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Bangkok

Two Days in Bangkok

While not a particularly attractive city, although it was hard to tell thru all the smog, Bangkok is an intriguing mix of old and new, rich and poor. One thing is indisputable though, Thais are some of the friendliest, most gracious and endearing people we have ever met. And the women!! Wow, now I get it why so many farang come to Thailand and leave with a +1. Unfortunately, I couldn't convince Mrs. SFO to bring home an "exchange student".

Through our Pen concierge, we met Arisa, a great local guide who we immediately bonded with, and who with driver, took us on day 1 thru the packed streets of Bangkok...

to The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keo, the Emerald Buddha Temple and collection of magnificent pavilions...

Day 2 started with the Bangkok Canals Tour by private long-tailed speed boat, which picked us up at the Peninsula pier on the Chao Phraya River.

The Chao Phraya is a major primary transportation and commercial thoroughfare in Bangkok, even more so with the city's horrendous road traffic. It is also one of the filthiest rivers I have seen in a long time, and that's saying something considering we lived in Cleveland. It's unmistakable brown color and floating debris will never be mistaken for the Bosphorus.

First stop today was the Cambodian-style Temple of Dawn...

And off to the canals of old Bangkok...

With a stop at the Royal Barge Museum...

Our guide Arisa gave us a primer on the fast SkyTrain and we were off for some shopping in modern Bangkok. The SkyTrain is a comfortable, convenient and air conditioned way to get around the major areas of the city. There is a Chao Phraya River station, which is serviced by shuttle boats from the Peninsula, Oriental and other river hotels.