Bangkok, Thailand- Day 4, Dec. 26

After all the walking and hot weather for the previous days, we decided to relax a little for our last day in Bangkok and get ready for Cambodia.  We thought about trying to get to one of the beaches nearby, but even the closest ones would take a couple hours of traveling so we decided on taking advantage of the hotel pool… except it was FREEZING water.

Since the kids only lasted in the pool for a little bit, we decided we had time for the Snake Farm and some souvenir shopping. We stopped at Mango Tango again and found Pad Thai at another restaurant.  For souvenirs, the boys each picked a little toy tuk tuk, PS chose a snow globe with a tuk tuk in it, B and I chose a statue of Ganesh and a Thailand magnet for our fridge.

I was hoping the kids (especially Little Guy) would let them drape the snake across their shoulders. They barely touched it, I’m amazed they were touching it long enough for us to capture a picture.

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Bangkok, Thailand- Day 3, Dec. 25

The first morning in our hotel we opted to sleep in (having arrived from the airport very late the night before).  The second morning we figured out how to take advantage of the free breakfast.  After breakfast we went one floor above our own to the roof to check out the pet garden and to take pictures of the cool buildings we could see from our hotel room. I also added some picture of Thai money (baht, divide by 30 to get a US dollar amount) and some pictures of the apartment/hotel room.

Fun signs we’ve seen around Thailand:

1st, on an escalator

2nd, a “give up your seat for monks” sign, on trains and buses

3rd, on the door of a bathroom stall

Back at the Snoopy mall, inside this time, trying to capture a Snoopy #selfie in her new Snoopy #selfie tshirt she got for Christmas.

Exploring the mall, we found a store with an adorable whale for Buddy, Little Guy’s favorite How to Train Your Dragon dragon and a minion and some other fun statues for Squirt. We also found a Mexican restaurant and fed Squirt ice cubes (he is his Grandma L’s grandson) while we waited for our food.

We bought Princess Sparkley this little Santa hat hair clip to commemorate that it was Christmas Day and so we’d always remember that when we saw these pictures.  Our first stop after the mall was The Golden Mount or Wat Saket.

And for the awkwardest picture of the trip (at least that we captured):

 

In a tuk tuk, waiting to leave The Golden Mount.

No photographs were allowed inside where the Emerald Buddha was, but this is outside, a very jewel encrusted building.

After taking the above picture of B and I, Buddy said, “It looks like we’re at Disneyland.”

After finishing up at The Grand Palace, we took a tuk tuk and went in search of Pad Thai.  We ended up wondering around a mall, eating yummy mango smoothies, mango pudding, mango and sticky rice and mango ice cream at a place called Mango Tango and finally finding some Pad Thai for dinner.

Bangkok, Thailand- Day 2, Dec. 24

Our hotel was a bit out of the way, but just a short walk from a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) stop that took us into town and near both the subway line and the Skytrain line.  Our first stop was a mall for an ATM to get some BAHT (divide by 30 to get a price in USD) and some food.  Thailand was great as far as people speaking English and there being more western foods and stores (including a 7-Eleven every block).  We ate delicious pasta, scrumptious sandwiches and Aunty Ann’s pretzels. Then we just sort of walked around to get a feel for Bangkok eventually ending up at the Chao Phraya River for a river cruise.

 

Our river cruise took us up the river, down and canal, back to the river and dropped us off at Wat Arun.  On the canal, I spotted these giant, alligator lizard things sunning on the bank.  We looked them up when we got back to the hotel and they are monitor lizards. The river water was gross and full of trash so I feel bad for those lizards. We also pulled up next to some boats selling stuff (floating market) and spent some time waiting in the canal lock with other river cruise boats waiting for the water to raise/lower to the right height. Squirt fell asleep.

Wat Arun – The Temple of Dawn

We’d been told ahead of time that a lot of the temples don’t allow women to wear shorts, short skirts, tank tops, flip-flops, etc.  I wasn’t sure if this included men and children or not so to play it safe, we wore pants and closed-toe shoes for the entire trip.  It was hot.  BUT, there were signs at most of the temples, women had to put on provided kimonos (and who knows how often they are cleaned), and I even saw men wearing borrowed pants.  I’m not sure about the flip flop thing because most temples make you take off your shoes. If we do this again, I’d pack a sari for PS and I to tie around our waist like a long skirt and make the boys wear zipper pant/shorts.

We took a ferry back across the river to the other side, and visited Wat Pho aka Reclining Buddha (with wild cats/kittens everywhere).

We had a tuk tuk drive us to a neighborhood where all the fancy hotels are because they are supposed to have nice lights for Christmas (it was Christmas Eve after all).

We accidentally wandered into a mall with the outdoor courtyard taken over by Santa Snoopy statues.

  

 We took this picture on the subway (or maybe SkyTrain) home because Little Guy was concerned about all the pick pocket warning signs everywhere.  We kept telling him he didn’t need to worry because he didn’t actually have anything in his pockets.  He was still concerned.

 

Our hotel was three bedrooms and for some reason, the twin beds in each room were pushed together.  I kept them like they were to prevent Squirt from rolling out.  Here’s how I found them when I went to check on how they were doing.

Thailand- Day 1, Dec. 23

Initially, this trip was supposed to be only to Siem Reap, Cambodia.  A friend at church suggested it as one of their favorite places and we figured with the short amount of time B had off for Christmas, it would be perfect.  Except, there are only so many flights a week and they didn’t fit (going or returning) with the days we had off.  B suggested Bangkok and after setting that plan into motion, we decided we should try to fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap.  Amazingly (especially after the travel disaster moving to China was) everything fell into place and worked out wonderfully.

B’s schedule was to teach December 23rd and finish at 4:30pm, with four hours off before that last class of the day.  Our flight to Bangkok left Beijing Capital International Airport at 7:45pm.  Probably enough time, but after our previous fiasco, I was worried.  B’s principal was really nice when B mentioned it to him and told him to leave at lunch and he’d cover B’s last class.  Woo hoo.  We left way earlier than needed, took the subway to the Airport Express line (¥25), got to our check-in desk before it was open and waited around.  Like I said, we were a little overzealous in wanting to get to the airport and not miss our flight.

The bottom, right-hand picture is Squirt asleep on the plane resting his feet on PS.

We land late.  It’s a 5 or 6 hour flight.  Looking around after going through customs B recognizes a teacher from his school that he doesn’t really know, but must have been on our flight.  He ends up being on our return flight too, on B’s row a few seats over. We had arranged for a shuttle to take us to our hotel.  Eventually, we spot someone holding a sign with my name on it.  They have us wait and then walk us to the waiting van.  The kids are in various stages of sleep during the really long drive to the hotel.  B, being a map guy realizes the driver is taking the long way to the hotel to avoid toll roads.  It seems to take forever, but we eventually arrive at our hotel.  It’s called iCheck Inn Residences – Sathorn.  It’s basically short-term apartments for business travelers that they also rent out to families.  We have a three bedroom apartment complete with kitchen, washer/dryer, and enough beds for everyone.  It’s very nice.