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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Post Cards from Thailand, Fall 2013


It's been 10 years since I last visited the homeland!  Bangkok has always been ahead of it's time and it seems that each new construction is bigger and better than the last.  I often think of Bangkok as the Dubai of Southeast Asia.  Despite the rapid modernization and technology boom, the country is very much deeply rooted in ancient history and tradition; one can still find things made "the old fashioned way".  The infrastructure however, has yet to catch up.  In Bangkok, you'll find a luxury skyscraper next to a ramshackle.  Thailand can best be described as a dichotomy of the old and new.   So while Thailand has changed in many ways over the last decade, it still retains its old world charm...

The highlight of my trip (other than eating Thai food) was touring ancient Buddhist temples and Royal palaces (there are many).  My most remarkable memory is of "The Temple of Emerald Buddha and The Grand Palace".  These two separate entities share the same grounds.  Each is comprised of a series of massive buildings and structures, spanning over 200 acres smack in the middle of Bangkok.  This prime real estate makes the Grand Palace the priciest in the World, befitting His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the longest reigning monarch in the World!


Both the Temple and Palace are amazing feats of classic Thai architecture, design, and construction.  Each structure is "over-the-top" grandiose and painstakingly ornate.  It is such a breathtaking sight to behold!  As I walked through the hallowed grounds, I was reminded that over 25 years ago, Duangrat's was designed and built as an homage to Thailand;  capturing its timeless beauty with hand painted artwork & murals, intricate woodwork & detailed furnishings in every nook and cranny of the restaurant.  

Duangrat's is a truly one-of-kind gem.  It is classy and classic.  

Duangrat's is the most awarded and longest operating Thai restaurant in the D.C. Metro area.  Call me biased, but I really can't think of any other Thai restaurant that evokes the feeling of actually being in Thailand and eating authentic Thai cuisine!  

A pegoda at one of the Royal summer residences- Ayutthaya, TH
Temple ruins- Ayutthaya, Th
Temple ruins- Ayutthaya, TH
Temple ruins- Ayutthaya, Th
Temple ruins- Ayutthaya, Th
Temple ruins- Ayutthaya, Th
Temple ruins- Ayutthaya, TH
Temple of the Emerald Buddha- Bangkok, TH
Temple of the Emerald Buddha- Bangkok, TH
Temple of the Emerald Buddha- Bangkok, TH


Nongnuch Botanical Park- Pattaya Beach, Th
A grilled chicken vendor
Temple ruins- Ayutthaya, TH


A traditional Thai home
Floating market after hours- Ayutthaya, TH
Move over shrimp, this is spicy chopped prawn salad!
Meatballs!  Random street vendor in Bangkok, TH
The transportation of choice!
Thai traffic- 24/7!
Temple of the Emerald Buddha- Bangkok, TH
"Water taxi" at the Floating Market- Pattaya Beach, Th
My favorite Thai dessert- coconut ice cream!
Fried oyster omelet
Did I mention my favorite Thai dessert?!
Coconut ice cream between the bun- the Thai ice cream sandwich!