On our third day in Bangkok, we spent the morning enjoying a private long boat ride. The ferry terminal next to our hotel had an operator at the entrance who booked long boat tours for very reasonable prices. We took a two-hour tour featuring waterfront views of the Royal Thai Navy headquarters, the Grand Palace, and parks, as well as the homes, temples, and gardens along the smaller canals. I was impressed by both the skill of the driver navigating the long narrow boat along the tight canals and the signage along the canals. The tiny narrow waterways were marked more clearly and accurately than the roads in Guam. We stopped at an orchid farm. The sheer variety and quantity of orchids in such a small space was jaw-dropping.
When we returned from the long boat ride, we ran into one of the women from the spa we went to the day before. She recognized us and ran up to hug our youngest daughter. In the afternoon, my husband took our 11-year-old daughter swimming at the hotel, and I took my 8-year-old back to the spa for a manicure, per her request. In addition to her $5 manicure, they also styled her hair and gave her a quick foot massage for free. She had multiple people doting on her and felt truly pampered. She said she can’t wait to go back to Bangkok to see them again.
After a bit of down time, we took a tuk tuk over to the market in downtown Bangkok where we did a fair amount of shopping. We were pleasantly surprised at the atmosphere in the market. Although every square inch of space for several blocks was jammed with vendor stalls, we were able to browse without feeling the constant pressure of being pulled in a game of human tug-of-war to buy things, as was the case in my travels to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and Ho Chi Minh City. The Thai vendors were quietly reserved to the point of having to actually ask for help if we wanted to buy something.
After stocking up on gifts and souvenirs, we took another tuk tuk back through downtown and across to the far side of the river, which was perhaps a mistake during rush hour. I’m sure a train would have been much more efficient. We ate dinner at our new favorite restaurant, Be My Guest, per the kids’ request. I think they just wanted to make sure their black kitty friend was still well. Sure enough, she was there waiting and sat at their feet again purring while they dined, waiting for her nightly meal of shrimp tails.