A Different Bangkok

Dear Traveler,

No matter where you come from, I find that traveling 101 always includes Bangkok.  But I find that it is always a different Bangkok everytime.   

I myself have been to Bangkok three times already and each time, it always leaves me longing for more.  It should be considered too that I have had the best friends to accompany me there... it must play a big part to my amazement to this neighboring country. But there is more to it than that. 

For one, Bangkok IS a shopping haven.  A testament to that are the big scales at the foot of our elevator door at the hotel.  Add to that the big black bags that simply screams " I found the best price...and you have not!" I am not a shopping enthusiast and rely on my friends (and my friendliness) to get me things as gifts. Otherwise, I will not move a finger to find and shop for what is more than the necessary ...by that I mean FOOD.  

The next reason i find Bangkok alluring is because of the strong presence of ancient religious practices in the heart of the city.  Even in Beijing, I did not find big Buddhas in front of their shopping malls. Nowadays, in front of the Central World , the largest lifestyle destination in Bangkok, shrine for the 4 faced Buddha and Ganesha are prominent with worshipers down on their knees carrying incense and yellow flowers.  Culture and Religion is thickly embossed in the air. 
Third, like in Cambodia and Yogyakarta ruins of ancient temples and Big Buddha structures can also be found here...minus the long walk and steep climbs.  That in itself is a big plus for me.  

Some of the more common tours in Bangkok are the Grand Palace, Wat PO,  Elephant show, crocodile show, floating market and rose garden. 

My personal favorite is the Siam Niramit show (not so much the dinner).  I am envious of the number of tourists they get simply because they have preserved the old as they move to the new. 

Not many Thai people know how to speak English, especially if you go to the outskirts of town.  For me I find it a good thing. It is an indication of how much of the foreign influence they let in to their culture. Because of this "safeguard" (language) I know that Bangkok and its neighboring town can continue to preserve tradition and nature.  

Just recently, I found a new way to enjoy Bangkok (or should I say the nearby towns)... with the elephants.  I rode the elephant twice in each of my previous visit but this one was special.  We went bathing with the elephants.  We went three hours out of town for a 30 minute session with these gentle playful creatures.  If you are traveling as a group in Bangkok, I could help you find this place.  

We started by riding the elephants bare back, yup, my skin against theirs.  Then we moved to a rather steep downhill walk (remember I am on top of the elephant) to the river. Once at the river, the play starts - splashing and dunking and getting wet and wild.  Although I would have to say it is not for everybody...for those who can let loose and play this is surely one stop you should try.  
Bangkok is a destination that offers endless activities.  As mentioned in the beginning, I always leave wanting to come back.  Next time I'l go back for the tigers...teehee... :)