BANGKOK TOUR: Bang Pa-In Summer Palace and Private Boat Ride

When my sisters and I planned our trip with mom to Bangkok, we aimed to know more about and experience the country’s culture. After much research on various options for tours, we decided to avail a private tour guide for the temples at Ayutthaya. We chose this over a DIY/Shared tour because of the timing and convenience.

In this post, I’ll be sharing about the temples that we visited and some of the things that I appreciated throughout our tour.

OUR TOUR GUIDE: Ms. Pookie from www.thaitourguide.com

INCLUSIONS:
With Private Minivan 9,300 Baht for 4 persons
+Private tour as indicated in itinerary
+Pick-up and drop-off at the hostel
+Private qualified and experienced english speaking tour guide
+All admission fees as indicated in itinerary
+All transfers and taxes

Our meet-up with Ms. Pookie was scheduled at 10 am. But because of our delayed flight, we met her a few minutes before 11 am. Thankfully, she still enthusiastically welcomed us and proceeded with the tour. Because our hostel was about two hours away from Ayutthaya, our tour guide took advantage of the travel time to brief us about Thailand, Bangkok, its history and culture even before we arrived at Ayutthaya.

FIRST STOP: Bang Pa-In Summer Palace

This place was huge. I can’t even begin to describe how many mansions, lakes, and parks I’ve seen inside it. Ms. Pookie patiently toured us around the place for two hours under the heat of the sun. She shared stories about the royal family, historical events in Thailand, the people’s freedom, and the backgrounds on each area inside the compound.

It was very interesting to see how the Royal family lived and how the King had a great impact on the countrymen. Another interesting part of their culture is the way they show respect in their temples. Before we could go inside their temples and some of the royal family’s houses, we needed to remove our shoes and wear conservative clothes first.

Inside the Summer Palace, we also saw different structures that were influenced by other people such as the English and Chinese allies of Thailand. Another observation that I noticed was that the palace was filled with photogenic places, including lakes that show beautiful reflections of the houses and temples.

Also, going around the Summer palace can be done by foot or by riding a golf cart (with additional charge).

SECOND STOP: Private Long-Tail Boat around the historic ruined city (where Wat Chaiwatthanaram can be seen)

It was a lovely 20-minute boat ride where we witnessed the livelihood of the people near the ruined city. Most of them were fishing huge catfish and were doing their laundry in the river. A lot of the houses beside the river also had a Thai-inspired design. It was also a good thing that the river didn’t smell bad, so cruising along it was a breath of fresh air after a hot tour in the city.

(Part 2 of the itinerary can be seen HERE.)

How to Grow Okra in Containers

Out of all the vegetables I’ve planted at home, so far, okra was the easiest and the most fruitful plant that grew in a few months. From two plants in containers, I was able to harvest more than a hundred okra pods! Woohoo!

I’ll be sharing some of the photos and tips throughout the process. Hopefully, you can grow some too!

Most of my family and friends don’t like this slimy vegetable, but I think through time, people will learn to love it and its health benefits. It’s also one of the vegetables that help fight diabetes. Cool, right?

How to Grow Okra in Containers:

1. Plant one seed in a small plastic cup or container. It’s better to choose a soft type of plastic container so you can easily remove the seedling after a few weeks. Make sure that the container also has small holes for better drainage.

2. Because our weather in the Philippines is hot, I usually water my plants twice a day. You’ll know that you’ve watered enough when water starts to leak from the bottom holes of the plastic container.

3. Once the plant is 4-5 inches tall, you can now carefully transfer it to the bigger container where it will grow for months under the heat of the sun. Try not to hurt or pull the roots while you’re transferring the seedling. This might hinder your plant’s growth.

4. Continue watering the plant twice a day and applying organic fertilizer every two weeks. Soon, you’ll see the plant grow as tall as two meters in 2 months.


5. As you watch and water your plant, you’ll notice beautiful yellow flowers growing on the plant. These flowers will turn into the okra pods after a few days. It’s important to note that okra pods get tougher as they grow longer. So, once you see okra pods that are 3-4 inches long, make sure to snip them off of the plant. This is the best size for tender okra pods.


6. Another observation: The plant grows taller and expands more branches every time you snip off okra pods. After more than two months, I needed to stand on a chair just to harvest the pods at the top of the plant.

7. Another tip: the okra pods can get a bit prickly. It will be better if you use gloves whenever you harvest the pods. But, don’t worry, once they’re cooked, they won’t hurt your throat.

So, there you have it! A quick guide to growing okra plants in containers. Let me know if ever you plant some okra seeds! I’d love to hear from your experience and tips too!

Happy gardening!

My Purple Thai Pants

“If only I could turn back time… if only I could… if only I could.”

I kept singing this song while I was trying to salvage my light blue jeans, blue & white gradient long-sleeved maong, and my light blue off-shoulder top after they were stained by my purple Thai pants.

It was already 10:30 pm and I was just starting to do my laundry for the week. I only had a few clothes in the laundry basket, so I decided to wash all of them in one load. I usually don’t have a problem washing my black clothes with my lighter colored clothes. But, for some reason, even though I knew that my purple Thai pants was still new, I included it in the batch of my laundry two nights ago.

I badly wanted to sleep soon, so I transferred the clothes from the washer to the dryer as soon as the cycle was done. The next few seconds of transferring clothes made my jaw drop and my heart beat faster.

I saw that some of my clothes were purple!!! They were purple!!! Hahaha! At first, I thought that I didn’t see things clearly because I was already very exhausted. But, as I pulled out each fabric stained by the purple dye, I really couldn’t believe my eyes.

What have I done? What was I thinking? How could I have been so stupid?

The three garments affected by the dye were special to me:
1. The light blue jeans is currently the only pair of jeans that I have.
2. The long-sleeved maong top was a new top and was only used once. I also liked how the blue and white colors blended together.
3. The light blue off-shoulder top was the only casual top (not Thai inspired) that I bought from Bangkok in my recent weekend trip.

A part of me got frustrated with myself, while another part of me just laughed at the situation. I even showed the clothes to my brother and sister and said that “At least, my new light purple pants can match my newly dyed blue and light purple maong top.” HAHAHA.

I was tempted to feel angry at myself and at God for allowing it to happen. He could have stopped me from adding the purple pants to the washer before the cycle, but He didn’t.

By God’s grace, He gave me peace and helped me see the good things about the situation:

1. He helped remind me of the fleeting things in this world and how important it is not to get attached to them. I was only able to use the gradient top once and now, unfortunately, I can no longer bring it back to its original state. But, I am reminded that life isn’t about clothes. It isn’t about my possessions or appearance. It’s about finding my true identity and contentment in Christ regardless of the situations I face and mistakes I make.

2. Now, I know very well the importance of being a good steward of my clothes by washing new ones separately at first, especially if they came from stores that sell clothes that didn’t go through high-quality dyeing processes.

3. God doesn’t make mistakes even if I do. So, I can trust that He can use my shortcomings to speak to me and help me grow. Maybe He wanted me to fail at doing laundry tonight so I could remember his faithfulness and grace for me.

4. Lastly, maybe… it was finally time for me to buy a different pair of jeans. A darker one that I can use more often.

Sometimes, God lets us experience contentment in Him through the most random things. Hopefully, the next time around, I will learn from this and act wisely. Thank You, Lord, for new mercies each day… and for my new purplish clothes. Hehehe.

Whew.