Our Christmas Day in Bangkok was jam packed with activity. We visited the floating market, shopped at the Chatuchak Market, sampled a 5-course Thai dinner, took a private night tour of the historic side of Bangkok, watched a Thai play, visited the Royal Palace, and walked along the infamous Khao San Road. We finished the busy day by calling home and spending time wishing our family a Merry Christmas with the help of Skype.
Bangkok Floating Market
On early weekend mornings, boats fill up rivers across Thailand to sell fresh produce to anyone and everyone. Unfortunately, after taking our time at the hotel buffet breakfast, we arrived too late to see the Bangkok floating market in full effect.
Thankfully we did have the opportunity to experience some of the unique activity along the river and see fresh food cooked directly on the waters edge.
The market expanded onto the street and you could buy anything from fresh cooked fish (pulled directly out of that very river), plants, or (my favorite) mini pineapple fruit.
After spending an hour exploring the floating market we grabbed a taxi to head over to the acclaimed Chatuchak Market.
The market is pretty overwhelming with thousands of stalls crammed on top of each other selling everything from high end fashion, to vintage items, and local goods.
We ventured into stalls with trendy t-shirts, woman’s fashion, and even saw an area filled with puppies and kittens.
Street performers, food stalls, and 2000+ vendors – the Chatuchak Market has everything you can imagine. You honestly can’t see it all in one day!
With the advice of online resources we haggled our way through the day and picked up some great bargains. We filled Jordons backpack with a hodge podge of items (mostly gifts for those of you back home) and finally headed back to the Hotel after 4 hours of exhausting exploration.
We signed up the day before for a trolley tour of the historic side of Bangkok and rushed to get ready after spending longer than we had expected at the Chatuchak Market. Clothes were strewn across the hotel room and we both hustled down to the lobby to meet our tour guide. A day earlier, the tour had been over-booked with people but, perhaps because it was Christmas Day, we were the only two people on the tour. “Private” trolley tour? Yes please.
We started the tour with a tuk-tuk ride over to a restaurant facing the Democracy Monument where we were served a massive traditional Thai dinner.
Unfortunately neither of us were very hungry since we had eaten at the market (eek) and the waiter just kept bringing out more and more food. I think it should have been a five course meal but, since they brought it out all at once, it was next to impossible to make a dent.
After feeling like we ate too much but still leaving full plates of food, it was time for the “private” trolley tour.
You might think all of the amazing lights were up to celebrate Christmas, but the holiday is not heavily celebrated in Thailand (no big surprise). The lights in the street were actually celebrating the King of Bangkok and just happened to be timed with the Holiday Season. It was still a festive view for our Western eyes and made for a beautiful trip through the older side of Bangkok.
During the tour of the historic side of Bangkok we had the rare opportunity to visit the Grand Palace at night (it is usually closed in the evenings). The Grand Palace is absolutely breath taking and we couldn’t get over the grandeur and detail of the spectacular buildings.
We even saw a traditional Thai play performed (in Thai) for a group of school children at the Grand Palace. Talk about unique.
As we ended the tour and headed back to the hotel we drove past a street brimming with activity and our tour guide told us it was a festival celebrating the King. It was already late but we decided we just *had* to check it out. How many times would we be here at this time?
Festival and Khao San Road
The street was packed with people and we slowly walked along taking in the festivities. There was street food (of course!), vendors (selling trinkets/clothing/hand-made items) and even break dancers.
As we came to the end of the festival street we inadvertently found ourselves on Khao San Road – and boy was that an experience to remember. It was everything you typically hear about Thailand with partying tourists, scantily clad girls, bars brimming over with young people, booming music, and (yes) more street food.
We did run across some street food we hadn’t seen before – a vendor selling snackable crickets and other kinds of bugs. One vendor had strategically placed herself outside of a bar and had a group of Europeans betting one another to try them. Smart sales tactic if I’ve ever seen one.
After walking the street twice just to soak in the debauchery, we finally headed back to the hotel. Talk about a Christmas we won’t forget!
We finished the jam-packed day much later than normal after happily talking to our families back home. We were both so thankful to share the day with them even with the 12 hours time difference separating us. Thank you Skype.
Merry Christmas to all our amazing friends and family, we love you all so very much!