Welcome to Thailand. From the bustling metropolis of Bangkok, to the old capital of Chiang Mai City, and to the hammock-loving life down in the Andaman Sea we traveled with variety.
Here is a photo journal of my trip to Thailand. This will scratch the surface of the laughs we shared and the memories we made. Our list of non-negotiables for this adventure —
- Thai Massage
- Watch every sunset; watch one sunrise
- Drink endless amount of Thai Tea
- Kayak in the Andaman Sea
- Ride a city bus
- Take a yoga class
Now onto the good stuff —
To start the trip the three of us met up in the great city of Los Angeles. Then we boarded our flights for Asia. Leah bought her tickets separate from Anna and I so we split again at this point with a plan to meet at baggage claim in the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.
Our travel took us first to Tokyo and then on to BKK. After we arrived in Thailand we found out that Leah’s flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok was delayed 4-hours.
Now that’s some pretty rough news after binge watching movies and cuddling up under airplane blankets for 16 hours, but we took the delay in stride and played some serious rounds of “Spit” [card game] until Leah’s face showed up across the baggage carousel. Reunited once more, we sisters caught a taxi to our Airbnb near the airport for some shut eye.
Following some seriously needed sleep (~2 hours) we rounded up our things and jumped on the train to find a hostel in Chinatown. For this trip we made “big picture” plans. Meaning we had a general idea of the places and things we wanted to do, but we didn’t necessarily know where we were going to sleep each night. Thankfully things like HostelWorld exist and we ended up finding a bunch of really great places to stay. Our first home in Thailand was at Loftel 22. A hostel in the heart of Bangkok, it was right on a main road through the city that the bus #1 drove along. This was a highlight of the trip. I enjoyed having some sense of responsibility over our location. In a foreign place you get in a taxi and trust they will take you to the right location with the risk of being scammed, but when we took the bus I felt the wind blow through the windows and listened to the movement of people through the streets on their bikes and cars and tuk tuks. I felt free.
In Bangkok we rode the #1 from our hostel to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. The Grand Palace is home to Wat Phra Krew and the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred of Buddha images. ‘Wat’ means temple and there are a ton in Thailand. At the Grand Palace and at Wat Pho the buildings sparkled as the sunlight reflected off the beautifully tiled roofs. In Wat Pho lies the reclining Buddha, a direct contrast to the Emerald Buddha less than one mile away. People were making such a huge deal about the Emerald Buddha that I figured it must be quite large, however when we stepped into the heart of the temple I had to squint to be able to see him. Ha! Now, the reclining Buddha on the other hand is enormous! He stretches from one length of the temple to the next, laying on his side.
In this buzzing city we found tranquility among the golden Buddha’s. We found beauty in the flowers tucked inside the corners of the temples and peace in the shadows under the Thai sun. For dinner, we stumbled upon a restaurant over looking the Chao Phraya River and toasted to the start of a great trip as the sun set behind Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn).
We spent our second full day in Thailand wandering through market places filled with baskets of spices and produce. Winding deep through the fabric of the culture and uncovering what a day-to-day might look like to a Thai. There were cats everywhere. Lounging amidst the peppers and making grumpy faces because they were probably too furry and therefore too hot. We walked through Bangkok on foot after getting kicked out of our Tuk Tuk for striking a hard bargain, but we picked up our #1 bus and it almost felt like we had been there for days.
We even braved some street food and came away with full bellies and happy hearts. At the end of the day, we jumped on a train bound for Chiang Mai, turned our chairs into beds and waved good bye to the big city.
Next up —> Chiang Mai