South East Asia- Our Arrival in Bangkok, Thailand!

Sa Wat Dii Kha!!!!! (Hello!!!) TDH and I have arrived safely in Thailand. We left at noon on December 30th, 2008 and arrived in Bangkok, Thailand at 12:20am on January 1st, 2009. Unfortunately we missed the New Year but we did get to see all the fireworks going off all over Bangkok as we were landing! It was awesome!!! Our 18 hour flight was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. We flew out of San Francisco on Air Asiana to Seoul Korea. I've decided I don't mind international flights at all. You get your choice of movies and they feed you so much! We got three meals total and they were all really good! In Seoul, Korea we had a three hour layover. I'm glad it wasn't longer because it is freezing there! And we only brought clothes for warm weather. The second leg of our trip was from Seoul, Korea to Bangkok, Thailand. I thought this would be an awful flight but TDH and I were able to doze off for most of it so it went really quickly.

Bangkok, Thailand
As you can imagine it was pretty crazy in Bangkok when we arrived. Everyone was out and about celebrating the new year. We took a taxi to our hotel and after unloading our stuff, decided to walk around a bit. We had booked our first two nights at the Grand Inn Hotel in Bangkok and that was it. We made no other plans before arriving! It was fun to see all the street vendors and people out and about at 2am! There was loud music playing everywhere and people singing and dancing in the streets. We didn't stay out long because we were exhausted from the flight. The next morning we got up at 9am (we didn't want to sleep in too late because we needed to get used to the time change!) and went downstairs for the free breakfast. Ironically, my first breakfast in Thailand was American. Toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, and coffee! I also got a fruit that I had never seen before. I think it's guava but it does not look or taste like any guava I have ever had. It is green and shaped like an apple only with a rougher surface. The flesh is also very crunchy like an apple but it has a slight citrus taste to it. It was different but good!

After breakfast, we went out out on the town to do a little sight seeing and make some plans. Our first stop was the Vietnam consulate. On the way we saw this really cute bakery with all kinds of yummy yummy pastries!

We also ran into this guy who said he was a police man and wanted to know where we were from and where we were going. He was friendly and it is not at all uncommon for a Thai man to approach tourists and start a conversation so we told him. He reminded us that it was a holiday and that the Vietnam Consulate was closed and told us where we could go instead and even go a tuk-tuk to take us there.

So, being the trusting people we are, we climbed into the tuk-tuk and off we went to this tourist information center near the train station. Later we read that you never want to use these travel centers but we learned the hard way.

The tuk-tuk is this little motorcycle-car thing that zips you around the city. They are really fun and although there are a ton of taxi's in the city I prefer these little guys as my means of transportation. You have to be careful though because they totally try to rip you off! So he took us to the tourist center where we met this guy named moo-moo and booked our bus trip (because according to moo-moo "you take train, you die!") to Chiang Mai for the next morning. We also booked our hotel, a trekking trip, a day trip to the Golden triangle, and our flights back to Bangkok and then to and from Hanoi through him. It all seemed kinda shady and a bit expensive but he was nice and recommended so we went with it. Stupid stupid stupid! You will see why later!

After spending our morning with Moo-moo we decided to walk back to our hotel. A three mile walk, although we didn't know that at the time. But it was fun and we saw many interesting things on the way.

There are shrines like the one above all over the city. People place flowers and incense on it and pray.

We also stopped into a mall called MBK. It's HUGE! Seven stories and all of them look like the one above. Packed with stores that sell everything and anything you can imagine!

They had a food court in this mall so we stopped and had our first traditional Thai meal of the trip. Rice noodles with curry and all kinds of toppings.

I chose the chicken coconut curry and I was not very adventurous with my toppings, choosing only the things I could recognize: cucumber, and sprouts. It was really yummy but very spicy!

For dessert I topped the rice noodles with a sweet coconut sauce, pineapple, a bit of ginger, and bananas. YUM!

We also stopped at another mall on our way back to the hotel. The Siam Paragon. This is a brand new GINORMOUS mall. I have never seen anything so freakin huge! I can't even begin to describe it. There is a whole floor with luxury cars, a ocean museum, a huge theater, and every store imaginable. We didn't spend too much time in this mall because a) we were totally overwhelmed buy it's hugeness! and b) it was all stores we have in the USA and we didn't fly half way around the world to shop in shops we can shop in at home (wow did i really just use the word "shops" that many times in one sentence?)
We also noticed on our way back to the hotel how many taxi's there are in Bangkok. And look at the colors! Hot pink, orange, baby blue! How cute! Taxi's here are also super cheap! But you have to make sure you ask them to use the meter or they will rip you off!
The other thing I noticed in Thailand is how many unfinished projects there are. All over the city you walk and the side walk will abruptly end or there is a half finished building. It's crazy! Apparently because of all the government unrest each new person in the government starts projects but gets kicked out before he can finish them and they they just sit unfinished while new projects are started! Crazy!
After chilling at the hotel for a bit we took a taxi to the night bazaar. I didn't get any pictures of it because I was pretty beat and it was really dark so they wouldn't have turned out well anyway. The night bazaar is neat. There are all kinds of vendors that sell handmade clothes and art and really authentic looking knock offs! I was so close to buying a Chanel wallet but had to stop myself since we decided not to buy any souvenirs until the end of the trip. The Night Bazaar also has this really cool food center. This I am really sad that I didn't get a picture of it is so awesome! Basically there are a ton of chairs in the middle surrounded on one side buy vendors selling every kind of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink you can think of and on the other side every kind of Thai food you can think of. You buy coupons and then go to each vendor and buy food. They had curries, stir fries, weird kabob things, smoothies, soups, everything! Eddie ended up getting some noodle dish and I got chicken with rice and a mango smoothie. One of the things I love about Thailand is how cheap the food is. Eddie and I have not spent more than five dollars total for our meals! Sweet!
After eating we were completely and utterly exhausted. We went back to our hotel to crash because we had to get up early to take a bus to Chiang Mai. be continued....


Anonymous said...

Guys, I am so glad you are having fun but a bit worried about the dial with Moo-moo, did you loose your money, how much?
I am surpriced you trusted any body Kat, remember on our trip to Colombia you were the wise one? Any way, can't wait to hear the story and please, be safe.

Jude said...

Been reading your series on Thailand.. Sounds like so much fun. Watch out for scammers!