Cultural immersion is one of the many things one can do when visiting a country. In my case, I do it through cooking. Jp, my fiancé, was able to find a cooking class in Bangkok.
May Kaidee is a Thai Vegetarian and Vegan Food restaurant and cooking school in Bangkok. They offer a number of cooking classes you can choose from, and from which we chose to join the Thai Culture and Cooking Class. It is a half-day engagement, starting early at 9 in the morning. To join, I signed up and paid 2,700 Baht through their website (see link above). This year, they offered a promotion for this class where I can bring 1 companion with me, just like a buy 1, take 1 thing.
We arrived at the Giant Swing few minutes before 9am. There we met Pen, our guide for the day. She had with her some traditional Thai clothes we wore while visiting the nearby temple and marketplace. Across the Giant Swing is the Wat Su Thatsana Thep Wara RaRatchaworamahawihan temple. We spent a few minutes offering our prayers to Buddha and took some pictures.
Afterwards, we went to the marketplace just a few blocks away. Pen treated us to a few Thai street food. We tried different flavored drinks (carrot, corn, orange and buko juice) and a dessert (I forgot what it is called). The juice literally are extracts and can be bought for 15-25 Baht per bottle.
After our tour of the marketplace, we headed to May Kaidee restaurant in Tanao. There were 7 of us in class hailed from different countries. Each of us had our own workstation and recipe book, and ingredients were shared by pairs. Our first recipe was to make a Tom Yum chili paste for the Tom Yum soup. We had to do it as a group since we will only be using a small amount for our own cooking. We also cooked our own Massaman curry, Pad Thai, and mango sticky rice made by the group for dessert. Of all the dishes we made, I like the mango sticky rice the best. While cooking, I was wondering why there is no meat. I completely forgot that May Kaidee is a vegetarian and vegan cooking school. *face palm*
After spending the half of the day at May Kaidee, we went on our way to see the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. However, when we arrived at the Grand Palace we were surprised to find out that the entrance fee is 500 Baht, and there were A LOT of people coming in and out of the palace. Discouraged by the amount and the volume of people, we opted to visit Wat Pho. But before we went there, we decided to grab some snacks at Tha Maharaj.
A few meters away from the Grand Palace, Tha Maharaj is one of the many stops for the river boat. There are several restaurants to choose from, and a small bazaar area to shop at. We tried the giant chocolate lava at After You Dessert Cafe, then grabbed my usual coffee at Starbucks. I like the ambiance at Tha Maharaj as it has that relaxing feel after all the walking we did in the morning. There is also a roof deck where you can take pictures overlooking the Chao Phraya river.
WAT PHO (Reclining Buddha)
I’ve read in several blogs and websites that this is one of the temples you shouldn’t miss when you visit Bangkok. This is where the Reclining Buddha is housed, along with several other statues. We rode a tuk-tuk from the Grand Palace to Wat Pho for 50 Baht. Beware of tuk-tuk drivers who will tell you that Wat Pho is already closed. The temple is open from 8am to 6:30pm, with an entrance fee of 100 Baht per person.
We visited few more small temples within Wat Pho, and found a small temple with a big Naga Buddha (if my research is correct). There is also a school within the vicinity of the temple-Wat Pho Thai Traditional Medical School-and you can actually avail of a massage. We got to try their wishing coins. For 20 Baht, you will be given a small tin can full of coins to place in a row of metal jars. We heard a guide say, “you can wish for anything you heart desires. If you want to wish for a boyfriend, say through your mind ‘boyfriend’ every time you drop a coin.” Almost everyone in the room who heard him laughed.
After our temple visit, we took a boat ride to Asiatique through the Chao Phraya River Boat. We rode the blue flag boat at Tha Tien, but our original plan was to ride the orange flag boat, get off at Sathorn, then ride the express boat to Asiatique. The fare is higher for blue flag boats (we paid 80 Baht per person) because it is meant for tourists, while the orange flag boat is a non-special ride. You may check the time table and routes here.
ASIATIQUE THE RIVERFRONT
The name of the place speaks for itself. Asiatique is located right beside Chao Phraya river, and was a warehouse. It was transformed into a tourist spot where people can grab sumptuous food, explore shops (it is a night market), and enjoy different rides. We went around the area in the hopes of finding something unique we can bring home. It was in this place I found the cheapest Namu Snail White, and a cute character eye mask. There were also a lot of stalls selling different kinds of clothes, accessories, and beauty products.
When night fell, Jp and I rode the Asiatique Sky. This is probably the highest one I’ve rode so far, compared to the one in Sky Ranch Tagaytay and Enchanted Kingdom. I like this one because the cabins are well kept, and you can even adjust the light and volume of the music inside. It also does not sway too much (I get scared every single time we ride the Ferris Wheel because Jp always tries to shake it). There is also a special cabin called VIP Gondola with tinted windows. Sketchy, isn’t it? *laughs* We paid 300 Baht each to ride the ferris wheel for about 15 minutes (approximately 3-5 revolutions), and each cabin can accommodate 3-5 people.
Productive second day for us! We managed to squeeze in different activities throughout the day without spending too much (compared to our first day). ~~