Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand; March 20-21,2010
Mar 22, 2010
Roadside aquaculture continues because of laws preventing wholesale comercial development w/out approval
|An overnight tour to Thailand's largest city sets the stage for viewing different cultures and customs in this very diverse country. We docked very early by 07:00 & was cleared to come ashore very shortly thereafter, tours started by loading of buses and people scurried around with last minute errands because there were so many overnight layovers in Bangkok & various tours that brought World Travelers, "segmentists" and the independent traveler to Bangkok & our hotel (Shangra-la) on the river (Chao Phraya).
The journey to Bangkok was about a 2+ hour drive & the start of our 1st tour to the Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha.
The compound is located on the very river our hotel is and a central point of the city, making our river cruise tonight very picturesque. The heat & humidity was so intense that Ellie stayed on the air conditioned bus & wisely decided not to exhaust herself with the long walk & her limited mobility.
The tour was amazing & intriguing to see the hundreds of years of design, development & ornate detail but our need to seek shade gradually increased as the noon hour came upon us and we all wanted to get to a more comfortable place like our hotel. Lots of photo opportunities were available at this venue but after an hour & half it was time to go. We could have spent all day exploring the compound of the Buddha shrines, temples, museum & Grand Palace but to view what we did in the heat & humidity, was enough for our short timed tour.
Check in at the hotel was a little confusing getting all the Seven Seas Voyager guests & World Cruisers in their appointed rooms. World Cruisers were assigned to the exclusive Krungthep wing of the Shangra-la hotel & the rooms were magnificent, extra large and well appointed. Ellie enjoyed the lavish appointments, extra large bathroom & balcony. The hotel had every facility a world class facility could offer. When we finally got settled in, I went to the very spacious & well equipped spa/health club facilities while Ellie got a chance to relax before our evening river cocktail cruise & dinner later that evening.
Our evening cocktail cruise was aboard a 60 ft ship built & furnished for dining or cocktail cruises. We toured many shrines & temples founded on the river so many centuries ago and all stood out in the evening lights for the evening river tourist. All of us enjoyed drinks, heavy hors d'ouvers, warm balmy breezes and beautiful, impressive lighted attractions on the Chao Phraya river.
Nearer the end of our cruise, we were treated to our own, private fireworks show for the last half hour before docking back at the hotel. All of us were well pleased with the entertainment & facilities Regent had arranged for the World Cruisers. Dinner was not as spectacular, maybe due to the heaviness of food served aboard the cocktail cruise and the ethnic selections of local dishes & spices. None were overtly unhappy but the buffet was not emptied as had been prepared for (which usually means the food did not meet expectations or the guest were not hungry).
Ellie & I went to bed early to enjoy the comfortable room & to get ready for our early morning tour of the floating market, which Ellie may or may not be able or willing to take because of the nature of the ride in the low, narrow boats. Tomorrow will be an interesting day & the heat and humidity will be even more ever present & oppressive.
Day 2: Ellie stayed in this morning, still exhausted from the bus ride to Bangkok & the evening festivities the night before, while I got ready @ 06:30 for the hour bus ride to the "Damnersaduak floating market" tour.
An interesting & exciting tour of the unique "city" that is referred to as the floating market was awe inspiring as well as intriguing. We had 5 people that got up early enough & dared to be "racing" down narrow canals in sleek, low riding boats powered by 8 cylinder, super horse powered engines and endure excessive heat & humidity. The floating market tour, itself, lasted about 2 hours in the canals & in the shops of the land market beside the canal vendors before getting on the bus to visit the tallest Buddhist temple in Thailand.
Common everyday sights along the way to the Buddhist temple further enriched our experience of this tour & I thought Ellie would have liked to enjoy this as well if she could have ridden in the boats, endured the heat and put up with riding on a bus another 2 hours.
The Buddhist temple was interesting to see so many worshipers donating & paying homage to Buddha & the monks that live in the temples. Interesting as well, was the renovation construction taking place while the faithful prayed & the business of religion continued on in spite of the inconvenience or a work zone. 45 minutes was enough for us to stand in the heat & humidity and we were glad to get back to Bangkok by 12:30 for a few hours before we had to go back to our ship by 16:00.
We were exhausted and "bus" weary and everyone openly expressed the desire to have another day & night in Bangkok. So, after an cramped ride to our Voyager, we were encouraged to see the entire crew & staff mustered out at the gangplank to welcome us back & help us with our bags and back to "luxury cruising." We will have a "short" 2 days at sea before we arrive at Port Klang & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
"Our World, Our Way, No Regrets!"