After three glorious weeks in the US we were clean (whoo hoo!) and packing our bags again to start the S.E. Asia portion of our trip. Our time in SF, while short (and wet) was glorious. We can’t say thank you enough to all our friends who made time in their schedules to see us! Especially to some of our very best friends, the Hanlons, for opening up their home to us for not one, not two, but five nights! Thats a lot of sleepovers 😃 We had the best time. We love you!
Los Angeles was a complete whirlwind. We were able to channel our inner India again at my cousin and her now husband’s insanely beautiful wedding! The sheer volume of times I asked Brian if we could get married again and have an Indian ceremony was outrageous, even for me. Shockingly, he said no. Congrats again, Tanya and Rigved. Thank you for having all of us be a part of your (seriously) magical day. It was the best! (lol, they have already celebrated their one year anniversary. One day guys....one day I'll have this complete.)
We spent a wonderful week in Charlotte (my hometown), including Christmas where we were supposed to catch up on the blog (and didn’t). It was the best time, and I wasn't ready to say goodbye. We spent a week with my parents and were able to visit some of my best friends and their kiddos, who wished me the sweetest happy birthday complete with a homemade slice of chocolate cream pie and a performance of the Nutcracker. It was the perfect break. We miss everyone already!
We booked our tickets (with miles of course) from Charlotte - Newark - Newark to Shanghai - Shanghai - Bangkok. The best part of the whole journey was during our 15 hour leg from Newark to Shanghai when we didn't have working TVs! AHHHHHHH! It actually ended up being a blessing in disguise because I was finally able to finish up the India posts!
And now! Back to Bangkok! For some reason, I knew I would love this city. Even though it wasn’t at ALL what I thought it was going to be, I was hooked! We stayed in the cutest boutique hotel in the Sukhumvit area (Soi 20 to be exact) which was walking distance to everything (well a lot of things) plus the BTS and metro.
My number one goal was to eat anything and everything I could get my hands on. I would have actual fears that I would pass by something that looked and smelled delicious and be too full to try it (yeah right). I would say, in the end, my mission was accomplished.
We explored Sukhumvit Soi 11 and Soi 38. We ventured through the small alleys of Victory Monument and ate in the famous boat noodle alley. We spent an hour looking for Doy Kuay Teow Reua (more boat noodles) and successfully polished off ten bowls of the delicious broth and noodles. We enjoyed famous roasted duck noodles at a restaurant we thought we stumbled into only to find out its rated #159 out of 9,359 restaurants in Bangkok (Prachak Roasted Duck. Disclaimer: it was too sweet for me). We explored the mouth watering delicacies of Chinatown during day and night eating everything from Plao Pao (grilled fish) and some unidentifiable (but delicious) dumplings to grilled sea snails and silk worms! Also, I ate more fried chicken than I ever have in my life. It is so insanely delicious here!
We had a couple beers (and I got a massage) on Khao San Road. We walked around wide eyed through Soi Cowboy (avoiding several ping pong shows even though I begged Brian to go to one). We were taken all the way back to SF when we ate at Pier 23 in the beautiful Terminal 21 mall (its legit the coolest mall I’ve ever been to). Felt incredibly out of place and underdressed while trying to enjoy the breathtaking view at the Sky Bar on top of the Lebua Hotel (not to mention our $24 beers!). Definitely not part of the budget but we decided it was worth the view. (PS. This bar is famous because of the movie, The Hangover II, which we watched while in Bangkok).
We even successfully got our second Hep A shot and decided to throw in Polio and round 1 of the rabies vaccine because 1. the monkeys are legit scary and 2. it was so cheap ($11 in Bangkok vs. $1000 in the US).
We decided we should probably throw in some touristy activities in-between all the eating so we hopped on a water taxi and cruised over to Wat Arun (sadly it was covered in scaffolding) and then crossed the river to check out the jaw dropping reclining Buddha (totally worth it) at Wat Po. We tried to visit the Grand Palace but it's currently the Kings resting place and we missed the cut off for the day (which is an astounding 10,000 visitors).
The one mistake we made was booking a tour to the floating markets through our hotel. We woke up at 5am only to be shuffled around a crowded mini bus picking up tourist after tourist for over an hour. Next we rode two hours out of the city to see the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We paid 300 baht total to take a thirty minute ride with four other passengers in a long boat through the market only to see the same cheap touristy trinkets they sell on the streets, but now we were floating in the river and thus stuck in a boat. The whole thing cost way too much, and we wasted an entire morning and afternoon. While I probably would have been sad to leave Bangkok without visiting a floating market, I will definitely do more research next time as Damnoen Saduak was pretty disappointing.
We had only planned to spend a couple nights in Bangkok and in the end, we extended our stay twice, including ringing in the New Year (read: we fell asleep at 10pm but not before making some new friends one afternoon at Chatuchak Market and meeting the famous paella guy at Viva 8)! We weren’t sure what our next move was so we let the internet make our decision for us when we found cheap tickets to Krabi on Thai Air (less than $50 each). We left with full bellies and sore arms (the vaccines) and an overwhelming excitement for what South East Asia has to offer!