After a week in Cambodia, we headed west to Thailand for week two of Southeast Asia. Traveling for most of the day we arrived in a very hot and humid Bangkok which only seemed to grow hotter. It was Miller Time and we quickly located a restaurant for pizza and root beer before retiring early to the cool confines of our air-conditioned room. :) Bangkok is one of the hottest cities in the world. :( We planned to spend 3 days before heading to the beach to wrap up our trip, if I did not succumb to heat exhaustion first.
The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha was at the top of our attraction list. Consecrated in 1782, the temple and palace grounds are the largest tourist attraction in Bangkok. We arrived in time to have a photo shove fest with throngs of Russian and Chinese tourists. My future mantra was early bird gets the photos without 50,000 other visitors. Even with the throngs of tourists the wat and palace grounds was still an amazing site.
North of Bangkok is Ayutthaya, once one of the most dazzling and dynamic cities in Asia. However, today the temple ruins being somewhat repaired, largely hint at the once grand majesty of the former Siam capital of 1350 to 1767. The downfall came in 1767 when an invading Burmese army sacked the city and carted off most of the treasures. Difficult to imagine is Wat Phra Si Sanphet, the most iconic image of Ayutthaya occurring regularly in photographs of top temples to see in Thailand. It is quite plain compared to Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok but at its grandeur the temple was covered with 250kg of gold, which was melted down by the Burmese conquerors, a very unfortunate event.
A hot tough day temple hopping calls for a drink at the sky bar on the top of the 64 story Banyon Tree Hotel, my favorite roof top bar to date