On our first full day in Thailand (and my first time in Thailand), we got out and explored the city of Bangkok. We began with a ferry boat ride along the river and a walk through some of the various street vendors to Wat Pho temple, which houses the Reclining Buddha, the largest Buddha statue in Thailand. We got there fairly early in the morning and enjoyed the peaceful serenity of the temple without crowds. We heard prayers being sung as we walked around the temple grounds. The Reclining Buddha was truly a sight to behold.
I was glad we had done our homework and learned of the dress code for temple visits. No shorts, short skirts, or tank tops. Shoes must be removed. The Thai people dress conservatively, but stylishly. Women wear light weight flowing Thai pants or skirts, perfect for hot weather and sun protection, and beautiful as well. They can be purchased from street vendors for an affordable price and take up almost no room in a suitcase. Westerners in short cut-off jean shorts and spaghetti-strap tank tops really stood out in the crowd.
My 11-year-old daughter couldn’t get enough of the delicious fresh coconut water and sweet coconut meat. She asked for a coconut every time she saw a street vendor selling them, which was often! We took a tuk tuk, a three-wheeled motorcycle-type cart, over to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo, the temple housing the Emerald Buddha (carved entirely out of jade). The admission fee was pretty steep, and the crowds of tourists arriving by the busloads were stifling, so we chose to explore the palace and temple grounds for a bit, grab a snack of fresh mango, and then walk over to the nearest terminal to catch the ferry back to the hotel for a swim in the heat of the afternoon. Peacocks walked around the pool as we lounged.
After resting for a bit, I treated my daughters to their first pedicures at a spa near the hotel. It only cost about $5 U.S., and the Thai women working in the salon absolutely doted on my kids. They took pictures of my little fair-skin freckled 8-year-old, and she shyly basked in the attention. Both girls chose blue nail polish for their toes.
That evening, we took a boat across to the other side of the river to eat at my husband’s favorite casual waterfront restaurant, Be My Guest. We dined outside and ordered his favorite bite-sized soft shell crabs. Our kids are pretty adventurous eaters and try new things with a natural curiosity. They liked all the Thai food, but they especially loved the black cat that sat patiently at their feet, waiting for their left over shrimp tails.