We departed Bali for Bangkok, Thailand, on March 31st and checked into the Oriental Hotel for a brief three day layover.  Our room at the Oriental had an incredible view and we were lucky to see some amazing sunsets over the Chao Phraya river from our balcony.  The lobby of the hotel was beautiful and the pink Lotus flower arrangement on display was stunning.

We visited the golden buddha, a truly spectacular sight.  The Buddha dates from the 13th century, is nearly 10 feet high, weighs over 5 tons and is cast in solid (yes, solid!) gold.  The story behind the golden Buddha is astonishing.  The Buddha was discovered by accident in 1957 when a crane that was moving the "old stucco" Buddha dropped it on the ground and shattered the plaster shell.

Not surprisingly, Bangkok is packed with souvenirs stalls that are all filled with knock-off goods.  These stalls clog the sidewalks and people hound you to buy trinkets.  The traffic jams are horrendous and we found the pollution and heat stifling.

During our stay, we enjoyed riding in a tuk-tuk, visited some silk factories and ate authentic Thai food at The Spice Market restaurant.  We also crammed ourselves into the Skytrain, an elevated air conditioned railway system that travels above the city traffic.  We found the train very clean and convenient.

A visit to Bangkok would not be complete without a stroll on Patpong street so we ventured out one night to see it firsthand (Chris' first time).  Patpong was quite surreal and the street was lined with a  mixture of bizarre sex shops and dance bars as well as a baby elephant.  The lively night market was loaded with tons of fake name brand items ranging from Rolex to Nike.  Here are the pictures from our stay.

Oriental Hotel


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           copyright chris & hugh hempel 2004                                                      last modified on Monday, 12. January 2004