Ewwww early morning. Woke up at 6:15 and met my cabbie at 6:30. Flight at 8:40. Got to Bangkok at like 10:00. Was at my next hotel by 11:00. And then the only trip-up in the vacation occurred when I was trying to check in. I booked the hotel for 11, and the 12th, but of December, not February. I don’t know what the heck was wrong with me when I was booking in December but I just booked a new room on my credit card. #wiggleroomisnice
I changed, got ready for the day, then headed out for adventure! It took me a while to figure out the bus system but when I did I was elated; it would cost me less than a dollar to get to and from my destination for the day!
So much better than a tuk tuk or taxi.
The bus dropped me off and I decided I would go to the Grand Palace first, then some of the other temples on my “list.”
The Grand Palace was wild. So ornate and SO many people. I came in at the same time as a huge Asian tour group so that added a whole bunch more excitement to the mix.
It was beautiful. I was grateful to be on my own for this, in a lot of ways. I could go at my own pace, and when I really wanted a photo I could “buhaoyisi” a Chinese tourist and exchange photo for a photo. Not a bad set up.
I got out of the Grand Palace and decided I was going to go to the sleeping Buddha temple next. This place was great. They gave tourists free water and free wifi (!?!?) and the general ambiance was very soothing.
Next I decided I would try to get to the Temple of Light, the temple across the river from everything else, and the most iconic thing ever. Taking the ferry was 3 baht, which was awesome, and such a short ride. This temple was perhaps my favorite. It was very tall and you could climb it and take pictures.
After crossing back over the river I decided to eat at a little restaurant sitting right on the water. You had a clear view of the water and it looked nice/cheap.I got coconut chicken soup and it was unbelievably good.
I grabbed some rotee (duh) and then headed back towards my hotel hoping to shower (I was absolutely disgusting. Bangkok humidity+5 hours of walking= smelly).
I flagged down the right bus to get back, hopped aboard and we went to the next stop and…waited for 30 minutes? Finally we got moving and I realized that during rush hour in Bangkok it was probably going to take forever to get my hotel. Good thing my belly was full.
Got back to the hotel and got in contact with some other Fulbright grantees in the city. Set plans to meet up with them at the Sky Bar that the Hangover 2 was shot at. After FINALLY showering and trying to make myself presentable I walked the 10-15 minutes to the huge mall that housed the bar.
I got there before them and walked around the restaurant and then the bar. I instagrammed, then checked wifi and discovered they would be late.
They finally made it and I got a “mango bubbly” drink and a fruity sangria. So delicious. It was so fun to catch up with them and hear about their travels. They booked their vacation through a travel group so it was interesting to compare and contrast our experiences. It was such a high to be above most of the city, sipping on sangria with several friends from Taiwan. But alas, they had to go so I walked back to my hotel and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.
I ended up sleeping pretty horrifically throughout the night due to people coming and going at odd hours and resigned myself to waking up at 7:45. Packed my stuff up and checked out of the hotel, making my way to the van that would take me to the River market. The drive there took 1.5 hours, then I split a riverboat ride with an Italian couple. It was a really cool experience. We buzzed through little neighborhoods on a river….and then the market itself. The only people at the market were tourists but I think that was interesting in and of itself. I didn’t get anything and I’m okay with that.
Then waited 20 minutes for the 1.5 hour ride back.
Finally made it back to my area around 2 and was starving. Ended up eating soup in a bread bowl at a mall and grabbing a Krispy Kreme donut (yay!).
Then I went back to my hotel, checked in and got my bed, then headed out again. I stopped by the Jim Thompson museum and then stopped at a little massage place to get a pedicure! Yay $5 pedicures!
For dinner I got the spiciest version of the chicken coconut soup I’ve ever had. I was like, crying, it was so spicy. But it was also so delicious, so what can you do?
Then I grossly miscommunicated with a friend from college who I had planned to meet up with and so the trip ended in an anticlimactic way, with me falling asleep at 11 and waking up ungodly early to travel for 18.5 hours to get back to Taichung.
Coming soon: lessons learned from traveling alone/ thoughts on how to plan your trip to Thailand.