Bustling Bangkok, Thailand

Bustling Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok Thailand
It is time to reminisce. Lisa on Big Blend Radio, who interviewed me last year about my MSC cruise from Venice to Cape Town, has set up another radio chat in May, this time about the Viking cruise around the Bay of Bengal. Wow—it has already been a year since my friend Debby Harrison and I explored the streets of Bangkok, Thailand
Our adventure commenced with a heartwarming reception from a Viking representative at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), Thailand's bustling gateway.
INteresting building Bangkok Thailand
En route to our hotel, I was captivated by the intricate temples, striking skyscrapers, and unconventional architecture that unfolded outside the bus window. 




Buddha figurine in Bangkok, Thailand 




As we traversed the city, golden Buddha figurines adorned flowerbeds along the road every few miles, a testament to Thailand's profound Buddhist heritage. With nearly 95% of the population practicing Buddhism, these figurines were a common sight outside shops in the city.


Wiring and cables Bangkok street, Thailand



Driving through the streets of Bangkok, I could not believe the number of electrical wires draped along buildings and over the roads—veritable crows' nests! They never remove the defunct ones but run new cables across them. 



Taxi rank Bangkok Thailand 


It was also interesting to see the colorful, open taxis that operate throughout the city.





Doorman Shangri-La Hotel





Our arrival at the Shangri-La Hotel, nestled on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, was nothing short of a grand welcome. A friendly Thai doorman, dressed in softly pleated, gold baggy pants, a colonial officer shirt, and a pith helmet, greeted us at the door, setting the tone for our elegant stay.







Reception Shangri-La Hotel
The entrance hall was magnificent, bedecked with huge flower arrangements, an elaborately adorned elephant statue, and patterned decorative hangings on the walls.





Night scene Phraya river Bangkok Thailand



Stunning tropical gardens led to outdoor seating overlooking the river. Debby enjoyed our breakfasts out here and watched an extraordinary assortment of boats and water taxis go by. There was also a dock at the hotel from where one could sail across the river to a modern shopping center. We certainly enjoyed the beautiful view as night fell. 

Seafood Buffet Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok Thailand



The restaurant's buffet was a culinary adventure. There were many different stations: Thai food, Indian food, salads, soups, vegetarian options, sushi, desserts, and a gorgeous menu. 




Cracked eggs simmered in aromatic Chinese spices and tea broth




We tried some interesting dishes, like lightly cracked eggs simmered in aromatic Chinese spices and tea broth, which produce a fragrant egg with a marbled-patterned shell.





Temple of The Emerald Buddha Bangkok Thailand



A day after our arrival, Debby and I visited the Royal Palace. Thailand, previously known as Siam, had a fascinating history. The country avoided colonial takeovers by France and Britain, and their ancient Chakri Dynasty has existed since 1782. Today, the military and the new king watch over the young democracy. Thailand has always maintained close ties with America, steering clear of communist influences. The Royal Palace, the official residence of the kings of Siam, has several quarters.





Temple of the Emerald Buddha Bangkok Thailand




One quarter is Thailand's most sacred Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew.) The Buddha figurine is made from a solid piece of green jade and wears clothes of gold and diamonds. The clothing is changed every season.





The Temple of the Reclining Buddha Bangkok Thailand


 About half a mile from The Grand Palace is The Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), which houses the largest collection of Buddha figurines in Thailand, including the world-renowned 138-foot-long gold-plated reclining Buddha. The giant feet of the reclining statue have inlaid mother-of-pearl Buddha images.


High Tea Viking Mars 

 It was a two-hour drive from Bangkok to Laem Chabang, the cruise terminal. Debby and I were thrilled to board Viking Mars. This was our second complimentary cruise, received as compensation for the ill-fated Viking Sky we were on—we nearly went aground in March 2019 when we managed to throw down anchor a ship's length from the rocks off the coast of Norway.  We decided to skip the included tour to Bangkok since we had explored the city independently. Instead, we enjoyed what the ship had to offer. One of the delights of a Viking ship is the high tea served every afternoon. 








 Viking offers a plethora of top-notch entertainment on all their cruises. One of the highlights was the Duriyapraneet Dance group that came on board while we were still in the port. The beautiful costumes and delicate dance movements were a sight to behold. When the show ended, they invited passengers to join in with their last dance. The entertainers looked desperate, looking for volunteers, so I got up and participated. It was only four weeks after I had a major operation, but the gentle steps were manageable, and it was an absolute blast! 





Desserts Viking Mars 



And what is a perfect ending to a day? The mouth-watering display of delectable desserts!

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