Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and the largest city in the country. The air pollution in this bustling city is evident right when you get off the plane at either of the city's two international airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) or Don Mueang Airport (DMK). Parts of the Bangkok remind me of something out of the movie 'I Am Legend.' Vines tangle the telephone wires, almost as if the Jungle was sprouting from under the Earth. Other areas have old, abandoned buildings right next to new, chic coffee lounges. It's unlike any places I had been before.
The Grand Palace
There is no better day to visit the Grand Palace than on a bright, sunny afternoon. It's truly stunning to witness the golden buildings glimmering in the sunlight. The intricate details of the small mosaic designs and the temples, such as the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), are spectacular and really speak to the Thai culture.
Built in 1782, the Grand Palace was a former residence for King Rama I to King Rama V of the Rattanakosin Kingdom. Today, the palace is used for hosting royal ceremonies and welcoming the king’s guests, State guests, and other foreign dignitaries. Though it remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom.
Because the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand, there is a strict dress code which is enforced at all times while inside the Grand Palace grounds. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the sacred grounds. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves. If you're wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks. Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, bare shoulders, etc.
TE Time and Space
If you're looking for an "off the beaten track" kind of place. I would suggest stopping by TE Time and Space. Down a narrow, secluded street outside the downtown area of Bangkok lies this hidden tea and pastry shop, owned by an old co-worker of Max's, named Pla. It was quite an experience to reconnect with Pla in her coffee shop on the other side of the world, after over 10 years. Her shop is beautiful, and a great spot to catch the local Thai scene. Pla started blending her own tea blends back in 2013. Roasted Purple Rice with Green Tea was her and her business partner's first blend and now they have over 15 blends available. Don't leave without trying some of their delicious teas and a bite of cheesecake!
We stayed closed to Chinatown for the food and it didn't disappoint. We ventured out on our evening in Bangkok among the hundreds of street vendors throughout Chinatown. Down a little alley way, in a place I probably couldn't get back to again, we found a small little eatery with some outdoor seating. We had huge dishes of shrimp fried rice and enjoyed watching the people drive by in their tuk tuks.