When it came to booking our Honeymoon we were initially at a bit of a lost as to where to visit. We always knew we wanted to go away for two weeks to lap up our newly married bliss but deciding on the location proved a little harder than we initially thought, after some discussions and some ideas from the lovely Kuoni ladies we landed on the idea of Thailand – adding in Abu Dhabi was an additional bonus!
Me and Jack got married on the 27th March 2016 and swiftly got on a plane two days later on the 29th March. Our first stop was Bangkok for two nights; arriving at the airport it was a refreshing site to see a Kuoni sign with our names on it waiting to drive us to our hotel. After a long flight Jack and I were both ready to get checked it and begin enjoying our honeymoon.
WHERE TO STAY
Located just off of Sukhumvit Road in the centre of Bangkok, Jack and I opted for The Rembrandt Hotel. A perfect base to explore Bangkok and only a short walk to the Skytrain or Sukhumvit Underground which links you to all the main shopping and sightseeing areas. The lobby oozes elegance, as do the guest rooms with fantastic city views. The hotel additionally boosts five restaurants with an array of cuisines available but I would highly recommend checking out Rang Mahal, an award-winning restaurant with an extensive menu.
WHAT TO DO
After checking in early we decided to venture out and see what was around us. Surprised at just how busy Bangkok actually was we retreated to our hotel for a little chill out time before heading out for dinner. We decided to take it easy on the first day, as we knew we had a full day planned on our second day in Bangkok.
The next day we were up early to meet our guide, a lovely lady called Titi; we had decided beforehand to book an excursion to the Floating Markets and we were both looking forward to exploring the city. Turns out, Titi had been booked by Kuoni for the full day and actually asked us where we would like to go alongside heading over to the Floating Markets. Knowing we had a local by our side we asked her to show us an array of local spots rather than simply tourist locations.
Samut Nakhon, Salt Farms
First, we headed to Samut Nakhon a local town just outside of the centre of Bangkok to visit their picturesque Salt Farms. The town is known as the biggest producer of brine salt in Thailand. Salt Farming is actually seasonal between January and April. A simple process of pumping seawater into fields and allowing the water to evaporate leaving layers of salt ready for the farmers to collect. A very fascinating sight to see.
Coconut Sugar Farm
We didn’t have to head very far before we arrived at the Coconut Sugar Farm. Coconut plantations are a great way for the locals to earn a living. At night they hang up bamboo tubes that allows the sap produced from the coconut flower buds to drip down. Villagers wake up early to collect the sap and begin the process of creating palm sugar. Boiling the sap creates a sticky yellow mixture, once dried almost looks like fudge. Its a very fascinating process and along with making palm sugar they create many other coconut-based products such as oils, soaps, lotions and delicious candies. Many of which you can taste test and try whilst visiting.
Maeklong Railway Market (Talad Rom Hub)
Many markets at first glance look very similar; but this market has a twist. The market is located on an active train line. As the train approaches a charming little warning bell goes off alerting the traders of the incoming train; giving enough time to allow the vendors to pull back their specially designed awnings before the train passes through. The name of the market is called, “Talad Rom Hub” which translates into “Market Umbrella Close”.
Bangkok is full of history and culture, and home to many different temples. Thailand is a very spiritual country and was such a wonderful experience visiting a local temple. Thailand being a Buddhist country, temples play an important role in the everyday life of Thai people. People go to temples for merit making, seeking advice from monks and to prey.
Etiquette – When visiting please be aware there are certain things that you should or shouldn’t do. To avoid offending locals remember the following things; remove your shoes before entering the main place of worship, hats too. It is disrespectful to point your feet towards the Buddha and it is respectful to have your shoulders and knees covered.
Stop 5: Tail Boat & Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets
Following our visit to a local temple we headed to the Floating Markets, beginning our journey by taking a short journey in a long tail boat through the narrow longs to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets in Ratchuburi. These are the markets that features in James Bond, “The Man With The Golden Gun”. Here you will see many small boats selling their goods. Some merchants even prepare food on them! We took a traditional paddle boat so we could experience the days of the past in an authentic way. Something to bear in mind is always barter on the price. A tip given to us by our tour guide, the vendors always start high in the hope you will say yes. Do not be fooled, If you aren’t happy with the price simply move on; you will be surprised how quickly they come down on price.
Something we were a little skeptical about before visiting Thailand but after talking to our tour guide Titi she said she knew a local sanctuary that did not have such a reputation as the main Tiger Temple in Bangkok. We decided based on the information we had been provided to go ahead. We were so surprised as how good the conditions were and how well the animals were looked after. Most of them were playing or sleeping and the keepers seem to have built up good relationships with the tigers we met. Overall we were glad we went to a sanctuary but we are still very aware that not any sanctuaries in Thailand have the same views.
WHAT TO EAT
Their is so much choose in Bangkok from street carts, to Michelin star restaurants. Prices in Bangkok cater to all price ranges and are open all hours, but if you want to try authentic Thai food I would suggest checking out the street carts. They also provide convenience as well as delicious foods if you are strapped for time.
Next Stop: Koh Phangan