I arrived in Bangkok early in the morning and had a whirlwind two days with Chanida, the most energetic 70 year-old I’ve met! My old receptionist lived in Bangkok for a year while her kids were still young.  When I asked her for recommendations on where to go in Thailand she introduced me to her Thai sister, Chanida, who very kindly offered to show me around while I was in Bangkok.

Our first stop was to the river, where we got on one of their many ferries to take us into the city.

Our first stop was to the Wat Phra Kaew temple – the most visited and most important temple in Thailand.

From here we walked to the Grand Palace.  The country’s beloved king died almost 6 months ago, and they Thai people are still deeply in mourning.  They are posters of the king everywhere, and every day hundreds of Thai people line up to pay their respects to his body.  In one year from his death he will be cremated, and Chanida has said she will wear black until the year is up.  Many of the Thai people will do the same.  When he first passed away, people would be in line for 10 hours before they could see him, now it’s only a 1.5 hour wait, but that’s how many people still come to see him after all this time.

Visitors cannot go to him, but we are allowed a view of the front of the palace.

And then we made our way to the next temple, Wat Po, which is were the Thai massage began.

From here we crossed the river to see a few more temples.

Then we got back on the boat, and went all the way to the last stop in both directions.  We made our own little boat cruise, using the regular ferry.

There’s a night market called Asiatique that we decided to check out.  Chanida had done all the other things we had seen, but one of her friends recommended the market and she had never been, so it was an adventure for us both!

Chanida came by today to take me out for one last day (I had to leave for the airport around 7pm).

We got some nice traditional food for lunch, and then walked around Chinatown for over 5 hours.  It was nice to go with a local, because she knew where everything was (and also where to find air condition).  Her nephew has a store in one of the markets so we stopped by to say hello.

Finally we stopped for one last meal, and then I was off to the airport to get ready to leave Asia and fly to Italy.