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Two nights in Bangkok

The last time I was in Thailand was in my early twenties and I was surprised at how much Bangkok has changed in that time. It feels much more like a big, global city than my recollection. But the beautiful temples and the delicious food is thankfully unchanged. We did not spend a lot of time in Bangkok, as we mainly used it as point of departure and return, due to its big airport. 

We spent two nights in Bangkok initially and this is our full day itinerary:

  • Grand Palace + Emerald Buddha. The Grand Palace is extraordinary and sprawling. There is so much to see and do, that I would give yourself at least two hours for exploring. The tilework and details are mesmerizing and the temple with the Emerald Buddha is covered in woodwork and paintings that are all so beautiful. 

  • Wat Pho- Reclining Buddha. You have undoubtedly seen photos of the reclining Buddha, which represents the historical Buddha during his last illness, about to enter the parinirvana. Don't forget to look around at the rest of the temple. There are extraordinary paintings on the walls opposite the Buddha as well. This landmark is within walking distance of the Grand Palace. 

  • Thai massage.  There is a Thai massage school by Wat Po and it really is worth a visit, especially after your've been walking around for the last several hours looking at all of the Thai art and architecture. It is a "no frills" operation, but the price reflects that, so it's a win-win. 

  • Jim Thompson House. I left my kids at the hotel for this outing, though I think they would have enjoyed it. Sometimes you just have to gauge your audience and we'd had a big morning and it was HOT! I was happy to have a little alone time to enjoy this historic house. They run regular tours of the house in small groups, so you get a great understanding of his life as well as the art and architecture on display. 

  • Bangkok Night Tour by Bike​. We scheduled this tour through, Grasshopper Adventures Shop, and it was awesome. We lucked out and had the tour to ourselves, so we set off on our adventure with our guide around sunset. The route was very safe and off the main roads, so I never felt uncomfortable with the sometimes chaotic Bankgok traffic. We took our bikes to the other side of the Chao Phraya River by ferry to Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn. At night, Wat Arun is spectacularly illuminated and serene without the visitors. We rode to the flower market and enjoyed a nice selection of street food. Lastly we rode back through the grounds of Wat Pho, but without any tourists. This was such a fun outing and it was really nice to see these landmarks from a different vantage point. 

Where we stayed:

  • Hotel Muse. This hotel is located near Lumphini Park and it one of two locations I was considering- the other being by the river. The hotel was nice and the rooms were very spacious. The staff was great and we were able to store our luggage there while we were traveling for a few weeks. It was very comfortable, but I think if I were choosing again I would go with the hotel by the river.