Asia Trip: Exploring Bangkok

Dear Readers -

I’ve missed you!!!

Since I last wrote, I’ve traveled to the other side of the planet and back, as I made my first ever trip to the continent of Asia!

I’m so grateful for Lindsay, Jen, Hannah, Ashley, Laura, and my Mom for keeping my blog going with such wonderful posts while we were away for 3 weeks.  If you haven’t already, be sure to check them out:

Mike and I arrived back in Chicago on Monday morning (January 2nd) and despite having a wonderful trip, we were both SO happy to be home!  Seeing all of the poverty, crowds, pollution, and lack of Democracy (in Vietnam) made me really appreciate what I have at home.

I had only 2 days to recover before I returned to work on Wednesday to start a job in a new department! It’s been incredibly tough recovering from jet lag, but on the bright side, it’s been getting me to wake up earlier leading to more frequent morning workouts!

But enough about life back home – I want to tell you all about our trip!  It’s going to take me several posts to give a proper recap, so consider this to be the first of many!

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After a 13+ hour flight, we had a 3.5 hour layover at the Tokyo airport (Narita International Airport) before continuing on another 7 hours to Bangkok.  Although we didn’t get a chance to experience Tokyo, all of the yummy food in the airport left me yearning for a trip there some day!

Mint & Pickled Plum Sushi–>  

 <–Bourbon Chocolate Mochi

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We arrived in Bangkok around midnight and caught a taxi to our hotel.  We were both so tired, but Mike’s mind was still sharp and he asked an employee at the Airport’s information booth to write our Hotel’s name & address in Thai, for us to communicate with the taxi driver. (Travel Tip)

Once we arrived at our hotel, we picked up one of these handy cards (pictured) to use for the rest of our time in Bangkok.

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After more than 30 hours of door-to-door travel, we were so happy we had such a fabulous hotel to crash at – the best hotel of our trip, in fact.  Since the recent flooding in Bangkok had caused a slump in tourism, we were able to get a room at the Sukhothai Hotel – a 5 star – for a fraction of it’s usual price.

This was hands down the nicest hotel either one of us has ever stayed at.  Every detail was perfect, from the outstanding service to the heated toilet seats (seriously, these were awesome!).  

 

Even the light switches in the room were impressive, culminating in a master control panel by the bed – my future dream home needs one of these.  But my favorite thing about the hotel was the nightly delivery of fresh fruit & chocolate truffles!

    

We slept like babies, albeit only for a few hours.  Our first couple of nights we found ourselves waking up at 4am.  Unable to fall back asleep, we’d read for a couple of hours, then head out for breakfast as soon as the sun was out.

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While in Bangkok, we spent so much of our time simply walking around Old Bangkok. Bangkok is an incredibly large city – it took us half a day of exploring to walk from the Golden Buddha up to Wat Pho.  Along the way, we reveled in what a truly vibrant city Bangkok is  - there was energy and color everywhere I looked (including neon colored taxi cabs in hot pink, lime green, and orange).  

  

And most dear to my heart, Bangkok is a city that is absolutely overflowing with food – every street is lined with dozens of moms & pops with their food carts and produce stands. Add some plastic chairs & tables, and it’s a full service restaurant!

                        

Unfortunately, food stands weren’t very easy to navigate as a vegetarian, since it’s hard to make special requests when you don’t speak Thai.  Thankfully, I did have some good finds, like this Sticky Rice with Black Beans, grilled in a Banana Leaf.

  

There is so much food in Bangkok, that even “The Flower Market” was about 10% flowers and 90% fruits & vegetables.  We visited this market twice and enjoyed watching men and women run (literally) through the market, filling up commercial-sized baskets with produce.

 

It seems that nearly every person in Bangkok is an entrepreneur.  If they don’t own a food or produce stand, they might just have a tiny shop in one of the bustling markets.  This market was so crowded, we were pressed up against other shoppers the entire time we walked through it.  It was amazing to see so people pushing palettes of boxes through this mob scene to make their deliveries.

  

In my opinion, one of the most hauntingly beautiful things about Bangkok are the animals. Bangkok isn’t unique – we encountered hundreds of strays in each city and country we stopped in – but I thought the animals in Bangkok were especially poignant.  I wanted to bring them all home with me so badly!

                      

Okay, so maybe these dogs aren’t strays.  It looks like someone claimed them, though their chains are heartbreaking nonetheless.

And as for the flooding that had given us a pre-trip scare? We weren’t impacted by it at all, though there was plenty of evidence of it’s occurrence.

 

There was so much to see in Bangkok, that I can’t fit it all into a single post!

Stay tuned for more

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I’d love to hear from you!

What thoughts come to your mind when you think about Thailand?