First Few Days
Trip Start Nov 05, 2007
58Trip End Jun 22, 2008
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Bangkok is the capital of Thailand. It is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River , near the Gulf of Thailand. Bangkok is the 22nd most populous city in the world . Bangkok has a recorded population of about 6 million, but the actual number is thought to be much higher, as high as 20 million according to some experts. Bangkok is a magnet for foreigners escaping turmoil in their homeland or simply for business. Bangkok has long been the gateway to Asia for foreign interests seeking new markets. The city is a major economic and financial center of Southeast Asia. Bangkok has one of the fastest rates in the world for construction of high rise buildings. The city's wealth of cultural sites makes it one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.
Bangkok is the economic center of Thailand, dominating the country's economy and dwarfing other urban centers. Development continues to pour in to Bangkok mostly neglecting the rest of the nation. Bangkok is considered to be one of the world's top tourist hot spots and is currently Asia's top tourist destination - the third in the world according to Travel & Leisure magazine. Bangkok is Thailand's major tourist gateway, which means that the majority of foreign tourists arrive in Bangkok. The Tourism Authority of Thailand hopes to draw 15 million tourists in 2007, up from 11.6 million in 2005.
Our first few days here in a nutshell!
Started our day with what the menu calls "American Breakfast," 2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon and a sausage (looked and tasted like a hot dog), coffee and toast. We walked all around near our hotel for about 3 hours.
Up on the top floor (9th) they have a pool and a place to get a "Thai Massage" for 300baht (about $15) for 1 hour. Both Darcy and I had a massage, it was great and very painful in a good way. The Thai massage therapist works your body into shapes I did not know it could go into!
After the "work-out" we took a quick nap before dinner. There is a big population of Indian's in Bangkok and therefore many good Indian restaurants to eat at. Had a great meal, started to get tired based on the time change (12 hours) from Washington.
Today our plan is to head over to the American Embassy to have some pages added to our passport for the balance of the trip. Back in the States in order to have pages added, you have to mail in your passport 8 weeks in advance or set-up a meeting at the State Department and pay $65 each! At the embassy here we waited 45 minutes for free pages. I guess things work better outside of the USA as it relates to the Government!
Next, we hear about a mall the only sells things that are electronic (computer, cameras, DVR's, TV, etc.). It was 5 stories with about 2000 stores in it. We found out after we were there that only locals shop here and therefore very little English was spoken. But it was still a fun day looking at all the people and new gadgets. We stayed there all day long!
Down day (I know, why do we need on) just stayed at the pool and read.
We got up early to head over to the "Chatuchak Market" which is the mother of all markets in Thailand. From our hotel we took the Sky Train to the last stop and walked about 5 blocks. The Sky Train is just that, like our Metro but the entire train is above ground (think of Disney World). The systems works very well all the names of the places are in Thai and English. Round trip for the 2 of us was about $5. The market sprawls over a huge area with 15,000 stalls and an estimated 200,000 visitors during its Saturday and Sunday openings. Everything is sold here, from live chickens and dogs to handicrafts and antiques to aisles and aisles of clothes. We met people that come to the market a few times a year to purchase items wholesale and then sell them in their shops or to other retail stores in their home cities.