Bangkok, Thailand - กรุงเทพมหานคร


This post is going to be very picture HEAVY! :)

Thailand has been a dream destination on my list of wanderlust for awhile now. The start of May was amazing traveling around Thailand with Trevor, and I can't wait to share everything we loved, and learned about this beautiful country. I hope that my insight can be helpful for those of you who have thought about or are planning on going someday.

We started the long trek of traveling just a few days after Trevor's graduation. After catching a flight to San Fransisco we boarded the thirteen hour flight to Taipei, Taiwan. Apparently you aren't able to choose your own seats on China Air, and we were separated for the longest part of the traveling, which was a pretty big downside when you are on a flight that long. But we arrived in Taipei excited to be done with the hardest part of the journey and ready to be in Thailand in just a few short hours. We landed in Bangkok and the first thing we did was grab a taxi to head to our hotel.

POSTS ON THAILAND
Bangkok
Koh Samui
Thailand Extras

What can I tell you about Bangkok? There is probably no place like it. Now I have never been to New York City outside of the airport, but I can only imagine that Bangkok is like a busier, dirtier version of New York City. I only say busier because the infrastructure is not really equipped to hold almost six and a half million people. Add the fact that most of those people seem to be working on the streets, and well, you have a crammed, busy, dirty city! This city doesn't stop eating or working. I seriously wonder when they get any sleep! It is always busy on the streets of Bangkok.

Our Taxi driver was hilarious and gave us some great insight on the city he was born and raised in. After arriving at the hotel we tried to refresh before heading out to explore the streets of Bangkok. Now I have been to Asia before, but this was a first for Trevor, and I think the smells were a tad overwhelming for him. Yes, Asia smells very different then America. We were both overwhelmed by the options and crowds and crowds of people. So many markets right on the street, so many shops, so many people. It was a lot of fun just exploring and buying random foods to try. That first night was spent getting acquainted with the city. Trevor had read about the best place to see the view of the city, so we headed to the tallest building and hotel in Bangkok. They offered a traditional Thailand buffet dinner up top and we figured it would be a good way to get introduced to a lot of different cuisine at once. The buffet was great because we were able to try a little bit of everything and commit to eating more of the dishes we really liked! 

After we ate we went up to the top to see Bangkok at night. It was a beautiful three-sixty view of Bangkok. WOW. We were both surprised at how large of a city it was. The funniest part to me was that the highways were almost a solid red, or gold. The traffic there is absolutely horrendous. Because of this so many people ride little motor bikes. They don't really have any traffic rules in Bangkok and I am not going to lie, I was seriously concerned about my life on several occasions while taking taxis and Tuk Tuks. People do whatever they want to get in between the traffic. Even scarier is the fact that they don't seem to have rules about wearing helmets or seat belts. Some of the taxis we took didn't even have seat belts in the back seat! It was common to see an entire family crammed onto a motor bike, baby in lap and a toddler somehow balanced on the font of the bike in between mom and dad.

 

It was hard not to just stare at everything. There was so much going on all the time, so many details, you could stare for hours in one direction and notice something new every minute. It was just amazing. The next morning we got some breakfast off the street and headed out to do a little boat river tour and see some of the Temples. We learned that every city or village puts together their own money to build a temple for their community. The pictures don't really do any of these temples justice. They are so ornate, detailed, beautiful and when you see the type of poverty that so many of these people live in, it is astounding that so many communities in Thailand have come together to build them. A truly loyal and dedicated people. 

Out of all the temples we saw in Thailand my absolute favorite was the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun). Apparently this temple is amazing to see just as the sun is rising, which I wish I could have witnessed. But even in broad daylight I was mesmerized. The details, and the time it must have taken to create it is mind blowing. Wat Arun is known for the steep, steep steps, and you bet Trevor and I climbed all of them up to the top. The view was beautiful, and we enjoyed exploring the temple and the grounds. Now what started off as a great day quickly turned into a frustrating one. After exploring a few different temples we wanted to see some other ones that weren't as close as the others. We learned a big lesson about Bangkok... don't pull out your map! Your map screams TOURIST, and you will soon be flocked by people trying to scam you, and haggle you very aggressively. We lost a lot of our day because we were lost and no one was willing to help us out without trying to sell us something, or give us contradicting information to help their agenda. The area in Bangkok where all the temples are located is a BIG spot for this kind of stuff. We learned the hard way. So learn from us and be better prepared for exploring and visiting the temples. Hire a tour guide for that day, or know the layout well ahead of time.








We didn't get to see all the temples we wanted to, but were still happy with what we did get to see. We headed to China Town for dinner, a spot I had read a lot of great reviews on. I have never been to China but I can imagine that the China Town in Bangkok is as close to the real thing as you can get. After dinner we were walking down the street and Trevor noticed a massage place. Our feet were throbbing from walking around the past two days, and mine were bloated from the flight. We read each others minds and headed on in to get some foot massages. Massages, well really everything, in Thailand is so dang cheap! How can you not get a foot massage when half an hour will cost you three bucks? That is a huge perk to traveling in Thailand, the dollar goes a long way. You can try everything and do more then you could on other vacations. Trevor had never received any kind of massage before, so this was a totally new experience for him. I have had pedicures so I had an idea, but I have never had anything like what I got that day. Best foot/leg massage ever! I was in heaven.

 

Probably one of my favorite stories from the trip was when we got the foot massages. After they had washed our feet they directed me to the front of the spa and Trevor to a back room. They didn't speak any English and handed Trevor a pair of pants. Trevor was very confused as to why we were separated and why he was being handed a pair of pants. He kept asking why and they were just repeating back to him, Yes, Why. Trevor got a little concerned because Thailand is known for another type of massage... um, you know? For a moment he was thinking he had somehow gotten himself into something he had not signed up for, HA! I had seen them take him back with the pair of pants and figured they were having him wear them so they could more easily access his legs for the massage, I was right. When he came out though and told me how concerned he had been we both just busted up laughing. I explained why they had, had him change into the pants and it all made a lot more sense to him. Poor guy was sweating! 

After the massages we head back to our hotel to get ready for our next flight to Chiang Mai. We left with plenty of time to get to the airport in time, or so we thought. Bangkok traffic hit and it took us over two hours to get to the airport when it should have only taken us half an hour. Our driver was absolutely insane trying to get us to the airport in time and somehow he managed to get us there alive and with enough time to check in and make our flight. I didn't know if I wanted to yell at him or scream at him... a strong combination of both! 

Bangkok was a crazy experience, so much culture and definitely worth a visit. But like many people said in reviews, when going to Thailand I wouldn't spend a lot of time there. A day visit would suit you just fine while on your way to see some cities that have a lot more to offer. Biggest tip, beware of being ripped off left and right around the Temples and big tourist attractions. The Tuk Tuks are a fun and convenient way to get around, but know that the drivers will try and rip you off, while also trying to persuade you to go on tours, and visit markets where they are getting a commission off anything you buy. Don't be afraid to be firm with them, and to haggle down prices. Trevor was amazing at it! I was so happy I had him around. I guess two years living in South Africa paid off in that respect.

We bought some toothpaste from the store and when I went to brush my teeth I tasted the oddest flavor. I checked the box and lo and behold it was "Salt" flavored? What? Why on earth would you want you toothpaste to taste like Salt? There was actual Salt in the toothpaste! haha

21 comments

  1. Your pictures are ahh-mazing and this post makes me want to visit Thailand even more now. I think vacation recap posts are definitely my favourite! :)
    Oh, and I'm kind of relieved that's how that massage story ended!! haha! Poor guy!!!

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  2. So neat. I love all the photos :)

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  3. I love all these pictures. Your trip looks great. -Hanna Lei

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  4. This sounds and looks so amazing! Makes me want to go on a trip!

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  5. Thailand is one of my dream places. My sister is going there on Wednesday for 5 weeks. Lucky her! Gorgeous photos!

    www.thesaltymessblog.com

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  6. Your trip sounds absolutely amazing! I felt like I was there as I was reading your story! I can't wait to hear/see the rest!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

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  7. GIRL! This is fantastic! Beautiful photos. I'm speechless, really, at this amazing trip.

    I will bring my own toothpaste. Or be very careful when buying it there haha!

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  8. What a great experience so far! I can't wait to see the rest!

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  9. So fun! What a fun trip! I just love all the pictures. I haven't traveled much, but I would totally love to! What made you guys chose to go there, as opposed to other places around the country?

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  10. WOW!! That's so crazy! How cool to see how other people live!

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  11. I love all of the pictures! It look like so much fun!

    Haley
    haleyvalerie.com

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  12. Loved the pictures!! Gorgeous architecture. Salt flavored toothpaste!? Wow!! Ha!

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  13. I lived in Cambodia for 7 years with my family, so we got to visit Thailand many times. Bangkok is definitely a busy city and it definitely helps to know your way around, how to haggle or even take their public transportation trains, which have a good system actually. We've been to Chiang Mai several times as well. We always stayed at a gorgeous guesthouse, run by a Christian organization, where you get to stay in separate traditional homes instead of hotel rooms. Chiang Mai is wonderful and very different from Bangkok. A great place to visit.

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  14. Thailand looks amazing. You got some awesome pictures and you look so beautiful in all of them! You guys must be so relieved that your husband graduated law school and now you can relax on vaca! You guys deserve it! :)

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  15. I am dying to go to Thailand...and this did not help :) It looks like it was lots of fun!

    Stephanie
    http://www.vainandsimple.com/

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  16. This sounds like such a fun trip!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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  17. These pictures are the closest I will ever get to Thailand

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  19. Absolutely beautiful! What made you want to go to Thailand? We are planning an abroad trip and we both have a strong desire to go to Thailand. I would love to hear why you chose to go and recommendations for cities and restaurants :)

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