After 22 hours of flying and an additional 5 hours of layovers I was more than ready to get in bed and try and grab a little sleep. We landed in Bangkok at around midnight and we had two vans take us directly to the hotel. That was my first experience on being in the van with all the representatives of the Tourism Boards, Thai Airways and the Saeshe SVP, the PR/advertising company that coordinated the trip.
I am not sure how it wound up that way, but I will tell you I was a lucky man to be in their van. They made me feel right at home and kept me laughing the entire trip to the Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok. The hotel had everything ready when we arrived and we were each given our keys and shown the way to the elevator within a few moments. I was very impressed with their organization and the manner they handled the group.
The first thing I noticed was that I was very fortunate I brought an adapter for electricity. Without it my breathing machine would have been useless. Always check ahead and determine your needs. Plus its a wise idea to always carry adapters just in case. I have sleep apnea and travel with a machine that helps me breathe.
The next afternoon prior to our inspection at the Chatrium I ran down to the 7-11 convenience store on the end of the block and bought an additional 4-way adapter for about $5.00 USD. I really didn’t sleep that good as it was the middle of the afternoon back home. My room was fantastic and had all the convenience’s expected in a 5-star hotel, but the time difference was hard to adjust to.
I was not able to eat breakfast the first morning, as I finally got a little sleep and wanted to stay in bed a while longer. I dawdled and met everyone downstairs for our first event. We were taking the hotel shuttle across the Chao Phraya River to see the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun).
My biggest challenge of the morning was figuring out how the shower operated. One had to turn the knob backwards and leave it for a while. Being the impatient person I am I obviously did not leave it long enough and wound up taking a cold shower. Boy that will wake you up regardless of how hot it is outside!
We rode the shuttle down and back up the river so that we could capture images and get a feel of how large the river is and what all transpires on the Chao Phraya. It is a highly industrialized body of water and has major operations mixed in with resorts, temples and shipping companies. I had no idea of the river was so busy and large.
I captured many photos of the river traffic and objects along the river. One of my favorite was of the Ferris Wheel on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. It appeared to be some sort of amusement park adjacent to a Temple with many long boats in the marina.
The river not only has a multitude of temples along it shores but has large barges carrying who knows what up and down. We were dwarfed by this one.
One of the more elaborate Temples alongside the river. My favorite was the Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and I will write on it later. In addition of the 400 Temples in Bangkok I would recommend seeing Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and Wat Pho (Temple of the reclining Buddha).
A fascinating factoid was that many boats carry fresh flowers hanging from their bows whether you are on the river or on the canals in the back water. We encountered such a diverse plethora of boats, barges and ships it was hard to choose just one for display.
Thanks to our Tourism Thailand host Lert Narongchaisakun for giving all of us the opportunity to be guests of Thailand and for creating a fascinating and wonderful schedule that kept us busy and helped us get to know Bangkok. Lert is smiling and if you know your cultural trivia you are aware that Thailand is the country of smiles. He exemplifies the tradition.
*** My trip to Thailand and Malaysia was sponsored by Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Tourism Malaysia USA. All opinions are solely mine and as always generated without any influence.