I love traveling. My only gripe is that my teenage daughter, Kassandra, doesn’t always get into it as much as I do. It is hard being a single mom and having to always be the responsible one, so if I have to take too much energy convincing Kassandra that we will have fun, sometimes it just isn’t worth it. However, this was not the case with Thailand. As soon as I told Kassandra that I had heard Thailand was cheap, she was on board. We planned our itinerary a little less ambitiously than our Europe vacation, but we were still able to find a nice mix between things that would interest her and things that would interest me – or so we hoped!
We departed from the Abu Dhabi airport – a first for us. Let me just tell you, wow! The process was so much faster and more organized there than at the Dubai airport. I don’t care about the mass amounts of Duty-free Tang you can buy at the Dubai airport, if I could leave from Abu Dhabi every trip I would. However, even in Abu Dhabi people check in an enormous amount of luggage. It makes me feel cheap when I refuse to pay for more than just one extra suitcase coming back from the U.S. Seriously, how much to these people pay in extra baggage? I’m envious.
We took a short one hour flight to the Bahrain airport (does that count as having been to a new country? probably not, right?) with a quicky one hour wait for our connecting flight. Just long enough to get a few Bahraini dinars to add to our collection of random currencies in our money drawer back at home. The flight to Bangkok was fine. I only mention this because after booking my flight, people started telling me that Gulf Air is unreliable and I should have avoided them. I was a little nervous that we would have problems – especially after I had received an email a week prior from my online booking agency saying that one leg of my flight had been canceled (it wasn’t). Despite all my worries, I thankfully didn’t have any problems with any of the flights on this trip.
We arrived in Bangkok. My first thoughts were that things were easy. It was easy to get around, easy to communicate with workers, easy to find food we liked, and easy to find things we wanted to do. This was a relief. It was extremely helpful that a few of my friends had arrived in Bangkok a day before us and were able to give us the heads up about things that we didn’t know we would need to know before we actually needed to know them – this took a huge stress off my shoulders (Thanks Christine, Rick and Collette!).
We spent three days in Bangkok, and we liked it. Now most people that have been to Thailand told me that I wouldn’t need much time in Bangkok. That it is dirty and a rip off. Yes, things in Bangkok were more expensive than in other parts of Thailand. Yes, it did have a bit of a dirty feel to it. Yes, it was really really humid. But on the positive side, the Skytrain made it fabulously easy to get around, there was an abundance of food and shopping, we felt fairly safe walking around, and there were plenty of things to keep us busy.
After checking into our hotel, we got overpriced mani/pedis (of which I feel asleep during – jet lag?), had a decent dinner, and spent time just walking around getting ourselves orientated with the surroundings. The only bad part of the day was when I fell down some steps which resulted in breaking the souvenir I had just bought my dad.
On our second day in Bangkok, we ventured out to the Chatuchak Weekend Market. The whole time I was there, I kept thinking, this is like Portland’s Saturday Market on steroids. There were thousands of booths selling everything imaginable. Kassandra was able to spend a good portion of her vacation money all in just a few hours.
Sorry to disappoint, but we didn’t actually try the bugs.
After the market, we met up with our friends for an hour of sleuthing fun at Escape Hunt. Basically you are put in a room where you need to look for clues and solve puzzles to figure out the mystery of who killed the English tourist in Thailand. It was great fun! We solved the mystery with seconds to spare. It was a nail bitter. I just read an article in the newspaper today that says they will be opening a franchise of Escape Hunt in Dubai and Abu Dhabi! Woohoo! I can’t wait. It is like a real-life board game.
After our sleuthing skills were put to the test, we had dinner together. Now despite what Christine will tell you, I thought dinner was fine. Notice that we ate it all, so it couldn’t have been as crazy as Christine will make you believe.
We finished the night with a little shopping where I was able to find a new swimsuit. Apparently even though I felt the need to nag Kassandra a hundred times not to forget her suit, I forgot mine. She was gracious enough not give me too hard of a time about this. Maybe she felt bad for me after we discovered that shopping for clothes in Thailand is a sure way to make anyone feel fat. Although I would normally wear a small size in the U.S., I had to buy a large size in Thailand and even that felt a bit tight. Apparently all women in Thailand are freakishly child-sized. As a bonus, I swear I even paid a higher price for the large, extra material?
Our third day in Bangkok was spent doing more shopping in places like MBK, Terminal 21, Siam, and CentralWorld. Oh, maybe this is why people always say you don’t need a lot of time in Bangkok. How much shopping can you do? Well you know, when we weren’t eating.
You might be wondering, what about the historical and cultural sightseeing? Um, well, Kassandra and I might not agree on a lot of things, but we do agree that we aren’t those kind of vacationers. But don’t worry, there was more to our vacation than just shopping and eating. To be continued as the journey continues south to Hua Hin.