Bangkok: Testimonials From An LBW Traveller
The long 16 hour flight with a short 3.5 hour layover was not as bad as I thought it would be. During the layover I thought it was going to be stranded in Taipei. I went to wash my hands after using the restroom and walked out without my passport and boarding pass. I made it 100 yards before realizing I was missing one of the most important things I would need for this trip. I retraced all of my steps and looped around the airport for the last 45 minutes. My backpack was flipped inside out multiple times, I tried asking people at my gate if anything was turned in (both of them didn’t speak English), nothing. Luckily I found the information center. As I walked up one of the ladies was holding open a passport, but more importantly my passport. I saw a small glimpse of my passport photo and the feeling of relief was the best feeling ever. Not only would I not have been able to fly to Thailand I possibly wouldn’t have made it back to the States.
Finally landed in Bangkok. A couple months back my cousin had done some volunteer work in Thailand. Luckily she told me about a couple of apps like Grab that would help out tremendously. Grab is similar to Uber or Lyft back home. You pick where you want to get picked up and dropped off and it tells you what the fare will be. Driving in Thailand is both interesting and intense. Drivers drive right-sides cars on the left side which is completely opposite to what I’m used to seeing. I’ve learned that if you can drive on the shoulder you can create an extra lane. Turn signals are optional as only half were using them on my way to the hotel. I was surprised by the number of toll booths we had to pay as we went from one highway to another. Tolls are only about 50-100 baht which isn’t too bad.
I had arrived to our hotel about an hour after majority of the group (I did the land only tour so I made my own driving arrangements). There was a group chat that was created and everyone was around the corner at the pool. I got settled in my room and quickly changed to meet everyone. I’m not going to lie I was a little nervous to see who I was going to meet. Half of the people were in the pool and the rest getting to know each other at the tables. Bruce and Sam are our tour guides for this trip and did not disappoint with the high energy. They made it so we all felt comfortable and tried breaking the ice with small conversations. Music was bumping and we were all having a good time. Out of the 21 people on this tour Natalie and I are the only ones from the US (she’s from California). Majority are from Canada, a couple from the UK, and one Aussie.
There wasn’t much planned for Day 1 as not everyone was checking in at the same time. I realized quickly that this group definitely was adventurous and curious as I was. After the pool we changed and met back up to explore Bangkok. The girls went to get massages and us guys went to get fitted at a suit shop. Now I wasn’t planning on buying a suit ($183 USD is a steal by the way!) but I got a “rock star” with this crazy green peacock-styled print (you have to see it).
From there we experienced Thai buckets. Thai buckets are the little sand buckets filled with all types of alcohol. Each stand has different flavors/mixes to choose from. Being only 150 baht as well they were amazing! One thing on my bucket list for this tour was to eat a scorpion I’m not sure if it was the buckets but when one of the ladies came by 4 of us were ready. There wasn’t really flavor to them. The other guys ate them in one bite and thought they were nasty. I on the other hand took small bites trying to taste it. They have a dry crunchy texture and taste similar to over cooked plain pork belly. I’m not a huge fan of spiders but a couple of the guys wanted to try fried tarantulas next. I’m not a fan of spiders but those were some big gnarly looking spiders. Walking up and down Khao San road was breathtaking. There was so much going on. Countless shops moved their merchandise to the street, small food stands each serving something different, and music blaring from every couple of shops. We stopped in for a hilarious comedy show. They referenced the infamous ping pong show. None of us on the trip have gone but I have a feeling when we come back for our last night that statement might be different...
Half the people by now wanted to head back and get some rest. The remainder of us wanted to go to check out the nightclubs. The DJs were mixing some really good beats and all of us in the crowd were having the times of our lives. The stage had a ledge some people could dance in and we made sure to get spots up there. We got tickets for a free drink and being that they were cheap anyway we got a few more. Why not when you’re on a vacation right?!
The next day we went to visit Wat Pho on a nice overcast day. I only say this because In Bangkok there aren’t that many breezes so it can get extremely hot and humid. Despite the buckets of sweat it was an awesome experience. The big laying down Buddha statue was incredibly detailed toward the feet as well as the other Buddha statues. It is stuff like this that makes me want to travel. It isn’t for whatever are on the top 10 tourist things that you would find on TripAdvisor. The best part of exploring another country is to learn and understand their culture. To see what it is like to live like a local is always an eye opener, to see the difference and appreciate what we take for granted back home.
The best way to see Thailand is on the ferry/taxi that goes down the river. We took it to the end where the Asiatique mall was. If you’re going for Gucci, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, that’s all on the other side of the river in its own mall. Asiatique has multiple restraints and small shops throughout. We even passed a shop that had tanks of fish that eat the dead skin off your feet.
Bruce and Sam took us to the most amazing Indian restaurant for our first group meal. It was very traditional with the short tables and pillows/pads to sit on. I don’t recall the name but their chicken tikka masala with garlic naan was great. The spices and sweet creaminess in the curry was out of this world. What a perfect way to start the tour.
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