BANGKOK

Day 25:
We left our hotel in Phuket at 11am to make our 1:20pm flight. Kind of interesting, the Phuket airport makes you go through security twice. Once immediately when you walk in the door and once when you have your ticket and got your bags checked. (Random side note: the airport in Singapore doesn’t make you go through security until you get to your gate. The airport is kind a tourist attraction in itself, so they don’t make you go though security until the gate. But you also have to wait outside the glass enclosed gates until it is your special time to be sitting in the gate area. Weird.) Thankfully our flight to Bangkok was just over an hour because it was the worst flight of my life. For some reason the air pressure in the cabin made my head cold feel like my head was going to explode and my nose had so much pressure from it being so stuffed up that it made me cry. So basically I was a mess on the plane. When we were landing my ears were popping like crazy. But when we actually touched the ground they stayed unpopped and I wasn’t able to pop one of my ears. I went over 24 hours of not being able to hear much out of one ear which makes hearing in general hard. (Thankfully it popped Sunday morning!) Anyway we got our bags and got in a taxi to our hotel. Our hotel is really nice for only about $50 a night. Score! We got checked in and looked up some stuff in my electronic travel book. We decided to see one thing for the day because most things close at 5 or 6pm here and it was already 4:30pm.  We went to see Wat Pho. It’s a buddhist temple where a 45 meter reclining buddha is sitting inside a building. It’s amazing how intricate the temples are here. Probably the prettiest temple we’ve seen on the trip so far. There is all these mosaic spires and color mirror chip door ways and gold leafed everything.
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After we explored all the buildings inside the temple walls we walked around the area for a bit. We saw the grand palace and the ministry of defense. The grand palace is surrounded with tall walls so you can’t see much.
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Then we found dinner at a restaurant just off the sidewalk…the restaurant was also called Sidewalk haha. It was a fairly nice restaurant and we got two entrees and two drinks for $8! Probably the best Thai food we’ve had yet too! It was great. After that we got a taxi back to the hotel and stayed in the rest of the night.

Day 26:

Today was our only full day to explore Bangkok, so we hit the ground running! Michael did get up at 6:30am to watch the BYU v. UT game streaming online in case anyone was wondering. Michael couldn’t stop talking about the game all day haha. I had a traumatic experience that morning though. So for those of you who don’t know I think bidet toilets are really gross and unnecessary, and now I have a fear of them after that morning. Our toilet in our hotel room is super fancy. It has heated toilet seat and a control panel on the wall. The panel has tons of buttons. There are four different types of sprays, a stop button, a water pressure button, a nozzle position button, a small flush button, and a large flush button. So I was going to the restroom and was on my phone {guilty} when all of the sudden the sprayer comes out and starts spraying me hard core!!! It scared me so bad that I started screaming and jumped off the toilet! And of course it didn’t stop spraying and the water pressure was so high that it sprayed all over the bathroom, even hitting the mirror across the bathroom. Michael comes running in so confused. I explained what just happened and was so traumatized that I just decided I needed to shower right then. Michael just dies laughing but was sweet enough to help me clean it up. Yeah, I officially hate bidet toilets. So for breakfast we headed to the mall to get McDonald’s at MBK Center (a mall). Also in Phuket and Bangkok you see religious shrines at every home and place of business. I had to take a picture of at least one, so here’s the one that was outside the mall.
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Then we went to Jim Thompson’s House. Back at the end of WWII this guy named Jim Thompson from Delaware got stationed in Thailand. He fell in love with the culture and the people and decided to stay in Thailand permanently. He found out that Thai silk wasn’t really an industry in the big cities anymore. The only people taking advantage of Thai silk lived in small villages. So he brought the silk back to NYC and it took off. Everyone loved it, and he started to have it made for him and sold it internationally. All the silk used for costumes in the original “The King and I” are all silks made by Jim Thompson’s people. Pretty cool. So he gets super wealthy and decides to stop renting a place in Bangkok and build his own place. He found five original Thai homes in the old capitol of Thailand and had them taken down and put back together at the piece of land he bought in Bangkok. Three of the houses were put together to make one house and the other two were separate buildings on the property. So since he was so wealthy he planted a beautiful jungle-like garden around the houses and filled his houses with artifacts and antiques from Thailand and other neighboring countries. He had some really cool stuff! The house was actually really pretty and cool to look through. Weird part of the whole story: so eight years after the house was finished (he was 61) he took a trip to Malaysia for a vacation with a long time lady acquaintance and some doctors and their spouses. On their last day there Thompson took a stroll by himself around 3:30pm and was never seen again. Literally never again. The Thai and Malaysian government looked for him for seven years but still have no clue as to where he went or how he died. Pretty weird and super creepy. So in his house they found a will that said the house was supposed to go to his nephew. After a few years the nephew gave his house to the Jim Thompson Charity that promotes keeping Thai culture alive. So that was a really interesting tour!
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After that we went to Chatuchak Weekend Market. It was so fun!! It was a maze of hundreds of shopping stalls. Things had price tags, but you can still barter. They had stalls for clothes, accessories, home decor, food and drinks, antiques, souvenirs, pets, and plants! We definitely did not get to all it by a long shot. We did get see fun things though! I got a shirt for work and cool pants to lounge in on the weekends! We also got an awesome wooden elephant head. We had fun looking through all the craziness. Then we headed to the Taling Chan Floating Markets. Trying to get a taxi can be an interesting adventure here and sometimes it made me feel like I was on the amazing race haha. So you go up to the taxi window and you say the place you want to go. Normal, right? Except here you have to say it at least ten times before they decide if they know what you are talking about. Then if they know where that is they decide if they want to go there. If they want to go there you say “meter?” And they say yes or no. Yeah just process that for a second. So if the taxi drivers in Bangkok don’t want to run by the meter then they can just tell you what they want to do the trip for!! But here you definitely want to do it by the meter because they always up charge when they just give you a random number. So we talked to about fifteen taxis before we found someone who knew where we were trying to go and would do it for meter. Anyway I really wanted to see some floating markets so we went out there to have lunch. At this market they had a few floating markets of people selling lunch and produce. There were tons of huge catfish swimming in the canals too. On the land surrounding the canal there were market stalls and a big food market area. I got a chicken and rice meal and came back to sit at the bamboo picnic tables while Michael got his food. While I was half way through my food I found a bug in my rice and that ended that meal haha. Thank goodness it was only a $1! Michael came back with pad thai and pot stickers. He shared his pot stickers with me 🙂 After lunch we got homemade coconut ice cream! It was great because Michael said it was! Haha I can only taste really strong things since my cold is messing with my taste buds. So all of that for about $7! We love how cheap everything is.
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After that we went to the Golden Mount and Wat Saket. Golden Mount is a huge golden spire on a large white platform. We walked to the top of the white platform. It was fun because you can also look out on the city. Wat Saket is all the temple buildings surrounding golden mount. There is one building that has really interesting murals of Buddha’s life and heaven and hell. Kind of creepy if I’m being honest haha.
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So after that we were pretty exhausted and overheated that we decided to head back to the hotel to relax before we got dinner. We walked to dinner from our hotel with the cats and the cockroaches. Michael is scared of the cats and I’m scared of the cockroaches haha. We found a restaurant on Trip Advisor that is the “best Bangkok sidewalk restaurant.” So this restaurant is not an actual building like the previous night. This restaurant is literally folding chairs and folding tables that are set up on the sidewalk outside of a bank when the bank closes for the night haha. And the restaurant kitchen is a few pavilions with a few stove top burners. Pretty interesting but this place got rave reviews on Trip Advisor so we thought we should try it. It was good but not great. I liked the last night’s dinner better.
Day 27:
We woke up a little late and rushed to the flower market in Chinatown. We decided to grab a few muffin like things from the 7 Eleven nearby and eat while we walked around. It turned out to be a flower and food market combined. It was so interesting. People buy their food so different than people in America. Yes we have “markets” in America but they are more about being green, helping out the local farms, or just being hipster. Here it is basically all you have. And the flower market is also kind of a must do since they are obsessed with fresh special flowers for their Buddhist alters. There are all these women stringing flowers on fishing wire or on foam formations for them to hang in their cars or at the two alters that almost every business and home has here. Even the taxis have special writings on the roof above the drivers head and flowers on the rear view mirror. The flowers are SO cheap there. I was dying and Michael was wishing he had bought flowers for that cheap in the past. For instance we saw 3 dozen sweetheart roses for $1 and 2 dozen normal roses for $2 or $3. I’m really interested to check out the floral market in NYC when we get back now! I would love to have fresh flowers in our home often if the prices were that cheap since I took the floral design class at BYU.
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Anyway after that we walked along the river and found Wat Arun across the river. It’s another really cool looking Buddhist temple. It was so hot out that day that we decided not to climb it and just go to the spa instead haha.
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We had to take advantage of the ridiculously cheap spas in Thailand one last time before we left! Michael got another hour long massage for $13, and I got a mani pedi for $10. It was great. Then we went to the MBK Center to have lunch. We ate at the food court. Another weird food court at a mall. The food court is all closed off except for one entrance and one exit. At the entrance they give you a card that is like a credit card. You go around to whatever station you want and charge your meal to that card. There were probably 15 stations with cuisines from all over Asia and a few other countries around the world. Then at the end of eating you go to the exit and give them your credit card-like things. They swipe them and you pay the balance. Kinda weird but it was pretty good food. After that we just walked around the mall for a bit.
Then we thought we should just go back to the hotel and wait to leave for the airport, but it’s a good thing we decided to leave half an hour early from the mall because it took that long to get a taxi since we had to wait in the taxi queue. We got to the hotel and just decided to leave for the airport knowing that we were going to be three hours early for our flight. So we get in the taxi and drive to the airport. We get to the airport and the departure board when you first walk in says our flight has been cancelled. We panicked a bit since we had a connecting flight in Singapore to get to Sydney. We hurried over to the information desk to ask where Scoot Airlines desk was, and the lady was like Scoot doesn’t fly from here. And we were like yeah it does that’s what our email confirmation says! And she was like well they used to fly from this airport but as of the 1st of September they moved to the other airport in Bangkok, didn’t you get the email?? Um…no!!! We were dying. So she is like well just go downstairs to this floor and we have a free shuttle for people like you who didn’t know about the switch. Just show them your flight number and stuff and they will let you on. So before we left for our trip I made an itinerary for all our flights with all the information possible. She said that would work to show the guys downstairs to get on the bus. So we run downstairs and show the guy and he’s like no you can’t get on unless you show me your boarding pass and we are like how are we supposed to have our boarding pass if we can’t check in to this airport?? And he’s like well show me your email confirmation and we were like well we can’t because we don’t have internet on our phones! And he’s like well go inside and get internet. Well the free wifi takes forever to get on because they ask for all this personal information before letting you on. The bus was leaving in ten minutes and it only runs every hour. Did I mention the other airport we had to now get to takes 50 minutes by this bus?! So then we ask the guy if we could just pull up our email on the workers phone and he’s like um definitely not. So Michael runs inside, and I’m praying so hard. I stopped my prayer for a minute to plead with the worker for me to use his phone and he’s really not giving in. We had three minutes on the clock before the bus left when Michael came back with the email pulled up on his phone. Luckily inside a different worker was nice enough to connect Michael’s phone to an easier wifi. So we were off on the shuttle to the other airport. Thank goodness we left so early from our hotel because it took the shuttle 70 minutes in rush hour traffic. We made our flight with plenty of time. We had a good flight to Singapore in the front row of economy. It was a huge flight. Our flight was late landing in Singapore and we only had a just under two hour layover so we were a little worried about getting to our next gate. They told us on the flight if we didn’t pay for their “scoot through” service that we would have to get our bags from the baggage claim, re-check in, and go through security and customs again. Thank goodness we somehow knew to purchase that service when we bought our tickets back in April because we didn’t remember buying it! Plus we would have missed or connecting flight if we had to go and get our bags ourselves and what not. Anyway we got on our next flight and we were sitting in row 62 on the right side with a window and middle seat…not our favorite option but not horrible. The only negative part was that the guy next to me was a rather large man. But I guess he was already in talks with a stewardess before we got there because when we sat down the stewardess said she had another seat for him after take off!! Woot! Extra seat for us! So Michael finished his book and hung out while I slept the entire 7 hour flight. So by the time we landed in Sydney we had been traveling from 8:30pm-11:30am on planes. Rough.
We sure loved our time in Bangkok though! It was really interesting to see the city side of Thailand. The people were kind and everything was so cheap. Three days was the perfect amount of time to see what Bangkok had to offer.
Next up…Sydney!
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