We started our day taking a taxi to visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace. We knew we had to dress conservatively so we brought scarves to cover our shoulders and wore pants/dresses to our ankles. This didn't cut it - we were forced to rock out some pale blue polyester button down shirts. They were hot (in more ways than one).
Upon entering the temple and Grand Palace area we were in awe. The size, the colors, the detail of the temples were simply stunning, especially against the blue sky. We started at The Upper Terrace, which consists of 4 monuments and scattered statues of elephants and other mythical creatures. After that we walked through the crowds to The Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha. We took our shoes off, doused ourselves with holy water, and entered the temple among the throngs of people. We were immediately bummed that photos were not allowed. The site was indescribable - from the marble floors, to the traditional golden Thai-style throne, to the Buddha himself. Disclaimer: the Emerald Buddha is actually jade, blame the abbot who initially discovered the Buddha covered in plaster in the 1400s. This Temple is why Thailand does temples better.
At this point, quite sweaty and tired, we continued on to the Grand Palace. Some stops included the weapon museum which included tridents (I thought only King Triton from the Little Mermaid used a trident; apparently I was wrong) and hat caskets, and some beautiful architecture such as the Dusit Maha Prasat Hall, which is still used for the annual Coronation Day Ceremony (complete with throne).
We happily returned our polyester prison garb and began our 10km walk back towards our hotel. Along our walk, we passed houses, the United Nations building, several government ministries - the majority of which had beautiful shrines.
We also noted a lack of trash on the streets, and specifically mentioned that we had yet to see a single pothole (thus making the streets infinitely better than those of Houston...Westheimer in the loop, anyone?).
Further along our walk home we happened upon a floating market. I've been to many a market in Latin America and they all have their bonuses. The bonuses of this one? The floating aspect, the bright colors reflecting against the water, the skincare products being sold (including a plethora of coconut oil products), and the food. We have yet to have any truly bad food in Thailand. If you want more on food (and massages), check out the feed me, rub me post or wait for an all encompassing food post that will make you go get Thai food (which I promise will not be as good as the Thai food I can get here).
After another round of massage, Katie and I headed to Siam Paragon, a mall recommended to me specifically for their food court. Well, let me tell you, Thailand wins the game in malls. On our short walk to Siam Paragon we passed at least 3 other malls that were massive, nice, and well-stocked with stores (think everything ranging from H&M to Mango to Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga). Once we reached Siam Paragon our minds were blown. WOW, does Thailand do malls better. Besides the store options, you also have options of visiting the aquarium in the bottom floor, or watching an IMAX on the top floor. But we were there for one thing, and one thing only - the food court. We each put 300 baht on a food court card and got started. Overall, I think their food court was good, but the street food is better. Following our meals (and ice cream), we wandered into the grocery store within the mall (it literally is your one stop place to shop)! We were, yet again, blown away. The rice selections, the pre-cut vegetable selections - all of it made HEB and Whole Foods look like a Piggly Wiggly. Hey U.S. Grocery stores, step up your game!
So there are some of the things that Thailand does better. What can they improve on? Traffic lights. As Katie says, "they're the longest in the world".