I have to start this post off with a thousand thank-yous to Akiko for hooking us up with a wonderfully air-conditioned place to stay. Jackie and I have been talking about going to Bangkok since my freshman year at Pepperdine. She was born in Thailand and returned to BKK for the latter half of her highschool years. One of my favorite memories from Freshman year was hearing her crazy Bangkok stories late one night in the cafeteria and I have been inspired to visit ever since. Now that I have been myself, there’s no doubt that I will be going back sooner than later.
First BKK impressions? Humidity and heat. Both things are hard to ignore the second you step out of the plane. Bangkok also has so many malls. I guess in that heat, all you would crave is AC (or as they would say over there “air-con” – watch out for those rogue drips!). The third thing that stood out was the traffic. Everyone makes fun of Asian drivers, but those Thai taxi drivers are probably the best around. With people driving in the shoulder, non-existent lane lines and only speed “suggestions”, I kept expecting accidents, but didn’t see one! Incredible. Fourth, it’s hard to ignore all the billboards with the King and Queen. King Bhumibol Adulyadej was everywhere…in the water taxis on the Chao Phraya river, statues & billboards. He is also the longest reigning monarch in Thai history.
Amongst all of the mall-hopping and eating, we fit in a few touristy things such as the reclining Buddha, the Temple of Dawn, a Thai monastery and a long sweaty walk around the Grand Palace. We didn’t end up actually going into the Grand Palace…but we walked around the entire place! That counts, right? Another highlight of the trip was finding all of the Elizabeth Gilbert wannabe’s — there were so many women on their own “Eat Pray Love” trips. Our favorite was a blonde woman who was spotted on Khao Sarn road. She was getting her long blonde hair dreaded, her arms were lined with bangles, her nose was pierced with a hoop, and she was reading an English version of EPL…I wish I had taken a picture.
Other trip highlights included meeting all of Jackie’s friends from ISB, eating moo bing and sticky rice from a street vendor (LIFE CHANGING!), learning a few Thai words, soi puppies on the beaches of Koh Samet, dinner in the dark at the Pullman hotel, digging through MBK, finally trying Food Loft and loving every moment of it, many many watermelon shakes, and a great meal on the river with new friends (2 grilled whole fish, wing-bean salad, tofu panang curry, the list goes on…we feasted).
Enjoy these pics and click on any of them to see more!