, and a one hour bus ride from the airport to our hotel. We are staying at the Bangkok Loft Inn, which is a beautiful little local boutique hotel set near the city center. At first glance – Bangkok is a city of bustling lights, lots of motor-taxis, tuk-tuks, and lots of street food!

For people who love food, this is a great place to be!  By the time we got settled in it was approaching midnight, but some of us decided to head out and hit the night markets anyways…the smells of sweet lime and spicy chilies, the flavors of marinated meats, the sights of hundreds of people cooking and eating together – welcome to Southeast Asia.

We were excited to be here and anxious to get started bright and early in the morning with a cultural visit to the ancient capital city of Bangkok – a place that used to be called Ancient Siam.  We toured around the beautiful palace, fed bread to giant carp, climbed to the top of temples, and evening had encounters with soft shell turtles and giant iguanas.

Later in the day we visited the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya – a place surrounded by giant monk statues in orange robes.  We even had the change to see a handful of real monks walking around the grounds, pretty cool!

Did you know that at age 6 you can be a monk?  Monks live a life of celibacy and sacrifice.  They dedicate much of their time to meditation and worship and eat only eat 2 meals a day – they cannot eat after 12:00pm.  

We returned to Bangkok via a river cruise that let us see the entire city from the water – quite beautiful.  We dined on a delicious Thai Buffet as we listened to the commentary on the history of each site we passed by.  Did you know that Thailand has over 37,000 Buddhist Temples?  Wow.

In the evening (after several hours escaping the heat in our hotel) we headed out for dinner overlooking the waterfront at a famous restaurant called Yok Yor, a famous local restaurant chain in the city. Here we indulged in menu of shrimp cakes, fried vegetables, and Tum Yum seafood soup.  The menu was delicious and light – perfect after a heavy buffet lunch and a long day on our feet.  At the end of the evening we were all very tired and hot, so we retired to our beds early, excited for what tomorrow brings us.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to having some time exploring the markets in the morning and obviously – indulging in an authentic Thai Cooking Class in the evening.  Must I say, we are excited! 

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