Bangkok is really probably the most interesting city we've ever been. It gets a bad reputation for being dirty, but it's no worse than New York. It actually even smells better than NYC, unless you happen to pass by a dried fish and seafood stand.. then that's probably the most foul smelling odor you could ever imagine. They don't have the trash system of a first world country, but the Thai do take pride in their space. I saw many of them sweeping their storefronts with interesting brooms, and they don't wear shoes inside many places.
Thailand is known as the land of a thousand smiles, and I think that name quite suits it. They are all very friendly and welcoming and even stop to offer help when you look a bit lost. This is the only place we've ever been where language was a tiny bit of a barrier, but we were still able to communicate.
The city really is spectacular- monsoon and all! We never knew it could rain so hard, but it would only last around an hour, and we were lucky enough to never get caught directly in it as you can pretty much tell it's coming. We were enamored by the beautiful temples, the strong Buddhist culture, the malls, the food, and even the size of the city. The Chao Phraya river is a unique way to get from place to place either by river taxi or traditional longtail boat, and the canals run off the river and through the city. The sky train is also very easy to get around which is what we took most of the time. Monks are everywhere, and seats are marked on the sky train that should be offered to a monk if one happens to hop on.
The first day we got to Bangkok, we went to the Chatuchak weekend market which was HUGE.. 27 acres! It really had just about any and everything you could imagine... clothes, dishes, plants, jewelry, home decor, pets and tons of street food which is what Thailand is known for. That night we met up with our friend, Masa, who just happend to be in BKK at the same time. What are the odds? He introduced us to a lady, Kaori, that works at the same company as and he and Joshua, and we all 4 met up at her husband's restaurant for dinner and lots of cava sangria. We had the giggles all the way back to our hotel in the taxi.. a bit too much sangria. The other days were filled with temple visits to Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. Everything was amazing and so ornate, and it was fascinating to watch the locals in action at the temples. Lotus flowers, holy water and incense were available to all that wanted to worship. On our last night, we went to Sirocco Sky Bar on top of Lebua Tower which is the big dome seen on Hangover 2. The view is very worth the overpriced drink at the top!
I'm not much of a city girl, but Bangkok is pretty high on my list of favorite places. The culture is just so totally opposite of what it's like in the states. We were both mesmerized by everything Bangkok had to offer and agree we will go back one day!