A Layover Leading to Bangkok

Hello Friends and Family,
We would like to thank you for continuing to follow our blog. It makes spending time writing and uploading pictures all worth it when we hear so many of you are enjoying reading about our journey.
In our last episode of “Where in the World are the Bear-in-a-Den’s?”, we were finishing up our adventures through Indonesia. On July 2nd, we said our goodbyes to Indonesia and headed to Singapore for an extended layover and quick visit with our Denver friend, Piper.
We were only in Singapore for three days but we were fortunate enough to meet up with Piper who was in Singapore on a business trip. Her company was putting her up at The Marina Bay Sands; home to the highest infinity pool in the world!

We feasted on some incredible Dim Sum for dinner and enjoyed catching up on months’ worth of news and stories.

Later that night, Piper took us up to the 57th floor of her hotel to witness the beautiful view. It was amazing!!!

It was sad to say goodbye but we loved seeing you, Piper!
During our visit to Singapore we were lucky enough to stay with a fellow CouchSurfer friend by the name of Fiona. Believe it or not, we met Fiona while we were at the hot springs in Lovina, Indonesia. We wrote about the hot springs a few posts ago. You know, the place with the scary, green looking water? We started chatting with Fiona and her friend Kate while taking a dip in the hot springs. We mentioned that we were heading to Singapore next and as luck would have it, she told us that she is currently a teacher in Singapore. Crazy, huh? We found out she is a member of the CouchSurfing community and she offered to host us for two nights during our stay in Singapore. She was a wonderful host! She had a small dinner party and made some delicious pasta and salad. We were craving some greens because salads are not common menu items around the world. We can’t thank you enough, Fiona, for such a wonderful stay. We hope that our paths cross again soon. Thanks for everything!

Because we were only in Singapore for such a limited time, we really didn’t get a chance to experience much. We ate good food, rode the train, visited some cultural neighborhoods and spent time with old and new friends.
On July 5th, it was Bangkok or bust. The airport in Singapore has three main terminals that are beautifully decorated. There is also a fourth terminal that you have to take a bus to and it is kindly reffered to as “The Budget Terminal”. Can you take a wild guess which terminal we were flying out of? That’s right, nothing but quality and class for us as we headed to the Budget Terminal. 

It was only a short 2-hour flight and we landed in Thailand. Welcome to Thailand!

We hopped in a cab and made our way to a guesthouse in Bangkok. While in the cab, we spent time laughing at the following sign posted on the window:
Apparently, you can’t bring in any dog/foxes, guns, flatulence, utensils, alcohol/poison, bombs/durians or cigarettes into this temple called a cab. This is just one example of the many comical signs that you see posted throughout Thailand.
We packed in a ton of sightseeing during our five days in Bangkok.
First, we started with some much needed beers!

Wat Pho – The Reclining Buddha

The size of this statue was overwhelming.

Riding the Public Ferry
For only 50 cents per person you can ride almost anywhere in Bangkok.

Taking a Tuk-Tuk Ride
More expensive but one of the best ways to travel in Thailand!

The Weekend Market

They sell EVERYTHING here…even squirrels! That’s right, they sell pet squirrels dressed in little squirrel clothes. Only in Thailand!

Street Food
Eating Pad Thai in Thailand!

It’s after midnight and the streets are packed!

Wat Arun - The Temple of Dawn

We also took a full-day tour since it was an easy and cheap way to see multiple attractions. The itinerary included stops at the floating market, the bridge over River Kwai and the Tiger Temple.
The Dumnoen Saduak Floating Market
Definitely touristy but still fun to see.

We floated past one of Josh’s fellow alumni from Texas A&M. Clearly this guy was also a graduate of the Class of 1998.

Bridge Over the River Kwai
We were able to pet a tortoise and leopard. (Why there were animals here, we will never know). It’s not everyday that you get to pet a leopard.

Tiger Temple
There aren’t many places in the world where you can get up close and personal with a tiger. The Buddhist monks at the Tiger Temple in Thailand allow you to participate in this amazing experience.
A little background for those opposed to the idea of visiting a tiger sanctuary:
Since 1999, the monks have been taking care of the tigers that have been rescued from poachers in the nearby Thai-Burmese border jungle. There have been rumors that the tigers are drugged to make them docile enough for visitors to pet. Volunteers at the temple insisted that the tigers are not drugged. It is stated that they’ve all been hand reared so they’re used to human contact. Besides, tigers are known to sleep over 18 hours a day. It’s in their nature to snooze all afternoon when it’s hot and that’s why they’re so sleepy in the afternoons. 

Monks who run the sanctuary are in the process of raising money for a nature reserve in the hope that they could eventually be released. At the moment, if the tigers were released into the wild, they would likely be killed by poachers. It’s a catch-22 situation. They can’t be released while they’re being raised by hand at the temple but there’s really no chance they’d survive in the wild anyway. It’s pretty much the same argument for zoos. Do you visit them or not? Well, we got married at a zoo.
We had to sign a form saying we wouldn’t sue if we were injured or killed by the tigers. On the one hand you get to pet a tiger. That’s pretty cool and who doesn’t want to pet a tiger?  But on the other hand, they are wild animals. To calm your fears, the tigers were chained because let’s face it….they’re TIGERS!
We're not ashamed to say that we really enjoyed this once in a lifetime opportunity of petting and playing with tigers.

While in Bangkok we came to three major realizations:

1) Leanne’s nose is a worldly phenomenon. In Indonesia she was told her nose was too big for her to be from America. In Thailand a gentleman told her she had a “good luck nose”. What does that even mean? One thing’s for sure, her nose is a sight to be seen around the world. We should seriously start charging money for people to make comments about her nose. Who knows, maybe our million-dollar idea is literally right under her big nose?

 2) Josh’s hair must be getting really long. While cruising the streets several vendors got Josh’s attention by calling “Hello Mr. Long Hair”.

 3) We sweat a lot here!

Here’s a picture of number 2 and 3 combined. 

We are now making our way to Ao Nang (Southern Thailand) via a 15-hour bus ride for only $16 per person. This travel situation should make for an interesting next post.

As always, thanks for following us!

Leanne and Josh